15 Re-readable middle grade novels that adults will love, too

15 Re-readable middle grade novels that adults will love, too

Quarantine-reading looks a little different for everyone. Whether you’re exclusively listening to audiobooks, reaching for feel-good fiction, or getting lost in a page-turning mystery, I hope you’ve found something that works for you.

I’ve heard from many readers who are turning to childhood favorites for comforting, easy reading right now, and I think that’s a great idea. Great Kid Lit is not only short, fun, and charming—it’s also focused on likable protagonists who face challenges and solve problems, often with the support of their family and friends.

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite novels—my favorite middle grade novels, that is—that can work for readers in all kinds of different life circumstances right now. These novels can obviously be enjoyed by kids in the target audience, which for middle grade is generally about 8 to 12 years old. They can work for parents looking for books to read aloud with their middle grade kids, or who are seeking audiobooks the whole family can listen to together. And they can also work for grown-ups, reading on their own, for pleasure, because these are great books.

For three more middle grade titles I LOVED, check out What Should I Read Next Patreon bonus episode 35: Middle grade books for comfort amidst chaos.

15 middle grade novels perfect for re-reading, no matter your age

The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

Author:
I probably wasn't old enough to appreciate this instant classic when I first read it as a child, but that didn't stop me. (Thank goodness.) 10-year-old Milo comes home from school one day to find a tollbooth sitting in his bedroom. Since he doesn't have anything better to do, he pays the toll and drives through–and embarks on a strange journey into a fanciful world where he encounters all sorts of strange characters. A satisfying and delightfully nerdy book that will engage both kids and adults, albeit on different levels. I MUST especially recommend the new audio version narrated by Rainn Wilson. More info →
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A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

L’Engle begins her groundbreaking work with the famous opening line “It was a dark and stormy night,” and plunges you headlong into the world of the Murray family, who must travel through time to save the universe. When I read this as a kid, I wanted to be Meg, of course. Wrinkle is the first—and most famous—of the Time Quintet, but I read them all, again and again. This Newbery winner bridges science fiction and fantasy, darkness and light; L'Engle herself hated when readers tried to shoehorn it into a specific genre. More info →
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The Mysterious Benedict Society (Book 1)

The Mysterious Benedict Society (Book 1)

Four unique orphaned children come together through a series of tests, for which they found an advertisement in the newspaper offering "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" Scores of children respond to this newspaper ad, but only four are chosen to save the world. The circumstances of the tests are quite mysterious, and they lead the children to come under the guidance of Mr. Benedict, a strange and fascinating man who offers them a part in a most important mission: saving the world from a dark and dangerous man and his sinister plan. The children are each brilliant in their own right and the adventures they embark on are full of danger, nefarious villains, and thought-provoking puzzles. Smart and fun and a thoroughly good read, for children (and adults). More info →
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Tuesdays at the Castle

Tuesdays at the Castle

This middle grade novel has a bit of Hogwarts magic to it: every Tuesday, Castle Glower rearranges itself, growing a new room or adding a new hallway. The royal family is accustomed to its eccentricities. When disaster strikes, Princess Celie and her siblings team up to save the day. One of my 12 terrific books for tween girls. But it's great for adults, too! Their pranks will make you giggle even as the story deals with serious themes like grief and fear. More info →
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Flora & Ulysses

Flora & Ulysses

It's hard to go wrong with any Kate DiCamillo book; this Newbery Award winner is a good place to start. Flora is a girl addicted to the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!; Ulysses is the squirrel who needs saving. Endearing, insightful, and laugh-out-loud funny, especially as narrated by the talented Tara Sands. More info →
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Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming

Pick this one up on audio! All you need to know is this story is fantastic, and it absolutely comes alive when read by the author herself. In this memoir in verse, Woodson tells the story of her childhood, moving with her family (or part of it) from South Carolina to New York City and back again, sharing her observations through a young girl's eyes with a writer's sensibility. More info →
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The Crossover

The Crossover

My family listened to this Newbery-winning novel in verse and LOVED it, after Caroline Starr Rose raved about it on Episode 14 of What Should I Read Next. A heads up to those who think they aren't poetry types: when read aloud, this story doesn't sound "poetic." It just sounds awesome. This coming-of-age story revolves around two twin boys, both basketball stars, raised by an ex-NBA star, and the plot features plenty of action on and off the court. More info →
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One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer

In the summer of 1968, Delphine and her younger sisters journey to Oakland, California. They plan to spend the summer vacation with their mother, who abandoned their family years earlier. When the girls arrive, they find a mother who is radically different from the one they've imagined. Seemingly annoyed by their presence, Delphine's mother wants to send them off to a Black Panthers summer camp. From School Library Journal: "Emotionally challenging and beautifully written, this book immerses readers in a time and place and raises difficult questions of cultural and ethnic identity and personal responsibility. With memorable characters (all three girls have engaging, strong voices) and a powerful story, this is a book well worth reading and rereading." More info →
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The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

If you love fairytales, you MUST read this Newbery winner. Every year, the people leave a baby in the forest as an offering to the witch who lives there. They don't realize that the witch is actually sweet and gentle, and along with her swamp monster Glerk and tiny dragon Fyrian, she cares for the most recent baby to cross her path. A tale of magic, grief, and love—charming and well-told. The lovely audiobook narration lends itself well to rereading. More info →
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Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

This series has been captivating readers for over a century, and it's one of my personal favorites. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Prince Edward Island decide to adopt an orphaned boy to help them on their farm, but their messenger mistakenly delivers a girl to Green Gables instead—an 11-year-old feisty redhead named Anne Shirley. She brings compassion, kindness, and beauty wherever she goes; she's a hopeless romantic, committed to her ideals, and guided by pure intentions—though that doesn't keep her from completely upending Marilla and Matthew's quiet life. For those who already know and love Anne Shirley, I highly recommend the version narrated by Rachel McAdams as a wonderful way to revisit an old favorite. More info →
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The War That Saved My Life

The War That Saved My Life

This WW2 adventure will appeal to fans of historical fiction and underdog stories, and it makes an appearance in Volume IV Book 4 of One Great Book. Nine-year-old Ada has never been allowed to leave her family’s small apartment. Her foot is twisted and her mother is too ashamed of the physical impairment to let Ada out in public. When the war arrives in London, Ada's little brother is put on a train to safety and Ada makes a daring escape to join him. Out in the countryside, a woman named Susan begrudgingly takes the children into her home. There, Ada learns to read, ride a horse, wiggle her way into Susan’s heart. Readers will be riveted by the danger, daring, and risks that both Ada and Susan take to discover true belonging and a place to call home. More info →
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The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

