5 Middle-Grade Books to Enjoy before School Starts

  • By Meredith Burke Lawler
  • August 7, 2015

It’s almost September! Share these stories with your kids before the dreaded assigned reading begins again!

5 Middle-Grade Books to Enjoy before School Starts

Mrs. Noodlekugel and Drooly the Bear
By Daniel Pinkwater (author) and Adam Stower (illustrator)
Recommended for ages 5-9

When Nick and Maxine’s father goes to a knitting competition, they stay at their babysitter Mrs. Noodlekugel’s house — which comes complete with talking cats and glasses-wearing mice. Soon, Mrs. Noodlekugel’s own father comes to town, and he brings a bear named Drooly with him. But then Drooly wanders off. Where did he go? Read this whimsical, weird, and wild book and you’ll be giggling at every page!

Tom Gates: Excellent Excuses (and Other Good Stuff)
By Liz Pichon
Recommended for ages 8-12

British middle-schooler Tom Gates — along with his best mate, Derek — really wants to start a rock-and-roll band. But when faced with Marcus Mildrew (his worst enemy), schoolwork (Tom’s not exactly a top student), and his older sister (need I say more?), will it really be possible? If you liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this one’s for you!

Two for Joy
By Gigi Amateau (author) and Abigail Marble (illustrator)
Recommended for ages 7-10

Jenna loves visiting her great-aunt Tannie on her huge Mississippi farm, riding in old trucks, and bird-watching together. But when Tannie breaks her ankle and has to move in with Jenna and her mom, it brings a lot of big changes to everyone’s lives. Can the independent Tannie — and her equally feisty niece — find peace when they’re suddenly thrust together under one roof?

Adventures with Waffles
By Maria Parr (author) and Kate Forrester (illustrator)
Recommended for ages 7-9

Trille and Lena adore a good escapade, even when trouble follows. From stealing a horse to riding in a shark boat, they’ve stuck together through it all — at least until Lena ruins things by keeping a secret. But when a fire strikes, she risks everything to rescue Trille. Will it be enough to rescue their friendship, too?

The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War
Illustrated by Jim Kay
Recommended for ages 10 and up

Using found objects (including a recruitment poster, a compass, and a toy soldier) from the era as a starting point, these tales from 11 acclaimed authors cast World War I in a new light — and bring its horrors and heroism to a new generation of young readers.

Meredith Burke Lawler is an avid reader and hobby farmer in Maryland. When she isn't chasing loose turkeys, she and her family run “Books in the Barn,” a monthly program that gives away free kids’ books. Her children, Emilia, 15, Brendan, 13, and Colette, 10, also love reading and contributed to this book roundup.

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