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10 Five Star Middle Grade Books

Avid readers are those rare creatures who will read any genre and trudge their way through every book they start- good or bad.

Reluctant readers are those strange people who do not enjoy reading (mild understatement) and only engage with books when forced.

But are you aware of the new breed of readers? (Probably not, because I just made it up to write this blog post!) It is the fragile reader.

Fragile readers are those kids who fall somewhere between reluctant and avid. They have enjoyed a good read aloud or maybe they have fallen in love with a series or even jumped on a book-movie combo. However, they haven't made the leap to consistent reading on their own.

Fragile readers need a bit of TLC. You can't just turn them loose in a bookstore and leave them to their own devices. Who knows what they could pick up! One bad book could destroy all the momentum you have worked hard to build. No mama, you've stayed up too many nights reading your little heart out to let things go wonky now. So, what you're going to do is nurture that little reading seed that is growing inside them, and book wrap your fragile readers in 5 star books. This will exponentially increase their odds of uttering those beautiful words, "I love reading."

Here's a list of 10 five-star reads to put on your fragile reader's bookshelf to ensure his road to avid reader status doesn't hit a traffic jam.

By: Kevin Hart

Illustrated by: David Cooper

This book is jammed pack with laughs. Kevin should've named it Kevin Makes a Movie because you can't help but hear Kevin Hart's voice in your head as you read Marcus's thoughts and dialogue.

This story is much more than a comedy. It is about conquering fears, working hard, chasing your dreams, and being a good friend. It's a little book with a big punch!

When your fragile reader finishes this book, buy Marcus Makes It Big so the fun continues!

By: Suzanne Collins

This is the longest book on this list, because let's face it, fragile readers can be scared off by thick books. However, Hunger Games is so action-packed and full of suspense, kids eat it up. And many older kids say that this is the book that made them fall in love with reading.

Just be warned, this is a fight-to-the-death kind of book. So naturally, boys love it and girls want to be Katniss- the female heroine. But, if you have a strong anti-violence stance (I mean who wouldn't, but I can't think of a better way to word it), then this is not the book you want to give to your child.

Once your fragile reader finishes this book, she can read Catching Fire and Mocking Jay. Before you know it, your child has read a trilogy and is discussing books. So, if you anticipate this happening, may I recommend buying the box set from the get-go & save yourself some cash.

By: Kate Albus

This reads like a classic and your child will fall in love with Anna, Edmund, and William. They are orphaned siblings evacuated to the London countryside during World War II. They have been instructed to find their forever home. But they want more than that, they want to find someone who thinks they hang the moon. Aww so sweet, right?!

Once your child is finished with this book, you may want to encourage her to start a wholesome series like The Boxcar Children or Little House on the Prairie.

4. Holes

By: Louis Sachar

Holes is part mystery, part history, and a whole lotta fun. Better still, it is two great stories wrapped into one. Stanley is sentenced to a work camp for a crime he didn't commit. His penance for his sins- digging 5X5' holes every day. But why? That's where the story of Kissin' Kate Barlow comes into play.

Your fragile reader will be cheering for Stanley and his new band of brothers as they work to get to the bottom of all those holes!

If your fragile reader liked this book, move him on to Louis Sachar's Wayside School series for his next great read.

By: Kwame Alexander

Josh Bell is an 8th-grade basketball star- so is his twin brother, JB. They are the best of friends and want to play professional basketball just like their dad did. Problems begin to arise when JB shows more interest in girls than in playing ball with Josh.

This book has short chapters and is written in verse that is fun to read. Chuck "Da Man" Bell's (dad) basketball rules, nicknames like Filthy McNasty, and funny raps also add to the fun.

I can almost guarantee (my husband is a salesman, so forgive me for the used car humor) your child will want to read more of Kwame Alexander, so tell him to try Rebound or Booked next.

By: Holly Goldberg Sloan

Willow Chance is a genius who counts by 7's to calm herself. She is struggling to fit in and find happiness. Aren't we all? Her world has fallen apart after the sudden loss of her foster parents. This book follows Willow's journey as she pieces it all back together again. (On a side note- this is like the 3rd orphan book on the list- why do we love these stories so much? Or is it just me? Nope- Harry Potter! It's all of us.)

The writing is beautiful, the MC is quirky, and the ending is a Happily Ever After. This book is a yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!

Another genius story your fragile reader may enjoy is Out of My Mind.

By: Jeff Kinney

By: Rachel Renee Russel

Both of these books chronicle the lives middle grade kids- so your fragile reader is sure to relate.

The books are not only humorous and easy to read, but they are filled with fun illustrations backed up by good stories.

Double bonus, there is over 10 books in each series to keep your fragile reader moving on to the next one!

By: Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeeker children don't want to move from their beloved home located on 141st Street in the heart of NYC. Who would? It's in an idyllic community filled with familial love, generous neighbors, and sweet shops. So, the children meet secretly and make a pact to do whatever it takes to stay.

This book is filled with heartwarming humor and is best read wearing fuzzy slippers and sipping a cup of hot chocolate. Your child may just start plotting your family's move to 141st Street!

Again, this is a series of five books, so you will have no problem figuring out what your child should read next.

By: James Patterson

Rafe is on a mission with his friend, Leonardo the Silent, to break every stupid school rule. So, you know your kid is going to love it, right?! And the author is so sneaky, he throws in some big themes like bullies, divorce, and family grief amongst all the humor.

Plus, this book is a Children's Choice winner. Need I say more? Get this book for your fragile reader!

And just as luck would have it, this is also a series. No good author wouldn't cash in on a gold mine like this! So, do your kid (and James Patterson) a favor and buy the entire box set.

All of these books are on my classroom shelves and at home in my personal library just waiting to be read by my future grandchildren (this is a strong hint to my sons- I apologize). You can't go wrong buying every single book on this list and starting your own home library for your kids. It's the best kind of home decor. But if that's not in the budget (smudget), then read the descriptions to your child and have her choose her next good read.

Happy reading!

Follow me on Bookstagram @staceywritesandreads for more bookish fun.

You can also read A Teachers Top 15 Read Alouds for more book suggestions.

And don't miss A Summer Bookish Challenge and Read, Dang it! They are filled with ideas to encourage your child to read.


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