Don't let the winter setting dissuade you from reading this delightful series at any time of year. It’s just a few days before Christmas when the five Vanderbeeker children find out their landlord will not renew the lease on their Harlem brownstone apartment. The thought of leaving the home (and neighborhood) that they love puts a damper on their Christmas spirit, but the siblings come together with a plan: convince their Scrooge-like landlord to let the family stay. A perfectly heartwarming middle grade novel with diverse characters and a charming setting. Don't miss the more season-appropriate sequel, The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden. More info →
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The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks follows four sisters as they roam the gardens, attics, and have adventures with a very interesting boy named Jeffrey on a sprawling estate in Massachusetts. The sisters range from ages 4-12, making this a great series to read aloud with the whole family. Each of the four sisters typifies a character trait, often drawing comparisons to the March sisters. Each book takes place in a different part of New England, and the Penderwicks timeless adventures bring about a sense of nostalgia. With five books in the series, there’s plenty of sweet childhood scenes to endear readers. Four of the books are available as a box set. More info →
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From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Claudia Kincaid is bored with her suburban life, so she convinces her little brother Jamie to run away with her to nearby New York City. She’s carefully chosen a hideaway that is comfortable, beautiful, and elegant: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once they’re set up in the museum, Claudia finds herself transfixed by a statue—and the mystery behind it—and her fascination leads the two children on an incredible adventure. Kongisburg took her inspiration from her own children; if they ever ran away she figured they would "never consider any place less elegant than the Metropolitan Museum of Art." A Newbery Medal winner in 1968. More info →
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Tuck Everlasting

Tuck Everlasting

When an overprotected ten-year-old stumbles upon a boy her age drinking furtively from a spring near her home, she discovers what he's trying to keep secret: since his family began drinking the water, they haven't aged a day. There are so many middle grade stories that wrestle with death these days; in this novel, Babbit wrestles with the decidedly mixed blessing of living forever. Rereading this one as an adult is especially illuminating, and the prose is really lovely (which is not a code word for boring). More info →
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Do YOU have a favorite middle grade novel to share with readers of all ages? Please tell us all about it in comment!

P.S. 12 terrific books for tween girls, and 11 book pairs that match your childhood favorites with what you should read now.

15 Re-readable middle grade novels that adults will love, too

194 comments | Comment

194 comments

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  1. Barb says:

    I love the Melendy Family quartet by Elizabeth Enright. The first one is set in New York City Pre- World War 2 and follows 4 siblings who pool their allowance so they can have adventures in the city. The second book sees them move to the country and have totally different types of adventures. This is a gentle but compelling series that I re-read every couple of years

    • Chris says:

      I have loved this series since my own childhood, when I saved my spending money so I could buy my own copies.

    • Melanie Beisert says:

      I would definitely add some classics to this list. Treasure Island, The Call of the Wild, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Watson’s Go to Birmingham and the absolute MUST read for everyone in the world: A Christmas Carol. The Red Kayak, Maniac Magee, and Hatchet are common kid favorites and awesome reads for any age.

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m looking forward to reading “Tilly and the Lost Fairytales”, Book #2 in the Pages & Co. series. I also just finished Bloomability. I’ve been mixing in a lot of YA and Middle Grade into my reading this spring, and it has been helpful.

  3. Alison says:

    During the pandemic my kids and I have really enjoyed reading Elizabeth Enright’s “Gone Away Lake” and “Return to Gone Away.” Up next for us is “Goodbye Mr Chips.”

    • Tracy Born says:

      I loved Gone Away Lake and its sequel! 🙂 I read it as an adult, but would have loved it as a child, as a Summertime adventure was always what I was seeking!

  4. Gaby says:

    My son’s fourth grade class just read The Phantom Tollbooth. I figured I might as well read along and really enjoyed it. One of the perks of distance learning is knowing exactly what your children are doing in school.

    • Sherry says:

      Boy books? Books don’t have gender. Many of these books appeal to all readers. When adults start labeling books as “girl books” and “boy books” is when readers start to reject them based on these labels.

      • Mari says:

        So I am.a children’s librarian and I can tell you boys and girls do have very different tastes when it comes reading. We don’t have a “girls” section or a “boys” section in the library but as a whole there is a distinct difference in how the different genders use our space. It doesn’t mean girls CAN’T read Minecraft books or boys CAN’T read Phoebe and Her Unicorn but most don’t and won’t. Books are for everyone but as someone who buys books and plans book programs for a living I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t buy/program w/out acknowledging these differences. This seems to make some people upset. All I can say is everyone is welcome to come to any program or read any book. But there very much are differences and in my experience boys do tend to read more Captain Underpants and girls tend to read more in general. I also have a boy and a girl and the difference in how they interact with books is very pronounced. We can disagree as to the reasons for these differences but it’s important to acknowledge there are differences.

        • mari says:

          I further add, that unless I plan programs or buy books with specifically boys in mind, they tend not to use the library as much as girls. Literacy rates in boys are lower than those is girls overall and its important to plan programs with this mind.

          • Tara says:

            As the daughter of a children’s librarian who spent her whole childhood in the library and volunteered / worked with her mother at the same library throughout her young adulthood: THANK YOU. This is a controversial statement, but it is also very true and I appreciate you saying it.

          • cynthia lewellen says:

            yes, you definitely have to find books that boys will be drawn to – I know that from my own boys – King Arthur is great – where the red fern grows – I loved the Billy and Blaze books for boys beginning to read – I’m sure if Harry Potter had been around for my boys I would’ve used that possibly. But I read aloud so much – great biographies about famous men, scientist, etc – just get a biography that begins with them as a child – these really do spark a boys interest – especially when you read aloud to them – and then let them read some.

          • Mary Lou says:

            Totally agree with Mari’s comments, as the mother of two grown sons, and the grandmother of three wonderful grand girls, all three of whom are readers!!!! Yay (and so were and are my sons, btw.) Not to forget to mention, I also have two grandsons, and they seem to be drawn exclusively to graphic novels, which is probably just a stage. When I was coming up, graphic novels were known as comics, and my father would not let them in the house. So I would read comics to my heart’s content at my best friend’s house. And I still evolved as an avid reader – so I have faith that my wonderful grand boys will do the same.

        • Debbie says:

          I know exactly what you are talking about! I spent 32 years as a children’s librarian in an elementary/middle school. Some books cross over to both groups equally, but there are others are only by by gender. I found boys prefer nonfiction, mysteries, and fantasy. Girls prefer fiction, horse stories, mysteries, school and family stories. Both read about animals. For years Encyclopedia Brown books (read primarily by boys) were only shelved over the summer.

        • Jessica says:

          Yes! I have 6 sons and 2 daughters and their tastes vary greatly. Even the size of a book can cause my boys to shy away from it. I agree that these books all do seem like “girl books” on the surface and my sons wouldn’t choose them off the shelf but they have listened to (or been caught listening to 😂) a good number of these.

