Summer is the perfect time to explore some great new books — especially for those in the magic age of “middle grade.” You know, before teachers start piling on ridiculously large required summer reading lists?
Here are our picks for some perfect middle grade books & series to read this summer.
Charmed Life Series by Lisa Schroeder
This brand new series follows four girls who meet at summer camp and bond over a bracelet they believe is lucky. Each of the four books in this series focuses on one of the girls. The first two books are out now, with another out at the end of July, and book four out in October.
The Hero’s Guide Series by Christopher Healy
The hapless adventures of the four Princes Charming are among my all-time favorite books ever written, ever. Period. This hilarious trilogy has now been published in full, so this summer marks the perfect time to binge read all three. Kids will devour them in no time, I am certain – and will surely adore the illustrations by Todd Harris, as well as Healy’s brilliant and witty prose. Adults will probably like them, too. I certainly did.
Peter Nimble & His Fantastic Eyes and The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier; Doll Bones by Holly Black
These first two books, both by Auxier, are not part of a series and can be read independently — but they are both excellent and excellently written. Gorgeous, dark, creepy tales perfect to get immersed in during the long, hot summer days.
Speaking of creepy … Doll Bones has it in aces and spades. Three kids, an old bone China doll, and one wild adventure will leave young readers spellbound and spooked.
Coraline and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
One more set of recommendations for kids who like creepy! Though both written by Gaiman, these books are not part of a series — but both offer plenty of moody atmosphere and age-appropriate chills for middle grade readers.
It’s Raining Cucpakes series by Lisa Schroeder
Not only do all three books in this tantalizing series entertain – they inspire! Once you’re done reading the books, hit the kitchen for some baking (Schroeder includes a couple recipes in the books). Sharing of your books and baked goods with friends is highly encouraged.
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel and Stay Where You Are & Then Leave by John Boyne
If it’s historical fiction with a high-stakes adventure you seek, look to one of these excellent novels by two of the best in their class. Oppel’s The Boundless sees readers searching for a killer on board a majestic cross-country train trip, while Boyne’s World War II drama follows a boy seeking the truth about his father, who disappeared from combat.
The Dyerville Tales by M.P. Kozlowsky and Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
If fairy tales are your thing, both of these middle grade books from publisher Walden Pond Press beautifully capture the magic of those classics in a contemporary setting. Let your imagination run wild this summer, and let these books help take you there.
Vanishing Acts by Philip Margolin & Ami Margolin Rome and The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson
If super-sleuthing is more your style, check out Vanishing Acts, a fun middle grade mystery, with a kid detective. I love that it was written by Phil Margolin (best known for his adult legal thrillers) and his daughter, who works in education.
More kid detectives abound in The Fellowship for Alien Detection, a fun science fiction adventure from Kevin Emerson, about two kids on a road trip to save the planet from an alien invasion. Hijinks ensue.
Skeleton Creek series, Floors series, and Land of Elyon series by Patrick Carman
Look, Carman is good at what he does. His fans are rabid, and for good reason. Just pick up one of his popular middle grade series and see for yourself what all the fuss is about. Take advantage of the summer to binge read one or all of them!
For the comments: What other middle grade books would you recommend for summer reading?