The best 25 Middle Grade books

For young readers who are ready to graduate from picture books but not quite ready for young adult novels, middle grade books are the perfect stepping stone. Discover captivating stories that tackle important themes and embrace the magic of imagination.
From heartwarming tales of friendship and adventure to stories that explore identity and resilience, our collection of middle-grade books offers something for every young reader. Inspire a love for reading and help them navigate the joys and challenges of growing up with these engaging stories.

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Middle Grade Books: Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Hey, Kiddo

Jarrett J. Krosoczka
How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction

What's Hey, Kiddo about?

Hey, Kiddo is a graphic memoir that tells the story of the author's unconventional upbringing and his journey to find his place in the world. Through heartfelt illustrations and raw honesty, Krosoczka explores themes of family, addiction, and resilience, offering a powerful and inspiring account of his own life. It's a compelling and deeply personal book that will resonate with readers of all ages.

Who should read Hey, Kiddo?

  • Individuals who enjoy memoirs that explore themes of family and resilience
  • People who have experienced challenging or unconventional childhoods
  • Readers who appreciate art and graphic novels

2
Middle Grade Books: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War That Saved My Life

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

What's The War That Saved My Life about?

This novel tells the story of a young girl named Ada who escapes her abusive mother and finds refuge in the English countryside during World War II. Through her journey, Ada learns about love, family, and the power of resilience. It is a heartwarming tale of survival and self-discovery.

Who should read The War That Saved My Life?

  • Readers who enjoy heartwarming stories of resilience and overcoming adversity
  • Individuals interested in historical fiction set during World War II
  • Parents, educators, and mentors who want to introduce young readers to themes of love, family, and self-discovery

3
Middle Grade Books: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House on the Prairie

Laura Ingalls Wilder

What's Little House on the Prairie about?

The book is a memoir of Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood as she and her family journey across the American Midwest in the late 1800s. It depicts their struggles and triumphs as they build a new life on the prairie, highlighting the importance of family, resilience, and the pioneer spirit. It is a heartwarming and nostalgic tale that has captivated readers for generations.

Who should read Little House on the Prairie?

  • Readers interested in historical fiction
  • People who enjoy stories about frontier life and pioneer experiences
  • Parents looking for engaging books to read with their children

4
Middle Grade Books: I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka

I Will Always Write Back

Caitlin Alifirenka
How One Letter Changed Two Lives

What's I Will Always Write Back about?

This book tells the true story of two pen pals, Caitlin and Martin, who form an unlikely friendship through letters. As they exchange letters, they learn about each other's lives and develop a deep bond. The book highlights the power of friendship, kindness, and the impact of reaching out to someone in need. It is a heartwarming and inspiring tale of connection and the difference one person can make in another's life.


5
Middle Grade Books: The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

The Last Cuentista

Donna Barba Higuera

What's The Last Cuentista about?

In a world where storytelling is forbidden, a young girl named Petra discovers she is the last remaining cuentista, a magical storyteller. As she embarks on a dangerous journey to save her family and preserve the power of storytelling, she uncovers long-buried secrets and learns the true importance of keeping the ancient tales alive. "The Last Cuentista" is a captivating blend of fantasy and Mexican folklore that celebrates the power of storytelling and the resilience of the human spirit.

Who should read The Last Cuentista?

  • Historical fiction enthusiasts who are interested in the Mexican-American experience
  • Readers who enjoy stories that blend fantasy elements with real-world issues
  • Individuals who appreciate diverse voices and narratives that explore themes of identity and family

6
Middle Grade Books: The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis, Clive Staples Lewis

The Magician's Nephew

C. S. Lewis, Clive Staples Lewis

What's The Magician's Nephew about?

The Magician's Nephew is a fantasy novel by C. S. Lewis that serves as a prequel to the beloved Chronicles of Narnia series. It tells the story of two children, Digory and Polly, who stumble upon a magical world and witness the creation of Narnia by the powerful lion, Aslan. Filled with adventure, enchantment, and moral lessons, the book explores themes of good versus evil and the consequences of one's actions. It is a captivating tale that will transport readers to a world of wonder and imagination.