      • Ulrike Coulliette says:

        True, but when the main characters in a book are mainly girls, many boys don’t want to read them. I’m speaking from experience… The Mysterious Benedict Society, Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, The Wingfeather Saga books, the Melendy books by Elizabeth Enright, the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander are all great books for boys and girls.

    • Cynthia says:

      Most of these are books boys would like too! I have 2 sons and we read every single book on this list and loved them!

    • Jessica says:

      Mysterious Benedict Society and The Crossover have male lead characters. Other middle grade novels that my boy (and I!) enjoyed are the Ranger’s Apprentice and Winston Breen books.

    • Jessi says:

      What does “boy book” mean? If you mean books with boy protagonists, there are some on this list. Boys also tend to like historical fiction as well.

    • Melanie Beisert says:

      I think that in middle school there are definitely boy and girl preferences. See my original post for some recommendations. In addition to those, I’d suggest the Harry Potter series, all of the Rick Riordan series, any Neil Shusterman book, and the Alex Rider series just off the top of my head.

  5. Laura says:

    I enjoyed several of your picks, Anne. Great category! I loved The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now, both by Gary Schmidt, and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen, Someone Named Eva by Joan M. Wolf, Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban, A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park, Refugee by Alan Gratz, A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck, and Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse were all very good historical fiction reads for me. I’m looking forward to adding to my TBR list from the comments!

    • Lisa S Root says:

      I love Gary Schmidt! Both of the books you name are amazing. I look forward to reading some of your other recommendations, Laura. I tutor all grades and my middle grades (and I) love Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, The Lions of Little Rock, The War that Saved My Live, Ghost, Refugee, and so many more!!

    • Melanie Beisert says:

      GREAT suggestions! The list could really just go on and on. A Long Walk to Water is another book I think everyone in the world should read. It’s amazing and a fast read. Our students ate it up!

  6. Lisa H. says:

    The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson! It’s four books, and the first is On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. It’s an epic tale of good versus evil, family, faith, doing the right thing even when it’s hard. I’m reading it with my 11-year-old now. We’re on the final book, and this is one that I’m going to be sad when it ends. It will feel like saying goodbye to friends.

  7. Michelle says:

    The Line Tender by Kate Allen is beautiful. It tackles some very heavy topics but in a very accessible and hopeful way. It’s like a line from the episode with Kate Dicamillo where it is discussed how middle grade fiction can dig into some gritty topics, yet there’s always hope. Until I heard that line, I wasn’t sure why middle grade fiction is so appealing to me. I need a book with beauty and hope. All of Lauren Wolk’s books accomplish this. Just finished Echo Mountain. So good!

  8. Nanette says:

    I’m re-reading the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor, and Kate Seredy’s books. I read all of these when I was in about grades 4-6 though they were written long before that. I love that they hold up so well1

    • Rachel says:

      Oh, I loved All-of-a-Kind Family… I can still picture exactly where they were shelved in the library, I checked them out so many times!

    • Katherine says:

      I read the Betsy-Tacy books for the first time as an adult recovering from surgery. They were perfect – easy to read, enchanting books. I really enjoyed them.

    • Megan Atkinson says:

      I just read the first All of a Kind Family book (For the first time) and loved it! I am planning to get copies of the rest so I can read them as well. And I am on the third Betsy Tacy book (also for the first time) and am loving them as well! I can’t believe I never read these when I was young, as I know my mom had them on her bookshelf.

    • Jenn says:

      All-of-a-Kind Family were my favorite! I love Ella and her sisters, and Mama and Charlie — all of them! And Betsy-Tacy books will always have a special place in my heart.

  9. Nancy says:

    Love this list! Middle-grade books have gotten me through some focus issues with reading of late. I would add Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan and The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt. I read both of these books recently upon WSIRN recommendations. Thank you, thank you!

  10. Amapola says:

    I grew up reading Jerry West’s “The Happy Hollisters” a family of five who traveled a lot and everywhere there was a mystery to be solved. I found three books on a vintage store, but I think is not so easily available. That’s how I felt in love with mystery books.

    • Sheri says:

      The Happy Hollisters are the first books I really remember reading. My grandmother would buy them for me and I would devour them. I still have them–unfortunately, I threw away the dust jackets years and years ago. I have been picking them up on Kindle, too, as they have come up for free, in hopes of re-reading at some point and filling in the gaps (I do not own the complete set in physical copies).

  11. Rachel says:

    Great list! I’ve only had the pleasure of reading two of the books(Tuck Everlasting and Anne of Green Gables)but they are both favorites!
    Also, it’s not a big deal. If i remember correctly, in Tuck Everlasting, Jesse is not Winnie’s age but about 15.
    Thank you for yet another amazing list!

  12. Ellen says:

    Forever or a Long Long Time by Caela Carter. I am a foster/adoptive mother and this one was a really beautiful story told from the perspective of a child in foster care.

  13. Nancy Waanders says:

    I recommend “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate. We listened to it as we commuted to school and I remember one day having to pull over to listen and cry. A creative and touching narrative structure. Apparently, a type of sequel was released just last week: “The One and Only Bob”.

    • Rachel Ernst says:

      The One and Only Bob is so good! I actually liked it better than Ivan. It has more action, obviously, and isn’t as heavy.

      • Beverly Dossett says:

        I really enjoyed Wish by Barbara O’Conner
        It might be for a little older child
        But I think it would be perfect.

    • Lenora says:

      I LOVED The One and Only Ivan so much! Something about the sweetness of Ivan’s voice…really touching. I recently listened to Crenshaw, also by Applegate and I liked it. Even brought tears to my eyes at one point, but not quite as good as Ivan, in my opinion. And I am just now reading Wishtree with my sons. I’m only like 20% in but I have to say….stunning so far. I have a feeling it’s a very special book, too.

  14. Jessie Weaver says:

    Love this! Rereading the whole Anne series sounds pretty blissful right now. Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend has been a fun favorite. I’m reading Wundersmith right now. Also the graphic novels Roller Girl and El Deafo are ones my daughter read and then wanted me to read. Super good ones!

  15. Angela Sinkler says:

    My daughter and I absolutely loved Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M. M. Blume when she was in her later elementary school years. I just read it again on my own and it was a wonderful repeat experience, we both still love it and she is 21 and about to graduate from college.

  16. Stephanie says:

    The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is up there on my all-time favorites! Rereading them as an adult I have a new appreciation for the life it describes. Also love Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare. As a homeschooling mom who loves to share old favorites with my children via audiobooks and read-alouda, I’m always so amazed at how much more I enjoy the books as an adult!

