Ultimate List of Middle Grade Books for Tweens

Middle Grade Books for Tweens

If you are looking for middle grade books, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite kids books specifically written for 9 to 13-year-olds.

While these tween books may have been written with that age group in mind, don’t let that stop you from reading them if you are older! Some of my favorite ever stories are books for tweens!

The Vanderbeekers, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and Anne of Green Gables are just a few of the middle grade books that I adore as an adult. They are all mentioned below along with other picks our 5 middle grade kids have enjoyed.

Because we’ve raised a collective 5 children in this age group, you’ll find a diverse group of tween books on this list. There are fantasy stories, mysteries, fiction and non-fiction tales and more genres broken out below.

Be sure to use the page jumps to navigate this list of books for tweens more easily! And please let us know if your favorite middle grade books made our list!

*The tween books post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Ultimate List of Middle Grade Books Tweens

Best of 2023 // Non-Fiction // Fiction // Historical Fiction // Mystery // Fantasy // Classic // Graphic Novels // Realistic Fiction // Audiobooks // Coming of Age

What Does Middle Grade mean in Books?

Middle Grade books are stories written specifically for readers aged 9-13. These books for tweens are written at a reading level they can understand and feature topics appropriate for that age group.

Best Tween Books for 2023

the one and only ruby

The One and Only Ruby by Katherine Applegate

The third book in the One and Only series is focused on Ruby’s stories about her time in Africa. As always, Ivan, Bob, and Ruby’s bond captivated my family’s attention. Our kids had a hard time deciding which was their favorite book in this series. This book definitely has some sad parts so we want to give fair warning for any sensitive readers.

However, if you are a Katherine Applegate lover, this book does not disappoint. Once again, Applegate makes our list of best middle grade books of 2023! #gifted

the night raven

The Night Raven by Johan Rundberg

In this tween book, a girl from an orphanage notices details that others can’t see. Soon, she’s called in to help a police officer solve a murder. Could the night raven serial killer still be on the loose?

This was a great historical mystery for fans of Sherlock Holmes. While the mystery was solved in this story, it looks like it will be the first in a new series. I can’t wait to revisit Mika and her friends.

Non-Fiction Books for Tweens

The Boys in the Boat Youth

Author: Daniel James Brown

Year: 2015

Genre: Nonfiction

Age: 10+

Like the adult version, this edited-down book tells the true tale of the 1936 USA men’s rowing team and their unlikely run for the gold medal. It’s a non-fiction story that reads like fiction, and sports nuts will love this story!

The Olympic games scenes gave me such a heightened sense of American pride. I was rooting for the team and cheering them on the whole time. I thought I would be bored by the minutia of rowing, but I wasn’t.

Find this book in: Olympics Books for Kids / Books for Tweens / Best Books for a 12-year-old

Hidden Figures and more books for an 11-year-old

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Woman Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

This true and amazing story of the black mathematicians and their role in the space race reads like a fiction novel.

So many people know this story because of the movie but, the book gives so many more details- as is usually the case with adaptations. This is one of the books for a 12-year-old that adults will love too!

All thirteen

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

This is one of the books for a 10-year-old that is a multi-award winner. It won the 2021 Newbery Honor Winner, the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Young People’s literature, and so many other awards. It is the true story of the Thai cave rescue of the 12 boys and their soccer coach in 2018.

The boys and the coach had gone in to explore the cave and when they went to leave, the floodwaters left them trapped inside. Complete with pictures, this story is told in a style that makes you feel like you were there.

from an idea to disney

From An Idea To Disney: How Imagination Built a World of Magic by Lowey Bundy Sichol

This book tells the story of how Disneyland and the Disney company were created from Walt Disney’s imagination. It’s a fun non-fiction book that is the first in a series.

Other books in the series look at companies like Nike, Google, and Lego. It’s the perfect series of books for a 10-year-old looking to get into the non-fiction genre.

Fiction Middle Grade Books


Wonder by R.J Palacio

A must-read realistic fiction story for kids in middle school, this is an amazing book about embracing differences, kindness, and being yourself.  However, this would also be a wonderful read-aloud book for a younger audience. CW: This is one of the books that will make you cry.

