101 Best Classic Books for Middle Schoolers — Cultivating a Lifelong Love for Literature

The realm of literature presents a journey of transformation, particularly significant during middle school years. A phase wherein imagination and curiosity blend harmoniously, providing an ideal foundation for the exploration of timeless pages found within classic books. As young minds step into adolescence’s gateway, a voyage of self-discovery and expanded horizons commences.

101 best classic books for middle schoolers

Within this period of dynamic growth, literature stands as an unwavering companion, offering not solely amusement, but also profound insights into the human narrative. Within the pages of these classic tomes, narratives have withstood the test of time, resonating across generations and cultures, offering glimpses into diverse eras, societies, and viewpoints. As a result, young readers cultivate empathy and comprehension.

The world of classic literature, a repository teeming with narratives that captivate hearts and challenge intellects, offers an array of themes—from sweeping quests to intimate character analyses—delving into life’s intricacies, including love, courage, and resilience. Moreover, this literary odyssey enriches critical thinking, vocabulary, and analytical prowess, equipping middle schoolers with skills that extend beyond printed pages.

Many individuals experienced significant influence after engaging with literature during their middle school years:

The ensuing journey encompasses an exploration of meticulously chosen classic books—101 of the best, tailor-made for middle schoolers. Encompassing the revelation of enchanting fantasy realms, a reimagining of historical epochs through vibrant narratives, and immersion within thought-provoking sagas of personal evolution, this anthology ignites the pleasure of reading and the pursuit of knowledge. Thus, as we plunge into these narratives, we celebrate the profound influence of classic literature—a force molding young intellects and nurturing an enduring fondness for reading.

Presented below are the 101 books that, in my view, stand as the finest choices for middle school readers:

1. “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Published: 1937

Bilbo Baggins, an unassuming hobbit, embarks on an epic adventure when he joins a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim their homeland from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Along the way, they face challenges, make unlikely allies, and discover the power of courage and friendship.

The Hobbit

2. “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling

Published: 1997-2007

Follow the journey of Harry Potter, a young wizard, as he navigates the magical world, battles dark forces, and unravels the mysteries of his own past. The series combines fantasy, adventure, and coming-of-age themes, captivating readers with its intricate plot and richly developed characters.

Harry Potter

3. “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

Published: 1865

Alice falls down a rabbit hole into a whimsical and nonsensical world filled with peculiar characters, bizarre events, and unexpected challenges. This classic tale explores themes of identity, absurdity, and imagination as Alice navigates a world where logic is turned upside down.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

4. “The Chronicles of Narnia” series by C.S. Lewis

Published: 1950-1956

This series of seven books follows the adventures of children who stumble into the enchanted land of Narnia, a world filled with talking animals, mythical creatures, and epic battles between good and evil. Each book explores different themes while contributing to a larger allegorical narrative.

The Chronicles of Narnia

5. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan

Published: 2005-2009

Percy Jackson discovers he’s a demigod, the son of Poseidon, and is thrust into a world of Greek mythology, monsters, and quests. Alongside his friends, Percy embarks on quests to prevent catastrophic events, encountering gods, creatures, and challenges from ancient myths.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

6. “Watership Down” by Richard Adams

Published: 1972

A group of rabbits embarks on a dangerous journey to find a new home after their warren is threatened. The novel delves into themes of survival, leadership, and the bond between animals as the rabbits face numerous trials in their search for safety.

Watership Down

7. “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame

Published: 1908

Follow the adventures of Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger in the English countryside. This charming tale explores friendship, camaraderie, and the joys of simple pleasures while highlighting the different personalities and pursuits of the animal characters.

The Wind in the Willows

8. “The Swiss Family Robinson” by Johann David Wyss

Published: 1812

Shipwrecked on a deserted island, the Robinson family must use their resourcefulness and teamwork to create a new life in the wilderness. This classic story of survival and ingenuity captures the family’s efforts to adapt, build shelter, and forge connections with their new environment.

The Swiss Family Robinson

9. “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London

Published: 1903

Follow the journey of Buck, a domestic dog, as he is taken to the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush. Facing the harsh realities of the wild, Buck taps into his primal instincts and embarks on a journey of self-discovery in a tale that explores the wilderness and human-animal relationships.

The Call of the Wild

10. “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Published: 1911

Mary Lennox, a spoiled and orphaned girl, discovers a hidden, neglected garden on her uncle’s estate. As she tends to the garden, she begins to heal emotionally and forms new connections, with the garden itself mirroring the transformation of her own life and attitude.

The Secret Garden

11. “Little House on the Prairie” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Published: 1932-1943

Follow the pioneer life of Laura Ingalls Wilder as she grows up in a changing America. This series offers a window into the challenges, joys, and daily experiences of a family as they settle and adapt to life on the prairie during the 19th century.

Little House on the Prairie

12. “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry

Published: 1989

Set during World War II in Nazi-occupied Denmark, the story follows Annemarie Johansen and her family as they help their Jewish friends escape the Nazis. The novel explores themes of bravery, resistance, and the importance of standing up against injustice.

Number the Stars

13. “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare

Published: 1958

Kit Tyler, a young woman from Barbados, faces challenges and prejudice in the Puritan community of Connecticut in the late 17th century. Accused of witchcraft, Kit forms an unlikely friendship and finds strength in her own convictions.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

14. “Johnny Tremain” by Esther Forbes

Published: 1943

Set during the American Revolution, the novel follows Johnny Tremain, a young silversmith’s apprentice, as he becomes involved in the struggle for independence. The story explores loyalty, freedom, and the personal growth of its characters against the backdrop of historic events.

