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Top 10 Middle Grade Novels

The world of children's literature can be hard to navigate. Even for me, an avid book lover, sometimes a bookstore can be overwhelming. For this reason I have decided to put together my top ten book list for middle grade novels!


Some of these books are ones I enjoyed and read on repeat as a kid, and some are books I've recently discovered. All are selected with diversity, representation, kindness, and good stories at the forefront.


Everyone has different preferences when it comes to books, and not every kid will enjoy the same stories! I've included a variety here, with descriptions of each book's topics and who may enjoy reading it. You can also click each title for my full review. It seems good fantasy books are hard to come by, so while this list doesn't cover much fantasy, I hope to make a fantasy book list soon.


Below are my top ten picks for middle grade novels, listed in order from amazing to incredible 😊


*I have not included book series or graphic novels in this list - keep an eye out for lists on both those categories coming soon!



By Eva Ibboston


Around the age of nine, this was one of the first books I really fell in love with. I can remember so well the magical feeling of being swept up into the lives of these characters, as if I were wight there with them. Eva Ibbotson has a way of presenting a diverse cast of personalities without it seeming strange.


The Dragonfly Pool is perfect for lovers of historical fiction, boarding school stories, and drama.






By Wendy Mass


This story completely surprised me, and the further I read the more I loved it. I like how unassuming The Candymakers looks. Don't judge this book by the cover - it is about so much more than kids making candy. A thrilling mystery, a heartfelt story of friendship, and a suspenseful crime investigation are all packed into this sweet book. I believe I had my mouth hanging open for much of the latter half of this book!


Perfect for lovers of mystery, crime stories, split-perspectives, and friendship stories (and candy lovers, of course).



By Anne Blankman


This emotional read brings Ukranian history to light, following two young girls in two different times - one escaping the Soviets in World War II, and one escaping the Chernobyl disaster in the 1980s. This story is extremely well-woven, and I learned a ton while reading it.


Perfect for lovers of historical fiction, emotional friendship stories, adventure/escape stories, and very educational.






By Kit Pearson


This book is just one of many extraordinary stories by Canadian author Kit Pearson. A Perfect Gentle Knight follows six children as they cope with the recent death of their mother. This book deals with depression better than any other children's book I've read, showing the lives of both the struggling older sibling, and the younger siblings affected by his struggles (and dealing with their own grief as well).


This book is perfect for lovers of realistic fiction, family drama, and is a great exploration of how different children grieve.




By R. J. Palacio


One story told through six unique perspectives, Wonder paints such a vivid world. This story is about a boy who was born with a facial difference, as he navigates school for the first time. It is also a story of his sister, though, and of his first friend at school, among other people in his life. This book is an example of expert storytelling - the kind that weaves everything together at a perfect pace. I felt that Wonder represented kids very well.


Wonder is a great choice for lovers of realistic fiction, school stories, and split perspective stories.



By Brian Selznick


I had to read up on this book to put it on this list, as I could hardly remember what it is about - I knew it needed to be here though because I can still remember the awe I felt while reading it. The Marvels is told through both text and black & white sketches, weaving together into one beautiful story. One of the most satisfying books I have read, this story puts together so many small details to form a perfect plot. It's not only an exciting mystery though - as the plot is actually a quite serious story of a boy looking for a home as his Uncle struggles with AIDS.


The Marvels is perfect for lovers of mystery, adventure, incredible worlds, and LGBTQ+ representation.



By Shannon Hitchcock

and N. H. Senzai


A refugee story about friendship and community, this book is such a valuable read. The story is told through split perspectives, switching between a young Syrian refugee and an American competitive swimmer. The plots moves fast enough to keep most readers engaged, and the book deals so well with the serious topics of PTSD, racism, and mental health.


I would highly recommend this book for lovers of realistic fiction and friendship stories, or anyone wanting to learn more about refugees and Muslim culture.



By Aisha Saeed


Amal Unbound is the fascinating and moving story of a young girl in Pakistan pushing for equality between genders and classes. The writing is absolutely captivating - I remember hardly being able to put this book down, and at the same time learning so much about the culture and lives of people in Pakistan. This story feels so real, with excellently portrayed child characters.


I would highly recommend Amal Unbound for anyone who cares about equality or social justice, or lovers of realistic fiction.




By Clare Vanderpool


This is the best mystery I have ever read. I found Moon Over Manifest at a book sale as a pre-teen, and I am so glad I did. Clare Vanderpool wove an incredibly captivating mystery into a small Western town, creating a sort of cowboy ghost story for kids. This is the kind of book that feels like a fantasy, even when there is no real magic in the plot. Moon over Manifest is an expertly-crafted mystery, with serious feelings and subjects woven in.


Anyone who loves a good mystery should read this book 😁



By Sara Pennypacker


This is my all-time favourite middle grade novel. Here in the Real World is an epic and empowering story for kids - the kind of book that makes you think "Hey, I could do that! I could build a castle or grow a garden!" At the same time, this book deals incredibly well, and at an age-appropriate level with poverty, alcoholism, and a child feeling alone/abandoned. I was continuously wowed while reading this book, at the level of care and attention to detail, and the amazing, larger-than-life plot.


I would highly recommend this book for... well, anyone really!



Have you or your kids read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!

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