August Pullman is a boy with an extraordinary facial difference.  He has been homeschooled his entire life and is starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep.  This book for 11-year-olds is amazing and has a lesson about love and acceptance that everyone needs to read.

Pay Attention Carter Jones

Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt

⁣My son adored Pay Attention, Carter Jones. He loved the premise of the butler coming over to teach Carter to play cricket. He liked how Carter learned about how to be a gentleman from the butler who is strict, but exactly what the family needs during their troubling time.⁣

He’s recommended it to a few of his friends already and my mom even read it and enjoyed it!⁣ It’s a heartfelt, thought-provoking read in all the best ways. It’s one of our favorite coming-of-age books for 13-year-olds.

Pie and more realistic fiction books

Pie by Sarah Weeks

This is another realistic fiction book that every one of my children has read and loved. When Alice’s Aunt Polly dies, she takes her world-famous, secret pie crust recipe with her. In her will, she leaves the pie receipt to her cat, Lardo.

Who does she leave the cat to? Alice. Now, Alice and her friend have to find the recipe for happiness together in this endearing and funny book.

THe Candymakers and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Candymakers by Wendy Maas

This story appears on our list of books about candy! I decided to read this book with my boys prior to our visit to Candytopia.

It was a lovely take on life at a candy factory and felt almost like an updated version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 4 kids are competing to win a candy-making contest to have their creation mass-produced. This is the first in a series of middle grade novels. It’s one of the must-read books for 11-year-olds.

the boy at the back of the class

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Raúf

This is the story of Ahmet, a Syrian refugee, who ends up in Mrs. Khan’s 4th-grade class. At first, the students are wary of the strange new boy.

Soon, they learn that Ahmet has been separated from his family when he was trying to escape the war. Soon the kids were banding together to help Ahmet reunite with his family.

My son cried while reading this book for 10-year-olds. The story touched his heart and evoked such compassion in him.

Historical Fiction Middle Grade Books

The war that saved my life

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I read this realistic fiction book in a few hours and immediately ordered the sequel The War I Finally Won.  Ada is a 10-year-old girl who lives in a one-room world gazing at the world from one window.  She was born with a club foot and teaches herself to walk in secret.  When the children who lived in London were evacuated to go to the country at the start of WW2, Ada escapes her abusive mother and leaves London with her little brother.

There is so much depth to this book.  It is a Newbury Honor book and the Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for middle grade. This middle grade historical fiction is a story of love and survival in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Do not be fooled by this middle grade fiction. It is emotionally crafted and brilliantly written and is my favorite on the list of WWII books for kids.

Refugee and more books for 13-year-olds

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Three tales in one, this realistic fiction story is told in alternating chapters by three narrators.  The stories feature Josef, a Jewish refugee fleeing WWII Germany, Isabel a Cuban girl on her way to Miami in 1994, and Mahmoud a Syrian refugee seeking asylum in Germany in 2015. The chapters rotate between the three characters and their stories do connect at the end in a meaningful and moving way.

The characters are all about 13-years-old but shoulder burdens that would be hard for an adult to handle. Gratz accurately portrays each child’s struggle with both grace and clarity – not shying away from difficult emotions and even death. If you love this YA historical fiction book, we have a list of Powerful WWII Books for Kids.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret and more of the best books for a 9-year-old

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Don’t let the length of this mystery book for kids deter you. Even though it is on our list of long books, there are gorgeous illustrations on every other page and the writing is only a paragraph at a time.

This middle grade mystery is an amazing story of Hugo Cabret who is an orphan in the Paris train station where he winds the clocks so that nobody will discover his secrets. Soon he discovers a drawing and a notebook that will lead him to the biggest adventure of his life. This is one of the must-read books for 12-year-olds.

Inquisitors Tale

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz

All of my kids have read this book and they all loved it- devoured it in a day. In 13th century France, three children set out on a quest with their dog. Each of the children, and the dog, have a magical gift.

Somehow this book is able to combine historical characters and mythical tales of the 13th century with morals and lessons that are completely relevant today.

