10 Books for Your Middle Schooler to Encourage a Love of Literature

Middle school is a tough time for all children. It is an awkward period of pre-teen adolescence that, let’s face it, has even been given an awkward name: the tween years. Pimples, periods, pot, and trying to fit in with your very broadly developing peers encompasses the three years that as parents we fear most. Unfortunately some of the decisions made during these years can make or break your child when it comes to self-esteem, self-confidence, and the ability to withstand peer pressure.


As a parent, having the knowledge, confidence, and ability to be there, be involved, and lead your child in the right direction is a huge component. Your kids are reaching for their freedom, but still young enough for you to direct them appropriately. During the turmoil of middle school, one thing all “tweens” need is an escape. They need an escape from the everyday reality of cliques, bullies, and social meanness that will be a big part of their fragile lives. So, give them a book. Give them a quiet place where they can get away from the reality of their everyday and enter a fascinating (and educational) time other than the mundane. Keep them safe, keep them off social media, and let them learn some important life lessons that might just make their “middle-school drama” seem a bit less important.

Here are 10 Books Your Middle-School Child Should Read

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry
 This dystopian novel is a perfect introduction for middle-school age children to the ideas and principles of seemingly utopian societies. As the main character, 12-year-old Jonas has been raised in this emotionless world where everyone gets along because everything is the same. When the novel begins, Jonas is awaiting his life assignment, something assigned to children of a certain age by the elders within the society. There is no death (at least as we perceive death), hunger, or devastation in this society because there are also no feelings, emotions, or competition. After Jonas is assigned his position as the Receiver of Memory, things begin to change because he is given access to the memories or experiences of life before the time of this society. This also leads to feelings that Jonas does not do well trying to contain. By the end of the tale, Jonas has rescued an infant and is running from the only way of life he has ever known trying to escape this bleak, colorless mind-controlled society.

2. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

3. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
 This classic American children’s novel will not only move your child to tears, but teach him or her serious lessons in loyalty and responsibility. An enthralling tale about a boy and his dogs, your tween will not be able to put this book down until the very end. Your child will get caught up in the intriguing adventures of Billy as he buys, raises, and trains his pups Old Dan and Little Ann who go on to demonstrate how intelligent, loving, obedient, and loyal our furry friends really are. This age-old tale of love and loss is not one to be missed as the story will evoke an emotional response in even the surliest of tweens.

4. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

5. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

6. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
 A science fiction classic for kids, this story will take its readers on a magical journey into a world of science, fantasy, and reality where lines are blurred and the distinction between real and unreal is difficult to grasp. Full of characters exemplifying both good and evil, the moral to the story is that love wins the day. The fantastical adventure embarked upon by the main character Meg while in the company of her 5-year-old telepathic, genius brother and a few others will keep your child intrigued to the daring rescue at the very end. With insights to quantum physics, a battle across the universe, extraterrestrial beings, and the introduction to several characters with psychic abilities, your child is sure to love this imaginative story highlighting lessons in morality and responsibility.

7. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

8. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

9. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
 A story of adventure, self-sufficiency, and survival, Hatchet is a great read for children immersed in the mundane of social media and technology. This tale of a 13-year-old boy’s survival in the woods after a plane crash teaches life lessons about what is really important and how to overcome even the most daunting challenges and obstacles life throws your way. All about courage and exploration, this story will inspire your tweens to look at the bigger picture, reject the self-pity and disdain so prevalent in this age group, and dig deep to transform themselves into kinder, more confident kids.

10. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell


Allow your child to escape the pressures of the middle-school social scene and just be an enthralled and intrigued child for a little bit longer. These classic tales are not like the newer books of drama and taboos for tweens, but the kids get enough of that at school. Let your child read something that makes life a bit less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.

For some insight into what your middle-school age child is thinking, check out What Your Tween Wants You to Know during this tough, transitional time.

Photo Credits: Pixabay

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Kristin Depaula

Kristin is a native Floridian who loves warm weather and sunshine but owns too many scarves and boots. She lives at the World's Most Famous Beach with her husband, 3 boys and enough animals both warm and cold blooded to make up a zoo. She is a practicing attorney who spends her days working with at-risk and delinquent youth and her nights being a Montessori Mama to her independent, strong willed little humans. On the weekends you can find her at soccer games, chasing her boys at the Beach or cooking for her husband who suffers from Crohn's disease but is healing with a healthy diet. In her free time, Kristin loves reading and laying by the pool.

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