  17. Donna Cason says:

    The War that Saved My Life is one of my absolute favorite books of any category! It’s 1 of the 3 I would pick if I were a guest on WSIRN. Obviously, I’ve thought about this.

    Some other suggestions: May B by Caroline Starr Rose (a novel in verse), A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park(sort of non-fiction), Laura Martin’s Edge of Extinction series, Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, anything by N.D. Wilson or Cornelia Funke. I could go on!

  18. Rachel Ernst says:

    Erin Entrada Kelly’s brand new book We Dream of Space is a wonderful sibling story set in 1986 right before the launch of the Challenger space shuttle. Thankfully it doesn’t drown in nostalgia but focuses on each of the three siblings in a difficult family, the roles they inadvertently play and of course, the fall out from the explosion.

    When you Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller is magical realism for kids, following a young girl who moves unexpectedly with her family to live with her Korean grandmother in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Heartfelt and sensitive.

    Before the Sword by Grace Lin is pitched as a tie-in prequel for the Mulan movie, but like most things Grace Lin writes, it supersedes expectations. This is a fantastic stand-alone story in the style of the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon series, infused with Chinese folk tales re-imagined and intertwined with Mulan’s story.

  19. Jeannette Tulis says:

    I love E. (Edith) Nesbit and highly recommend all her series as well as her stand alone books. Start with Five Children and It. But if the language and britishisms are too off-putting, try the stories of Edward Eager, beginning with Half Magic. He was actually inspired by Nesbit’s books to write his own as a sort of American homage to her. All of these series are about children in families who are imaginative, resourceful, plucky and so so charming. I never tire of reading these aloud.

    • Heidi says:

      We’re listening to The Enchanted Castle, which reminds me a lot of Half Magic. The narrator is so dry, she catches Nesbit’s humor perfectly. The kids love the story, and I love the sarcastic asides.

  20. Adrien says:

    I stumbled upon VE Schwab’s middle grade series “City of Ghosts” because I had read all of her other books. This series is so good! The first installment is set in Edinburgh and the second in Paris. The third is out next year.They’re dark and hopeful at the same time, and so engrossing.

    • Anne says:

      I enjoyed reading the Edinburgh one shortly before I traveled there! I have book two in the series on my shelf but haven’t read it yet. I didn’t know about the third—thank you!

    • Rachel T. says:

      They shouldn’t even have the same name! The film was a travesty to a well written, beautiful story. One of my childhood favorites.

    • Adrien says:

      Yes! Plus Gail Carson Levine has been reading Ella Enchanted on her facebook page for the last month!
      And yes, the movie was an absolute travesty.

      • Sindi says:

        I was reading through the comments to let people know about Gail reading on Facebook! Glad you beat me to it. I have been enjoying her reading so much!

  21. Cheryl says:

    I have to admit that I could not sleep the other night, so I downloaded the Sarah, Plain and Tall series. The lovely writing read in Glenn Close’s soothing voice was exactly what I needed to relax!

  22. Cynthia says:

    I loved many of the books above and the following are must reads: The Night Gardener, Beyond the Bright Sea, Wolf Hollow, The Hate you Give, The Fourteenth Goldfish, Refugee, Hour of the Bees, The Someday Birds and the list could go on and on!

    • Mary says:

      Looooved The Night Gardener! My grandchildren were afraid to read it, although age-appropriate, so I read it! Yes, it’s scary, but just delightful…recommend it highly.

  23. Carol Hansen says:

    Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys as well as The Hate You Give would be my top 3

  24. Shauna says:

    This is a great list! My daughter (almost 11) reads Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels over and over. We are currently reading The BFG by Roald Dahl as a family, and everyone loves it, including the 5-year-old. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is fantastic, as is Holes by Louis Sachar. And Bridge to Terabithia (sob!). My daughter and I also enjoyed Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling and are eager to read her three other books. And I ADORE anything by Pam Munoz Ryan!

  25. bonni E mcshane says:

    Wild Robot! I read it and then read it to my first grader and now he’s reading it by himself. A robot who can talk to animals with bigger themes of what constitutes a soul and love. It’s like Westworld but rated G-ish.

  26. Edie says:

    I’m reading Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins with my daughters and we are all loving it! I also loved Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan, especially on audio.

  27. Nicole says:

    One summer, I borrowed a number of books from my mother in law. She had a collection of Newbury Award winners and others that had been my husband’s as a youngster, some of which I’d read and some I hadn’t. I think I plowed through all of them in about a week. Standouts were The Sign of the Beaver, Hatchet, Number the Stars, Bridge to Terabithia, and Incident at Hawk’s Hill (which I’d never heard of before and found fascinating). Last year, I bought Every Soul a Star by Wendy Maas, and really enjoyed it. Some of these are old school and not sure if they’d qualify as middle grade books by today’s standards? I need to read more of the ones your list!

  28. Susan S says:

    I am a retired school librarian and thought I would share some of the titles that I could not keep on our shelves. Kwame Alexander’s Crossover was super popular, as was Booked. The I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis was well liked by our second and third grade students. I read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo to our fourth graders every year and it was magic to watch their faces as they grasped the extent of Edward’s journey. Another book I read aloud to fifth graders every year was Out of the Dust, a Newbery award book by Karen Hesse. Hesse filled this book with so many historical events from the 1930s – it is outstanding! C. C. Payne is a Kentucky author who has written two of my favorite books – The Thing About Leftovers and Something to Sing About. The Thing About Leftovers is a powerful story about blending of two families told by the daughter from the first marriage.

  29. April Schmick says:

    I just read The Bridge to Terabithia and strongly recommend this one. Thanks for all of the great recs!

  30. Jessica Griffiths says:

    Last year I read “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park and loved it. Such a great middle grade book based on a true story. It brought tears to my eyes at times, but the end is wonderful. I haven’t had my sensitive middle school boy read it yet, but my 8th grade daughter thought it was very good.

  31. laura says:

    This is a great list of books; I have to add When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Newbery winner). I’ve read it twice, first time for the characters and to see how it ends, the second time to watch the author’s skillful telling of the story!

  32. Mari says:

    Awesome list but very female heavy. That said, I have loved almost everything on this list. I would add, anything by Lloyd Alexander, particularly the Pyrdain Chronicles. Awesome fantasy series featuring young male protagonist. Anything by the author is terrific. Gary Poulson, his “Hatchet”” series is an incredible story of survival. My nine year old son actually read these books on his own and this is rare for him. Also “Call of the Wild” by Jack London. I read this one to him but a slightly more mature middle grader could handle it. Great book.
    The Indian the Cupboard is another great book. About a toy that comes to life -very cool. Finally, anything that Mike Lupica writes is bound to have boy appeal. He writes all about sports. His protagonists are boys.

    • Shelley Taylor says:

      Ah yes, my boys and I loved the Hatchet series. Also Carl Hiaasen’s novels. Adventures involving wild animals! These are fun read alouds.