Mystery Books for Tweens

city spies and other mystery books for tweens

City Spies by James Ponti

MI6 has recruited a bunch of kids to be their newest spy group – the City Spies. They attend boarding school while learning various spy tactics.

Soon they get to go on a mission to Paris to put what they learned into action. Subsequent books take place in San Francisco and Beijing. At this point, this series is on our pre-order series list.

The Van Gogh Deception

The Van Gogh Deception by Deron R. Hicks

The first in a series of Middle Grade novels, this first story captured the attention of my D.C.-obsessed son. After all, it opens in the National Gallery when a boy wakes up with amnesia.

Described as Dan Brown meets Jason Bourne, it lives up to those clever titles. It’s a fast-paced art caper that will keep your tween fully engrossed. It’s the first in a must-read series of books for 11-year-olds.

belly up and other mystery books for tweens

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

After a hippo dies at FunJungle Zoo, it’s up to Teddy and his friend Summer to prove that the Hippo was murdered.

But investigating Hippo’s homicide is a dangerous affair. This funny story kept this former zoo employee quite entertained.

Why We Love This Book: A funny, clever story that’s the first in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.
Appropriate for ages 9-12
Find this book in
books for 10-year-olds, Zoo books, best middle grade books, best mystery books for tweens

The Mysterious Benedict Society and more books like Keeper of the lost cities

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

This is a mystery book for tweens that all adults should read but you can also find it on our list of books for 13-year-olds. It’s about a group of extremely gifted children who are sent to spy on an evil organization.

As members of a secret society, these genius kids must follow the clues on their secret mission.

Why We Love This: This is the first middle-grade book in a series that is geared toward older kids. It was funny and interesting and extremely clever.
Find this book in Middle Grade Mystery Books / Books for 13-year-olds/ Books About Puzzles

mysterious benedict society

The Best Mystery Books for Tweens: Middle-Grade Mysteries to Devour

Looking for more mystery middle grade books for your kiddo? We’ve got you covered with dozens of recommendations.

Middle Grade Books: Fantasy

Harry potter and the sorcerer's stone and more fantasy books for tweens

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling

I was in university when this book was published and the first four were sitting on my younger brother’s bookshelf before I picked it up to see what the fuss was about. I read all four books in as many days and was married with a child before the final book was published. 

This story introduces us to Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger; our fearless trio.  We also meet the other favorite beloved and detested characters that make the Harry Potter book series so special. After all, what would Hogwarts be without Hagrid, Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Professor Snape, and Draco Malfoy?

Why We Love This Book: In our opinion, this is the best children’s fantasy series ever written. It features strong lessons on morality, inventive plotlines, and hidden threads woven throughout the entire series. Jim Dale’s audiobook narration of this book is award-winning. He voices over 200 characters, each with distinct accents.
Appropriate for ages 
Find this book in
Books like Harry Potter / Books Like Percy Jackson / 21 Adult Books Similar to Harry Potter / Harry Potter Books in Order / Best Audiobooks for Kids


Eragon (Inheritance Cycle #1) by Christopher Paolini

Eragon, a 15-year-old boy, believes that he is merely a farm boy until one day, he discovers a polished blue stone in the forest. When the stone hatches and a dragon emerges, Eragon enters a world full of magic and power that he never knew existed.

Eragon discovers that he is a dragon rider, one of the few left.  This middle-school fantasy series is a world of dragons, magic, and power.  Almost a “Dragon Masters” for the more mature reader, this series will take you into a world of fantasy you won’t forget. This is another pick on our list of YA fantasy books that are technically middle-grade but worth the read.

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Move over Harry Potter, there is a new middle grade fantasy series poised to take your throne! Meet Sophie Foster, a newly found elf living in the human world.

In book one of this ever-growing series, she’s taken back to the Lost Cities and sent to Foxfire Academy to learn to harness her powers as a Telepath. In the process, she is welcomed into a new family, makes loads of friends, and uncovers a secret organization trying to destroy the human world.

