Encouraging a reluctant reader to pick up a book can be a challenging task. Often times the only thing standing between a non-reader and a voracious reader is finding the right book to get started with! I am a firm believer in that instilling a love of reading at a young age can set a child up for a lifetime of success. Check out these seven fantastic middle grade stories that will have your hesitant, soon-to-be-realized book worm itching for more!
by Mark Tatulli
In Pine Barrens, NJ there lives the legend of the Jersey Devil. Best friends, Andrew and Russ are determined to find it—making a documentary of their quest along the way. However, to Andrew’s dismay, Russ has been growing distant ever since he began spending time with Tara, a talented artist and violinist. Just when Andrew is all but abandoned by his friend, a number of Jersey Devil sightings crop up around town, and the two boys have to put aside their differences for this last chance to find mythical creature. Graphic novels are a great option for reluctant readers, and Tatulli’s bright drawings and captivating story with keep your kid at the edge of their seat!
by Mari Mancusi
Expert gamer Ian is invited to beta test a brand-new immersive gaming experience called DRAGON OPS alongside his sister, Lily, and their supercool cousin, Derek. However, things don’t go as expected and suddenly Ian, Lily, and Derek find themselves trapped inside this game being controlled by a wild AI dragon. With no help or cheats at their fingertips, the three kids will need to put their heads together to work out how to both survive and beat the game. Hang on tight—this thrilling book is perfect for any young video game lover!
by Katrina Charman
Along the slopes of the Indonesian island of Krakatoa lives a parakeet named Melati and all her avian family and friends. Earthquakes are a fact of life when living in the shadow of an active volcano, however the earthquakes are getting stronger and Melati fears an eruption may be upon them. As they sky begins to rain ash, Melati teams up with a rhinocerous named Budi, and Raja the tiger to try to get all the jungle animals to safety. Your reluctant reader will be gripped by this fast-paced tale—based on a real eruption—and the rich black and white illustrations!
by Susan Lurie; illustrated by Jenn Harney
Wanda is certain she’s living with the wrong family. Her brother, Zane is a holy terror and her parents somehow always put Wanda at blame for it. One day, Voltaire, a talking bluebird, shows up with a message for Wanda—that her suspicions are correct, and someone is mysteriously messing with her life. Unfortunately for Wanda, Voltaire can’t remember who is responsible, and the two of them set out on a journey through Scary Wood to uncover the secret—crossing paths with all sorts of menacing, magical creatures along the way.
by Greg Pizzoli
Join Baloney and his friends Bizz the bumblebee, Peanut the horse, and Krabbit, a very grumpy rabbit, in several short stories and mini-comics! Attend a talent show where Baloney attempts silly magic tricks, help him get over his fear of swimming, and learn to draw your favorite characters with simple step-by-step guides. Your newly independent reader will surely gobble this book up with lightning speed!
by Josh Lacey; illustrated by Garry Parsons
Eddie’s Uncle Morton has gone on vacation and left Eddie to look after his pet dragon. It didn’t sound like it would be toooo difficult, but soon Eddie realizes that he’s maybe bitten off a bit more than he can chew (or is it the dragon that’s taken the big bites here?). Not your traditional chapter book, this story is told entirely through emails which Eddie sends to Uncle Morton to update him on the hilarious daily mischief his pet dragon gets up to. If your reluctant reader enjoys this laugh-out-loud book, there are six more in the series to devour!
by Honest Lee and Matthew J. Gilbert; illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy
Life in Classroom 13 is never dull. One day, teacher Ms. Linda LaCrosse wins a jackpot of a lottery and decides to share the winnings with each of her students! Now the students have over a billion dollars each, but things aren’t always as lucky as they seem. (Taxes—what are those?) Each chapter is filled with giggles that will have your kid pining for more, which is just fine, as this is the first of six Classroom 13 tales!