Reading Lists for Middle-Grade Readers

Historical Fiction
Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi: Falsely accused of theft and murder, an orphaned peasant boy in fourteenth-century England flees his village and meets a larger-than-life juggler who holds a dangerous secret.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare: After her parents and grandfather die, Kit must go to live with her aunt in the Connecticut Colony, where she must learn about the Puritan ways of her aunt and uncle.

Night Journeys by Avi: Twelve-year-old Peter, living with his Quaker guardian near the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border, joins in the search for two runaway indentured servants.

Encounter at Easton (sequel to Night Journeys) by Avi: The doomed flight of two young indentured servants from their unkind master brings together an unlikely assortment of people in a Pennsylvania town.

American Revolution
The Fighting Ground by Avi: Thirteen-year-old Jonathan goes off to fight in the Revolutionary War and discovers the real war is being fought within himself.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi: As the only passenger, and the only female, on a transatlantic voyage, thirteen-year-old Charlotte finds herself caught between a murderous captain and a mutinous crew.

Lyddie by Katherine Paterson: Impoverished Vermont farm girl Lyddie Worthen is determined to gain her independence by becoming a factory worker in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The Man Who Was Poe by Avi: In Providence, R.I., Edgar Allan Poe reluctantly investigates the problems of eleven-year-old Edmund, whose family has mysteriously disappeared and whose story suggests a new Poe tale with a ghastly final twist.

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman: Twelve-year-old California Morning Whipple, who renames herself Lucy, is distraught when her mother moves the family from Massachusetts to a rough California mining town.

Jip, His Story by Katherine Paterson: While living on a Vermont poor farm, Jip learns his identity and that of his mother and comes to understand how he arrived at this place.

Rodzina by Karen Cushman: A twelve-year-old Polish American girl is boarded onto an orphan train in Chicago with fears about traveling to the West and a life of unpaid slavery.

Preacher’s Boy by Katherine Paterson: Ten-year-old Robbie, son of a preacher in a small Vermont town, gets himself into all kinds of trouble when he decides to give up being Christian in order to make the most of his life before the end of the world.

Egyptology: Search for the Tomb of Osiris: Being the Journal of Miss Emily Sands by Dugald Steer and the “Ology World” team

Call Me Heller, That’s My Name by Stella Pevsner: Young Heller debates how to handle the intrusion of an aunt into her family life and activities.


Autumn Winifred Does Things Different by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb: Autumn Winifred Oliver, the feistiest girl in all of Appalachia, struggles against the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as it threatens the home that her family has farmed for generations.

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson: Feeling deprived all her life of schooling, friends, mother, and even her name by her twin sister, Louise finally begins to find her identity.

Itch by Michelle D. Kwasney: After the death of her beloved Gramps, Delores “Itch” Colchester and her grandmother move from Florida to an Ohio trailer park, where she meets new people and, when she learns that a friend is being abused by her mother, tries her best to emulate her plain-spoken grandfather.

The Black Regiment of the American Revolution by Linda Crotta Brennan: The story of the First Rhode Island Regiment, in which African-Americans fought for their own freedom and to create a new country.

The Boston Tea Party by Linda Crotta Brennan

When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story by Linda Crotta Brennan: An excellent and comprehensive account of the American environmental movement in the 1960s and 1970s–great information for readers young and old!

The American Family Album series by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler: Ten books (so far) spotlighting America’s African, Chinese, Cuban, German, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Mexican, and Scandinavian immigrants.

The Plant Hunters: True Stories of Their Daring Adventures to the Far Corners of the Earth by Anita Silvey

The White House Is Burning by Jane Sutcliffe: During the War of 1812, British troops captured Washington, D.C. and burned the White House, Capitol Building, and other government buildings. Using contemporary eyewitness accounts, the author tells the story of this pivotal event in U.S. history from both the American and British points of view.

Contemporary Fiction
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper: Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

Playing Dad’s Song by D. Dina Friedman: While wrestling with memories of his father, who died when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, eleven-year-old Gus, born into a family of musicians, starts taking oboe lessons, begins to compose music, and joins his sister in auditioning for a school musical.

The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman: In the beginning there were 25,000 contestants; in the end, just five. Does Gil Goodson have what it takes to win The Gollywhopper Games?

Bringing the Boy Home by N.A. Nelson:   Two young boys…an unforgiving jungle…one shared destiny.

Bridge to Teribithia by Katherine Paterson: The life of ten-year-old Jess in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with newcomer Leslie, and they create the imaginary land of Terabithia where they rule as king and queen, until a terrible tragedy occurs. Includes a reader’s guide with discussion questions.