Why We Love This Book: All 5 of our children loved this series, and frankly, Jackie and I did too! It’s also a great family-friendly audiobook for long car trips. We’ve got a list of books like KOTLC if you have already read this series.
Appropriate for ages 
Find this book in
Secret Society Books / Fantasy Books for Tweens / Books for 11-year-olds / Books Like Percy Jackson / Kids Audiobooks

percy jackson

Author: Rick Riordan

Year: 2005

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy


More info:
Percy Jackson and The Olympian Book #1
Currently a Series on Disney Plus

This first Percy Jackson book is about our beloved Percy, who discovers he is a demi-god and must recover Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt. He travels into the underworld to locate the lightning bolt and, at the same time, try to save his mother.

His amazing adventures with Annabeth and Grover along the way create the foundation for all the books that follow in this amazing and epic series. This show has been adapted to TV on Disney and is fantastic!

I don’t think anyone has read this middle grade fantasy series and not loved it. It’s a contemporary Greek mythology retelling for the ages. It is fun and exciting!

Find this book in: Percy Jackson Books in Order / Rick Riordan Books / Best Books for a 13-year-old

Perfect for fans of: Harry Potter / Keeper of the Lost Cities / Tween & Teen Fantasy Books

Middle grade fantasy header

45+ Best Fantasy Books for Tweens and Middle Grade Fantasy Readers

For more fantasy tween books, you must check out this list.

Classic Books for Tweens

The Westing Game and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The tween book that got me into mysteries as a child is great as an audiobook as well! When Mr. Westing dies, he leaves the residents of Sunset Towers named in his will.

But they need to solve the mystery of his death in order to win control of his company and his vast fortune. Your family will love trying to work out what happened!

Why We Love It: This classic 70s book is still a must-read today! It has withstood the test of time.
Find this Book in Best Middle Grade Mystery Books / Books for 11-year-olds / Books About Puzzles

Anne of green Gables by LM Mongtogery and more great Canadian Novels by Canadian Authors

Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomeryir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=5c9b77d29546960eec62ffcf6e66c0aa& cb=1590237272404

My mother was the first person to read this middle grade book to me and I was immediately drawn to Anne. She was smart, precocious, and had a way of making everyone love her while simultaneously finding new ways to get into trouble. 

Anne is an orphan who is sent to live with siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert who wanted a male orphan to help them on the farm. Anne was sent to them instead. She is bright and loquacious and wins their hearts.

Something is comforting about this cozy book that makes me read it repeatedly. This is a beautiful book about friendship and found family. I am not sure if it is more popular in Canada but, one day I hope to visit Prince Edward Island. This is one of my (Jackie) all-time favorite books.

Find this book in Coming-of-Age Books / Friendship Books / Realistic Fiction / Books with Green in the Title

a wrinkle in time

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This classic sci-fi book for tweens tells the story of Meg, a high school student, who must travel through space and time to rescue her father.

Along with her younger brother and her friend, Meg learns about the tesseract- a wrinkle in time and space that she must travel through to save her father from Evil.

Why We Love This Book: I remember loving this science fiction book as a kid. As far as classic sci-fi books go, this is a must-read.
Appropriate for ages 
Find this book in
Classic Books for Kids / Kids Audiobooks / Best Sci-fi Books / Middle Grade Books

Holes and more mystery books

Holes by Louis Sachar

A great middle grade book about camp (and yet another that was adapted into a movie!) Holes should be on every child’s list. And, if you are looking for bedtime stories for kids, this is a great read-aloud for a younger child that cannot read this themselves.

When a boy under a curse is sent to a detention camp he’s taught to behave by digging holes all day, every day.  It doesn’t take long for him to realize he’s digging for a reason – but what are the camp wardens looking to find?

I love this pick from our mystery books for tweens, it is one that be can enjoyed by adults as well.

Bridge to Terabithia and more books for 12-year-olds

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

I’m pretty sure this coming-of-age tween book is required reading for everyone! Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia.

One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief. This realistic fiction book set in the 70s is an award winner for a reason.

Middle Grade Books: Graphic Novels

Chunk and other books for a 10-year-old

Chunky by Yehudi Mercado

Hudi is trying to figure out what sport he likes to play because he needs to lose weight. He’s trying to be healthy because of a serious illness he had as a younger kid. 