Who should read The Magician's Nephew?

  • Readers who enjoy magical adventures and fantasy worlds
  • People who appreciate stories that explore the origins and mysteries of a fictional universe
  • Fans of C. S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia series

7
Middle Grade Books: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan

Katherine Applegate

What's The One and Only Ivan about?

The One and Only Ivan is a heartwarming novel about a silverback gorilla named Ivan who lives in a shopping mall. Through Ivan's unique perspective, the book explores themes of friendship, freedom, and the power of imagination. It is a touching story that will make you rethink the way we treat animals and the importance of empathy.

Who should read The One and Only Ivan?

  • Animal lovers who enjoy heartwarming and emotionally impactful stories
  • Young readers who are interested in themes of friendship, empathy, and the power of hope
  • Parents and educators looking for a book that teaches important life lessons in a relatable and accessible way

8
Middle Grade Books: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame

What's The Wind in the Willows about?

The Wind in the Willows is a classic children's novel that follows the adventures of anthropomorphic animals, including Mole, Rat, and Toad. Set in the English countryside, the story explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the joy of simple pleasures. With its charming characters and beautifully descriptive prose, this book has captivated readers of all ages for over a century.

Who should read The Wind in the Willows?

  • People who enjoy charming and whimsical stories
  • Readers who appreciate nature and the great outdoors
  • Those who want to experience a nostalgic and magical journey through the eyes of animal characters

9
Middle Grade Books: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Chains

Laurie Halse Anderson

What's Chains about?

Chains is a historical novel that follows the story of a young slave girl named Isabel during the American Revolutionary War. Set in New York City in 1776, the book explores themes of freedom, loyalty, and the fight for independence. As Isabel navigates the challenges of being owned by a cruel Loyalist family, she becomes entangled in the dangerous world of espionage and must make difficult choices to secure her own freedom. It is a gripping and thought-provoking tale of resilience and determination.

Who should read Chains?

  • Individuals interested in historical fiction
  • Readers who are interested in learning about the American Revolutionary War
  • Anyone who wants to explore themes of freedom, slavery, and the power of resilience

10
Middle Grade Books: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster

What's The Phantom Tollbooth about?

The Phantom Tollbooth is a whimsical and imaginative children's book that follows the adventures of a young boy named Milo. After receiving a mysterious tollbooth, Milo embarks on a journey to the Kingdom of Wisdom, where he encounters a variety of quirky characters and learns valuable lessons about the importance of curiosity, learning, and the power of words. This delightful tale is filled with wordplay, puns, and clever observations about the world around us.

Who should read The Phantom Tollbooth?

  • People seeking a witty and whimsical adventure
  • Readers who enjoy wordplay and clever wordplay
  • Those who appreciate a story that celebrates curiosity and the joy of learning

11
Middle Grade Books: Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

Prisoner B-3087

Alan Gratz

What's Prisoner B-3087 about?

Prisoner B-3087 is a gripping novel based on the true story of Jack Gruener, a Jewish boy who survives the horrors of the Holocaust. Written by Alan Gratz, the book chronicles Jack's experiences as he is taken from his home in Poland to various concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Despite the unimaginable hardships he faces, Jack's determination and resilience shine through as he fights for survival and ultimately, freedom. This powerful and heartbreaking story serves as a reminder of the atrocities of the Holocaust and the strength of the human spirit.

Who should read Prisoner B-3087?

  • Readers interested in historical fiction
  • Individuals curious about World War II and the Holocaust
  • People looking for stories of resilience and survival

12
Middle Grade Books: When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson

When Stars Are Scattered

Victoria Jamieson

What's When Stars Are Scattered about?

This graphic novel tells the true story of Omar and his younger brother Hassan, who are refugees living in a camp in Kenya. It explores their daily struggles and dreams as they navigate life without their parents and search for a better future. A heartwarming and inspiring tale of resilience and the power of family.

Who should read When Stars Are Scattered?

