Skip to main content

Book Club Picks: Middle-Grade Books

Welcome to my weekly series: Book Club Picks. This week, I'm sharing a slightly different list of books. Since it's summer, I thought it would be fun to share some children's books that would be good for a late-elementary or middle-school book club. Now, I know there are plenty of adult book clubs who would read middle-grade books as well. Mine actually chose one of the books on this list last year. So hopefully you'll find something you ~ or your kids ~ would like to discuss in a book group.

Note about the links below: My reviews do not include spoilers, but the discussion guides do. The book covers are Amazon Affiliate links. If you use those links to make a purchase, I will receive a very small commission but your price will remain the same.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Published February, 2011; 272 pages
This novel, about a Vietnamese girl who has to flee her home country during the Vietnam War and relocate to the United States, is written in verse. Book clubs can talk about the effects of the war on the people of Vietnam, the difficulties young immigrants face in acclimating to a new country, including bullying, and the unique writing style used in the book.
My review
Discussion guide (pdf)

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
Published January, 2010; 176 pages
Explore the U.S. Revolutionary War through the eyes of a young boy. This historical fiction novel follows one boy whose village is destroyed and parents taken while he's out hunting in the woods. Book clubs can talk about Samuel's struggles to survive and the horrors of the war. They can also learn more details about the Revolutionary War through short nonfiction pieces that are sprinkled throughout the novel.
My review

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Published April 1993; 192 pages
This novel is a great introduction to the dystopian fiction genre. Book clubs can talk about the pros and cons of the community Lowry creates, weighing individuality against protecting people from bad feelings and dangers. The importance of individuality and memories and feelings are all key themes in this novel, and will give groups plenty to talk about.
My review
Discussion guide

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Published November, 2010; 128 pages
This is one my favorite middle-grade novels. It revolves around the fact that there are places in the modern world without access to clean water. It also introduces the story of the "Lost Boys of Sudan" who were orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War. Book clubs can talk about the struggles people face with finding clean water and the hardships faced by children who are orphaned during war.
My review

What are your favorite middle-grade books? Does your book club read middle-grade and young-adult books?

Next week, I'll be sharing some mysteries and thrillers that are fun to discuss with book clubs. Please let me know if you have suggestions for other topics to cover, or if you would like to write a guest post for my Book Club Picks series. I'd love to hear about your book club or your favorite books for discussion!

Don't miss out on another edition of Book Club Picks. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter.


  1. Some great suggestions! I am really keen to read The Giver as I've heard so much about it.. My favourite middle grade picks would be something by Michael Morpurgo or Sharon Creech. Their books are just so full of heart and they cover some interesting issues as well! Great post :)

    1. I need to check those out. Thanks for the recommendations!


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Book Review: The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

Peter Byerly is distraught over the loss of his wife nine months ago. He has retreated to their cottage in the English countryside, hoping to return to his love of collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens a book about Shakespeare forgeries and finds a Victorian watercolor of a woman who looks just like his wife, Peter is soon on a search for the origin of the painting and the truth about Shakespeare's real identity.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful journey for anyone who loves books. It follows Peter's search in 1995, which turns into a bit of a thriller at times. But Lovett also takes the reader back in time a bit so we can learn the story of his relationship with his wife and how he came to be a bookseller. He does a beautiful job of expressing Peter's feelings about the rare books he encounters, and his feelings are contagious.

And then he takes us back even further to the history of one particular volume, whos…

Book Review: The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis

When Stella and Tom move to a new home in London, they are sad to have left their friends behind. But soon they have a mystery to solve. Their neighbor's dog, Harry, keeps disappearing. Where is he going and why is he always wet when he comes home? As they investigate the area in the garden where Harry seems to come and go, they discover a hidden tunnel that takes them back to their garden ... almost 100 years ago.

The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis is a wonderful children's book that reminds me of the adventurous stories I read as a child. I saw other reviewers say something similar. I'm not sure what it is about the way the story is told, but it is reminiscent of children's books from many years ago, yet it will definitely appeal to the kids of today.

Stella and Tom have an adventure in the past that leads to new friends and discoveries. While it's a time travel story, it doesn't have a lot of fantasy elements (although there are some moles that act a bit unusua…