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Summer Reading List 2017 for Middle Grade Readers

Following in the tradition of the last couple of years, we have selected 12 books for our middle grade summer reading list.  That is basically one book per week.  Again, we tried to create an eclectic list to keeping things interesting, and they had to be books that our reviewers raved about. (Bonus:  All are relatively low on the content scale for the middle grade demographic.) So grab a lemonade, head for the backyard, and get lost in some pleasure reading.  Here are our 2017 summer reading suggestions.  Enjoy!

Click on the book’s cover to see the full book review

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Lost in Outer Space, Book Cover#1 – Non-fiction
Lost in Outer Space: The Incredible Journey of Apollo 13 by Tod Olson

Get lost in this non-fiction book that illustrates how real life can be as interesting as fiction.  It is informative, but an easy read.  (Who wants to strain their brain during summer vacation?!)


Prisoner of Ice and Snow, Book Cover#2 – A Fantasy
Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren

This is an exciting story set in a fantasy world in the icy kingdom of Demidova.  Courageous characters, plot twists, and a prison break –what’s not to like?  Bonus:  If you are broiling in the summer heat, this is a cool escape.

The Metropolitans, Book Cover#3 – A Mash-Up
The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

Myth, magic, and mysteries abound in this novel.  The author mashes together modern and ancient for great results.  Boy and girl characters from diverse backgrounds ensure this book will have a wide audience.

#4 – Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd), Book CoverContemporary Fiction
Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) by Julie Bowe

As much fun as it is to escape into a book, sometimes it is nice to find a real person with real problems.  So if you want to keep things real, this is a great read.


How to Outsmart a Billion Robot Bees, Book Cover# 5 – Something Slightly Absurd
How to Outsmart a Billion Robot Bees by Paul Tobin

Our reviewer wrote, “For any reader who loves action, adventure, and the slightly absurd.” So there you have it.  Like it quirky and a little crazy? Try this zany, non-normal book.


Storm Horse, Book Cover#6 – Something New (As hot off the presses in 2017)
Storm Horse by Nick Garlick

Our reviewer wrote, “A fantastic book for animal lovers, Storm Horse is a traditional equine novel that is comparable to classics such as Black Beauty and My Friend Flicka.”  What higher recommendation can you get than that?

Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagov, Book Cover#7 – A Mystery
Henry Hunter and the Beast of Snagon by John Matthews

We had to have at least one mystery on this list.  Henry, the protagonist, is somewhat of a thirteen-year-old Sherlock, but his mysteries usually involve the supernatural.


The Time Museum, Book Cover#8 – A Graphic Novel
The Time Museum by Matthew Loux

It seems like graphic novels are everywhere these days.  This is a fun one with plentiful adventure and even some time-travel.  With vibrant, full-color illustrations, this book is a feast for the eyes and perfect to take to the beach.

Esperanza Rising, Book Cover#9 – An Award Winner
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

This book has received the Jane Adams – Children’s Book Award and the Pura Belpre Award, among other accolades.  It is set during the Great Depression in Califoria and follows a girl as she emigrates to this country.

#10 -A Classic (–and a Movie)
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

This is either volume 2 or volume four (depending on how one looks at it) in the Chronicles of Narnia.  You will probably appreciate it more if you have at least read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but it actually stands on its own fairly well.

Just a Drop of Water, Book Cover#11 – A Time-Machine
Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

September 11, 2001 actually wasn’t that long ago, but for current middle grade readers, they hadn’t even been born yet.  Think of this book as a time-machine.  Reading it you will almost experience September 11th just like kids your age did on the actual day.

Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas, Book Cover#12 – A New Series
Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W. Stokes

It is so glorious to find a new series because you know there are more good things to come.  Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas is the first book in a new adventure series and the stuff that summer movies are made of–think Indiana Jones as a thirteen-year-old.

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Enjoy your summer vacation and summer reading!  If you read them all, then you should celebrate with ice cream.

– Cindy, 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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