Middle Grade

Click on the arrow โ–ถ๏ธ to read more about a title. Books marked with a ๐ŸŽง include (highly recommended) audio recordings. Books marked with a ๐Ÿ‘‘ indicate a Christian author.

โš”๏ธ Fantasy โš”๏ธ

Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted

Ella is cursed: anything someone tells her to do, she has to do it. Which makes life pretty miserable when she’s stuck with a step-mother and two step-sisters who hate her. But then comes a young man named Char, and Ella wonders if breaking her curse is possible after all. (A Cinderella retelling.)
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Levine, Gail Carson. Fairest

Aza isn’t exactly what you’d call beautiful, unless you count her voice. Literally magical, Aza’s voice sets her apart from everyone else, attracting the attentions of a young man and the threats of the evil queen. (A Snow White retelling.)
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Levine, Gail Carson. The Two Princesses of Bamarre.

Meryl is the adventurous sister, not Addie. But when Meryl falls ill, it’s up to twelve-year-old Addie to save her. Armed with a collection magical gifts, Addie sets out to find her courage and save her sister.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Lewis, C. S. The Chronicles of Narnia. ๐ŸŽง๐Ÿ‘‘

The four Pevensie children–Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy–expect nothing but boredom when they’re sent to the English countryside to escape the bombs in London. But then they discover a magical wardrobe, and their entire world changes.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

McGraw, Eloise. The Moorchild.

Saaski knows she’s different–and everyone else knows it too. But she doesn’t know exactly what sets her apart fromย  her moorland village until she learns why the village fears the moor. Then she has to decide where she really fits in.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Rowling, J. K. The Harry Potter series. ๐ŸŽง

When eleven-year-old Harry Potter is invited to the wizard school Hogwarts, he has no idea how much his life will change–and how much he will have to sacrifice for the fight against evil.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Riordan, Rick. The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. ๐ŸŽง

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson can’t fit in anywhere–until he learns the truth of who he really is and the danger he’s in. Armed with this knowledge and a ballpoint sword, Percy sets out to defend himself, his friends, and the only place he can truly be safe.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 4.5/5 (small amount of mild language)

๐Ÿ€ Animal Fiction ๐Ÿ€

Burgess, Thornton W.ย ย Old Mother West Wind and theย Adventuresย series.

The Green Forest is full of adventures and lessons as all the resident animals–from Reddy the Fox to Lightfoot the Deer–tell their own stories.

Hunter, Erin. The Warriors series.

He was born a kittypet–inside the nests of the strange Twolegs. But something inside him yearns for the forest beyond, and he escapes to join a clan of wild cats. Firepaw must train hard if he is to become the warrior who will save all the clans.
Story: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Clean: 5/5

Milne, A. A. The Winnie the Pooh series.

Follow the adventures of Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, and their other companions through the imaginative expanse of the Hundred-Acre Wood.

O’Brien, Robert C. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

Mrs. Frisby needs to move her family of mice, but her son Timothy is too sick to leave. Her only hope for survival lies with the mysterious rats of NIMH.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty.

Black Beauty has a very good home, but then his situation changes and he experiences firsthand the variety of human interaction in 19th-century London.

White, E. B. Charlotte’s Web.

Wilbur wasn’t supposed to live. The runt of the litter, he was saved by the farmer’s daughter, Fern. Now he wonders if he holds any worth–until he meets the little black spider named Charlotte.

White, E.B. Trumpet of the Swan.

Louis is a trumpeter swan. He’s supposed to trumpet. But he can’t. He despairs of ever being like his siblings–or winning the attention of the beautiful Serena–until his father gives him a special gift.

๐Ÿ“œ Historical Fiction ๐Ÿ“œ

The American Girl series.

Each of these stories shows, through character journey and historical fact, what it means to be a American girl, no matter the culture, setting, or era. (My favorites: Josefina and Kaya.)

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden.

When Mary Lennox loses both her parents to cholera in India, she is sent to live with her uncle in Victorian England. At first she despises the change and her surroundings, but then she finds a secret garden that changes everything.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. A Little Princess.