    • Anne says:

      The Indian in the Cupboard is my husband’s very favorite childhood book! (We’ve been unsuccessful at getting our kids to try it, though—fingers crossed this will change sometime.)

  33. Dorothy Turner says:

    I know you’ve got Flora & Ulysses up there, but I would recommend any Kate DiCamillo book, but my favorite is Louisiana’s Way Home, which is the second in a trilogy of sorts that starts with Raymie Nightingale.
    I also have read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin with my fourth grade reading group and they LOVED it.
    I also read a book called The Truth as Told By Mason Buttle. I don’t remember the author but I loved the book. Mason Buttle was a very loveable character, despite his difficult circumstances!
    I second The Vanderbeekers and The Penderwicks.
    I love middle grade.

  34. Lenora says:

    One that I think EVERY adult would benefit from reading is The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz. It really invites you to think deeply about what it means to love God, to call yourself his follower…profoundly moving. And silly and endearing at the same time. A definite must read for grown ups, in my book.

    And one that is just DELIGHTFUL is the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. Sunshine in a book, and a GIFT to read aloud with your children.

    • Edie says:

      Sharing the love of The Inquisitor’s Tale!! My husband chose The Inquisitor’s Tale for our adult book club a few years ago and every book club member loved it. My oldest daughter has since read it and she loved it, too. We even named our dog, Gwenforte!(we call her Gwennie) Fantastic book.

  35. Jeannette says:

    I have to add one more. The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautig is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. It tells the story of a wealthy Jewish family who is forcibly taken from their beautiful home and community during WWII and taken to a commune in Russia where they learn to survive and care for each other and others with resourcefulness and much grace. This story has stuck with me through the years and has fortified my soul. It is a story of redemption and a story of courage in some pretty horrific circumstances.

  36. Emily says:

    Anne, thank you so much for this list! My kids and I love listening to audiobooks together with the lights out at bedtime, and I’m always on the hunt for our next listen. We are working our way through A Series of Unfortunate Events, which I had never read before and am loving as much as the kids are! The three of us also loved The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Aaaand we recently listened to Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing on recommendation from someone on Bookstagram. Judy Bloom narrates it herself and it is hysterical for both adults and kids. We’ve got Libby holds on further installments from the Fudge series! From your list–A Wrinkle In Time and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, were both hits. We haven’t read any of these others but I spy a few titles I think we’ll like. 🙂

  37. Rachel T. says:

    I would add “Hope Was Here” by Joan Bauer. I always go to this book as a comfort read. Not only are there great food descriptions but the beautiful depiction of adoption and non-traditional families makes it a win no matter how many times I read it.
    Others in in my childhood nostalgia read are:
    “My Louisiana Sky” by Kimberly Willis Holt- a must read for families facing special needs situations.
    “Gone Away Lake” by Elizabeth Enright
    and
    “Beauty” by Robin McKinley by far my favorite retelling of Beauty and the Beast I have come across.

  38. Heather says:

    Award winner Jason Reynolds absolutely needs to be included. I loved As Brave As You and Ghost. He does such a good job of showing what bravery looks like in middle schoolers, how they grow through their big and small challenges, and how important family is to kids’ identities.

    Other favorites: Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn, Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea, and Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord.

  39. Erika says:

    Ella Enchanted!!! Loved this as a tween and have reread it for comfort.

    Also, A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck is sooo delightful.

  40. Keren says:

    Oh man, Mixed up Files was one of my very favorite books as a kid. To this day, I think of it EVERY time I’m at the Met.

    A couple other favorites of mine from that time:

    The All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor – The stories of a turn of the century family in NYC’s Lower East Side.
    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – better than the cartoon!

  41. Gina says:

    Some of my very favorite middle grade novels are Hattie Big Sky, The Wednesday Wars, Okay For Now, and Echo. I’m also reading Front Desk right now (my 5th grader read it and loved it, and wanted me to read it), and I’m really enjoying it, as well.

  42. Mary Beth says:

    Here are some things my middle grade students enjoy, and that I am glad I didn’t miss as an adult:
    *Anything by Alan Gratz
    *Night Diaries by Veera Hiranandani
    *Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
    *Front Desk by Kelly Yang

  43. Jenny says:

    Great list! I’ve read 4 with my boys, 4 by myself and own 3 others but haven’t read yet!
    Others I would recommend are The Trumpet of the Swan, The Journey of Edward Tulane, Indian in the Cupboard, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series.

    • Julie says:

      Oh, The Trumpet of the Swan was one of my all-time favorites as a child. I haven’t thought about in a while. Thanks for the reminder. Definitely time for a reread.

  44. Shelley Taylor says:

    This is a great list! Tuck Everlasting is the most enduring childhood read for me. I read it aloud with my boys when the we’re old enough so we could talk through the hard parts together. Brown Girl Dreaming has been on my TBR pile for a while. I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet!

  45. Haley says:

    One of my favorites is a lesser known Wilson Rawls (“Where the Red Fern Grows”) novel called “Summer of the Monkeys”. I’ve read it to all of my kids. It is charming, funny, and adventurous!

    • Shauna says:

      I read Summer of the Monkeys as a child and remember nothing about it except the fact that it made me sob! No other book had ever made me cry before. We have it on our shelves, so I’ll have to revisit it.

  46. Birgitta Qvarnström Frykner says:

    Well i miss some as for example Michelle Magorians Good Night Mr Tom. My 9-10 year old son read all Sherlock Holmes and as a 10-11 he read Herman Wouks War books. Here in Sweden there would be no list without a n Astrid Lindgren as My son Mio, The brothers Lionheart or Ronia the robbers daughter.

    • Natasha says:

      Yes!!! I love Astrid Lindgren. Unfortunately, many of her books are difficult to find in English. I did manage to get “Karlson who Lives on the Roof” trilogy. The translation was “meh”, but my kids still liked it. I loved reading about Mio – I also managed to find an English version. Same as with the Karlson books, they changed many names (I guess to make it “easier” for english-speaking people to pronounce?).
      This is one thing that makes me sad – the dearth of translated children’s literature. Our kids are missing out. Maria Parr, Gianni Rodari – impossible to find. Even The Little Prince by Saint-Exupéry – it’s around, but virtually unknown to so many people.

  47. Debbie says:

    Most Canadians growing up in the 80’s and 90’s may remember Gordon Korman’s earliest books, The MacDonald Hall series (Bruno and Boots) and I Want to Go Home. I bought them used as they are very hard to find now and my boys LOVE them. I have fond memories of my teachers reading them out loud in class and laughing so hard I cried.