  • Readers interested in a heartwarming and inspiring story
  • Individuals who want to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of refugees
  • Those who enjoy graphic novels and illustrations that enhance storytelling

13
Middle Grade Books: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog's Purpose

W. Bruce Cameron

What's A Dog's Purpose about?

A heartwarming and insightful novel that explores the bond between humans and their canine companions. Through the eyes of a dog named Bailey, the book delves into the meaning of life, love, and loyalty as he is reincarnated into different dog breeds and forms deep connections with various owners. A Dog's Purpose is a touching story that will make you appreciate the special role dogs play in our lives.

Who should read A Dog's Purpose?

  • Anyone who loves dogs and enjoys heartwarming stories
  • People who appreciate exploring the deep bond between humans and animals
  • Readers looking for a book that will make them laugh, cry, and reflect on life

14
Middle Grade Books: Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson

Chasing Lincoln's Killer

James L. Swanson

What's Chasing Lincoln's Killer about?

This non-fiction book tells the gripping story of the 12-day manhunt for John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. Through meticulous research and vivid storytelling, Swanson brings to life the events surrounding Lincoln's assassination and the pursuit of his killer. It offers a fascinating and detailed account of a pivotal moment in American history.

Who should read Chasing Lincoln's Killer?

  • History buffs who enjoy learning about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
  • Readers interested in American Civil War history and its impact on the nation
  • True crime enthusiasts who enjoy reading about historical events and investigations

15
Middle Grade Books: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Little Princess

Frances Hodgson Burnett

What's A Little Princess about?

The classic novel tells the story of Sara Crewe, a young girl who is sent to a boarding school in London. Despite facing hardship and mistreatment, Sara maintains her kindness and imagination, ultimately proving that she is a true princess at heart. A heartwarming tale of resilience and the power of imagination.

Who should read A Little Princess?

  • Those who enjoy heartwarming stories with strong female protagonists
  • People who appreciate themes of friendship, resilience, and imagination
  • Readers looking for a timeless classic that can be enjoyed by all ages

16
Middle Grade Books: Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Before the Ever After

Jacqueline Woodson

What's Before the Ever After about?

Before the Ever After is a poignant novel that explores the impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on a family. Told from the perspective of a young boy whose father is a former NFL player suffering from the effects of CTE, the book delves into themes of love, loss, and the power of family bonds. It offers a heartfelt portrayal of the challenges faced by those living with the long-term consequences of sports-related brain injuries.

Who should read Before the Ever After?

  • Readers who want to explore the impact of sports on family dynamics and personal identity
  • Those interested in stories about resilience and finding strength in the face of adversity
  • People who appreciate beautifully written, emotionally resonant novels

17
Middle Grade Books: Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

Before We Were Free

Julia Alvarez

What's Before We Were Free about?

Before We Were Free is a historical novel that takes place in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. The story follows a young girl named Anita as she navigates the political turmoil and personal challenges of living under a repressive regime. Through Anita's perspective, the novel explores themes of freedom, resistance, and the power of hope in the face of adversity. It is a compelling and thought-provoking read that sheds light on a lesser-known period of history.

Who should read Before We Were Free?


18
Middle Grade Books: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson

What's Bridge to Terabithia about?

Bridge to Terabithia is a heartwarming and bittersweet story about the friendship between two young outcasts, Jess and Leslie. Together, they create an imaginary kingdom in the woods called Terabithia, where they can escape the challenges of their everyday lives. This novel explores themes of friendship, imagination, and the power of love and loss. It is a beautiful and poignant tale that will stay with readers long after they finish the last page.

Who should read Bridge to Terabithia?

  • People who enjoy heartwarming stories about friendship and imagination
  • Readers who appreciate books that explore themes of loss, grief, and resilience
  • Parents or educators looking for a thought-provoking book for young readers

What's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory about?

This classic children's book tells the story of a young boy named Charlie Bucket who wins a golden ticket to visit the mysterious and magical Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Filled with adventure, imagination, and a touch of whimsy, the book takes readers on a journey through the fantastical world of chocolate and candy. It's a delightful tale that celebrates the power of imagination and the importance of kindness.

