Maybe you just want a short read for the weekend. Maybe you’re looking for a read-aloud for your family, something to read alongside a child, or a book for your students that might hold your interest too. Here are five fiction and five nonfiction middle grade books that can hold the interest of an older reader – whether a teen who needs a less challenging read, adult who wants to finish a book quickly, or a family wanting to read together.
While Park’s A Long Walk to Water has gotten more traction in adult reading circles, A Single Shard has an equally wide appeal. This historical novel with suspense, drama, and pottery manages to feel real and relevant despite its 12th century setting.
This lengthy fantasy novel focuses on a young girl setting out on a difficult quest, but it also includes the perspectives of her parents left at home. If you enjoy this one, there’s two more in the series.
This novel-in-verse about a dancer who is in an accident is beautifully written. If this one appeals to you, Venkatraman has two other standalone novels as well.
Although the main character of this historical novel about an Ojibwe girl is 7, the story will appeal to a variety of ages. Erdrich brings the 1800s to vivid life. If you enjoy this book, check out the rest of the series that follows an Ojibwe family through the generations.
Due to the 578 page length, this MG novel has been frequently marketed to YA and adult readers instead. While it might seem daunting, fantasy fans may wish this delightful twist on urban fantasy never ended.
This non-fiction graphic novel memoir re-imagines Cece Bell’s life as a rabbit who can’t hear. She uses the graphic format brilliantly to explain hearing difficulties in a way that even adults can understand. Plus, as a middle grade graphic novel, this is a fast read.
This adaptation of Olaudah Equiano’s memoir covers his life from his childhood through many troubles and adventures to his eventual return to England as a free man. While this non-fictional story is adjusted for middle grade readers, it’s fascinating enough to also appeal to teens or adults.
Don’t get turned off by the publication date or the Scholastic label on this book. It’s certainly interesting enough to hold an adult’s attention, and this is the sort of history book that doesn’t easily become dated. With fresh illustrations it could stand today.
Even if you’ve read about WWII before, this well-written true story of a Japanese diplomat who issued passports to Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust is probably new to you. It’s also refreshing to read an account that isn’t centered on America or Europe.
The true story of the civil rights movement doesn’t begin and end with Martin Luther King, Jr. Claudette Colvin was an instrumental figure both in the act of refusing to give up her seat and in the court case that fought Jim Crow – all while she was still a teenager.
Bonus Nonfiction: Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks, with Jim Haskins.