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100+ Books for Middle-Schoolers

September, 2017
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As a librarian, I am often asked, “What books should my child(ren) be reading?” My first response (and correct response) is whatever they want to read.  But I do recognize the need to narrow the search.  In our digital society, there are lists for everything….from vacation spots you want to travel to lowest prices on shoes.  And when it comes to books, there are lists galore!  So how do parents know what the right list is? Hopefully, parents will have access to a good library system and wise librarian.  I have compiled a list of books (and "genre’ized" them) that will help students prepare for High School.  Some of these books may deal with historical topics that they are likely to encounter like the Vietnam War or famine in Africa. Other books may prepare students for studies of classical literature like The Crucible by reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond

barbara-boyer1In no way would I expect a student to read all these books in a year and no do I think these are the only books a student should read. It is a start. 

100+ Books that all Middle School students should have read before they get to High School…according to Mrs. Boyer and a few others.  These books are in no particular order at this time. 


I have decided to put a genre tag to them as well, so that you have an idea of what the book is about. Also, all of these books can be found in the Shanghai American School libraries. 

HF-Historical Fiction 
SF-Science Fiction 
ADV-Adventure, Survival 
RF- Real Life Fiction 

1.     Outbreak by Bryn Barnard-NF 

2.     Dangerous Planet by Bryn Barnard-NF 

3.     The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba-NF 

4.     Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-li Jiang-BIO 

5.     Revolution is Not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine- HF 

6.     Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys,HF 

7.     Little House on the Praire by Laura Ingalls Wilder, HF 

8.     The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander,F 

9.     Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, ADV 

10. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, F 

11. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, F 

12. The Giver by Lois Lowry, SF 

13. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, HF 

14. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry..and the whole Trilogy by Mildred D. Taylor, HF 

15. Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt, RF 

16. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, MYS 

17. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryric Brink, HF 

18. The Complete Grimm’s Fairytales 

19. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, HF 

20. My Antonia by Willa Cather, HF 

21. Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman, HF 

22. Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah, BIO 

23. Dragonwings by Laurence Yep, HF 

24. Homesickness by Jean Fritz *She went to SAS, HF 

25. My Side of  the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, ADV 

26. Love that Dog by Sharon Creech, RF 

27. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson *ever book-She went to SAS, RF 

28. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, SF 

29. Little Women or Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, HF 

30. Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck, HF 

31. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, HF 

32. The Great Fire by Jim Murphy* NF 

33. Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong *nonfiction 

34. Legend of the Wandering King by Laura Gallego Garcia, HF, F 

35. Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine, HF 

36. Sounder by William Armstrong, HF 

37. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, HF 

38. The Door in the Wall by MarGuerite De AAngelina, HF 

39. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley, HF 

40. King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry, HF 

41. Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London, ADV, HF 

42. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, F 

43. Poetry by Robert Frost 

44. Poetry by Emily Dickinson 

45. Poetry by Edgar Allan Poe 

46. Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson, BIO 

47. My Own Two Feet, a Memoir by Beverly Cleary, BIO 

48. Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson 

49. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, F 

50. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett, HF 

51. Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars, RF 

52. Year of the Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyul Choi, HF 

53. The Report Card by Andrew Clements, RF 

54. Crazy Lady by Jane Leslie Conly, RF 

55. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, RF 

56. Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, HF 

57. The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis, HF 

58. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, F 

59. The House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert Dejong, HF 

60. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, MYS, HF 

61. A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer, HF 

62. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, MYS 

63. Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice) by John Flannagan, F 

64. Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, RF 

65. Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher, F 

66. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox, HF 

67. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, F 

68. Joey Pigza Swallows The Key by Jack Gantos, RF 

69. Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, HF 

70. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, HF 

71. Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Riley Giff, HF 

72. Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Riley Giff, RF 

73. Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix, SF 

74. Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, F 

75. Wait till Helen Comes Mary Downing Hahn, GHOST 

76. The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton, HF 

77. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, ADV 

78. The Stone Goddess by Minfong Ho, HF 

79. Jason’s Gold by Will Hobbs, HF 

80. Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm, HF 

81. My Louisiana Sky by Kimberly Willis Holt, HF 

82. When Zachary Beaver Comes To Town by Kimberly Willis Holt, HF 

83. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, HF 

84. The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, F 

85. Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson, HF, ADV 

86. Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques, F 

87. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, F, HF 

88. View From Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg, RF 

89. No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman, RF 

90. The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence, HF 

91. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, F 

92. Dave At Night by Gail Carson Levine, HF 

93. The Art of Keeping Cool by Janet Taylor Lisle, HF 

94. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, HF 

95. Gold Dust by Chris Lynch, HF 

96. Heroes Don’t Run by Harry Mazer, HF 

97. The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean 

98. Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay, RF 

99. Beware Princess Elizabeth by Caroline Meyer, MYS, HF 

100.                 Petey by Ben Mikaelsen, HF 

101.                 Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, HF 

102.                 Shizuko’s Daughter by Kyoko Mori, HF 

103.                 Monster by Walter Dean Myers, RF 

104.                 The Black Pearl by Scott O’Dell, HF 

105.                 Eragon Christopher Paolini, F 

106.                 When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park, HF 

107.                 Single Shard by Linda Sue Park, HF 

108.                 Bread and Roses by Katherine Paterson, HF 

109.                 Lydie by Katherine Paterson, HF 

110.                 Jip, His Story by Katherine Paterson, HF 

111.                 A Year Down Yonder and Fair Weather by Richard Peck, HF 

112.                 Riding the Flume by Patricia Curtis Pfitsch, HF 

113.                 Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, RF 

114.                 Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, F 

115.                 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, F 

116.                 Mine Eyes Have Seen by Ann Rinaldi, HF 

117.                 Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy, HF 

118.                 The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan, HF 

119.                 Holes by Louis Sachar, ADV 

120.                 The Inventions of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, MYS 

121.                 Loser by Jerry Spinelli, RF 

122.                 The Cay by Theodore Taylor, HF 

123.                 Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt, HF 

124.                 Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan, HF 

125.                 Jesse by Gary Soto, HF 

126.                 Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, HF 

127.                 Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli, RF 

128.                 The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John, ADV 

129.                 Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley, F 

130.                 Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples, HF 

131.                 The Red Pony by John Steinbeck, HF 

132.                 Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stephenson, ADV 

133.                 Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan, RF 

134.                 Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, HF 

135.                 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, F 

136.                 Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, RF 

137.                 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Vernes, SF 

138.                 So B. It by Sarah Weeks, RF 

139.                 Chu Ju’s House By Gloria Whelan, HF 

140.                 Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan, HF 

141.                 Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White, HF 

142.                 After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson, RF 

143.                 Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss, ADV 

144.                 Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, ADV 

145.                 Hiroshima by Laurence Yep, HF 

146.                 The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, HF 

147.                 Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell 

148.                 Countdown, by Deborah Wiles 

149.                 Arm of the Starfish, by Madeline L’Engle 

150.                 Earthling!, by Mark Fearing (graphic novel) 

151.                 The Creature from the 7th Grade, by Bob Balaban 

152.                 Two or Three Things I Forgot To Tell You, by Joyce Carol Oates 

153.                 Before You Go, by James Preller 

154.                 Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (graphic novel) 

155.                 Planet Tad, by Tim Carvell 

156.                 Never Fall Down, by Patricia McCormick 

157.                 The Grils of No Return, by Erin Saklin 

158.                 The List, by Siobhan Vivian 

159.                 BOY21 by Matthew Quick 

160.                 Epic Fail, by Claire LaZebnik 

161.                 Falling for Hamlet, by Michelle Ray 

162.                 Benjamin Zephaniah – Face 

163.                 Morris Gleitzman – Once/ Then/ Now 

164.                 Chinese Cinderella – Adeline Yen mah 

165.                 Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry by Mildred D. Taylor 

166.                 Patrick Ness – anything/ Chaos Walking trilogy 

167.                 The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo 

168.                 Read all Newbery Winners! 


BY Barbara Boyer,

Middle School Librarian, Shanghai American School, Pudong Campus

The list can be found digitally at https://boyerbookends.wordpress.com/100-books-for-middle-schoolers/

Contact the writer at barbara.boyer.sas@gmail.com   

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