I read a lot of middle grade books in 2018, but these are the Best Middle Grade Books I read last year.
I read so many great Middle Grade books in 2018. Some of them I read with my kids, but a lot of them I read on my own. For some reason, middle grade literature was what appealed most to me last year. And although I didn’t read all the classics or nonfiction I set out to read last January, I’m so happy with this list of fantastic books.
Of the 131 books I read last year, 50 of them were middle grade books. And honestly, I really enjoyed all of them!
It was hard to pick a top ten, which is why I kind of took liberties with a few on this Best Middle Grade Books list. But, I LOVE every single book I’ve listed here. If you’re looking for some of the best middle grade books, for yourself or for your kids, I’d start right here. I’d recommend most of these for kids between 8 and 14.
See my favorite grown-up reads of 2018 here.
The Best Middle Grade Books I Read in 2018
The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras
I haven’t been able to stop talking about this one since I finished it and I’ve been recommending it left and right. It has the most fantastic young female heroine! It’s historical fiction set in medieval Scotland and it’s full of exciting adventure. I wrote more about it here. (And the best news is the sequel comes out in March!)
Float by Laura Martin
I wrote a full review of this one here. It’s an absolutely perfect middle grade read. I can’t say enough good things about this one!
Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine by Caroline Starr Rose
This book is wonderful! Two brothers, desperate to escape from their abusive father, run away towards rumors of gold during the 1800’s Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska. But they’re not prepared for the harsh Alaska climate, the steep gold rush competition, or the mystery they have to solve to survive.
It’s a well crafted book with fantastic characters. And I was lucky enough to meet the author this year and have her sign a few of her books that I own – definitely one of the big highlights of my year!
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
I couldn’t put this book down! It’s historical fiction set in the south during the 1850’s. It follows a poor, white southern boy and a wicked slave catcher on a journey up north to repay a debt. It’s a fast paced story with a lot of meaning. I wrote more about this one here.
Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Barry
We listened to this one on audio (read by Jim Dale!) over the summer on our big cross country road trip and it made a 3 day car ride so much fun. It’s a prequel/retelling of the Peter Pan story, but wildly re-imagined. It’s a gripping, fast paced pirate adventure and I loved every minute of it.
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsberg
This was a favorite of mine when I was a kid and I was excited to read this aloud to my own kids this year. It did not disappoint. In fact, I think I got even more out of it as an adult and appreciated the story even more. Two kids runaway from home and live secretly in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art for a week. It’s fantastic! If you haven’t read this classic yet, I highly recommend it.
The Princess Academy Trilogy by Shannon Hale
We read this trilogy aloud as a family and it was a unanimous favorite. These were books that had everyone begging for an early bed time so we could fit in extra chapters every night – no joke! And even months later, my kids still make references to Miri all the time. If you have boys, don’t let the title fool you. This is not a fluffy princess book, nor is it “girly.”
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Petersen
We’ve been reading this series aloud as a family and it’s been a big hit! This is the first book in the Wingfeather Saga, and we’re hooked. It’s the perfect combination of quirky and adventurous.
It’s set in the fictional land of Skree where a population of giant, evil lizards called the Fangs of Dang have taken over and are making life difficult and dangerous for the people of Skree. Janner Igiby and his two siblings have no intention of stirring up trouble, but trouble is exactly what they find. It’s so much fun! Can’t wait to finish this series with the kids in 2019.
The Chrestomanci Series by Diana Wynne Jones
I’ve been listening to this series on audio and I adore it. The Libby app mislabeled these books, so I read them out of order, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying them at all. Each book is a stand alone story, but there is one character that shows up in all the books. All the books are about magic, but they’re set in different worlds – some that appreciate magic and some that don’t.
The audiobook narrator, Gerard Doyle, is WONDERFUL and the stories are perfectly charming. My favorite so far has been The Magicians of Caprona, because I loved all the Italian.
And for #10, I’m listing an author because we just discovered her in 2018 and I think we’ve read almost her entire catalog. We’ve read some aloud, others we read on our own, and the kids listened to many on audio too.
We loved A Night Divided, her historical fiction about the Berlin Wall. Scourge, her dystopian novel about a lethal plague, was a big hit too. I thought the Ascendence trilogy was fantastic and the kids and I both thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Mark of the Thief series on audio. Really, we’ve just enjoyed everything we’ve read by her and look forward to reading more in 2019.
I can’t write a best middle grade books list and not mention The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. Because the final book came out in July, we re-read the entire series last year (just finishing up this month) and we loved it just as much the second time around as we did the first. I have to say, this really is one of my All Time Favorite Book Series and it’s especially fun to read aloud.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street was a lovely family audiobook.
Harbor Me was beautiful and my 10 year old loved it too.
The Collectors was a big hit here – here’s my full review!
And last, but certainly not least, The Night Gardener was a wonderful, spooky read aloud that actually made me cry at the end.
What were your favorite reads in 2018?
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