Good books for middle readers

I hunt down the best, award-winning, fun yet thoughtful age-appropriate or higher books for my 5th grader. I search the internet and I wander around libraries. She really gets into good books, and starts thinking about the world, social encounters, people, nature …

Aaand then it’s Thursday, which is library period at school. And she brings yet another ‘Bad Kitty’ book or Geronimo Stilton from the school library.

Here I share my finds with you in no particular order. Please suggest books in the Comments. If you want to hunt your own books, check out the ALA Notable Books, the Junior Library Guild books, and Common Sense Media‘s recommendations.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (my kid loved this one so much I hunted for others like it)

A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel (like Wonder and El Deafo, this one captured my daughter’s empathy and imagination)

El Deafo by Cece Bell (my kid still talks my ear off about this book)

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (my kid cannot stop talking about Melody. Years after reading the book, she is still entranced by it).

Another book my daughter absolutely loved: The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz (also A Tale Dark and Grimm)

And how amazing is  What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe 

I cannot say enough about how wonderful The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer is (and the others in the trilogy). I also love Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson. The two books had the entire family captivated during a long road trip.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill (one of those magicky books that capture kids’ imagination)

For neuro-atypical kids especially: Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz and Anything but Typical by Nora Baskin and Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt

The Prehistoric Masters of Literature by Saskia Lacey (yes, a shameless attempt to get my kid into great literature. She liked this a lot).

I Funny by James Patterson. (I couldn’t get into Patterson’s work for grownups, but my kid loved this book. She also loves I Even Funnier).

Frightlopedia by Julie Winterbottom (because middle readers want to read about weird yucky stuff, and my kid liked this one)

You Wouldn’t Want to Be A Pyramid Builder! by J. Morley (you have to check out the other books in this series. At least my kid loves them all. Painlessly informative).

Nothing But Trouble and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Davies

Nadia The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still by Karlin Gray (Nadia Comaneci! For little girls who can’t sit still!)

Romeo & Juliet for kids by Lois Burdett (my kid liked this. I will get the others in the series)

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales by Marcia Williams (another attempt to enjoy Chaucer with my kid. Also check out the other books in that series, featuring Shakespeare, etc.)

Pax by Sarah Pennypacker

The Wide Awake Princess by E.D. Baker (the idea is that Sleeping Beauty has a wide-awake sister. My kid was entranced by the story).

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (my daughter liked it. I’m hoping this series will replace that unending Warriors series)

Malcolm Under the Stars by W. H. Beck

Vile Verses by Roald Dahl (great fun)

We have to read Wildlife of the World with our kid at bedtime pretty regularly.

Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech (for quirky poetry lovers)

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett (codes, math, art! Check out other books by the author too)

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones

George’s Secret Key to the Universe by the Hawkings (sciency and fun. Check out the series. My kid read this one fast.)

A Black Hole Is Not A Hole by Carolyn DeCristofano (Because if she doesn’t get into medicine, how about space?)

Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas by Cheryl Bardoe (okay, my kid didn’t absolutely adore it, but she became very interested in heredity after reading it. So this is part of my campaign of nudging her toward medicine – so shoot me).

One Beetle Too Many The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin by Kathryn Lasky (yay, more science)

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka, and all his books for fun science!

Maps and Geography By Ken Jennings (yes, geography is always a possibility)

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

Understanding Myself by Mary Lamia (OK, I made my kid read it, and she wasn’t enthusiastic, but she realized that it was very useful)

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Rigg

The Key to Extraordinary By Natalie Lloyd

The Door by the Staircase By  Katherine Marsh

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Foer, Thuras, and Morton 

A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic by Lisa Papademetriou

A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments by Ali Almossawi 

The Evil Wizard Smallbone Delia Sherman

I’m trying to get a hold of Karma Khullar’s Mustache by  Kristi Wientge – story of a hirsute girl

The 13-Story Treehouse (and the rest of the series) by Andy Griffiths was more of a 4th grade favorite for my kid. 

And these are some wonderful books at KitaabWorld.

Don’t miss N.H. Senzai’s excellent books: Shooting Kabul and Ticket to India.

Counting by Sevens Holly G. Sloan

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Raina Telgemeier’s books (Smile and Ghosts)

The Apothecary 

The Nocturnals series

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

It Can’t Be True! The Book of Incredible Visual Comparisons

Dangerous Planet Natural Disasters That Changed History By Bryn Barnard

Cornelia Funke’s books (Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath)

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