Suggested Summer Reading List: Middle School

By Jess Corinne and Erin Verticchio
June 3, 2022

Summer reading is imperative to maintaining learner momentum. Without it, your child could easily lose progress they gained last school year and enter the classroom feeling less successful and confident overall. As a parent of four little learners myself, I constantly struggle to inspire our children to read consistently throughout the summer.

In hopes of making summer reading as fun, engaging, meaningful and rewarding as possible, a few of our educational specialists have compiled a list of Learnfully’s favorite titles. We hope this summer reading list makes your lives easier as parents and ignites joy in your whole family!

Looking for an independent bookstore to secure your copy of a summer reading title? Take a look at this list of some of the best 18 independent book sellers across the U.S.

See a list of our favorite elementary school titles here.

Suggested Summer Reading List: Middle

Genre/Text Type
5-7Free LunchOgle, RexNonfiction, Memoir2019Rex Ogle tells his own story of growing up poor in a wealthy neighborhood and the complexities of navigating the 6th grade in this honest, and at times heartwrenching, exploration of povery and class in America.Coming of Age
5+One Crazy Summer (series) Williamson-Garcia, RitaFiction2010In One Crazy Summer, eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She’s had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined.History, Civil Rights, Coming of Age
6-7Sheets: Volume 1Thummler, BrennaFiction, Graphic Novel2018Marjorie Glatt feels invisible. At thirteen she is in charge of the family laundromat and has to find a way to balance her responsibilities at home and school. Wendell, on the other hand, is actually invisible – because he is a ghost who can only be seen while wearing a sheet. Sheets tells the story of how this unlikely duo are united by laundry and a desire to be seen.Identity, Friendship
6-8The Radium Girls: Young Readers’ Edition: The Scary But True Story of the Poison That Made People Glow in the DarkMoore, KateNonfiction2020The true story of hundreds of young women whose work painting watch dials with radium paint led to a serious and mysterious illness and put them at the center of a deadly corporate coverup. History, Fascinating People
6-8Hidden Figures Young Readers’ EditionShetterly, Margot LeeNonfiction2016Hidden Figures tells the story of how a team of black female mathematicians known as “human computers” allowed humankind to reach space. This is a revised edition of Margot Lee Shettery’s New York Times’ bestselling book that inspired the award-winning film by the same title. STEM, Space, Civil Rights, Fascinating People
6-8It’s Trevor Noah: Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers)Noah, TrevorNonfiction, Memoir2020This revised edition of Noah’s acclaimed memoir explores what life was like to grow up as a bi-racial child in apartheid South Africa.Fascinating People Human Rights
6-8Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost ChildhoodPaulsen, GaryNonfiction, Memoir2021Gary Paulsen, who is probably most famous for his novel Hatchet, describes his tumultuous upbringing and how a few key moments, choices, and people helped shape the person he would ultimately become.Social Emotional Development, Fascinating People
6-8The One Thing You’d SavePark, Linda SueNonfiction, Poetry Anthology2021Linda Sue Park captures the different responses middle school students give when asked the question If your house was on fire, what one thing would you save? Social Emotional Development
6-8In the Footsteps of Crazy HorseMarshall, JosephFiction2015Jimmy McClean is a member of the Lakota tribe. Over summer vacation, Jimmy’s grandfather, Nyles High Eagle, tells him the story of the heroic deeds of one of the greatest Lakota heroes, Crazy Horse. Family, Cultural Connections, Fascinating People
6-8Out of My MindDraper, Sharon M.Fiction2012Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory, which means she can remember everything she has ever experienced. She is easily the smartest kid in her school, but no one knows. In addition to her remarkable memory, Melody also has cerebal palsey. Unable to walk, talk, or write, Melody struggles to find a way to show everyone who she really is and what she is capable of.Social Emotional Development
6-8Planet Middle SchoolGrimes, NikkiFiction, Poetry2018Joylin Johnson’s life was going great…until it wasn’t. Middle school has thrown her whole life upside down and she now has to figure out how to navigate changing friendships, romantic relationships, and an evolving sense of self.Identity, Friendship
6-8Charlie Hernandez & The League of Shadows: Volume 1Calejo, RyanFiction, Fantasy2019Charlie’s abuela has been sharing the traditions, myths, and art of Latin America with him since he was in diapers. Although he dismissed many of these myths and legends as just fantasy, Charlie begins to experience some strange and sometimes eerie phenomena that cannot be explained – except by the lengends he now fears may actually be true.Cultural Connections, Family, Adventure
6-8The Witch Boy TrilogyOstertag, Molly KnoxFiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy2017In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.Family, Identity, Adventure
6-8ChunkyMercado, YehudiFiction, Graphic Novel2021Hudi, with the help of his imaginary friend and mascot, Chunky, struggles with self-acceptance and staying true to yourself when those around you want you to change.Friendship, Social Emotional Development, Identity
6-8Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending DoomVivat, BookiFiction, Graphic Novel2016An honest, funny, and charming look at what it means to be yourself when you don’t know who you are.Social Emotional Development, Identity
6-8Pie in the SkyLai, RemyFiction, Graphic Novel2019Jingwen has moved to a new country and started at a new school. Because he doesn’t speak English, Jingwen struggles to make connections and form new friendships, so he turns to his younger brother, Yanghao, for companionship. To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. Family, Cultural Connections
6+A Really Short History of Nearly EverythingBryson, BillNonfiction2009Beloved storyteller Bill Bryson tackles everything from the smallest atoms to the rise of civilizations in this approachable and entertaining exploration of (nearly) everything.History, Science
6+Girls Solve Everything: Stories of Women Entrepreneurs Building a Better WorldThimmesh, CatherineNonfiction2022An exploration of how solving big problems begins with asking the right questions.History, Fascinating People
6+Brown Girl DreamingWoodson, JacquelineNonfiction, Memoir2014Growing up, Jacqueline Woodson split her time between South Carolina in New York in the 1960s and 70s. Although she struggled with reading as a child, Woodson finds her voice through storytelling and poetry.History, Civil Rights, Coming of Age
6+I Am MalalaYousafzai, MalalaNonfiction, Memoir2015When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan they prohibited girls like Malala from attending school. Determined to receive the education she deserved, Malala’s defiance made her a target and she was shot at point-blank range while riding on the schoolbus. Her miraculous recovery and activism have earned her global recognition and accolades, including a Nobel Peace Prize.Fascinating People, Human Rights
6+Murder is Bad MannersStevens, RobinFiction, Mystery2016Daisy, a self-described Sherlock Holmes, parters with best friend Hazel to form their own secret detective agency. The problem? There is nothing to investigate…until Hazel stumbles upon a murder.Friendship
7-8How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest AdventureRocco, JohnNonfiction2022An illustrated guide to the people and technologies that paved the way for Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.STEM, Space
7+A Perfectionist’s Guide to Not Being PerfectZucker, BonnieNonfiction, Psychology2022This book is designed to help encourage teens to strive for greatness without perfection and understand the importance of letting go of all-or-nothing thinking.Social Emotional Development
7+Jurassic ParkCrichton, MichaelScience Fiction1990One of the most famous modern science fiction stories, Jurassic Park remains one of the most well-known science fiction-thrillers.STEM, Adventure
7+The Boys Who Challenged HitlerHoose, Philip M.Historical Fiction2015Ashamed of his nation’s leaders, fifteen-year-old Knud leads a team of teens to take action against the Nazis.History, Human Rights
7+Outrun the MoonLee, StaceyHistorical Fiction2017Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1906, Outrun the Moon tells the story of fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong as she tries to heal a community suffering from the aftermath of California’s most notorious earthquake.Cultural Connections, Family, Friendships
7+A Thousand Steps Into NightChee, TraciFiction, Fantasy2022When Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life.Adventure, Cultural Connections
7+The Theft of SunlightKhanani, IntisarFiction, Fantasy2021Children have been disappearing from across Menaiya for longer than Amraeya ni Ansarim can remember. When her friend’s sister is snatched, Rae knows she can’t look away any longer–even if that means seeking answers from the royal court, where her country upbringing and clubfoot will only invite ridicule.Identity, Adventure, Cultural Connections
8+Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseAlire Sáenz, BenjaminFiction2014Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. Identity, Friendship
8+Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled TeensNijkamp, MariekeFiction, Anthology2018This anthology explores disability in fictional tales told from the viewpoint of disabled characters, written by disabled creators. With stories in various genres about first loves, friendship, war, travel, and more, Unbroken offers a glimpse into the lives of disabled people in the past, present, and future.Relationships, Family, Social Emotional Development
8+FlygirlSmith, Sherri L.Historical Fiction2010Ida Mae Jones dreams of flying, but as a young black woman in Louisiana in the 1940s, she knows the sky is off-limits. However, circumstances change when the United States enters World War II and creates the WASP – Women Airforce Service Pilots. However, Ida will have to “pass” as white to join, leaving her torn between her desire to fulfill her dream and staying true to who she is.Family, Cultural Connections
8+Gods of Jade and ShadowMoreno-Garcia, SilviaFiction, Fantasy2020Inspired by Mexican mythology and the Jazz Age, Gods of Jade and Shadow is a modernist fantasy about a young woman who comes of age in a world of music, myth, and the battle between good and evil.Cultural Connections, Family, Adventure
8+The Language of SpellsWeyr, GarretFiction, Fantasy2018Grisha, a dragon, and Maggie, an unusual child, are an unlikely duo. Together they are determined to solve one of the darkest mysteries of Vienna: What happened to all the dragons?Friendship, Adventure
8+BoneSmith, JeffFiction, Graphic Novel Anthology1991-2004This epic adventure features the Bone cousins: Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone. When these three misfits are chased out of Boneville they find themselves on a journey through deserts and forests inhabited by creatures both wonderful and terrifying.Adventure
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