  48. Jennifer says:

    Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
    Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke
    Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
    Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
    Knights of Arrethtrae series by Chuck Black
    *All excellent on audio, too!*

  49. Ellen Keyes says:

    Counting by 7s
    Heidi
    The Witch of Blackbird Pond
    The Watsons Go to Birmingham
    The Little Prince
    Grimm’s Fairy Tales
    Harriet the Spy
    Kidnapped

  50. Dawn says:

    I have a boy in middle school and struggle to find new titles. I agree with some of the comments that boys reading is different than girls. We have read all the I survived books, diary of a wimpy kid, captain underpants, dogman, anything related to minecraft. Weird school books by Dan Gutman were popular a few summers ago. It was a good series for higher elementary age.

  51. Sarah Cline says:

    My students enjoyed The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson. I teach in a school with a very transient population, so I always read The Kid in the Red Jacket by Barbara Park. The students enjoy it and it helps open a discussion about how to treat new students.

  52. Maren Swenson Waxenberg says:

    The Library Series, by D.J.MacHale
    Spy School Series, by Stuart Gibbs
    Mo and Dale Mysteries, by Sheila Turnage
    Gallagher Girls Series, by Ally Carter
    The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
    The Fiona Quinn Mysteries, by C.S. McDonald

  53. Rachel says:

    Highly recommend The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. The audio is excellent, and it addresses social issues while still being an engaging read (treasure hunt!) for kids. Also liked From the Desk of Zoey Washington by Janae Marks. Baking and friendship and family…very well done.

  54. Jennifer Kepesh says:

    YOU GUYS HAVE TO READ “The Book of Boy,” by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. It is so wonderful. It has the best ending. You will walk around in a haze of love for writing and ancient times and quixotic quests and the whole world. Kids love it. Adults love it. Read this book!

    • BarbN says:

      That sounded so intriguing, I just looked it up. If I’m reading the “book details” section right, a paperback reprint was released last week!

  55. Caroline says:

    I recently read Front Desk at my 9 year old’s urging. I loved it!!
    This is a great list… I’m excited to read through the comments and add even more to my “To Read” list. Middle grade fiction is the best!

  56. Jennifer Kepesh says:

    I’m a 4th-5th grade teacher, and part of the reason is that this is the best age for books! Here’s some suggestions from my own reading when young, my children’s reading of more than a decade ago, and my students’ reading of today.
    Besides “The Book of Boy,” which (see last comment, I love this book), here are a few others that Anne did not mention but that might be in someone else’s comments (I didn’t read deeply into the comments yet, so count any dupes as “I second this!”)
    (1) “To Night Owl, From Dogfish,” by Holy Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer, is an epistolary novel that will remind you of “The Parent Trap,” but with modern twists and inclusive families.
    (2) “The One and Only Ivan,” by Christina Applegate, is easy for a reluctant reader to read, but has deep themes. Her new book, “The One and Only Bob,” just came out, and I hear it’s very good.
    (3) “Talking to Dragons,” by Patricia Wrede, is marvelous! It is a book that incorporates and lovingly upends a lot of fairy tales. It’s first of a a 4-book series; the first is fantastic, the next three very good.
    (4) “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate,” by Jacqueline Kelly, is going to end up on all-time-favorite lists of many people. It is the story of a bright, curious girl at the turn of the 20th century, living in a small Texas town. She just wants to learn about nature, her family of 4 brothers and parents just want her to be a normal girl who sews and plays piano, and the only person who understands her is her cantankerous grandfather, who just happens to be in correspondence with all of the illustrious naturalists of the day, including Mr. Charles Darwin.
    (5) Anything by E.L. Konigsburg is great. You already have “Mixed-Up Files,” but “Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth,” is really fun; “The View from Saturday” is a huge-sigh-of-regret-that-it’s-done book (hard to get started, but give it a chance!), and “Silent to the Bone” is a tough wonderful book about a boy with selective mutism. But any of her books, even her minor books, are wonderfully composed.
    (6) Obviously, The Little House on the Prairie series is beloved. Most younger children will enjoy the first 3-4 books; the last two are definitely not written in sympathy with younger children, because they are about a young woman. Another issue is that there is some negative stereotyping of Native people, and I think it would be responsible to talk it over as you read it with your younger child.
    (7) All E.B. White for children. They can’t be read enough.
    (8) James Thurber’s books for children: “The Wonderful O,” “Many Moons,” and “The Thirteen Clocks.” Both zany and dry wit in mid-century-modern fables.
    (9) “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” by Richard Atwater. A funny book about friendship and how it will cause you to dare greatly.
    (10) “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” by Scott O’Dell, is a fantastic adventure read based on a true story: A Native American girl of about age 12 gets stranded on an island for several years, and has to overcome many dangers and difficulties, but especially loneliness. My students always love this as a read-aloud.

  57. Stephanie says:

    My go-to late middle grade novel is Back Home by Michelle Magorian, which tells the story of Rusty, a 12 year old girl who was evacuated to America during WWII and is now back in England and struggling to fit into a society she doesn’t understand and a family she barely remembers. I’ve read and reread this book so many times in my life and it’s held up beautifully.

    My daughter just turned six, so it’ll be her turn for The Phantom Tollbooth soon!

  58. Fay says:

    Love the suggestions. I suggest the seriex by Shiela Turnbull that starts with “Three Times Lucky.” Warm and funny with an ongoing mystery that continues in all of the books.
    Also, “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate di Camillo–a young girl new to town meets all sorts of eccesntric characters and build a community

  59. Sue says:

    What a wonderful list and the comments are making my TBR list explode! One of my favorites that I rarely see on any lists is Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotsen. Also, we’re about halfway through The Inquisitor’s Tale (Gidwitz) as a read-aloud and I can’t wait to see how it ends, but it is really marvelous writing so far; I can already tell it’s going to be a favorite and my boys love it.

  60. Angel says:

    Summer Of The Gypsy Moths is an amazing book! I read every year about a week before summer. It leaves a satisfied feeling in your heart, and a smile on your face.

  61. Jessica Tidmore says:

    Holes by Louis Sachar. I read it to my fourth graders every year. It is loved by all. AND I don’t dread reading it every year.

  62. Heidi says:

    My 10-year-old son, a reluctant reader, devours the old Hardy Boys books I find at the thrift store. He also loves My Side of the Mountain and its two sequels, by Jean Craighead George. Similar titles with male protagonists include Hatchet and The Sign of the Beaver. However, the gender of the protagonist doesn’t seem to matter as much as a fast-moving plot with lots of adventure and peril. We all love Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and the Peter Nimble. I’ve got my sights set on The Princess and The Goblin by George MacDonald for our next read-aloud.

  63. Sarah says:

    Several of my favorites have already been mentioned. One I didn’t see in the comments:
    The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford – If you aren’t familiar it’s about a trio of family pets that travel through the Canadian wilderness together to get back home. Such a great book (I was both a book kid and an animal kid).

