In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two small girls and a baby boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Middle grade

Action and intrigue:
the Alex Rider series, by Anthony Horowitz
Traitor, by Andy McNab
the Danger Zone series, by David Gilman
the CHERUB series, by Robert Muchamore
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien
Thomas and the Dragon Queen, by Shutta Crum 
The Underland Chronicles, by Suzanne Collins 
Hero on a Bicycle, by Shirley Hughes

Animals:
The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt
The Tale of Desperaux, by Kate DiCamillo

Audio Books:
the Ramona books, by Beverly Cleary, read by Stockard Channing
the Harry Potter books, by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
 books by P.G. Wodehouse, read by various voices

Beach books:
Junonia, by Kevin Henkes

Books and movies:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

Chick Lit: 
The Summer Before Boys, by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Close to Famous, by Joan Bauer 
The Anastasia books, by Lois Lowry

Classics:
Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, by Rachel Field
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (ill. by Inga Moore)
The Little House books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder: 
Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy, Little House on the Prairie, The Long Winter
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery
The Peterkin Papers, by Lucretia P. Hale

on Death:
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
The Brothers Lionheart, by Astrid Lindgren
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

Dolls and other little people:
Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, by Rachel Field
A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Doll's House, by Rumer Godden
The Doll People, by Ann Martin
Little Plum, by Rumer Godden
The Littles, by John Peterson
The Racketty Packetty House, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
The Mennyms, by Sylvia Waugh
Mistress Masham's Repose, by T.H. White (Annie's take) (Deborah's take)
The Minpins, by Roald Dahl

Dragons:
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, by Patricia C. Wrede (Dealing with Dragons, etc.)
Dragon Slippers, by Jessica Day George
The Dragonology Chronicles, by Dugald A. Steer
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, by Bruce Coville
Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke
Dragon Keepers series, by Kate Klimo
Dragon Chronicle series, by Susan Fletcher
Dragonborn, by Toby Forward

Dystopian fiction:
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
sequels to The Giver: Gathering Blue, Messenger, Son, by Lois Lowry

Elsewhere in the World
A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park

Epic:
Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Family:
Saffy's Angel , by Hillary McKay
The Ramona Books, by Beverly Cleary (also here, here, here, and here)
Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (and the other Fudge books), by Judy Blume
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L.Konigsburg

Finding oneself:
Project Mulberry, by Linda Sue Park
Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle

Fairy Tales:
The Fairy's Return, by Gail Carson Levine (Deborah's take) (Annie's take)
The Search for Delicious, by Natalie Babbitt

Fantasy:
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
The Sisters Grimm, by Michael Buckley (and here)
The Menagerie, by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland
The Sixty-Eight Rooms, by Marianne Malone

Friendship:
Summer of the Gypsy Moths, by Sara Pennypacker
The BFG, by Roald Dahl (Annie's take) (Deborah's take)

Gay and Gay-friendly:
Totally Joe, by James Howe
Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence (anthology) ed. Marion Dane Bauer
Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle

Graduation gifts:
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know

Graphic Novels:
Travels of Thelonious
Smile, by Raina Telgemeier (also here)
Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
The Bone series, by Jeff Smith
Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke
Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales told by Extraordinary Cartoonists, ed. Chris Duffy

Historical fiction:
Countdown, by Deborah Wiles 
Jefferson's Sons, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Moon over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool
Dark Water Rising, by Marian Hale
Ben and Me, by Robert Lawson
Mr. Revere and I, by Robert Lawson
She was Nice to Mice, by Ally Sheedy
Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry
Hero on a Bicycle, by Shirley Hughes
The Little House books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder: 
Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer BoyLittle House on the PrairieThe Long Winter

Humor and Satire:
The Reformed Vampire Support Group, by Catherine Jinks
The Wonderful O, by James Thurber
Pigs Might Fly, by Dick King-Smith
Babe: The Gallant Pig, by Dick King-Smith
Three Terrible Trins, by Dick King-Smith
The BFG, by Roald Dahl (Annie's take) (Deborah's take)

Linked stories:
Seedfolks, by Paul Fleischman

Map books:
Three Tales of My Father's Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannet

Museum adventures:
The Sixty-Eight Rooms, by Marianne Malone
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsberg

Newbery Winners:
Flora and Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo
The Tale of Desperaux, by Kate DiCamillo
More on Kate DiCamillo, from Deborah

Deborah's picks for should-be Newbery winners:
Lincoln's Grave Robbers, by Steve Sheinkin
The Boy on the Wooden Box, by Leon Leysen

Orphans having adventures:
The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner
A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mistress Masham's Repose, by T.H. White
Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren
The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

Poetry:
Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, by Paul Fleischman
Joyful Noise: video
Falling Up, by Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein
The Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
A Wreath for Emmett Till, by Marilyn Nelson

Preposterous plots:
As Easy As Falling off the Face of the Earth, by Lynn Rae Perkins

Realistic Fiction:
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio (and again here)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsberg

Scary:
A Tale Dark and Grimm

Sports:
Six Innings, by James Preller

Survival:
Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, by Kathi Appelt
Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O'Dell