Does Your 8 – 12 Year Old Need Good Books?

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I read tons of middle grade (meaning elementary school books and middle school books) chapter books for kids so you don’t have to.


Because we all hear our kids say, “I don’t have anything good to read,” right?

That’s why it helps to have a list of good books to recommend to those silly kids. (Do they think they can get out of reading with this excuse?!) Something will appeal to them eventually. Keep trying!

See what they think about these titles.

These book titles are in the middle grade range so for kids ages 8 – 12.

Happy reading!


Middle Grade Chapter Books

NEW Middle Grade Chapter Books 

Middle Grade Chapter Books
Kate Walden Directs
Night of the Zombie Chickens by Julie Mata
I love the main character’s flaws, quirks, and ingenuity. Kate makes movies. Her most recent movie is about zombie chickens. Chickens because her mom has made the family move to the country to raise organic chickens. Yuck. Kate’s best friend, Alyssa, stars in the zombie chicken movie. That is until Alyssa ditches Kate for the popular crowd. This book has a great story with real-life friendship lessons. Plus, who doesn’t love zombie chickens?

Middle Grade Chapter Books
Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders
by Brandon Mull 
I’m officially in love with this middle grade book – and am dying for the next book in the series. Brandon Mull has outdone himself with an inventive, totally unique world and characters!  Cole, a regular kid, is trick-or-treating with his friends when they all get kidnapped. Cole manages to hide but follows the kidnappers — to another world – a world of five kingdoms, slavery, and magic. Cole is found and sold to slavers on the Outskirts. There he’ll battle mysterious beings living on cloud castles, discover an exiled princess, escape from slavery, and have unimaginable adventures. Amazing!

middle grade chapter books
Hyperspace High Crash Landing
by Zac Harrison
Imagine going to school in space with classmates that are aliens. That’s John’s current situation – and it’s about to get more dangerous when a simple school trip turns dangerous. He won’t make it back alive if he and his friends don’t figure out something fast. I thought this was a great story!

middle grade chapter books
The Copernicus Legacy The Forbidden Stone
by Tony Abbott
A mysterious map from a family friend and the friend’s suspicious death lead Wade, his friends, and his dad on a crazy chase across the world. They must escape from killers and solve the puzzle of relics from the time of Copernicus. What did Copernicus invent that was so desired but dangerous in the wrong hands?

middle grade chapter books
Just Jake
by Jake Marcionette
A humorous realistic-fiction novel with cartoon illustrations about a boy who moves to a new school and how Jake turns from loser to cool because of his art. A fun and entertaining story!

middle grade chapter books
The Brilliant World of Tom Gates
by L. Pichon
Preferring drawing to schoolwork seems to always get Tom in trouble in this realistic fiction novel with funny of cartoon illustrations. Cute and relatable for many kids I imagine.

middle grade chapter books
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
by Karen Foxlee
Stuck in a museum with her sister and father who is working on a sword exhibit, Orphelia’s curiosity leads her to a locked room where a boy has been trapped for thousands of years. But Orphelia doesn’t believe in that kind of thing. Except she kind of does. She remembers her mother used to tell her those stories . . . This is a breathtaking journey of loss, acceptance, hope and friendship. I just loved it!

middle grade chapter books
The Jupiter Pirates Hunt for the Hydra
by Jason Fry
Your kids are going to love this one – it’s a GREAT pirate adventure, only these pirates are in space and now supposed to be called the more politically correct term “privateers.” Tycho and his siblings are competing amongst each other for who will be the next captain after their mom. When it’s Tycho’s turn to captain, he encounters a ship with a suspicious diplomat. Unable to seize the ship’s cargo because of the diplomat, Tycho’s family demands a court decide.

middle grade chapter books
Constable & Toop
by Gareth P. Jones
Don’t worry, this chapter book isn’t scary like you might imagine. It’s an interesting imagining of the ghost world. Some ghosts work for the “Ghost Bureau” – a predictably stuffy governing agency that does very little. Other ghosts are stuck haunting houses and can’t escape. Yet other ghosts are rogues. In this story, the Black Rot is killing haunted house ghosts. And they don’t reappear. So it’s up to a bumbling ghost named Mr. Lapsewood to find out how to stop it. Totally entertaining and very well-written.

middle grade chapter books
by Kate Messner
At midnight all over the world, works of art vanish from houses and museums. Anna, Henry and Jose are kids of parents in the Silver Jaguar Society, a society who protects priceless works of art, head to Paris to guard the Mona Lisa. But there’s someone in the society who is feeding information to the art thieves. And it’s up to the kids to figure it out. A fun adventure – I really liked it.

middle grade chapter books
Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor
by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Brian Biggs
Frank invents things. Most of the time, those things don’t work. Recently, Frank has been trying to make a robot who can think for himself (like Frankenstein) using old appliances and spare parts (toaster, keyboard, Shop-Vac). Frank doesn’t do it but in a miracle of fictional science, the robot builds himself. This book is a bit slower paced than I like but I think it’s a decent read that will appeal to young tinkerers.

The Latest Middle Grade Chapter Books
Middle Grade Book Recommendations
zombie books for kids
Minecraft books for kids

I’ve added each of these books to my new master book lists by age!

Need more ideas?

Consider starting a book club to make reading more social.

Try a steampunk book.

See more recently published chapter books.

Scary Chapter Books for Kids

Check out these awesome book series I highly recommend.

new chapter book recommendations for kids ages 8 and up

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