5 Engaging Middle-Grade Books to Share With Your Tween Readers

5 Engaging Middle-Grade Books to Share With Your Tween Readers

Check out our list of recommended books for middle-grade readers (readers in upper elementary through middle school) that the entire family will enjoy. Filled with captivating characters, witty dialogue, and fantastic illustrations, you may just find yourself reading ahead after bedtime!

Jaclyn Hyde

Annabeth Bondor-Stone and Connor White

Fiction, Recommended for Ages 9-12, May 2019

Middle Grade Books: Jaclyn Hyde by Annabeth Bondor-Stone and Connor White

In this quirky take on the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tale, readers meet Jaclyn, an eighth grader who strives for perfection in all aspects of her life. From baking sweets to earning top grades, Jaclyn will not accept anything but the very best. When she finds a mysterious “perfection potion,” she can’t help but feel that the mixture will solve all of her problems. Unfortunately, mysterious potions don’t have warning labels. The potion unleashes Jackie, Jaclyn’s highly destructive and impulsive inner monster who is determined to make everything perfect. When Jackie is in charge, the road to perfection is an unpaved construction zone. As Jaclyn struggles to control Jackie’s wild and often hilarious antics, she learns to see past the idea of a perfect life.

Bob

Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, Illustrated by Nicholas Gannon

Fiction, Recommended for Ages 9-12, May 2019

Middle Grade Books: Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, Illustrated by Nicholas Gannon

It has been five years since Livy visited her grandmother in Australia and from the moment her journey begins, Livy can’t shake the feeling that she has forgotten something. Wandering the house, Livy opens the bedroom closet and is faced with what can only be described as a creature. It is green, small, quite strange, and dressed head to toe in a chicken costume. Pushing past her into the room, Livy realizes that this must be the something or rather someone she has been trying to remember. Livy and the creature, named Bob, fall back into a friendship and begin to solve the mystery of Bob. Where is he from? Can he go home? Why did Livy forget him? The story, told from the perspective of both Livy and Bob, is filled with lively humor and affection. With endearing characters and quick-witted dialogue, the importance of friendship is at the core of this story.

Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers

Margaret Peterson Haddix, Illustrated by Anne Lambelet

Mystery, Fiction, Recommended for ages 8-13, April 2019

Middle Grade Books: Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Illustrated by Anne Lambelet

The Greystone siblings — Chess, Emma, and Finn — find themselves glued to a news report detailing a recent kidnapping of three siblings. The report reveals the missing siblings share identical names and birthdates with the Greystones. Thinking this cannot be a coincidence, the kids look to their mother for answers only to discover she has left for a last-minute work trip. Left with their neighbor and her daughter, the siblings start to piece together details in hopes of finding out the truth. The discovery of a clue kicks off a thrilling adventure as the siblings work to unfold the mystery. Filled with suspense, secret rooms, and puzzling codes, this page-turning story has humor, relatable sibling dynamics, and fantastic characters that will keep readers guessing and rooting for the Greystones to solve the case.

Lions & Liars

Kate Beasley, Illustrated by Dan Santat

Fiction, Recommended for Ages 9-12, June 2019

Middle Grade Books: Lions & Liars by Kate Beasley, Illustrated by Dan Santat

Frederick Frederickson knows that his parents don’t control the weather, but he still is going to complain about the arrival of a hurricane cancelling his family vacation aboard a cruise ship. Frederick was looking forward to getting away from his fifth grade classmates and friends who make him feel like the lowest of low on the food chain, “a flea that lives on the butts of meerkats. Frederick’s a flea.” A turn of events does actually end with Frederick spending time on a boat and he eventually floats to the shores of a camp for troubled boys hoping to get back on track. When a counselor mistakes Frederick for a missing camper, he plays along and unknowingly kicks off a summer he will never forget. With hilarious characters and spot-on illustrations, readers will learn the importance of compassion, believing in yourself, and the power of friendship.

Lalani of the Distant Sea

Erin Entrada Kelly

Fiction, Fantasy, Recommended for Ages 9-12, Sept. 2019

Middle Grade Books: Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly

For as long as Lalani Sarita can remember, men have sailed away from the island of Sanlagita on a quest to discover Mount Isa. Stories have been passed down detailing the abundant resources growing on the peak, most notably, a yellow flower with healing powers. The truth behind these stories remains unknown because, of all the men who have sailed away, including Lalani’s father, not one has returned. As a drought makes conditions unbearable on the island and her mother becomes ill, Lalani sets out on her own quest, determined to discover Mount Isa and return home with life-saving resources. Winner of the Newbery Medal for her book “Hello, Universe,” Erin Entrada Kelly’s newest release promises an inspiring story of bravery, love, and resilience filled with descriptive details, rich history, and whimsical characters.


Meghan Odegard is a librarian living in Wisconsin. She proudly supports Barn Sanctuary, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and caring for farm animals in need.