    I also remember loving the Dr. Doolittle series (not a fan of the movies) but I haven’t read them since I was young, so I’m not sure how they hold up. I was a big fan of the Redwall series as well (so a theme here in my recommendations).

    • Sarah says:

      Came back to add:
      Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. It’s an adventure book about a young boy who travels to the earth’s hidden second moon to save the literal Sea of Stories from someone who wants to stop all stories for all time. I loved being read this story by my mother, and loved it again when I reread it as an adult. The sequel is pretty good too.

  64. Sheri says:

    One favorite of mine that I did not see while scanning the list is Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. Also, would Chronicles of Narnia be considered middle grade?

  65. Amy Fitzgibbons says:

    Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt is a MUST read and also Ban This Book by Alan Gratz. They are life changers!

  66. Grace says:

    Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls! I had a teacher give it to me as a present one year, and at 30 years old I still have that same copy. I love it, I’ve read it so many times. And I just lent it to my boyfriend to read and he really enjoyed it as well. Who doesn’t love a story about a boy and his dogs?

  67. Jill says:

    I am so sad that middle grade novels on lists like this are generally focused on books that have female protagonists. If there are males, they are generally secondary. Although I am all about girl power, my three middle grade sons sometimes have a hard time finding the right book too.

  68. Lisa C says:

    I teach eighth grade English, and three of my students’ favorites are “Hatchet,” “The Cay,” and “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.” I also recommend “Seven Daughters and Seven Sons,” “The Endless Steppe,” “Mara, Daughter of the Nile,” and the “Just William” series, which is delightful.

  69. Beah says:

    Some of my Favorites:
    Out of My Mind – Sharon Draper
    Mountain Dog – Margarita Engle
    Rules – Cynthia Lord
    Rump – Liesl Shurtliff
    The Boy on the Porch- Sharon Creech
    El Deafo – CeCe Bell
    March (series) – John Lewis
    Fortunately the Milk – Neil Gaiman
    Sugar – Jewell Parker Rhodes
    Finding Zasha – Randi Barrow
    Scary Stories for Young Foxes – Christian McKay Heidicker
    Changeling – William Ritter
    Fish in a Tree – Lynda Mullaly Hunt
    The Mightly Miss Malone – Christopher Paul Curtis
    Amina’s Voice – Hana Khan
    The Jumbies – Tracey Baptiste
    Amulet (series) – Kazu Kibuishi
    A Night Divided – Jennifer Nielsen
    Full Cicada Moon – Marilyn Hilton
    Frazzled – Booki Vivat
    The Nest – Kenneth Oppel
    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Grace Lin

  70. Marion says:

    Thank You for the list. I love The Pat series by Lucy Maud Montgomery,Linda Craig series,Black Beauty,Saddle Club,American Girl books,Riding Academy,Darina, all Ballet books,Bobbsey Twins,Honey Bunch, Under The Lilacs,Pollyanna series,An Old Fashioned Girl.
    Marion

  71. Biz says:

    Such a great list and so many many wonderful suggestions!
    I’ve always loved middle grade and YA books. An old favorite is Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series. I read these when I was in college. The first is Over Sea, Under Stone. I also highly recommend Mandy by Julie Andrews, A Murder for Her Majesty by Beth Hilgartner, and the Cat Royal books by Julia Golding.

  72. sarah says:

    Flora & Ulysses is great, but I had such a hard time reading it aloud because I kept cracking up. I just love anything by Kate DiCamillo. Although my 12 year old son has read a lot of this list and enjoyed it what he really likes is adventure or fantasy series: The Wingfeather Saga, His Dark Materials series, The Maze Runner series, Lloyd Alexander, and of course Harry Potter. Also John Grisham has a series about a kid lawyer that he really liked.

  73. Joan says:

    I would recommend the American Girl Mysteries,The Five Little Peppers, A Garland For Girl, Nancy Drew and Little Women.
    Joan

  74. Deanne Ruedemann says:

    I highly recommend the Crispin trilogy by Avi, as well as “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle”.

  75. Cheralaine Cole-Johnson says:

    Just found the Vanderbeekers series and am reading it with my eight year old. Thrilled to see it was on your list.

  76. Sue B says:

    I chose Wonder by Palacio for my adult book club (the one with the Julian chapters if anyone knows what that means, and they loved it.

  77. Leslie says:

    I still reread The Witch of Blackbird Pond, which I first read in 5th grade, once a year! Love it so much more now than I did then!

  78. Delanie says:

    I love Tuck Everlasting and Anne of Green Gables! I need to revisit them soon. I would also add Small Spaces and Dead Voices by Katherine Arden. The characters are well written and the atmosphere is creepy without being too scary.

  79. Marilyn says:

    I would recommend The Anne Henry series,All of Noel Streatfield books, Betsy,Tacy, The Strawberry Girl,The Secret Garden,The Northwest Adventures,The Heartstring Books, The Thoroughbred series, All of Marguerite Henry’s Books,The Magic Attic series.The Hardy Boys series,The Moffetts,All of a Kind Family,The Babysitters series,Sarah Plain and Tall,Anne of Green Gables,Emily of The Moon series,Little House On The Prairie,The Hitty Doll,Marigold,Boxlcar Kids Series,The Railway Children The ice skating,swimming and gymnastic series.
    Marilyn

  80. Wyndi Sanchez says:

    Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins. I read it every year to my 5th graders and the LOVE it. It gets them every time. I also love to recommend: The Ghosts Grave by Peg Kehret, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien, The Dragon of Lonely Island by Rebecca Rupp, and The Green Ember by SD Smith.

  81. Emma says:

    I have to put in a plug here for writers across the waves, as not all your readers are American and it’s good for children (and adults) to read about life in other countries. Kids have adventures all over the world, not just in America! And many of the absolute children’s classics, the ones that have stood the test of time and translate into good reads for adults too, were written by British authors. For the record, I’m Australian and was lucky enough to grow up with three distinct sets of children’s and YA literature: Australian, British and American. Bookishly blessed. 😉

    NOTE: my suggestions are by no means contemporary; these are the books I was reading when I was middle-grade-age back in the 90s!

