After the PlayStation controller has been put away or the PC has been turned off, settle down the kids with some terrific books for young gamers, that are packed with all the excitement and enjoyment of their favourite video games!
The Emperor and I by Mato
Fans of Pokemon will love this adorable manga about a girl who discovers an emperor penguin hiding in her fridge one day. Quickly becoming best friends, hilarious pet shenanigans ensue as Kaho works to keep her new penguin a secret from friends and potential government spies! But how do you feed such a large penguin? Does the fridge really contain a magic portal for arctic creatures? Why does this penguin smell so bad? What will Dad think when he gets home?! Pokemon offers players the chance to collect and hang out with loads of cute creatures, as well as give them cuddles and treats in between adventures, so this sweet and silly slice-of-life story about caring for a larger-than-life animal will surely capture their hearts.
Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal by DanTDM
This graphic novel created by popular Minecraft YouTuber DanTDM is sure to delight fans of this imaginative, creative video game. Minecraft offers players all the space they can want to make their own worlds and stories, and the surge in popularity for ARG-esque, immersive narrative stories from streamers makes this book a great option for fans who want more adventures to love. Full of colourful illustrations, this story follows a fan-favourite character from Dan’s Minecraft series, as well as Dan himself, as they work together to stop evil forces from being unleashed by shards of a mysterious gem. A treat for new readers who want more from the Minecraft world!
Arcade and the Triple T Token by Rashad Jennings
Super Mario is all about jumping through other worlds and going on amazing adventures, collecting coins and saving the day! There is always a new location to explore and new world to hop through. Fans of Mario will enjoy The Coin Slot Chronicles, which follows bookish Arcade as he is gifted a mysterious gold token, which gives him the power to jump through time! Unsure of what he wants to be when he grows up, and looking to escape the expectations of his family, as well as bullies, Arcade uses the token to find out more about his future, make new friends, and seek out the truth behind such a mysterious object. Sweet and tons of fun, this is a perfect series for middle grade readers looking for more world-hopping shenanigans and endearing characters.
Bendy and The Ink Machine
The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
Creepy cartoon Bendy and his band of spooky slapstick friends took the internet by storm upon the release of the massively popular indie horror game Bendy and the Ink Machine. Exploring the haunted world of Bendy, a cursed animation studio, the player finds themselves in a tale of cultist mishaps, ink monsters, and a seemingly unending spiral of twists and shocks; it’s a game that demands you keep an extensive journal of lore tidbits and theories. Younger fans of the game are sure to enjoy the similarly sinister and surprising Secret Series , the first of which follows Cass and her friend Max-Ernest, who become embroiled in unearthing a terrifying plot involving a bid for immortality, a disappearing magician, and potentially cursed objects. So keep ahold of that theory journal and play detective with this mysterious series!
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
The world of the tea dragons is charming and compassionate, full of fantastic illustrations that will soothe and spark the imagination. This graphic novel follows Greta, an aspiring blacksmith, as she learns to care for tea dragons, make new friends, and find an unexpected source of happiness and delight that brightens her world. The combination of adorable creatures, hard-working villagers, and new hobbies to enjoy, this story is perfect for fans of the Animal Crossing games. Once you’ve made sure to compete in those bug tournaments or upgraded your Nook shop, pick up a copy and relax!
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry
Among Us provokes players to turn their suspicions upon their friends as they work together to weed out an alien killer while simultaneously attempting to keep a failing space station running. It is a twisty game full of excitement and drama, where you can’t afford to trust anyone. Fans of the game may enjoy this middle grade mystery, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, which follows a group of eccentric girls who hope to cover up the murder of their headmistress so that they can run their Victorian boarding school to their own liking. But who killed their headteacher, and why? Was it one of their own group? Creative shenanigans and mounting tensions ensue as the girls use their skills to hide bodies and clues from nosy adults and ponder the culprit – can you figure it out before they can, and will the revelation ruin their sisterhood bond?
Marvel’s Spider Man
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
A normal girl from New Jersey, Kamala Khan is shocked when she unlocks sudden superpowers that transform her into Ms. Marvel! Although her days now involve beating the bad guys and saving her neighborhood – maybe even the world – from evil, Kamala’s main goal is to figure out herself and work out how to be the best Ms. Marvel without losing what makes her her. Tackling themes of inheritance, identity, and what comes with great power, Ms. Marvel is a great pick for fans of the Spiderman games who are looking for some on-page superhero action!
Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
Roblox is a unique platform that allows players to design, create, and share their own games, as well as play games made by others. It has exploded in popularity over the last year, and provides a space for young developers to practice their skills and have fun building their ideas into projects. Using these superpowers of coding and programming to investigate exciting mysteries, the Secret Coders series of graphic novels explores the twists and turns of Stately Academy. Just as Roblox engages players to build their own ideas into reality, Secret Coders asks readers to get involved and use its own tips and tricks to solve interactive puzzles, making for a brain-training, page-turning adventure!
Warcross by Marie Lu
This YA novel follows teenager Emika Chen, a hacker who ensures that justice is brought to those who exploit the world of Warcross, a groundbreaking, immersive VR game world in which players compete in high-octane tournaments to find important objects and eliminate their foes. Winning brings in the big bucks and acclaim, but when Emika accidentally glitches into the fight, all she wants to do is survive and uncover the secrets of the game’s creation. Fortnite is known for its colourful and imaginative design, as well as bringing the battle royale genre of gaming to a new generation, and Warcross has a fast-paced and vibrant world that older fans of the game are sure to love just as much.
Booked by Kwame Alexander
Told in verse, Booked is a fast paced novel that follows Nick, a 12-year-old soccer fanatic, who counts down the minutes before he can race home and play sports games online with his friends until the small hours of the morning. Uninterested in school and books, until family tensions, friendship trouble, and girl worries find him seeking assurance in fiction, Nick’s sharp wit and energy will be immediately relatable to young readers. Packed with dynamic writing, exciting scenes of high sports action, and sprinkled with new words to love, Booked will hook young readers!
Looking for more middle grade picks? Check out our list of reads for fans of space or children’s fiction by APPI writers and illustrators to get into reading!