Middle School / Books Rule!
Recommended books for grades 5-8

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REFUGEE, by Alan Gratz

May 22, 2017

The story: Three kids, tied together by their refugee status across cultures and decades, never know each other and yet are tied together in unimaginable ways. Josef and his family are trying to flee to safety ahead of the Nazi blitzkrieg; Isabelle and her family are desperate to leave Cuba and make it to the […]

UNDER LOCKER & KEY, by Allison K. Hymas

May 22, 2017

The story: Jeremy Wilderson is NOT a thief–he’s a “retrieval specialist”, and he only takes things that someone else took first. So when one of his ventures goes bad, Jeremy feels obligated to fix it, even when it attracts the attention of the school’s self-appointed policewoman and do-gooder, Becca Mills. She wants to see Jeremy […]

ARMSTRONG & CHARLIE, by Steven B. Frank

April 7, 2017

The story: Armstrong is getting bused to a different school in LA in the fall of 1973. Charlie’s always been there, and he doesn’t know what to think of the black kids who are volunteering to come all the way across town. He also doesn’t know what to think about Armstrong, who’s kind of a […]

SQUIRREL MEETS WORLD, by Shannon & Dean Hale

April 7, 2017

The story: Doreen Green is new in town, and she’s looking for a best friend, which she finds. Yay! She also finds some things she wasn’t looking for: the Skunk Club, an evil plot involving buzzers that make dogs go crazy, and the realization that it doesn’t matter what the popular kids think. She’s the […]

MY LADY JANE, by Cynthia Hand et al

March 13, 2017

The story: King Edward is dying, and he names Lady Jane Grey as his successor, doing an end run around his sisters Mary and Elizabeth. Only problem for Jane–aside from the fact that she doesn’t actually WANT to be queen–is that she’s going to have to marry Gifford Dudley in order to do it. Gifford […]

SHORT, by Holly Goldberg Sloan

March 2, 2017

The story: Julia doesn’t want to let being short define her, which is why it’s weird when she ends up being cast as a Munchkin in a summer theatre production of “The Wizard of Oz”and finds herself really liking it. ┬áHanging out with theatre folks, learning the slang, and scoring a slot as a flying […]


March 2, 2017

The story: It’s 1971, and Joel is looking for a Hanukkah miracle. Is that so much to ask? He just doesn’t want to end up the loser in his own story. Too bad it seems like God isn’t paying attention right this minute–cuz Joel isn’t picky. The miracle could be a snow day in California, […]

FURTHERMORE, by Tahereh Mafi

January 5, 2017

The story: Alice’s father has gone missing, in search of magic. Alice, quite determined to hide her own magic, ends up on a quest with Oliver to rescue Father. But their mission means leaving the land of Ferenwood, where magic is safe and useful, and venturing into Furthermore, where it’s dangerous and unpredictable. (Plus, your […]


January 5, 2017

The story: Emmeline is the only person in the place who can see the winged horses in the mirrors. It’s World War 2, and she’s been sent to a hospital for children with tuberculosis. When an injured horse mysteriously appears, in need of her care, Emmeline must complete a series of tasks to make sure […]


December 14, 2016

The story: If Josh Baxter’s life was a video game, he’d be dead. No more lives, no more health points, no new skills unlocked. It’s his third new school in two years, he has zero friends, his grades are terrible, and there’s a bully looking to kill him. But–when Josh goes into hero mode, it […]