He invents an imaginary friend named Chunky to help cheer him on. As he goes through sport after sport, the laughs roll in. But It’s not all fun and games, his dad loses his job and we get flashbacks of the medical problem that started his journey.

My son read this graphic novel in one sitting, while I listened to him giggling on the couch. I think it’s one of the perfect middle grade books for a 10-year-old reluctant reader! 

New Kid and other Back-to-School Books

New Kid by Jerry Craft

This graphic novel has won numerous awards and for good reason. This is a thought-provoking story of a 7th-grade boy who wants to pursue his dream of becoming an artist.

Instead, his parents send him to a prestigious private school where he is one of the few diverse students. He can’t seem to figure out where he fits in at home or at school. This is a good one for kids who aren’t yet ready for Angie Thomas’s books.

Roller Girl  and other books for a 10-year-old

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

This graphic novel is a Newbery Medal Winner and was an easy pick for a list of the best graphic novels of all time. Astrid and Nicole have done everything together until now. Astrid wants to go to roller derby camp.

And thus begins a summer of friendship, finding yourself, perseverance, and girl power. Astrid may be strong enough to endure middle school. Snag this if you are looking for a book for 11-year-olds.


Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Raina Telgemeier has a unique way of incorporating sensitive subjects into her books without making them overwhelming or scary. In Ghosts, Cat’s younger sister, Maya, has Cystic Fibrosis. They have just moved to a new city where the air is easier for Maya to breathe.

Cat has given herself the role of protector of her younger sister and as the festival of Dia De Lost Meurtos draws closer, the two sisters each confront the idea of death in very different ways. Ghosts is really a story about connection to family. All of Raina Telegemeier’s books can be put in this list of best graphic novels of all time!

Realistic Fiction Books for Tweens

to Night Owl from Dogfish

To Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer

This tween book came so highly recommended that I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But, I loved it. Is it about two girls who could not be more different whose fathers fall in love and send them to camp together so they can meet before they all become a family.

It is told through emails sent back and forth between the girls, family, and friends as well. It is so well written and is ultimately a story about friendship and unconditional love. This middle grade book deals with really complicated issues like what makes a family in a completely approachable way. It is this reason that this book is found on our Book Lists for 13-Year-Olds.

Kelly Yang 1

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

This recently banned book tells the story of Mia and her family who are immigrants from China. Mia’s struggles to be successful in America are met with the divide between classes in her school, the racism she faces, and her family’s quest to make ends meet.

Why We Love This Book: I loved learning from Mia and watching her problem-solve to help her family as they took over caring for the Calivista Motel. If you are looking for realistic fiction middle grade books that skew a little younger, check out this realistic fiction book.
Appropriate for ages 9-11
Find this book in
Coming-of-Age Books / Books for 10-year-olds / Audiobooks for Kids / Hotel Novels / Books about Poverty and It’s Impact

song for a whale

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

This coming-of-age story is about a deaf girl who is struggling to connect with her community and a whale named Blue 52 who can’t find his ocean community either. She sets out to connect with Blue 52 and along the way she finds her inner strength beautifully.

Why We Love This Book: This was one of the realistic fiction audiobooks for tweens I listened to with my kids and we all just adored it. I had tears streaming down my face at the end.
Appropriate for ages 9-12
Find this book in
Books for 10-year-olds / Audiobooks for Kids / Realistic Fiction / Coming-of-Age Novels / Animal Books for Kids

The Vanderbeekers of 141st

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

This charming story is about a bi-racial family in Harlem with 5 kids who are about to lose their home because their reclusive landlord won’t renew their lease.⁣

My entire family enjoyed this delightful tale of the siblings trying to win their landlord over so they don’t have to leave home. It was full of all the antics you would expect of a big family. ⁣

Why We Love This Book: We love that the Vanderbeekers’ story normalizes city living and a bi-racial family – something that’s hard to find in many children’s book series. You will fall in love with this cast of characters and as the series progresses you’ll come to regard them as family.
Appropriate for ages 7-11
Find this book in
Best Books for a 10-Year-Old / Best Family Audiobooks For Road Trips / Read Aloud Books / Realistic Fiction Books / Feel-Good Books

Audiobooks for Tweens

Hello Universe

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

This realistic fiction book for a 13-year-old was a Newberry Award winner for a reason. It gave the mom in me a bit of an anxiety attack when one of the characters fell down the well, but all’s well that ends well.

