Adolescence is difficult, especially in the middle grades. In middle school, kids encounter a wide range of experiences, but one thing is for sure: middle school life is a roller coaster. Middle school life is the focus of this list of fictitious chapter novels for children in grades six through eight. A wide range of topics, such as the difficulties of making friends and finding one’s own personal identity are addressed in these works, making them accessible to a broad audience of young readers. To make matters more interesting, a good number of these works also touch on important issues like racism, immigration, friendship, learning impairments, and family and cultural traditions.
As a side note, if you’re not from the United States, middle school is typically defined as grades 6 through 8 or ages 11 through 13.
Middle-Grade Books About Middle School
Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dees
When a gang of basketball players approaches Mila, she feels trapped—they hold her, touch her, and then tell her that she’s imagining it. Neither notifying an adult, telling her friends, or wearing baggier clothes will stop the activity. The lads are now paying attention to Mila and her poisonous buddy Zara is enraged and envious. In karate courses, Mila discovers a newfound strength. This aids her in figuring out how to stop the harassing behavior. This is a must-read for all middle school students, and I endorse it wholeheartedly.
More to the Story by Hena Khan
Four daughters share Jameela’s Pakistani-American home, and journalism is one of their many interests. Jameela plans to write an epic piece for her middle school newspaper before her father departs for a new job outside of the nation. Unfortunately, she injures a new buddy in the process. Just as she’s starting to absorb everything that she’s learned, she discovers that her adored younger sister has lymphoma. She’s devastated. Despite the difficulties, her family is a tight-knit group of friends and relatives. One of Khan’s best works is a modern-day classic on the importance of family, culture, community, and justice.
Pippa Park Raises Her Game by Erin Yun
Exceptional! The Korean American It’s too bad that her guardian sister won’t allow Pippa play basketball until she improves her grades. When Pippa receives an unexpected scholarship to a famous private school, she is forced to reinvent herself in order to keep her past hidden from the other popular students and to treat her old friends differently. Pippa resolves not to be embarrassed of her working-class family, her culture, or her friends at the conclusion of the story. Girl readers, in particular, will be able to identify with the pressure to conform to the social norms of middle school.
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
In a word, this is a tremendous piece of work. A friendship betrayal and an embarrassing sexting picture are just some of the things that happen in middle school. We are reminded time and time again of the importance of forgiving and loving one another. You should only read this book if you’re reading it alongside your child due of the sexual content.
Kyle’s Little Sister by BonHyung Jeong
With just two friends who accept her for who she is, Grace always lives in the shadow of her brother. What happens, however, if the three of them get into a huge fight? There is no end in sight to the endless comparisons between her and Kyle! If you’re looking for a book on the trials and tribulations of adolescence, go no further than this one.
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
To explain why she doesn’t have any arms, Aven Green has a habit of concocting imaginative tales. Even more so now that her parents have taken over the reins of a run-down amusement park in Arizona. Tourette’s Syndrome sufferer becomes a friend of hers in school. It’s their investigation of an enigmatic storage shed that leads them to Aven’s history. You will learn how to overcome your anxieties and realize your full (big) potential by reading this narrative of a reviving relationship.
Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt
This is a brilliant tale. the art of teaching and the significance of lessons learned. When Carter’s grandfather’s butler shows up to aid his family in the sixth grade, he brings with him a love of Cricket that the family didn’t realize they possessed. A sense of belonging and purpose is provided to Carter by Butler. To this day, he tells Carter and Carter’s sisters to “make good choices and remember who you are”. Carter learns to pay attention to his life and the people who love him on this voyage.
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
To begin with, Stef Soto feels self-conscious about her father’s taco truck, particularly when he drives it to pick her up from school. Because of new municipal laws, her father may have to sell the truck and find a new employment. This tasty middle school novel is a delicious feast, filled with realistic middle school challenges, Spanish terminology, Latinx culture, friendship problems, and a loving family.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
The winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal is this graphic book! There are just a few black students in Jordan’s exclusive school, which is why his parents have to send him there. As if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he now had to deal with prejudice, balancing academics and his art, as well as managing friendships. This is a narrative that is both relevant and meaningful.
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
This 2019 middle-grade novel about self-worth, attractiveness, and colorism is one not to be missed. Genesis despises her dark complexion and believes that she would be more attractive and have a better quality of life if she were fair-skinned. Despite this, her new school’s music instructor exposes Genesis to jazz greats like Billie Holliday, despite the fact that her father is a ragamuffin who can’t maintain a job. Everything will alter as a result of this. Her voice, both real and metaphorical, may now be heard.
Wink by Rob Harrell
Readers who like hilarious yet heartfelt tales will enjoy this remarkable cancer narrative based on the author’s experiences. When Ross is told he has an uncommon kind of tumor, he begins radiation therapy right away. His goopy eye, the need to wear a hat, and the fact that his hair is coming out in clumps are just a few of the challenges he has at school, which are all made amusing by his cartoon drawings. Ross is interested in alternative punk music thanks to a kind-hearted radiation expert, and in attempt to impress a female, he asks the guy for guitar lessons. Ross’ frustrations and excitement were both expressed via the guitar and his new song, which led to some unexpected outcomes—like a new, unexpected friend.* A few choice words.
Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
An amusing yet meaningful chapter book about middle school turmoil and self-discovery. Unlikely Dwight is skilled in folding Star Wars figures from origami paper. Origami Yoda is knowledgeable and helpful to Dwight and his pals amid the various challenges of 6th grade until his puppet of Yoda comes to life, much like Yoda.