To find new books to read, I always made a quick dash to the library at my elementary school. When I looked at the shelves, they had a lot of books in my favorite genre: middle grade fiction.
Middle grade books are a great way for new readers to build a habit and a real love for reading. Middle grade books are for kids ages 8 to 12, and they are called “hi-lo” books (high interest, low readability). Like young adult books, they have rich and captivating stories mixed with words that are easy for young people to understand. In high school, I’m a junior and I still love to read. When I was younger, I started to read middle grade books.
great middle grade books that got me to love reading:
“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio
He’s smart, loves his dog, and likes “Star Wars” and Xbox games. But in the eyes of his friends, Auggie’s disabilities set him apart. During 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he’s going to be looked at by people because he’s trying to fit in, make friends, and grow up in a place that doesn’t like him.
It is Auggie’s story, which has a lot of heart and courage, that captures every emotion from cruelty to compassion. It also shows the value of kindness and the beauty of being different. The book “Wonder” would be on every kid’s bookshelf if I could do it all over again.
“11 Birthdays” by Wendy Mass
The best friends Amanda Ellerby and Leo Fitzpatrick have been together since the day they were born. Then, at their 10th birthday party together, Amanda hears Leo say bad things about her. She decides to break up with him. No matter how many people are at Leo’s 11th birthday party, Amanda isn’t going to change her mind. Amanda doesn’t want to go to the party. If Amanda wakes up the next morning, it’s her birthday all over again, which isn’t very nice. Magic, friendship, and Groundhog Day all come together in “11 Birthdays,” which teaches kids to stay true to their own personalities and to value real friendships more than fame.
“Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel” by Diana López
Summer before eighth grade is a time of great change for Erica “Chia” Montenegro, and she’s going through a lot of different emotions. As long as she’s with her friends, the Robins, she’s happy. She gets excited when she meets boys from her Boyfriend Wish List, but she’s also stressed about taking care of her younger brother, Jimmy “Gimme.” When it comes to her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and her promise to raise money for breast cancer research, Chia is having a hard time. This book made me want to buy a mood ring, too, because it made me feel so good.
“Holes” by Louis Sachar
Afterward, Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention center that was built on top of a dried-up lake. They have to dig holes under the hot Texas sun every day. As it turns out, the boys are looking for treasure buried by Kissin’ Kate Barlow, an outlaw who left her bounty at Green Lake 110 years ago. They are looking for it. “Holes” is a master at putting together three mysteries from the past and the present. It talks about things like justice and fate, but is written in a way that’s just pure fun. If you like stories that are both interesting and gripping, this one is for you. I kept thinking about it for a long time after I put the book down.
“Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper
Melody Brooks is a girl who has cerebral palsy. She is 11 years old. Because Melody can’t speak or walk, she uses a communication board to say what she thinks. Even though her body is immobile, her mind is nothing short of brilliant. If you read this book, you’ll learn about a world that looks very different from your own. It’s heartfelt, hopeful, and empathetic. It’s a must-read.
“The Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart
The world of “The Mysterious Benedict Society” is in a panic called “The Emergency,” which is caused by subliminal messages sent through TVs and radios. As the Emergency gets worse, four kids who are very smart and clever have to break into L.I.V.E., the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, to stop the Sender from sending messages. It’s one of my favorite books by Trenton Lee Stewart, and I love this classy, smart, and unique series.
“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A pilot is stuck in the desert with very little food and water. “The Little Prince” was written in French. His favorite character comes to him on the eighth day, and he can’t wait to meet him! This is the story of a little blond prince from asteroid B-612. He’s going across the galaxy to find out what life is all about. I’ve never read anything like “The Little Prince.” Even though it’s written in a simple way, it has a lot of depth and timeless life lessons.
“The Lost Track of Time” by Paige Britt
Penelope’s whole life is based on schedules. She wakes up at 6:30 a.m. sharp, drills SAT questions, goes to her math tutoring class, learns how to cook, cleans her room, and does it all again the next day. It doesn’t matter what Penelope wants to do. She just wants to write! When Penelope finds a hole in her schedule, she falls right through it into another world where she must find the Great Moodler, a woman who can imagine great things from even the smallest ideas. She has to find her. “The Lost Track of Time” is a book that everyone should have on their shelves. It’s witty, thought-provoking, and full of great jokes.
“Shug” by Jenny Han
There are a lot of problems that 12-year-olds have, and Annemarie Wilcox or “Shug,” as her family calls her, is having a lot of them. Her best friend, Mark, is the only one who knows about her secret crush on him. She doesn’t even own a two-piece bathing suit. Her mother drinks all the time, and her father is almost never home. Shug’s story brought me back to middle school and the complicated thoughts that come with growing up. I was moved by Shug’s story. “Shug” is a good book to read if you’re going through young adulthood or have already been through it. You won’t be sorry.
The “A Series of Unfortunate Events” series by Lemony Snicket
After their parents died in a fire, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are sent to live with Count Olaf, who wants to steal the Baudelaire fortune. In “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” there are always characters who make me laugh, clever puzzles, and literary references that make me smile. ASOUE is the perfect series for someone who wants to start a series that is both morbid and funny.
“Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry
As a 10-year-old living in Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1943, the story of Annemarie Johansen is told in the book “Number the Stars.” It is set during the Second World War. When the Nazis start to “relocate” its Jewish people, Ellen, a Jewish girl and Annemarie’s best friend, is put in charge of one of history’s worst crimes. When I read this book, I couldn’t help but think about the real courage and bravery of the Danish Resistance.