Sara Crewe has everything: money, fine clothes, a high standing in her school, and a doting father. But then her father dies, and she is forced to work during the day and sleep in the attic by night. She isn’t without friends, however, and these friends help her realize you don’t have to have everything to be a princess.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

The Dear America series.

First-person historical fiction following both boys and girls through all eras of American history.

Duey, Kathleen.ย The Hoofbeats: Lara and the Gray Mare series.

Lara is only nine years old when a gray mare gives birth near her village in medieval Ireland. But the mare doesn’t survive, and Lara promises to keep and take care of the newborn filly. She just doesn’t know what she might have to pay to keep her promise.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Duey, Kathleen. The Hoofbeats: Katie and the Mustang series.

Nine-year-old orphan Katie dreams of going West to find her Uncle Jack. Then she meets and falls in love with a wild mustang, and she wonders if both her dreams could come true: find her Uncle Jack and keep the mustang.

Henry, Marguerite. Justin Morgan Had a Horse.

The schoolmaster Justin Morgan is given two colts to settle a debt. But it’s his young pupil, Joel Goss, who tends to them and falls in love with the smaller one, Little Bub. They return home to colonial New England, where they soon recognize the legacy Little Bub has to offer: the legacy of the Morgan horse.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Henry, Marguerite. King of the Wind.

Agba the horseboy is present in the sultan’s stables when the foal is born–a foal with the mark of speed upon his heel and the mark of ill fortune upon his chest. Agba names the foal Sham, after the sun, and determines to help the foal realize his destiny: that of the great Godolphin Arabian.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Henry, Marguerite. The Misty of Chincoteage series.

Paul and Maureen Beebee will do anything to catch the famous Chincoteague pony Phantom. But when they finally find the mare–and the mist-colored filly with her–they realize Phantom isn’t the pony meant for them.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Marlow, Susan K. The Andrea Carter series.๐Ÿ‘‘

Twelve-year-old Andi Carter wishes she could spend all day riding her palomino mare, Taffy, around their California ranch. So when her oldest brother bosses her one too many times, she runs away to do just that. But then an encounter with a stranger leaves her alone and injured, and Andi realizes home might not be so bad after all–if only she could get there.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Marlow, Susan K. The Goldtown Adventures series. ๐Ÿ‘‘

The Gold Rush has ended, and the mining town of Goldtown, California, needs a sheriff to keep the peace. Twelve-year-old Jem Coulter just never expected his pa to be that first sheriff. Then strange things start happening around the town, and Jem and his sister decide to do some investigating of their own.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

MacLachlan, Patricia.ย The Sarah, Plain and Tall series.

Sarah comes on the train, venturing from the coast of Maine to answer Jacob Witting’s advertisement for a woman to help raise his children, Anna and Caleb, on his prairie farm. The children wonder if Sarah will stay–if she will exchange her ocean for the plains and become their mother.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

The Royal Diaries series.

Historical fiction based on the lives of female rulers through world history. (My favorites: Cleopatra and Mary, Queen of Scots.)

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. The Little House on the Praire series.

Life is difficult in the Wisconsin wilderness during the late 1800s. But the Ingalls family stands up to the challenge with the same courage and loyalty that eventually takes them West to a new home on the frontier.

๐Ÿ™ Contemporary/Other Fictionย ๐Ÿ™

Aaseng, Nathan. The Grubstake Adventures series.๐Ÿ‘‘

No week is the same at Christian Camp Grubstake. With counselors like the friendly Poke, the enormous Red Dog, and the pirate-wannabe Stubblehead Chad, campers will learn lessons, ask tough questions, and build relationships as they navigate the challenges of summer camp.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Baglio, Ben M. The Animal Ark series.

Mandy Hope loves animals, and not just because her parents are the Welford vets. So when an animal shows up in need of rescue, treatment, a home, or just some love, Mandy and her friends jump in to help.

Clement, Andrew. Frindle.ย ๐ŸŽง

What does it take to make a word? Nick Allen finds out when a simple joke in school turns into a nationwide phenomenon.

