What does Capability Mom do all day? She reads, of course. When she is not unstopping the bathroom sink or walking the dog or making dinner or folding laundry or buying groceries or cleaning or paying attention to her blog or her family. I did all of these things today and posted on social media (okay, it was a really, really short post) at CoffeeShopBloggers.

Pragmatic Mom is an amazingly energetic and productive person (and she is sweet and funny, too) who gets more done in a day than I get done in a week. Seriously. She may not even sleep or maybe she does and is just so super bright and efficient… never mind. I grow weary of this hapless comparison. Go to Pragmatic Mom’s site and read her post that I helped out with…

Top 10: Books for Summer Reading (Middle School)

A HUGE thank you to Capability:Mom for creating this list.  She knows Middle School children’s literature much better than I do — my oldest is 10-years-old so I’m slowly getting there.  She also blogs on children’s literature but skews a little older towards YA (Young Adult) as well as on cooking/baking and other topics of interest.  She is a library freak and volunteers at every library in town including both elementary, middle school and public library.  Needless to say, I picked an authority on the topic and am excited to read these books myself!  Thank you Capability:Mom!  Check out her blog for more books as well the Rainbow Cake saga…

p.s.  Don’t forget that if your child reads 10 books and fills out a form at Borders, she or he can get one book free from their list of 10.  And there are some great books for middle schoolers on their list!

To purchase any book on this list, please click on image of the book.

10. Heartbeat by Sharon Creech

I always love her.  This one is especially beautiful and unusually written. The family of this young girl is expecting a baby and the gorgeous writing takes you through growing pains, friendship, family, change and acceptance.

9. The Giver by Lois Lowry

This tale is set in the future in a utopia (where fear, pain, war and hatred have been eliminated) that feels anything but as we follow 12 year old Jonas through his life. Wonderfully written and 1994 Newbery Medal winner.


8. Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech

Two children, named Dallas and Florida or the trouble twins for short, move in with an older couple who have raised a family in the quiet holler of the title. Now this couple is now looking for adventure. Everyone gets that and more. Intense and fast-moving, a sweet story.

7. Bud, Not Buddy by Paul Curtis

A young orphan boy determinedly sets out to find his family. The story is set in 1936 during The Great Depression.

6. Holes by Louis Sachar

Made into a movie, this novel won the 1998 Newbery Medal. Two boys, Stanley Yelnats (check out the palindrome) and Hector Zeroni realize how intertwined their lives and families are in a “work camp” where they become the best of friends.

5. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C. S. Lewis

This is a favorite, a fantasy story of four siblings who discover an enchanted world with fantastic characters, adventures and challenges.

4. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Hugo is almost a book within a book.  The book IS actually mostly illustrations (284!) , and the illustrations tell their own story.  I call The Invention of Hugo Cabret a children’s literature version of The Phantom of the Opera.  They are both set in Paris; Hugo is set around 1931.  They both sneak around in hidden canals and passageways that they know like that back of their hand.  And They both have deep, dark secrets from the past.  ( I posted on this book previously…)

3. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

A young girl (Kit) who grew up with her grandfather in Barbados must move in with her aunt and uncle when her grandfather dies. She struggles with her impulsiveness and the strict rules of the times.

2. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

Seeming unrelated events happen and bring Calder and Petra together in this lovely story of an art theft and a mystery.

1. The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg

In this 1997 Newbery Medal winning book, four sixth grade students end up working together on the school’s Academic Bowl team. The story wends and weaves and you are left attached to these characters.

Honorable Mention

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

15-year-old Eragon, a farm boy, hatches a dragon and learns that he is the last of the Dragon Riders and must battle evil.

pragmatic mom top 10 books for middle school by capability mom

0 comments on “Favorite books for Middle School readers at Pragmatic Mom”

  1. Thanks Capability:Mom. You are too modest. You did the whole post for me ’cause you really know your middle school and YA books and I don’t! Thanks for the awesome list, the ranking and the blurbs. I owe you!

    Pragmatic Mom
    Type A Parenting for the Modern World

    ps Thanks for my tagline also! You rock!

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