Many places around the country are shut down as we practice social distancing at home. This makes a great time to pick up a book and get lost in it. Here are fifteen middle grade books to read while you are stuck at home. Add your favorites in the comment section!
First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez
Maria Luisa, she would rather you call her Malu, is a product of Mexican-American mom and a White American father. She refers to her mom as “SuperMexican” because she wants Malu to be more like a “Senorita” and less punk. But Malu wants to be punk, like her Dad, who runs a record shop. When Malu’s mom gets a job in Chicago, they leave Florida and her dad (who is divorced from mom) behind. Starting a new school is hard for a lot of reasons. She struggles with her identity, making friends, and missing her dad. Read my full review here.
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
In City of Ghosts, photography buff Cass and her not-quite-secret best friend Jacob, a ghost who saved her life, are able to travel back and forth across the Veil that separates the living world from the dead. In Edinburg, Cass can feel the Veil calling to her, stronger than anywhere before. When they learn of the Raven in Red, together Cass and her friends must stop her before she strikes again. Read Anna’s full review here.
The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier
The Last Kids on Earth is an illustrated middle grade novel about a group of kids who have to survive without their parents. Now a Netflix show, thirteen year old Jack Sullivan is riding the bus to school one day when the monsters, zombies, and more start taking over his town. He is split up from his best friend, Quint, and the book starts with Jack trying to find him. This is just one of the many tasks he needs to do to survive the last days on earth. An action and laugh filled adventure! Read my full review here.
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
The legend of Circus Mirandus is a story that Micah’s grandfather has told him his whole life. The story is filled with a flying bird woman, a giant tiger guarding the gate, a magician called the Man Who Bends Light, and to get in, they accept only objects you happen to be carrying, not actual tickets. A strange place, right? Micah always loved those stories when he was growing up under the care of his Grandpa Ephraim. Unfortunately, Grandpa Ephrain is slowly dying. Micah must now find the circus in hope that someone there can save his grandpa. You can read my full review here.
The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
Need some mystery in your life? You need to read The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg. John Watson moves to Harlam after his mother gets out of the army. Watson’s mom is an army doctor who has an injured leg, while John Watson is the one who writes in his journal, reliving the experiences of his time with Holmes. Watson is a rising 6th grader and so is Holmes, but Holmes is only nine years old. When a dog goes missing, Holmes is on the case. Read my full review here.
All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
Impy is an eleven year old who has been homeschooled her whole life. She lives with her dad, mom, and younger brother who all participant in the town’s Renaissance fair. Each year growing up, Impy helped out in her mom’s shop, but now she is old enough to join the cast as a squire. As a knight’s apprentice, Impy wants to prove to herself, and to others, that she is brave enough to become a knight one day. She chooses to enroll in a traditional middle school to test her bravery. How hard could it really be? In All’s Faire in Middle School, Newbery Honor author Victoria Jamieson paints a realistic coming of age graphic novel about a girl navigating middle school. Read my full review here.
New Kid by Jerry Craft (2020 Newbery WINNER!!)
Being the new kid is rough. In New Kid by Jerry Craft, the graphic novel shows the life of 7th grader Jordan Banks being introduced to a whole different world. Jordan’s a talented cartoonist and wants to go to art school to continue his passion. His parents have other plans for him, and he is sent to an expensive prep school called Riverdale Academy. The school has an amazing, beautiful campus, but Jordan is just one of the few students of color at the school. Read my full review here.
Tombquest: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop
Alex Sennefer is dying, and his doctors say nothing can save him. His mom, an Egyptologist, knows that the Lost Spells of the Egyptian Book of the Dead can bring him back from the brink of death. After she saves his life with the spells, she disappears, and weird things start happening around the world. Mummies are waking up and scorpions are taking over New York City. Alex teams up with his best friend Ren, as they track down his Mom and try to destroy the monsters. The five book series takes you around the world on an enthralling and suspenseful adventure. This book is great for those who love a worldwide adventure and love to learn new things as they read.
Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A Nielsen
In Ancient Rome, Nic is a slave in the Roman mines when he finds a bulla, an amulet that once belonged to Julius Ceaser. The bulla holds magical powers that could destroy Rome if it falls into the wrong hands. With people chasing him to get the bulla, Nic escapes the mines on the back of a griffin. The book includes spectacular chariot races, life on the streets in Ancient Rome, and information about Roman Gods and is sure to be a great read for a wide variety of readers. All three books in the series have been released.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a Willy-Wonka-esque tale of a rich eccentric who builds an amazing library and invites kids in for a challenge. A dozen students are at an overnight lock-in at the library, when they find out the only way to get out is to solve book-related riddles. The futuristic library makes for a great place to solve puzzles, and the competition is fierce to be the first one to escape. This is a guaranteed fun adventure that is great for all ages.
The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett
When prankster Miles moves to a new school, he’s ready to bring his pranks to a new location. But he soon finds out that the school already has a mystery prankster. What unfolds is a funny prank-off between Miles and the unknown student until they decide to pair up to take on the biggest prank imaginable. The Terrible Two is an illustrated novel with drawings throughout that add to the amazing plot. This is a great read for someone who may have grown out of Captain Underpants or Diary of a Wimpy kid. This book is also an excellent choice for anyone who loves funny books.
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Christopher Row is apothecary Benedict Blackthorn’s apprentice. He has learned a lot from Blackthorn, including making medicines and poisons, as well as solving difficult ciphers. A murderous cult is killing apothecaries in town, and it’s coming closer and closer to his shop. To stay alive and save his city from an evil cult, Christopher must work together with his friend, Tom, to solve ciphers and puzzles left by Blackthorn to stop the cult. This heart pounding tale keeps you guessing throughout. This book won’t let you down.
The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories) by Chris Colfer
The best selling Land of Stories series is written by Glee actor Chris Colfer. In a fantastic retelling of fairy tales, we find twins Alex and Conner still grieving from the loss of their father from an accident. For their 12th birthday, their grandmother comes and gives them a storybook. Once they open it, they fall into a magical land where fairy tale creatures are real. The twins need to find certain item for a wishing spell to help make it back home, but other, dark creatures, are also searching for the same items. This fun adventure is perfect for those who love retellings of fairy tales.
The Gathering (Shadow House, Book 1) by Dan Poblocki
The Gathering is the first book in the Shadow House series by Dan Poblocki. The Gathering is a spooky tale about six kids who all end up in a haunted mansion under false pretenses. Once they arrive, they find they aren’t able to get out. That’s when things start to get horrifying. There are children in scary masks that roam the hallways, and the spooky drawings throughout the book make this a great story for those who love to be scared. Poblocki has made name for himself in this genre, and he does not disappoint.
Each year in the city of Quill, kids are determined to be Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Those who are unwanted are eliminated. When Alex is taken away to be eliminated, he expects to die. But he is taken to a place called Artimé, where he learns to hone his magical ability that he didn’t know he had. Artimé is a huge campus, and Alex learns more about his powers, makes friends, and misses his twin brother who was left behind Quill. When the time comes, will the brothers work together or become enemies?
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