This tween book is a read that I’d recommend for all ages. In particular, I liked how it addressed bullying, being different, and overcoming shyness.

The Parker Inheritance and more middle grade mystery books

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The Parker Inheritance was such a fun listen! It reminded me of The Westing Game, which it references frequently and was clearly a source of inspiration in the best way.

Two new friends, both overcoming personal struggles, end up on a hunt to find a hidden fortune in the town of Lambert, South Carolina. Along the way, they encounter the racist past of the city and learned how the deep-rooted racism impacted Lambert long-term.

I loved the modern twist and more thought-provoking spin on the classic book trope of The Westing Game. It’s a must-listen and one of my favorite audiobooks for tweens!


Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

It is ultimately a beautiful story of love, friendship, and kindness.  It is all told from the perspective of the tree. 

Trees can talk, didn’t you know?  After a few hundred years, the tree decides to intervene in the lives of those the sees every day. This is a great tween book about welcoming immigrants and making a new friend.


Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

The story is three tales woven together in one with a magical harmonica at the center. The story follows a harmonica as it lands in the hands of Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California.

Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this is one story that is amazing for middle grade and adults alike. Each child has their own adventure but the end brings the three stories together in a beautiful way.

Why We Love This Book: I listened to this feel-good book and it blew me away. The full-cast audiobook plays music so it is a full sensory experience. In our opinion, this story is best in audiobook format. 
Appropriate for ages 10-12
Find this book in
World War II Books for Kids / Magical Realism Books / Books for 13-Year-Olds / Audiobooks for Kids / Novels About Music

sarah J Mass Header

The Best Family Audiobooks For Road Trips and Home Listening

For more audiobooks for tweens, check out this post.

Coming of Age Middle Grade Books

The Crossover and other books for a 10-year-old

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander has won many awards for his incredible proses. This tween novel, the first in a series, is no exception having won both the Newberry and The Coretta-Scott King Award.

The Crossover is all about Josh Bell a basketball-loving middle-schooler who also loves to rap. He learns to grow up in this coming-of-ask story about Josh, his twin, and his family.

This is one of the many tween books for a 12-year-old being adapted. Look for the book adaptation starring LeBron James coming to Disney+ soon!

The long way down and other books for a 12-year-old

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

This book for a 13-year-old takes place over the course of a 60-second elevator ride, 15-year-old Will is taking on his way to shoot his brother’s killer.

Visited by spirits at each level as he descends, he needs to decide if he should continue the cycle of street violence or let his brother’s death go unavenged. This moving book about grief is perfect for teens.

A kind of paradise

A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan

This is a best children’s book of 2019 for a reason. I read this as a read-aloud with both of my children (boys 6-8) even though it’s technically a middle grade book.

The story revolves around Jaime who, after doing something bad at school, is doing community service hours at the library for the summer. Jaime is reluctant to volunteer at first but quickly grows to love the staff and regulars at the library. I adored this charming tale and so did my kids. This is one of the books for 11-year-olds that adults will love too!

the miscalculations of lightning girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

My 3rd-grade math lover inhaled this tween book in 2 days. It’s all about a 12-year-old girl who was struck by lightning and became a math wiz.

She’s been homeschooled her whole life, but now her grandmother wants her to try to go to school just for one year. She has to make one friend, join one activity, and read one book that isn’t math related. Can she do it?

What age are middle grade books for?

Generally, the content and writing level of middle grade books is geared toward 9 to 13-year-olds. Children at this age are able to read independently and can understand the topics within a middle grade novel without struggling.

Can adults read middle grade books?

Of course! I adore listening to middle grade books as an adult. I listen to them in the car with my kids, and by myself if I’m interested in the premise. Just because a book is written for kids it doesn’t mean adults can’t also enjoy it!

What are your favorite middle grade books? Have you read any of these books for tweens?

For more middle grade books, check out our list of books for 10-year-old, 11-year-old, 12-year-old, or 13-year-old readers.

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