7 Novels to Turn Your Middle Schooler into a Bookworm!

Dive into another world

by HarrisonLiao | Fri, August 11, 2017

Looking for something for your Middle Schooler to read this summer? We've got seven recommendations we hope will get them to fall in love with story, if they haven't already!

1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

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Age Group: 8-12

Genre: Fantasy

Why it's right for your child: We've all hear the tale of the "Boy Who Lived"; the notorious Harry Potter who is orphaned as a baby by a genocidal fascist dictator. But enough time has passed – the first Harry Potter novel came out 20 years ago – that your child has probably not read the story, which is a wonderful coming-of-age tale when it's not spinning a sprawling fantasy epic. In Potter's quest to avenge his parents killer, he embarks on a journey that transforms him from a boy, overwhelmed with responsibilities and expectations, to a confident leader. Not only will your child have a blas reading it, they might learn by Potter's example too.

2. The Animorphs series, by K.A. Applegate

Source: http://www.avclub.com/article/cheesy-sci-fi-animorphs-books-heightened-strangene-202287

Age Group: 10-12

Genre: Science Fiction

Why it's right for your child: Animorphs, a science fantasy series of Young Adult books, tells the stories of six adolescent kids who discover the ability to transform into any animal they touch. Although on face value, it seems like nothing more than a gimmick, Animorphs has a lot of heady themes embedded in its DNA. At its heart, Animorphs is a (not-so-subtle) metaphor for the metamorphosis of adolescence. The main characters, all children entering that transformative phase, go through physical changes they can't comprehend, and they must keep those changes a secret to the adults around them. Sure, Animorphs is mostly a silly fantasy, but it's also a relatable series about the isolation, strangeness and fear children face as they enter adulthood.

3. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

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Age Group: 8-12

Genre: Fantasy

Why it's right for your child: This book will be a rollicking good read. James Henry Trotter, a bright young boy, loses his parents to a savage rhinoceros, and is forced to live with the horrible Aunt Spooge and Aunt Spiker. When, at his lowest point, James is approached by a wizard that gives him magic crocodile tongues, his life is turned upside down. What's not to love? There's a classic Homerian odyssey, warm humor and some of Roald Dahl's finest work. You and your child will want to check this book out!

4. One of a Kind, Like Me / Unico Como Yo, by Laurin Mayeno, Robert Liu-Trujillo and Teresa Mlawer

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Age: 5-8

Genre: Children's fiction

Why it's right for your child: "One of a Kind, Like Me" tells the poignant story of a young boy, Danny, that wants to be a princess for the school parade tomorrow. Mayeno and the book's illustrators walk a really delicate line between challenging gender stereotypes while keeping the story focused on pure positivity. While it may seem like too political an undertaking for your child, rest assured, this book is all about a mother supporting her child's individual expression, a message we can all get behind.

5. Runaways, by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

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Age Group: 9-13

Genre: Teen Graphic Novel

Why it's right for your child: This Brian Vaughan creation–the veteran writer has penned countless graphic novels, and worked closely on the show Lost – features a group of teenagers that discover their parents are part of a villainous crime organization. The Runaways struggle with this ethical dilemma. Should they stay loyal to their flesh and blood? Or does true family lie elsewhere? Runaways is colorful, mature, yet family-oriented. For many children nearing high school, they are entering a new world where relationships with their peers, family and teachers becomes infinitely more complicated. Runaways explores many of these themes with uncommon poise for a comic book.

6. Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis

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Age Group: 8-12

Genre: Fantasy Epic

Why it's right for your child: This seven-part fantasy series by C.S. Lewis has aged a bit since its initial release in 1950, but it's an iconic one. Set in the fantastical realm of Narnia, a magical world that our protagonists access through their bedroom closet, Lewis' ambitious story uses magic and mythical talking beasts to reframe ancient Greek and Roman mythology for children. Not only will these books transport your child to a well-wrought, mystical landscape, they'll also introduce real social issues like racism, leadership and family packaged in an organic adventure.

7. Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer

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Age Group: 8-12

Genre: Science Fantasy Series

Why it's right for your child: This science fantasy series is criminally good. It features the 12-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl, who captures fairies and holds them for gold ransoms, among other devious schemes. While Artemis Fowl may not be the best role model for your child, he is a protoypical anti-hero and is a lot more human than some other protagonists on this list. Instead of defaulting to being a paragon of hope and light, Fowl is always tiptoeing between his family's personal gain, and what he knows to be the right thing to do. Your child might find Fowl more interesting than the classic hero character and they might also find Fowl's inimitable intelligence inspiring.