Five Books for Middle-Grade Music Lovers

If you like music and you like middle-grade books, what should you do? Well, the following five books would be a good place to start:

Hiding Out at the Pancake PalaceHiding Out at the Pancake Palace by Nan Marino

Eleven-year-old Elvis Ruby was a musical prodigy expected to be crowned the next winner of Tween Star. Then he froze on national TV. Now, he’s in hiding.

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Ten-year-old Zoe Elias dreams of having a baby grand piano and playing in Carnegie Hall. What she gets is a Perfectone D-60 that comes with free organ lessons and a golden oldies songbook.

The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Thirteen-year-old Moxie Roosevelt Kipper is tired of being ordinary, and she views her arrival at boarding school as the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself, trying to hide her piano-playing talent in the process.

The Brilliant World of Tom GatesThe Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

When a fifth grader has his own band called Dog Zombies, you know you’re in for some laughs. (A great book for Diary of a Wimpy Kid lovers.)

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato

Okay. I confess. This book falls into the YA category. But I liked it too much not to include it. Straight-A classical cellist has to share a school music room with trouble-making guitarist. Told through a blend of narrative, notes, songs, and texts.

Have you read a good middle-grade with a harmonica-playing grandpa or a trumpet-toting 10-year-old? A young girl with the voice of an angel? Some other connection to the world of music? Feel free to post the title of a music-based middle-grade that fits with this list!

T. P. Jagger The 3-Minute Writing TeacherAlong with his MUF posts, T. P. Jagger can be found at, where he provides brief how-to writing-tip videos as The 3-Minute Writing Teacher plus original readers’ theatre scripts for middle-grade teachers. He also has a 10-lesson, video-based creative writing course available at

T. P. Jagger on PinterestT. P. Jagger on Youtube
T. P. Jagger
Along with his MUF posts, T. P. Jagger can be found at, where he provides brief how-to writing-tip videos as The 3-Minute Writing Teacher plus original, free readers’ theater scripts for middle-grade classrooms. For T. P.’s 10-lesson, video-based creative writing course, check him out on
  1. Thank you so much for including my book in this discussion. I love this blog and how it celebrates middle grade books. Rosanne, I’m putting your book Second Fiddle on my to read list.

  2. I’m a big fan of Virginia Euwer Wolff’s Mozart Season and since Virginia is a friend I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her play a number of times. She is an accomplished chamber player herself. And she was very helpful when I was researching my own MG music book Second Fiddle, which is about 3 girl musicians who have a grand adventure in Berlin and Paris.

  3. A book that comes to mind for me is THE MOZART SEASON, by Virginia Euwer Wolff. I’m not a huge classical music fan, but this book made me appreciate it more. It’s a slower, more contemplative story about a 12 year old violinist preparing for a competition. Probably best for upper MG readers. I put the books on your list on my to-read list– thanks!

  4. I thought of another book I could have included on this list. An oldie but goodie: YANG THE YOUNGEST AND HIS TERRIBLE EAR by Lensey Namioka.

  5. <3 Nan! I totally still have to read this one. Off to flip through the first chapter now… 🙂 Thanks so much for the reminder.

  6. I Heart Band by Michelle Schusterman and Genevieve Kote is a very good MG music book.