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Summer Reading List 2016 for Middle Grade Readers

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Take a break from school reading to read what you want!  Summer reading is the best, whether it is at the beach, in your bed, or in a tree house.  We have selected 12 terrific reads to fill your 12 weeks of summer.  There were a lot of great options this year in the middle grade category because there have been a lot of great releases this spring.

Click on Book Cover to See Full Book Review

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The Fog Diver, Book Cover

#1 – An Award Winner
The Fog Dive r by Joel Ross

This book was the winner of the middle grade speculative fiction category for the 2015 Cybil Awards.  It is has a dystopian setting with steampunk pirates.  Yes, sounds fun and perfect for summer!


Roller Girl, Book Cover #2 – A Graphic Novel
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Yes! This book was awesome.  Guy readers don’t get hung up with the “girl” part of the title.  This was a rockin’ graphic novel and come on, it is about roller hockey!  It is a super fast read, too.


Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! - Book Cover#3 – A Play
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!:  Voices From a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz

A play?  Yep. We see prose and sometimes even verse, but a play is a bit unusual.  This author wrote the play for her students who were studying medieval history.  (Bonus:  It won a Newbery, too.) Try it.  Not only does the medium work incredibly well, you will learn a lot and it does make the time period “come alive.”

The Firefly Code, Book Cover#4 – Something New (As in, it is hot off the presses!)
The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore

This book was just published this month.  It has some science and some mystery. It has boy and girl characters.  It is set in a utopia.  Yes, you read that right–utopia.  Dystopian settings are all the rage, but mix it up a bit with this new book.


Slacker, Book Cover

#5 – Something Funny
Slacker by Gordon Korman

Funny reads are perfect for summer.  (Save that 300+ page book about fungus for school.) If the cover doesn’t tempt you, then I don’t know what will.  Gordon Korman has written A LOT, but if this is your first Korman book, then you are in for a treat.

The Blood Guard, Book Cover#6 – An Adventure
The Blood Guard by Carter Roy

There is a reason action movies are so popular in the summer, so it isn’t so strange that action and adventure books feel like the perfect beach read. (Of course, if the book is too good then you neglect the water.)

A Bandit's Tale, Book Cover#7 – A Historical Fiction Novel
Bandit’s Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket by Deborah Hopkinson

Regardless of whether you are or aren’t taking a trip this summer, take a trip through time to the streets of New York City.  This story is a chance to see thing up-close and personal through the eyes of an eleven-year-old boy.

Science Comics-Coral Reefs, Book Cover #8 – Non-fiction
Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks

As our reviewer MaryLou wrote, “Science seriously just got a dose of adorableness.” So it is okay if you learn something over the summer.  This is also a graphic novel with great illustrations.  So maybe this one IS the perfect beach read.

The Key to Extraordinary, Book Cover#9 – A Treasure Hunt
The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd

A treasure, ghosts, a touch of magic–this book has something for everyone.  Plus, the storytelling is first-rate.


What We Found in the Soafa and How it Saved the World, Book Cover#10 – Something Quirky
What We Found In the Sofa and How It Saved the World by Henry Clark

This one has a lot of bizarre stuff which might be a little too difficult to explain.  It does start with a zucchini colored crayon and goes from there into zany directions. As a bonus, this one is also funny, too.

Simon Thorn and the Wolf's Den#11 – A New Series
Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den by Aimee Carter

There is nothing like discovering a new series because you know there is more wonderful reading to come.  Animals, magic, adventure–lots of good stuff here! This is a new series out this year so you will have to wait for installment #2.

Some Kind of Courage, Book Cover#12 – A Western
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Westerns used to be a popular genre and setting for books and movies, but these days you don’t see them as often.  So it is especially refreshing to have a new middle grade western.  This is another new book out in 2016.

[alert heading=”See Our Prior Year Recommendations for MG Summer Reading!” type=”info”]2015 Recommendations      2014 Recommendations      [/alert]
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Have an outstanding summer and happy reading! – Cindy M., Executive Editor

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!

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