Who should read Charlie And The Chocolate Factory?

  • Children and adults who enjoy imaginative and whimsical stories
  • Readers who appreciate clever humor and wordplay
  • Those who value the lessons of kindness, gratitude, and not giving in to temptation

20
Middle Grade Books: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables

Lucy Maud Montgomery

What's Anne of Green Gables about?

Anne of Green Gables is a classic novel that tells the story of an imaginative and spirited orphan named Anne Shirley. Set in the picturesque Prince Edward Island, the book follows Anne as she is adopted by an elderly brother and sister and brings joy and chaos into their lives. Full of heartwarming moments and unforgettable characters, this coming-of-age tale explores themes of friendship, family, and the power of imagination.

Who should read Anne of Green Gables?

  • Individuals who enjoy heartwarming stories about friendship and resilience
  • Readers of all ages who appreciate beautifully descriptive writing and vivid imagery
  • Those who seek to be inspired and uplifted by a tale of determination and optimism

21
Middle Grade Books: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Charlotte's Web

E.B. White

What's Charlotte's Web about?

This beloved children's novel tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a clever spider named Charlotte. Through their adventures on the farm, they teach readers about the power of friendship, loyalty, and the circle of life. It's a heartwarming tale that has captivated readers of all ages for generations.

Who should read Charlotte's Web?

  • Children and adults who enjoy heartwarming stories
  • Animal lovers who appreciate the bond between humans and animals
  • Readers who appreciate well-crafted and timeless literature for all ages

22
Middle Grade Books: The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFG

Roald Dahl

What's The BFG about?

The BFG (short for "Big Friendly Giant") is a children's book by Roald Dahl. It tells the story of a young girl named Sophie who befriends a kind-hearted giant. Together, they embark on an adventure to stop the other, not-so-friendly giants from eating children. With its whimsical storytelling and imaginative characters, The BFG is a beloved classic that celebrates friendship and bravery.

Who should read The BFG?

  • Children and adults who enjoy whimsical and imaginative stories
  • People looking to escape into a magical and fantastical world
  • Readers who appreciate the humorous and creative writing style of Roald Dahl

What's James and the Giant Peach about?

A classic children's novel, "James and the Giant Peach" tells the story of a young boy named James who embarks on a magical adventure inside a giant peach with a group of insect friends. Filled with imagination and wonder, the book explores themes of friendship, bravery, and the power of dreams. It's a delightful tale that captures the hearts of readers of all ages.

Who should read James and the Giant Peach?

  • Any age, children and adults alike, who enjoy imaginative and whimsical stories
  • Readers who appreciate Roald Dahl's unique storytelling style and witty writing
  • Individuals looking for an escape from reality into a world filled with adventure and magic

What's The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe about?

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is a classic fantasy novel that tells the story of four siblings who discover a magical wardrobe that leads them to the land of Narnia. There, they embark on an epic adventure to help Aslan, the rightful king of Narnia, overthrow the evil White Witch and bring peace to the enchanted land. Filled with themes of bravery, loyalty, and the triumph of good over evil, this timeless tale captivates readers of all ages.

Who should read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe?

  • Individuals who enjoy fantasy and adventure stories
  • Readers who appreciate allegorical tales with deeper meanings
  • Children and adults looking for a captivating and timeless classic

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Middle Grade Books: The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin

The Notorious Benedict Arnold

Steve Sheinkin
A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery

What's The Notorious Benedict Arnold about?

This book tells the fascinating story of Benedict Arnold, a once-revered American Revolutionary War general who ultimately betrayed his country. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, Sheinkin explores Arnold's complex motivations and the events that led to his infamous act of treason. It offers a compelling look at one of the most notorious figures in American history.

Who should read The Notorious Benedict Arnold?

  • Readers interested in American history, specifically the Revolutionary War
  • Those intrigued by complex characters and their motivations
  • People who enjoy biographies that provide a deep understanding of someone's life

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