Skip to content

Holiday Gift Guide: Books for your Middle Grade Reader

December 11, 2012

This week we are running posts filled to the brim with ideas for the people on your holiday gift list. Today we’re featuring books for Middle Grade readers, great for independent reading and also for family read-aloud time.

Here are some of my favorites:

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Liar and Spy

I’ve been a fan of Rebecca Stead since we published her first book First Light, and was bowled over by her Newbery Award winning When You Reach Me. Well this author just gets better with every book, and Liar & Spy proves that. Circumstances have caused Georges (the s is silent) and his family to downsize. Immediately upon moving to their new apartment he’s intrigued by a sign on a door in the basement “Spy Club”, and here begins a chain of events and relationships that unfold in a remarkably subtle way, and you just have to keep reading to find out what’s next for Georges and his new friend Safer. Liar & Spy asks and answers big questions about friendship, trust, and family. It’s a remarkable read for any age.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Leonore Look, illustrated by Leuyen Pham

Alvin Ho Girls

Alvin Ho is afraid of everything!  Seriously, he’s so afraid at school that he doesn’t talk. When he’s at home he’s not as afraid, he has his brother and sister and supportive and understanding parents and his loving Grandpa Gungun who always find a way to figure out what’s bothering Alvin and find a way to help him be a little bit braver. He also has two great friends who look out for him at school. Funny and sweet and real, Alvin Ho is a hero for anyone who gets nervous from time to time. There are currently 4 Alvin Ho books available with a new one coming in the Spring—join Alvin on his journey from worried to brave as he tackles scary things like camping, birthday parties, funerals and (gasp) a new baby in the family, you’ll be glad you did.

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen


Our young hero Wahoo Cray is the son of an animal wrangler in Florida–think gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys & snappers. Then along comes  Derek Badger, “star” of a reality TV show, and though he doesn’t know it, he’s the creature who needs to be wrangled most of all. With his trademark hilarious view of both the good and bad of human nature, Hiaasen takes us along with Wahoo, his dad and a friend in need named Tuna, and shows us that good triumphs over crazy, one more time. And don’t forget about Hiaasen’s earlier novels, Hoot, Flush and Scat,all available in paperback, they make perfect stocking stuffers!

Rush for the Gold by John Feinstein

Rush for the Gold

If you’ve got a sports loving boy or girl to buy for this holiday season John Feinstein’s books are just what you need! In Rush for the Gold our favorite young sportswriters Stevie and Susan Carol are back in another exciting sports-themed mystery from award winning real life sportswriter John Feinstein. This time our heroes are not only solving a mystery, but since Susan Carol is also an Olympic competitor she may be an unwitting pawn, and there may be more at stake than in their past adventures.  Don’t miss these earlier novels featuring Stevie and Susan Carol when the get involved in mysteries at the Final Four, the US Open, the World Series, the Army-Navy Game and the Super Bowl. With Feinstein’s insider’s view of sports these novels are as much fun for grown up sports fans as they are for young readers.

The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

Fire Chronicle

Siblings Kate, Michael and Emma who we met in The Emerald Atlas are back! We knew they would be, since as eventful as their adventures in that book were, it was only the beginning in the search for The Books of Beginning. They must continue their search for their parents but they are in danger. Dr. Pym has hidden them in The Edgar Allan Poe Home for Hopeless and Incorrigible Orphans (of course, they are neither hopeless nor incorrigible). They are discovered by their enemies, Kate goes missing and Michael & Emma are left to harness the power of The Book of Fire, or risk losing Kate forever. If you’re planning a long trip, check out the audiobook version of this story, read by Jim Dale! –Kate

Wonder by R.J. Palacio


A post with gift recommendations wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of my favorite books of 2012, Wonder. This story about Auggie Pullman who been home schooled, because he was born with a facial deformity that has caused him to have many surgeries and is attending school for the first time starting in 5th grade, is a remarkable story of courage, trust, bullying, friendship and understanding that should be shared with every family you know.

Thanks for joining us today at RAOReading, and please join us again tomorrow for our Gift Guide to books for your Young Adult reader!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 11, 2012 9:10 am

    Wonder is the perfect book for middle grade on up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: