5 Cool Middle-Grade Tales for Hot July

  • By Mary Daisey Shockley
  • July 6, 2016

Make summertime story time with these fun new titles

5 Cool Middle-Grade Tales for Hot July

The World Beneath
By Janice Warman
Recommended for ages 12-14
This fictional (but based on true events) story, which introduces readers to South Africa’s anti-apartheid struggle, is great for parents and kids alike. Joshua, an 11-year-old boy who lives in the maid’s room with his mother, quickly matures as he learns the world around him is in chaos. When he chooses to help an injured stranger, he begins to understand that even as a child he can make a difference.

Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans!
By Gary Northfield
Recommended for ages 7-10

This quirky, humorous book is part graphic novel, which makes it ideal for reluctant readers. There are great cartoon images to keep kids engaged in the tale of a zebra named Julius who finds himself battling gladiators in ancient Rome. Laugh along to see how the final showdown ends.


The Girl Who Drank the Moon
By Kelly Barnhill
Recommended for ages 10 and up

The misunderstood witch, Xan, feeds moonlight to an abandoned baby, thus giving the infant magical powers. Xan raises the girl, appropriately named Luna, but finds handling her magic overwhelming. To protect them both, Xan puts a spell on Luna that will release her magic when she turns 13. What happens on her birthday, though, will forever change the world.

Mango & Bambang: The Not-a-Pig
By Polly Faber (author) and Clara Vulliamy (illustrator)
Recommended for ages 7-10

The unique friendship between young Mango Allsorts and an Asian tapir named Bambang began when they met on the busy streets of Mango’s home city. Bambang is used to jungle life, but with Mango’s help, he learns to adjust to the city and creates a lasting friendship with the girl. This is a great book for animal lovers (who can resist a tapir?) with darling illustrations throughout.  

The Disappearance of Ember Crow
By Ambelin Kwaymullina
Recommended for ages 12-14

This second installment in the Tribe trilogy finds Ashala having to leave the tribe’s safe home to find Ember Crow, who has gone missing. But finding Ember proves harder than she thought. Plus, how can you find someone who might not want to be found?



Mary Daisey Shockley is a marketing professional and avid reader who spends her free time with her family on the coast of Delaware. You can find more of her thoughts on books and life by clicking here.

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