DeJong, Meindart. The Wheel on the School.

The storks no longer come to the Dutch village of Shora. Lina, one of the local students, wonders why, and soon she and all her classmates are busy trying to make the village a place where the storks can nest again.

Dicamillo, Kate. Because of Winn-Dixie.

Opal Buloni, the preacher’s daughter, doesn’t have any friends. They’ve just moved to Naomi, Florida, and she has no one to keep her company. Until she meets a stray mutt who opens the door to a town full of friends.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Farley, Walter. The Black Stallion.

Traveling home aboard a steamship, Alec Ramsay never expected to meet a wild black stallion. Then the ship sinks in a storm, and Alec and the stallion are the only survivors washed up on a small island. In the weeks that follow, they must learn to trust each other if they are to survive their new environment.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Grabenstein, Chris.ย  The Mr. Lemoncello’s Library trilogy.

Twelve-year-old Kyle Keeley loves games. Any kind of game. Especially Lemoncello games. So when the chance comes to be part of Lemoncello Library’s opening party, he’s determined to get in–and win by being the first to get out.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

London, Alexander C. Semper Fido.

Gus Dempsey has always dreamed of joining the Marines. So when he finishes high school, he enlists and becomes an IDD (IED Detector Dog) handler. Partnered with a playful black lab named Loki, Gus heads overseas to join the war in Afghanistan.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 4/5 (a few H-words, a few mildly crude references)

MacDonald, Betsy. The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series.

All the children love Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle–she lives in an upside-down house and bakes the best cookies and, supposedly, still has her husband’s pirate treasure buried in the backyard. So when a child comes down with a bad habit–from tattling to bullying to daydreaming–it’s Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle the parents call. The cure isn’t always conventional, but it always works.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Matlin, Marlee. Deaf Child Crossing and Nobody’s Perfect.

Ten-year-old Megan is deaf. Cindy, the new girl in the neighborhood, isn’t, but the two girls become close friends anyway–until summer camp threatens to pull them apart and shows them the true meaning of friendship.

Paterson, Katherine. Bridge to Terabithia.

Jess Aarons wants to be the fastest runner in fifth grade. But on the first day of school, he loses to the new girl who just moved in across the street from his farm. Jess has to decide if they’re going to be friends–and how much he’s willing to learn.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 4/5 (some mild D-words and frequent “Lord”s)

Sachar, Louis. Holes.

Stanley Yelnats is cursed. His whole family is cursed. So maybe it’s no surprise when he’s blamed for the theft of some famous sneakers and shipped to Camp Green Lake to serve his sentence. Except there’s no lake–or anything green–at Camp Green Lake, just a lot of holes that the Warden wants dug. Stanley suspects there’s something more going on and determines to find out what–and perhaps break the family curse in the process.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society series.

An advertisement is calling for gifted children. Reynie answers the ad and takes a series of test, making friends with Kate, Sticky, and Constance in the process. Together these children are taken to meet the strange Mr. Benedict, who gives them an important assignment that will require all their skills and teamwork.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5

๐Ÿ”Ž Mystery ๐Ÿ”Ž

Lawrence, Caroline. The Roman Mysteries series.

Flavia and her friends Jonathan, Nubia, and Lupus work together to solve mysteries and escape danger in Ancient Rome.

Sobol, Donald J. The Encyclopedia Brown series.

He has a brain like an encyclopedia. So when something goes wrong in the neighborhood, young Encyclopedia Brown is the boy they ask for help.

Warner, Gertrude Chandler. The Boxcar Children series.

The Alden children–Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny–don’t want to live with their grandfather. So they run away and live in a boxcar instead. They survive on their own until Violet gets sick, when the children must trust a stranger in order to save their sister.

๐Ÿ“ Non-Fiction ๐Ÿ“

North, Sterling. Rascal.

Young Sterling North is in for an adventure when he brings a baby raccoon back to his family’s home in rural Wisconsin.
Story: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Clean: 5/5