10 Great Living Books for Middle Grade Kids to Read This Summer *And a FREE Printable Reading Packet

Whether your child is homeschooled or in a traditional school, summer is a great time to focus on reading. Kids are often on a break from school, and we’re always looking for ways to keep them off of the t.v. and electronics. A good book is a much better alternative.

If you’ve been looking for a way to introduce your child to some great living books- classics that speak to kids generation after generation- take the challenge to give your child ten great living books to read this summer.

Living books for middle grades

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Previously I’ve posted ten great books for preschoolers and ten great books for kindergarten and early elementary. You can check out those book suggestions below. In this post, I’m sharing ten great books for upper elementary and middle school readers. You can also pick up a reading packet with a reading record sheet to record your ten great books read and a coloring sheet at the bottom of this post.

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling- These stories from the author of The Jungle Book are fanciful tellings of how things came to be. Kipling first told these stories to his own children and later wrote them down to share. Even though they are tales of make believe, they are entertaining for older children (and adults!).

Classic kids books

King of the Wind: the Story of the Godolphin Arabian by Marguerite Henry– All of Marguerite Henry’s horse stories are excellent, but I loved King of the Wind. Readers follow the story of Sham and his stable boy Agba. Sham is born in the stables of the Sultan of Morocco and, through much adventure, comes to England where he becomes the father of a line of thoroughbred horses.

Living books for kids

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli- Set in medieval times this is the story of Robin. He finds himself alone and without the use of his legs after an illness. His father is away at war, and his mother has gone to be a handmaid to the queen. A kindly monk comes to Robin’s aid. And as they travel together and Robin finds a new home, Robin learns that his disability isn’t the end of all things.

Kids' classics

Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes- When young Johnny injures his hand in a bad accident, he can no longer apprentice as a silversmith. Instead he becomes an messenger boy and finds himself delivering messages for the Sons of Liberty. Set during the American Revolution, this is historical fiction that will make the Revolution come alive.

Kids books

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare- Daniel is a Jew during the time of the Roman rule in Israel. His goal in life is to get revenge on the Romans for what they’ve done to his family. Daniel’s thoughts about revenge and honor begin to change when he meets a traveling carpenter named Jesus of Nazareth.

Kids living books

The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood- Widge is assigned by his master to steal one of Shakespeare’s works- Hamlet. He doesn’t want to do it, but, without a choice, he works his way into the globe theater. The story has twists, turns, and drama, and readers learn quite a bit about Shakespeare and the times in which he lived.

Kids classic books

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman– This story is the fictional diary of a young girl who lived in the 1200s. It’s her coming-of-age tale as she faces the possibility of being married off in her fourteenth year. It also gives readers a glance at life in the Middle Ages as Birdy talks about her daily life.

Historical fiction for kids

Indian Captive: the Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski– Based on a true story, the book follows Mary as she’s kidnapped from her early-American home and taken to live with the Seneca Indians. As Mary learns the Seneca’s customs and ways, readers get a great glimpse into Native American life.

Living books

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry- This is a fictionalized account of the true story of the Danish resistance’s efforts to smuggle Jews out of Denmark after German occupation. Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in her best friend- who is Jewish- and helps to get her to safety out of the country.

Kids books

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle– Meg Murry has never given up hope that her father is returning- even though he’s been gone for so long that most people outside of her family assume he left for good. Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin get caught up in a search for her father that takes them beyond the realm of our planet and of time.

Classic books for kids

These ten are great ones to pick for your summer reading list. You can pick up a reading packet here. It has a reading record as well as a reading themed coloring sheet.

And check out the other posts with reading suggestions for other ages here:

Summer reading for kids

Kids booklist

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