Finding the Right Book

A classroom of middle graders has a much variation as a basketful of fruit.  Some students are shy, some crave the spotlight.  Some are in the grips of puberty, while some are still hormonally inert. Some are still curling up with their parents at night, others have already been thrust into the role of caregiver, and still others are doing both. And, of course, some love to read and some… don’t.

It’s not surprising, then, that different kids will be drawn to different books.  Just like different adults are drawn to different books… only more so.  And yet, this is an age where only the most basic lines tend to be drawn (this is a boy book and this is a girl book) and generalizations predominate.  As parents, we can help encourage our children to read by helping them find the books of interest to them.  Not necessarily the books their friends are reading.  And not necessarily the books the teacher has decided they have to read.

To help you find the right book for your reader, we’ve provided a few different categories of book lists and links to web articles below. You can find more by visiting the Mixed-Up Files middle-grade book list page.. But don’t limit yourself to categories and lists!  A good librarian or bookseller can find the perfect book for your child based on their age, reading level, and topics of interests. So don’t be shy – ask!

Reluctant readers

Advice for Helping Children Who Can Read, but Don’t

Jon Scieszka on getting kids to read

Books to read aloud with your kids

RELUCTANT READERS: Our kid experts put in their two cents

HI-LO BOOKS: High Interest, Low Level books for older readers

I JUST WANT HER TO READ SOMETHING!: Learn how ”-ology” books attract reluctant and distracted readers

Advanced readers

Finding Age-Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

Books in the Home: Reading Up

BIG KID BOOKS IN THE MIDDLE GRADE SECTION: Great picks for the younger MG reader

CLEVER BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS: A few good books for young mystery fans!

The varied reader

Eight Reasons to Let Your Kids Read Comics  


DARK HUMOR: A different brand of humor

BIG STORIES IN SMALL PACKAGES: Choosing a novel in verse

SPINE-TINGLING READS: Spooky stories just right for Halloween night

The history buff

MYTH CONCEPTION: New spins on old mythological stories and characters

BIOGRAPHIES: Before They Were Famous

CLASSIC TALES RETOLD: For a new spin on an old classic fairy or folk tale…

IN PRAISE OF HISTORICAL FICTION: Including suggestions from readers!

A TASTE OF TITANIC: A few books to get you started

The scientist

SCIENCY FICTION: Novels with real science built in

S.T.E.M. BOOKS: Making Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fun!

The animal lover

DRAGONS: A Magical Treat

HOORAY FOR MICE: A “Mischief” of Mice Stories! 

HORSE BOOKS: For your ‘horsie’ kid

MONKEYING AROUND: Books about Monkeys, for your monkeys

NO DEAD DOGS: Middle grade books in which devoted canine companions survive and thrive!

The art lover

ART AND LETTERS: Books inspired by works of art

The movie lover

Books to movies the whole family can enjoy

The traveller

ROAD TRIP!!: Eye-opening journeys

WORLDS APART: Books that take place on faraway islands