    UK
    C.S. Lewis (‘The Chronicles of Narnia’)
    Roald Dahl (humour)
    E. Nesbit (family-centric fantasy)
    Jacqueline Wilson (family)
    Frances Hodgson Burnett (‘The Secret Garden’, ‘A Little Princess’)
    Susan Cooper (family-centric fantasy)
    Shirley Hughes (family stories)
    Enid Blyton (toys and talking animals and boarding school stories)
    Philip Reeve (steampunk)
    Joan Aiken (atmospheric historical adventures)
    Mary Norton (‘The Borrowers’ series)

    AUSTRALIA
    Robin Klein (‘All in the Blue Unclouded Weather’ series)
    Emily Rodda (‘Finders Keepers’ and ‘The Timekeeper’, my favourite comfort reads)
    Gillian Rubinstein (‘Space Demons’ and ‘Skymaze’ – good for boys!)
    Paul Jennings (humour, short stories)
    Garth Nix (‘Sabriel’ fantasy series)
    Morris Gleitzman (humour, families)

    • Marg says:

      Don’t forget “Midnite” by Randolph Stow. Set in Western Australia, a rather stupid young man is looked after by his animals (particularly a clever siamese cat) and becomes a bushranger. After learning the perils of wine, women and song, he becomes a leader of society. Humerous with great characters (the dishonest Trooper O’Grady is one of my favourites), it’s very easy reading. Heartily recommended if you can find it.

  82. cynthia lewellen says:

    I always go for Newbery books – I wish I could remember all the titles – but has anyone mentioned the Little House Books and as Meg Ryan says the Noel Stratfield books – “I’d begin with The Ballet Shoes and then . . . ” I loved the Secret Garden.

  83. Sarah says:

    The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is a gorgeous middle grade novel about a little girl in the English countryside during WWII – it’s got magic horses, awesome characters, and a marvelous little quest focused around color, plus it deals with hard things like death and illness and loneliness. It was partially inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia and was published in 2017. I’ve never heard anyone else talk about it!

  84. Amanda Hensley says:

    I love that we have either read these or own them with the intent to read! I’ve not usually even heard of a lot of the ones on your book lists. We read aloud a lot, so makes me feel good about my choices 🙂

  85. Mary Ann says:

    I would highly recommend the WildWood Trilogy. It is perfect for fans of the Chronicles of Narnia or The Series of Unfortunate Events. It combines great characters, fanciful talking woodland creatures and adventure. Bonus – fun illustrations by Carson Ellis acclaimed illustrator of the Mysterious Benedict Society series.

  86. Cheryl Powers says:

    Loved Tuck Everlasting and recently found the book in a used bookstore, enjoyed reading it again. As a 4th/5th grader, loved The Bobbsey Twins, and The Sugar Creek Gang Boys.

  87. Megan says:

    I love this! I made a list of 100+ books to read when it’s hard to focus, and middle grade was my first category. Every time I read a MG novel, I think, “I should read more of these.” This is a great list—you have some of my faves and some books I want to read now. 🙂 I’d also add Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga and Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhhha Lai.

  88. Holly Splawn says:

    When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead should be included in this list. And it’s a perfect book flight paired with A Wrinkle in Time.

  89. Sarah silvester says:

    I loved spark, by sarah Beth durst. I read it over summer here in the Southern Hemisphere and it was perfect ❤️

  90. Andrea Fystro says:

    I love all the suggestions! Here are a couple more..
    Esperanza Rising, The Westing Game, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

  91. Emily Murphy says:

    My kids are having a ball with The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place right now. I believe The Mysterious Howling is the name of the first one and they are by Maryrose Wood. I highly recommend this one on audio. The narrator is FABULOUS!
    Also, we will be reading By The Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman next. I loved it, personally, and again the audio version was very well done. It was the Full Cast Audio version and I believe it’s available on Hoopla.

  92. The American Girl books are absolute classics! They are so fantastic!
    As far as books that both boys and girls can both be interested, The Vanderbeekers is a great option! Another incredibly fun series is the Sammy Keyes series–it stars a girl, but it is in no way “girly.” A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck is a wonderful book about a brother and sister who go to stay with their eccentric grandmother in the 1930s. At times hilarious and touching, it is a great family read!
    Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a middle-grade dystopian novel following Luke Garner, a twelve year old third child in a world where families are only allowed two. He is a “Shadow Child” and is constantly evading government detection. This series is so exciting, and I’ve heard so many kids say that they love it!

  93. Melissa says:

    These are so great! Some of our favorites are:
    Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth
    Millions
    The Invention of Hugo Cabret
    Fortunately the Milk
    everything by Kate DiCamillo
    I just finished reading A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat on my own and it’s absolutely breathtaking! Les Miserables in a Thai-inspired fantasy world.

  94. Judy Ehrenstein says:

    What a fabulous list! I am a children’s librarian and often hand out many of these books. The Elizabeth Enright books (The Saturdays, Gone Away Lake) were particular favorites of mine as a child. Stuart Gibbs, Gordon Korman, Dan Gutman, Andrew Clements, Richard Peck, Gary Schmidt, Gary Paulsen–all authors with lots of kid-appeal.

  95. Becki says:

    I should totally re-read A Wrinkle in Time with my kids. My daughter and I read Brown Girl Dreaming and One Crazy Summer for a battle of the books within the last couple years. Thanks for sharing!

  96. Erica Mohai says:

    I really liked Raymie Nightingale from a few years back. I was stuck in an airport (man…those were the days) because my flight was delayed. The terminal was under construction, so the usual bookstore was closed and there was only a small section of titles at the newsstand shop. All the books there were either ones I had already read or ones I wasn’t interested in at all. But I saw Raymie Nightingale and thought, “Well why not?” I finished it that day during my delay and flight. It was so sweet.

  97. Brianna says:

    I would add Ben Guterson’s Winterhouse Mysteries trilogy to this list. The whole series is compulsively readable and the illustrations break up the text, making them a good option for reluctant, but advanced, readers.

  98. Tristan says:

    Framed! by James Conti (and the two sequels) have been our quarantine read alouds, and they are fantastic.
    Others my kids recommend:
    Fablehaven series
    Ranger’s Apprentice series
    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
    Little Women and the sequel Little Men
    The Story Girl (by L. M. Montgomery)

  99. I remember a few of these books. I read Anne of Green Gables (and currently want to watch the new show based on it). Tuck Everlasting, though, has been on my list forever to read.

  100. Naamah says:

    Ok these books are awesome but what made me click on this in about a millisecond was recognising all the Enid Blyton books in the top image!
    I am from Australia where the reading culture was more British than American when I was growing up and Enid Blyton was huge. Hardly anyone I mention her too here has heard of her and then you use a photo of an entire shelf of her early chapter books!
    I would love to hear the story behind how you collected these!

  101. Savvy by Ingrid Law is a favorite. I loved reading it to my fifth and sixth graders and it’s been fun to share the recommendation with friends and family. It’s always well-loved!

  102. emmaclaire says:

    For those looking for books boys might enjoy, I highly recommend The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. It has young male protagonists and all the adventure any reader would enjoy. Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith is also very good, as is No Promises in the Wind by Irene Hunt. All 3 of these were hits with both my boys as well as my husband and me.

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