Eight Middle Grade Novels Even Adults Will Love
I have developed a love for mid-grade novels in the last few years.
Generally middle grade novels are geared towards ages 8-12. They are around 30,000-50,000 words and don’t have any profanity, graphic violence or sexuality.
There are a ton of novels that fit into this category and today I wanted to highlight some that not only your middle graders will enjoy, but I think you will as well.
EIGHT MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS
ADULTS WILL LOVE
Think Little House on the Prairie in free verse, I just love this one!
I’ve known it since last night: It’s been too long to expect them to return. Something’s happened. May is helping out on a neighbor’s Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it’s hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May’s memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she’s determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose’s fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.
Ann M. Martin was one of my favorite authors growing up (hello, Baby-Sitters Club!), this book is so different in such a good way.
When I finished Rain Reign I turned to my husband and said, “They just didn’t make books that touched on deeper topics when we were younger, pretty much all I read was The Baby-Sitters Club.” Well, imagine my surprise when I realized this book was written by the same author! I never would have guessed, though I enjoyed it even more than I remember enjoying The Baby-Sitters Club growing up.
Um, I may have gotten teary while reading this one.
From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come. Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild. At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox. Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .
Everyone is raving about Wonder these days and for good reason!
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
My theory is, if a book can make me cry, it’s a pretty spectacular one, and this book falls in that category. This would be a good book to start conversations about foster care with your children.
The Boy on the Porch
When a young couple finds a boy asleep on their porch, their lives take a surprising turn. Unable to speak, the boy, Jacob, can’t explain his history. All John and Marta know is that they have been chosen to care for him. And, as their connection and friendship with Jacob grow, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family and begin to see the world in brand-new ways.
This was my first Gary D. Schmidt novel and I was hooked.
The Wednesday Wars
Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling—he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.
This is possibly my favorite Gary D. Schmidt novel!
Okay for Now
In this companion novel to The Wednesday Wars, Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that some people think him to be. He finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer, who gives him the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.
Race the Night
Without you, there’d be no hope for the world. Because you are the whole world. That’s what Teacher says, and twelve-year-old Eider knows she’s right. The world ended long ago, and the desert ranch is the only thing left. Still, Eider’s thoughts keep wandering Beyond the fence. Beyond the pleated earth and scraggly brush and tedious daily lessons. Eider can’t help wishing for something more-like the stories in the fairytale book she hides in the storage room. Like the secret papers she collects from the world Before. Like her little sister who never really existed. When Teacher announces a new kind of lesson, Eider and the other kids are confused. Teacher says she needs to test their specialness-the reason they were saved from the end of the world. But seeing in the dark? Reading minds? As the kids struggle to complete Teacher’s challenges, they also start to ask questions. Questions about their life on the desert ranch, about Before and Beyond, about everything Teacher has told them. But the thing about questions-they can be dangerous. This moving novel-equal parts hope and heartbreak-traces one girl’s journey for truth and meaning, from the smallest slip of paper to the deepest understanding of family. The world may have ended for the kids of the desert ranch . . . but that’s only the beginning.