This list will help you get started. And, it can be used for multi-age middle school book clubs, not just only seventh grade (age 12-13).
First, let me start by saying that the BEST thing you can do for your readers is to LET READERS CHOOSE WHAT BOOKS to read in their book club.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you let kids pick any book but that you let them have ownership –possibly from a group of choices.
Alternatively, you could have one person or the group pick their own book within whatever parameters your guidelines are. It’s a more cumbersome process this way because they don’t always know good books from which to choose and getting consensus can be tough.
Either way, it’s possible to have book club discussions about almost any book. Some are richer than others which is why it’s valuable to pick book selections around a topic, theme, or genre.
Ready to get started with a book club for kids but don’t know where to begin?
Let me help you with all the details from who to invite, how to organize, and guiding kid-centered discussions.
Find book club books by TOPIC OR THEME using this list of topics or using the search bar at the top of the screen.
For example, you might want to find books about a topic or theme like:
Or, you might want to read books in a specific genre such as:
Ready for your book club nook ideas? Here are books you might want to consider.
Book Club Book Ideas for 7th Grade
Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Heartbreaking and inspiring, this poignant story in verse shows a girl who learns, after years of fat-shaming and bullying, to define herself not based on what others say but on who she really is. Ellie’s nickname is Splash because of her size but Ellie loves swimming; it’s her safe escape where she feels the most comfortable. Her biggest bully? Her mother–who won’t buy her new clothes because she thinks it encourages Ellie’s weight gain and is pushing for gastro-bypass surgery. Not even Ellie’s dad stands up to her mom’s cruel treatment of Ellie. Fortunately, Ellie finds an understanding therapist who helps her move from powerless to powerful. “As I float, I spread out my arms and my legs. I’m a starfish, taking up all the room I want.”
Sara and the Search for Normal by Wesley King
House Arrest by K.A. Holt
You’ll feel so many emotions reading this tender, heartwarming story that shows a brave boy who feels anger, fear, worry, and love over his challenging situation. Timothy is under house arrest for the next year. He lives with a brother who needs constant medical care and feels so much pain and confusion over his big life changes. Part of his year-long punishment is to meet with a probation officer, meet with a therapist, and write in a journal which is the book we’re reading. When his little brother gets assigned an abusive new nurse, Timothy feels like even if he gets thrown in juvie, he must do something drastic to help his brother. Written in poetic verse, this book speeds along and pulls your heart along with it.
Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Iris is a lonely Deaf girl who feels connected to Blue 55, a whale who is called the loneliest whale in the world because his song is a different hertz than other whales. She uses her compassionate heart, intelligence, and tinkering skills to write and record a whale song that Blue 55 will hear to know he’s not alone. Her subsequent adventure is profoundly life-changing. This is a heartening, poignant story that gives readers insight Deaf children, the richness of Deaf culture, and the power of compassion.
Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dees
Middle schooler Mila is feeling trapped— a group of basketball-playing boys is getting too close, grabbing her, touching her, and then telling her that she’s imagining it. Ignoring doesn’t stop the behaviors, neither does telling an adult, telling her friends, or wearing baggier clothing. Now her toxic friend Zara is acting mad and jealous that Mila’s getting the boys’ attention. Unexpectedly, Mila finds her strength when she starts karate classes. That helps her find what works to put a stop to the harassment. I highly recommend this essential book; it will make for rich book club discussions.
Gone to the Woods by Gary Paulsen
This is a compelling, disturbing, and hopeful childhood story of hardship and survival with moments of kindness and time in nature that sustain the neglected, determined young boy. If you love Gary Paulsen’s stories or just enjoy survival and growing up stories, DON’T MISS this powerful book! I can see 7th grade book clubs finding a lot to discuss in this memoir including child neglect, perseverance, the power of reading, and the healing power of nature.
Because this is written in verse, this is a fast read but packs a big punch. Basketball player and twin Josh narrates his life in quarters, just like the game he plays. He writes about missing his twin when his twin, Jordan, gets a girlfriend; about getting in trouble when he hits Jordan in the face with a basketball; and about watching his father as his heart fails. This is a coming-of-age, gripping story about a boy who is just trying to figure out life like most boys at age 12.
Not Your All American Girl by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay
Worth reading and rereading because there are layers upon layers of meaning, skillful writing, and a haunting truthtelling that resonates with us all. Ever since Conor’s mom gets breast cancer, a wild, ancient tree monster visits Conor’s nightmares. The monster demands that Conor admit the truth but Conor refuses. Meanwhile, in the awake world, Conor moves in with his cold, unfriendly grandmother. The metaphorical nightmare echos Conor’s real-world experiences as we journey with him into pain, loss, and eventually, healing. Astonishing and powerful, this is one of the best books I’ve EVER read.
The Brave by James Bird
Run out to get this absolutely jaw-dropping, stunningly beautiful book with a main character you’ll fall in love with (and whose character arc is HUGE.) It’s filled with metaphorical, meaningful, and symbolic writing and you will feel ALL the feelings. When Collin, a boy who counts every letter spoken to him and says the number out loud, gets kicked out of yet another school, his neglectful father sends Collin to live with his mom. Collin has never met his mother but he’s curious to meet her and live on the Ojibwe reservation. Living with her is a totally different experience than his previous home — because with his mother, he’s welcomed and not judged. He befriends the neighbor girl who teaches Collin how to be brave. Which he needs. And so does she because she’s going to be a butterfly soon…
The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner
One of my favorite books of 2016, The Seventh Wish is a magically captivating coming-of-age story filled with friendship and family challenges and . . . wishes. Charlie is struggling with her sister leaving for college and subsequent problems with drug addiction, her parent’s inattention, and trying to make sense of her life. So when Charlie accidentally catches a wish fish while ice-fishing, she’s sure that the fish will solve all her problems. Only as we might predict, that’s not exactly what happens. This is a wonderful book — great for book clubs to discuss what happens and why.
Science Fiction / Dystopian
Bloom by Kenneth Oppel
Get ready for a wild ride of suspense, action, adventure, science fiction, and coolness!! Bloom tells the story of three kids who are strangely not affected by the bizarre-looking plants that appear out of nowhere and take over land, covering houses and streets, swallowing animals and people but doing nothing to this group of kids. Scientists figure out that the plants are an alien invasion…and think that the kids may be the only chance the world has to stop the invasion. To avoid spoilers, I’ll just tell you that it’s an AWESOME story…and ends on a crazy cliffhanger with two more books in the series.
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
This Newbery winner grabs your attention immediately with an unbelievable (but kind-of believable) story of a boy named Matt who learns that he is a clone of the leader of Opium, El Patrón. Once he realizes that he’s not the first El Patrón clone and learns of a sinister reason why that is, he knows that he must escape. An absolutely riveting novel filled with discussion-worthy moral questions and interesting characters you’ll admire.
Allies by Alan Gratz