Ideas for Teachers and Parents · Summer Reading Programs · Young Readers/Middle Grade Fiction

Summer Reading Programs: Part Six, Great Titles for Young/Middle Grade Readers

During my years as a classroom teacher, I had the opportunity to talk with a lot of students about the books they were reading outside the classroom. I taught English/Language Arts at the middle and high school levels (grades 6-12), and got to see my students read tons of fantastic books from a variety of genres.

Working with students in middle and high school also gave me the chance to read a lot of young reader/middle grade and young adult fiction, and I’ve continued reading many of these types of books since leaving the classroom.

Even if you are an adult, many books written for young/middle grade readers (and young adults) are a tremendous amount of fun to read, and I highly recommend taking the time to enjoy some of the same titles your children are reading…especially the books they just can’t seem to put down.

Because of my background in secondary education, I do not have as much experience with recommending books for younger children, which is why I have not created lists of titles for preschool or elementary-age readers. While some of the books listed below will definitely appeal to students in upper elementary, if you are specifically looking for books for children in elementary school (or younger), I highly recommend checking out Wednesday’s article about summer reading resources. You can find the link at the end of today’s post.

Many of the following titles are books that my middle school students found enjoyable, some of which they actually recommended to me. These books not only represent a wide range of genres, but the tastes of a variety of readers.

Great Titles for Young/Middle Grade Readers

  • The Magisterium series (Holly Black and Cassandra Clare)
  • The Secret Garden (Francis Hodgson Burnett)
  • The Land of Stories series (Chris Colfer)
  • A Royal Pain (Ellen Conford)
  • Books by Roald Dahl:
    • Matilda
    • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    • The BFG
    • James and the Giant Peach
  • Because of Winn-Dixie (Kate DiCamillo)
  • The City of Ember series (Jeanne DuPrau)
  • Harriet the Spy (Louise Fitzhugh)
  • The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)
  • Books by Chris Grabenstein:
    • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
    • Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics
    • The Island of Dr. Libris
  • The Nancy Drew mystery series (Carolyn Keene)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L’Engle)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)
  • Number the Stars (Lois Lowry)
  • Beauty (Robin McKinley)
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O’Dell)
  • Wonder (R.J. Palacio)
  • Series by Rick Riordan:
    • Percy Jackson and the Olympians
    • The Heroes of Olympus
    • The Kane Chronicles
    • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
    • The Trials of Apollo
  • The Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)
  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School (Louis Sachar)
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, books 1-13 (Lemony Snicket)
  • The Books of Elsewhere series (Jacqueline West)
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Patricia C. Wrede)
  • The 39 Clues series (various authors)

During my time in the classroom, I often had parents who approached me to ask about the content of a book (or series) that they were considering purchasing for their child. While I was often able to make recommendations based on what I knew about the title in question, some of the books parents asked about were brand new, or books I had not read for myself.

If you are interested in learning about the content of your child’s books before they read them, Common Sense Media is a great resource. The website provides information about many popular books that your child may be interested in reading, including brief statements about positive messages and role models, as well as violence, language, sex, drinking/drug use, etc. It can be a helpful resource for parents who are trying to decide if a particular book is a good fit for their young reader. The website also provides information about popular movies, video games, and apps.

Want to take a second look at any of this week’s posts? The following schedule contains links to previous summer reading articles, as well as yesterday’s POPSUGAR Reading Challenge update.

Do you have additional young reader/middle grade titles to recommend? If so, please leave a comment on this post to share your recommendations with our online community.

If you’re interested in young adult fiction, I hope you’ll check back later today for the final article in this week’s series.

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Have a fun, safe holiday!

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