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Exploring Rich Narratives: 9 Books for Middle School Students

By: Jake Bosiljevac on November 28th, 2023

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Exploring Rich Narratives: 9 Books for Middle School Students


Hey PA Virtual! As winter break and the holidays loom on all of us - we start to look to grab our winter blankets to curl up and read a good book. For our middle school students, this winter break provides an excellent opportunity to dive into captivating stories that not only entertain but also offer profound lessons. Yet, the beauty of these tales lies in their universal appeal—they're not just for middle schoolers. From holiday breaks to cozy evenings by the fireplace, these books hold the power to captivate readers of all ages.


1. 61AnCUeZl5L._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_"Wonder" by R.J. Palacio

  • Grade Level: 6-8
  • Key Takeaways: "Wonder" invites readers into the world of Auggie Pullman, a fifth-grader with facial differences. Beyond the heartwarming narrative, the book imparts key takeaways on empathy, kindness, and the true essence of friendship. It encourages readers to look beyond appearances and appreciate the uniqueness in each individual.

281872. "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan

  • Grade Level: 6-8
  • Key Takeaways: Rick Riordan's series thrusts readers into a modern-day world where Greek mythology comes alive. Beyond the thrilling adventures, the books provide key takeaways on courage, loyalty, and the enduring wisdom found in ancient myths. It sparks an appreciation for classical stories and their relevance to contemporary challenges.

71LrK5VuFYL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_3. "Holes" by Louis Sachar

  • Grade Level: 6-8
  • Key Takeaways: "Holes" intricately weaves the tales of Stanley Yelnats and the interconnected lives of those at Camp Green Lake. Beyond the mystery, the book imparts key takeaways on justice, friendship, and the unexpected ways in which fate intertwines. It encourages readers to reflect on the impact of their actions and the importance of resilience.

71cJ7+UHpUL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_4. "The Giver" by Lois Lowry

  • Grade Level: 6-8
  • Key Takeaways: Lois Lowry's dystopian masterpiece, "The Giver," presents a meticulously crafted society devoid of pain and suffering. Beyond its thought-provoking narrative, the book imparts key takeaways on individuality, free will, and the consequences of sacrificing emotions for a perceived utopia. It challenges readers to question societal norms and appreciate the complexities of human experience.

The_outsiders_1967_first_edition5. "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton

  • Grade Level: 7-9
  • Key Takeaways: "The Outsiders" delves into the world of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with identity, friendship, and societal expectations. Beyond its exploration of adolescence, the book imparts key takeaways on the impact of socioeconomic differences and the universal desire for belonging. It encourages readers to empathize with diverse perspectives and navigate the complexities of growing up.

91zbK4IgfHL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_6. "The House with Chicken Legs" by Sophie Anderson

  • Grade Level: 6-8
  • Key Takeaways: Sophie Anderson's magical tale introduces readers to Marinka and her unconventional house with chicken legs. Beyond the fantastical elements, the book imparts key takeaways on self-discovery and the courage to forge one's path, even in the face of societal expectations. It encourages readers to embrace their uniqueness and appreciate the power of individuality.

97803853713537. "The City of Ember" by Jeanne DuPrau

  • Grade Level: 5-8
  • Key Takeaways: Set in the underground city of Ember, this dystopian adventure follows Lina and Doon as they uncover dark secrets. Beyond the gripping narrative, the book imparts key takeaways on critical thinking, the importance of knowledge, and the resilience required to face challenges. It encourages readers to question their surroundings and value the pursuit of wisdom.

512tI1MLCJL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_8. "Ghost" by Jason Reynolds

  • Grade Level: 6-8
  • Key Takeaways: Jason Reynolds' "Ghost" follows the story of a young runner navigating challenges and friendships. Beyond the sports theme, the book imparts key takeaways on resilience, the transformative power of friendship, and the strength found within oneself. It encourages readers to persevere through adversity and appreciate the supportive relationships in their lives.

61863579. "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner

  • Grade Level: 7-8
  • Key Takeaways: This dystopian novel thrusts readers into a mysterious maze, challenging them to navigate suspenseful twists. Beyond the gripping plot, the book imparts key takeaways on teamwork, survival, and the consequences of societal experiments. It encourages readers to contemplate ethical dilemmas and appreciate the importance of collaboration.


Remember, these books are not just confined to middle school readers; their enchanting narratives and universal themes make them timeless companions for readers of all ages. So, as winter unfolds its magic, grab a cozy blanket, a cup of hot cocoa, and let these tales transport you to worlds of wonder and discovery. Happy reading! 📚✨