Books for Boys in Middle School


by M.H. Herlong
Ages 9 up | Grades 5 up

Tyrone "Li'l T" Roberts meets Buddy when his family's car accidentally hits the stray dog on their way to church. Buddy turns out to be the dog Li'l T's always wished for--until Hurricane Katrina comes to New Orleans and he must leave Buddy behind. After the storm, Li'l T and his father return home to find a community struggling to rebuild their lives--and Buddy gone. But Li'l T refuses to give up his quest to find his best friend. From the author of the BBYA Top Ten selection The Great Wide Sea comes a powerful story of hope, courage, and knowing when to let go.

For similar titles, visit the middle grade listing.

Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1: The Ruins of Gorlan

by John Flanagan
Ages 10 up | Grades 5 up

Everyone plays a role in the fight to protect the kingdom.

They have always scared Will in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. What they don't realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice.

For curriculum connections, discussion questions, and extension activities for the entire Ranger’s Apprentice series download the classroom guide!

A Tale Dark and Grimm

by Adam Gidwitz
Ages 10 up | Grades 4 up

Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm (and Grimm-inspired) fairy tales. An irreverent, witty narrator leads us through encounters with witches, warlocks, dragons, and the devil himself. As the siblings roam a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind the famous tales, as well as how to take charge of their destinies and create their own happily ever after. Because once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.

Download the discussion guide! .


by Robert Paul Weston
Ages 9-11 | Grades 4-6

Are You a Believer in Fanciful Things? In Pirates and Dragons and Creatures and Kings? Then sit yourself down in a comfortable seat, with maybe some cocoa and something to eat, and I'll spin you the tale of Katrina Katrell, a girl full of courage (and daring, as well!), who down in the subway, under the ground, saw something fantastical roaming around...

What was it she saw? I'd rather not say. (Who's ever heard of a Zorgle, anyway?)

But if you are curious, clever and brave, if intrepid adventure is something you crave, then open this book and I'll leave it to you to uncover the secret of ZORGAMAZOO!

The Batboy

by Mike Lupica
Ages 10+ | Grades 5+

Brian is living every baseball kid's dream: he is a batboy for his hometown Major League team. Brian believes that it's the perfect thing to bring him and his big-leaguer dad closer together. And if that weren't enough, this is the season that Hank Bishop, Brian's baseball hero, returns to the Tigers for the comeback of a lifetime. The summer couldn't get much better! Until Hank Bishop starts to show his true colors, and Brian learns that sometimes life throws you a curveball.

For discussion questions, activity prompts, and information on other Mike Lupica titles, download this Official Playbook to the books by Mike Luipca.


by Ingrid Law
Ages 8-12 | Grades 3-6

It's been nine years since his cousin Mibs had her extraordinary savvy journey, and Ledger Kale has just turned thirteen. This birthday should have meant he'd inherit an amazing power—instead he can break little things apart. But when the Kales decide to attend a family wedding in Wyoming, Ledge's savvy grows to monumental proportions. Worse, his savvy disaster has a witness: Sarah Jane Cabot, eagle-eyed reporter and daughter of the local businessman. Now Ledge must stop Sarah Jane from turning savvies into headlines, stop her father from foreclosing on Uncle Autry's ranch, and start scumbling his savvy into control . . . so that someday, he can go home.

When discussing the writing of Savvy and Scumble, author Ingrid Law often asks students the following three questions: First, if you could have any power—real or imaginary—what would it be? Second, what are you good at now in your everyday life? Third, and possibly most importantly, what are you working hard to get better at? Considering any or all of these questions, have students craft a letter to a special someone or themselves sharing a detailed answer.

Click here for a discussion guide to Scumble and Savvy.

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

by John Grisham
Ages 8-12 | Grades 3-6

With two attorneys for parents, thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone knows more about the law than most lawyers do. But when a high profile murder trial comes to his small town and Theo gets pulled into it, it's up to this amateur attorney to save the day.

Once students have read Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer and have a better understanding of the layout of the courtroom and the format in which a trial is conducted, allow them to stage their own mock trials. For secondary students, consider hosting a mock trial where they put a famous literary character on trial for their actions or research and reenact a famous court trial. For younger students, use the debate and trial guidelines learned and put a famous fairy tale character on trial for their indiscretions.

Click here for more information on this exciting new series and to get your free downloadable classroom kit.

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #1: Eighth Grade Bites

by Heather Brewer
Ages 12 up | Grades 7 up

Junior high really stinks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers and no one to teach him, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. Filled with dark characters and mystical sylphs, secret identities and hidden agendas, unearthly powers and teenage angst, this first book in a darkly funny series is a nail- (and neck-) biting adventure.

Discuss the concepts of secret identities and belonging. What would you do if you had a HUGE secret like Vladimir Tod's? Would you want to keep something so vital-like who you really are-secret? Why or why not? How does Vladimir Tod's secret affect the way he feels he belongs? Who is he closest to and how do the things that he finds out throughout the course of the book change the way he feels about himself and others?

For more discussion questions and prompts, download a free printable discussion guide here

To learn more about this series, visit the Monster Squad series page. For similar titles, visit the chapter book listing or check out our horror/paranormal books!

Al Capone Shines My Shoes

by Gennifer Choldenko
Ages 10 & up | Grades 5 & up

When Moose Flanagan and his family get settled on Alcatraz, everything should be easy, but somehow friendships, family, and criminals all get tangled up and Moose is in more trouble than ever. Moose does his best to be a good friend, a good brother, and a good son, but somehow nothing ever seems to go quite the way he hopes.

Discussion: Decision Making and Friendship. The concepts of indebtedness and friendship are central to this story and a great place to start a discussion of what happens with Moose, Piper, and Al Capone. For more discussion questions and activities, download the free Discussion Guide for Al Capone Shines My Shoes.

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