My So-Called Family by Courtney Sheinmel: Leah Hoffman-Ross has a secret: she has a donor instead of a father, and now she’s going in search of her half-siblings . . . even if she has to hide it from everybody else.

Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head by Nancy Viau: Sam is a ten-year-old, rock-loving scientist who must learn to keep a lid on her explosive temper so she can go on a “dream-come-true” trip to the Grand Canyon.

A Horse of Her Own by Annie Wedekind: In one tumultuous and life-changing summer, fourteen-year-old Jane Ryan loses the horse she loves and is asked to help train a damaged, dangerous horse who used to be a champion.

Becoming Felix by Nancy Hope Wilson: Worried about the difficulties on his family’s Massachusetts dairy farm, twelve-year-old JJ is willing to give up on his dreams of becoming a great clarinet player and on his friendship with a new Jewish classmate who shares his love of music.

The Penguins of Doom by Greg R. Fishbone: In a series of letters to various interested parties, including teachers, the school psychologist, a police lieutenant, and others, triplet Septina Nash reveals the complicated tale of her sister Sexta’s disappearance, and how penguins and mathematics are involved.

Blue Mystery by Margot Benary-Isbert: Young Annegret tries to find out who stole a priceless blue gloxinia is stolen from her father’s greenhouse.

I So Don’t Do Mysteries (series) by Barrie Summy: Sherry, short for Sherlock, wants more mall time, less homework and a certain boy, but instead gets recruited by her mother’s ghost to prevent a rhino heist at San Diego’s Wild Animal Park.

Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Paranormal
Something Upstairs by Avi: When he moves from Los Angeles to Providence, Rhode Island, Kenny discovers that his new house is haunted by the spirit of a black slave boy who asks Kenny to return with him to the early nineteenth century and prevent his murder by slave traders.

Peter Pan by James M. Barrie: The adventures of Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (a prequel to Peter Pan): Soon after Peter, an orphan, sets sail from England on the ship Never Land, he befriends and assists Molly, a young Starcatcher, whose mission is to guard a trunk of magical stardust from a greedy pirate and the native inhabitants of a remote island.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum & W.W. Denslow: After a cyclone transports her to the land of Oz, Dorothy must seek out the great Wizard in order to return to Kansas.

Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem: When Mellie Turpin’s grandfather dies and leaves her family his run-down inn and bar, she learns that for generations her family members have been fairy guardians, and now that the fairies want an important ring returned, the Turpins become involved in a series of magical adventures as they try to locate the missing ring.

The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem: A boy and a goatman defy the establishment in a fantasy about belonging, the dangers of forgetting history, the usefulness of art, and the importance of wind control.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende: Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.

The Emerald Tablet by P.J. Hoover: Benjamin Holt’s discovery of a new world explains his extraordinary powers, but also presents him with a challenge which changes his purpose in life forever.

The Book of Story Beginnings by Kristin Kladstrup: After moving with her parents to Iowa, twelve-year-old Lucy discovers a mysterious notebook that can bring stories to life and which has a link to the 1914 disappearance of her great uncle.

Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup: When Princess Adela sets eyes on Lady Hortensia’s garden, she knows something is amiss. Every single flower is in bloom, and in the middle of October! Not only that, there is a talking magpie flitting about the garden and stealing the guests’ jewels. Is it possible that Hortensia is a witch and the magpie an enchanted prince? And what of the flowers themselves? Will Adela get to the root of the mystery and nip trouble in the bud before it’s too late?

Dragon Wishes by Stacy Nyikos: Dragon Wishes follows two girls across time on their quests for the greatest gift the last of the world’s ancient dragons protects in the ominous Damei Mountains.

The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas: A young thief is drawn into a life of magic and adventure after picking the pocket of the powerful wizard Nevery Flinglas, who has returned from exile to attempt to reverse the troubling decline of magic in Wellmet City.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: A boy becomes a wizard – need I say more?

Among the Dolls by William Sleator: Vicky is disappointed in her birthday gift of a dollhouse, but she experiences real terror when she is drawn into the house and the lives of its malicious inhabitants.

Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains by Laurel Snyder: A snarky milkmaid, clumsy prince, sniffly prairie dog, and feisty milkcow venture deep into the Bewilderness, where they learn the value of friendship, honesty, government, and lunch.

Dr. Ernest Drake’s Dragonology by Dugald Steer: Everything you need to know about dragons.

(Note: Book descriptions are from Library of Congress catalog.)

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