Summer Reading for Middle Grade

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Summer Reading for Middle Grade

Summer is in the air and one important tradition for summer is reading. Summer Reading is different from reading any other time of the year because it’s a time where you can read what you want, and not something because it’s assigned to you. I have compiled a list of some fantastic books perfect for middle school children. We are talking about the upper elementary school and middle school ages. Before you check out our Summer Reading Book List for Middle Grade, make sure to pin this post to your homeschool reading board.

Middle Grade Summer Reading Book List

Golden Girl

Afiyah has a problem stealing things, even when she tries hard not to. She’s often remorseful and returns the stolen items. But when her father is wrongfully arrested for embezzlement at the airport during a family trip, Afiyah is forced to strongly examine stealing habits — especially after she’s caught in the act. A touching, realistic coming-of-age story.

In The Beautiful Country

Living in 80s Taiwan with her mother, Ai Shi (Anna) eagerly anticipates moving to the beautiful country (the US) where her father moved a few months ago. But she’s in for a shock when they arrive at their cramped apartment. Stuck with a failing fast-food restaurant, Anna’s parents struggle to make ends meet. At school, she feels like an outsider since she can barely speak English. Is the beautiful country for them? A moving, poignant, and lyrical verse novel.

Abby In Between: Ready or Not!

Abby is growing up fast, and everything around her is changing. For one thing, she notices the homelessness issue in her community. Her body is changing, and deodorants and bras are strange and new. She doesn’t know if she can handle it without her best friend (who recently moved away). This young middle-grade novel is excellent for “in-between” kids ready to tackle a lengthier read.

Omar Rising

A companion novel to Amal Unbound, this book follows Amal’s friend Omar after he receives a scholarship to an elite boarding school. Omar is excited about the opportunity, but his joy deflates when he realizes the school’s system makes it almost impossible for him to succeed. Not only does he need better grades than everyone else, but he also has fewer opportunities and must do menial chores. Disappointment turns to anger, and Omar and his new friends work together to fight a broken system.

Front Desk

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

Red, White, and Whole

Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted—they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother or Amma. Although their names are linked—Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”—they are a universe apart.

Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick.

Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter if it means saving Amma’s life.

Honestly Elliott

Elliott has ADHD and loves to cook. He lives with his mom and regularly spends time with his dad and step-mom. He also wants to go to a cooking camp, and his dad refuses to pay for it. When Elliott gets the chance to execute a food-related pop-up as part of a school-wide entrepreneurial project, he sees it as a chance for redemption. Unfortunately, he’s paired with popular girl Maribel who can’t eat gluten and wants them to make yummy pies without gluten. A sweet, coming-of-age story.

New Kid

Seventh-grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?

This middle-grade graphic novel is an excellent choice for tween readers

Other Words For Home

Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before.

But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

Hello, Universe

In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball.

They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.

When You Trap a Tiger

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal–return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni’s health–Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice…and the courage to face a tiger.

El Deafo

Starting at a new school is scary, especially with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here, she’s different. She’s sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.
 
Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom but anywhere her teacher is in the school—in the hallway . . . in the teacher’s lounge . . . in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different . . . and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

When Stars are Scattered

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.

Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee.

Swim Team

Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees—until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.

With Etta’s training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake.

Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or have the Manatees swum their last lap—for good?

Different Kinds of Fruit

Rising sixth-grader Annabelle expects the new school year to be the same as ever. But when a new nonbinary student named Bailey moves to town, things change. A lot. For starters, Annabelle develops her first crush. When her parents are unhappy about her new friendship after finding out Bailey’s gender, Annabelle learns her dad is trans and her community is not exactly the warm and welcoming place she thought — and she decides to fight back.

Have you read any of these titles, what were your thoughts, and which was your favorite?

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