Johnny Tremain

15. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

Published: 1993

In a seemingly perfect dystopian society, a young boy named Jonas is chosen to receive the memories of the past from the Giver. As he learns about both the joys and pain of the world, he questions the cost of a society that suppresses individuality and emotions.

The Giver

16. “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor

Published: 1976

The Logan family, African American farmers, face racism and injustice in Mississippi during the Great Depression. The novel explores themes of family, prejudice, and the importance of standing up against inequality.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

17. “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’Dell

Published: 1960

Based on a true story, this novel follows Karana, a Native American girl who is left stranded on an island for years after her tribe’s departure. She must rely on her resourcefulness and courage to survive in solitude while learning to adapt to her environment.

Island of the Blue Dolphins

18. “The Bronze Bow” by Elizabeth George Speare

Published: 1961

Set in Judea during the time of Jesus, the novel follows Daniel, a Jewish young man, as he joins a group of rebels against Roman rule. Through his experiences, he learns about forgiveness, leadership, and the impact of compassion.

The Bronze Bow

19. “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

Published: 1947

Anne Frank’s diary documents her life in hiding during the Holocaust. The diary offers poignant insights into the experiences, emotions, and thoughts of a young Jewish girl who hoped for a better world amid the atrocities of World War II.

The Diary of a Young Girl

20. “Bud, Not Buddy” by Christopher Paul Curtis

Published: 1999

Set during the Great Depression, the novel follows Bud Caldwell, a 10-year-old boy on a journey to find his father. Bud’s humorous and resilient spirit shines as he navigates challenges and finds connections with people.

Bud, Not Buddy

21. “The Hardy Boys” series by Franklin W. Dixon

Published: 1927

Follow the adventures of Frank and Joe Hardy, teenage brothers and amateur detectives, as they solve mysteries, uncover secrets, and outsmart criminals in their town.

The Hardy Boys

22. “Nancy Drew” series by Carolyn Keene

Published: 1930

Join Nancy Drew, an intelligent and resourceful young sleuth, as she solves mysteries ranging from stolen jewels to missing persons, all while using her keen observation and quick thinking.

Nancy Drew

23. “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin

Published: 1978

Sixteen heirs are invited to the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will, where they must solve a complex puzzle to inherit his fortune. The novel weaves intricate plots and engaging characters in a compelling mystery.

The Westing Game

24. “The Secret Series” by Enid Blyton

Published: 1934

A group of children stumbles upon a series of thrilling adventures as they solve mysteries, uncover hidden passages, and foil the plans of villains in their quest for truth.

The Secret Series

25. “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” by E.L. Konigsburg

Published: 1967

Two siblings, Claudia and Jamie, run away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and uncover a mystery related to a statue of an angel. The novel combines art, adventure, and self-discovery.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

26. “Holes” by Louis Sachar

Published: 1998

Stanley Yelnats is sent to a juvenile detention center where he and other boys are forced to dig holes every day. As he uncovers the history of the camp and his family, he discovers interconnected stories of justice and redemption.


27. “The Mysterious Benedict Society” by Trenton Lee Stewart

Published: 2007

Four gifted children are recruited to infiltrate a secretive institution where an evil genius plans to control minds. With their unique skills, they embark on a dangerous mission to save the world.

The Mysterious Benedict Society

28. “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster

Published: 1961

Milo, a bored and disinterested boy, embarks on a fantastical journey through a magical land filled with wordplay, puns, and allegorical characters. This whimsical adventure teaches him the value of learning and imagination.

The Phantom Tollbooth

29. “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” by Chris Grabenstein

Published: 2013

Twelve children are locked in a high-tech library designed by the eccentric Mr. Lemoncello. They must solve puzzles and riddles to escape, leading them on a fast-paced and clever literary adventure.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library

30. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Published: 1960

Set in the American South during the 1930s, the novel follows Scout Finch as she observes her father’s defense of a black man accused of raping a white woman. The story addresses themes of racial prejudice, empathy, and justice.

To Kill a Mockingbird

31. “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton

Published: 1967

Ponyboy Curtis navigates the challenges of being a “Greaser” in a divided town, where rival gangs clash. The novel explores themes of friendship, class differences, and the search for identity.

The Outsiders

32. “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White

Published: 1952

A pig named Wilbur and his clever spider friend Charlotte form an unlikely bond. Charlotte spins words into her web to save Wilbur from being slaughtered, teaching valuable lessons about friendship and mortality.

Charlotte's Web

33. “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery

Published: 1908

Orphaned Anne Shirley arrives at Green Gables and charms her way into the hearts of the elderly Cuthbert siblings. The novel follows Anne’s adventures as she grows up on Prince Edward Island, displaying her imagination, spirit, and kindness.

Anne of Green Gables

34. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

Published: 1962

Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin embark on a cosmic journey to rescue Meg’s father from the clutches of an evil force. The novel combines science fiction and fantasy to explore themes of love, courage, and the battle between good and evil.

A Wrinkle in Time

35. “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain

Published: 1876

Follow the escapades of Tom Sawyer as he navigates the challenges and joys of boyhood in a Mississippi River town. The novel captures the spirit of adventure and the complexities of growing up in the 19th century.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

36. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Published: 1925

Set in the 1920s, the novel explores the extravagant lifestyle and moral decay of the Jazz Age through the enigmatic Jay Gatsby’s obsession with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.

The Great Gatsby

37. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Published: 1943

A young prince from a distant asteroid travels through various planets, meeting unique inhabitants and learning valuable life lessons. The allegorical story addresses themes of friendship, love, and the nature of human relationships.

The Little Prince

38. “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

Published: 1954

After a plane crash leaves a group of British schoolboys stranded on an uninhabited island, they form their own society, which descends into chaos and savagery. The novel explores the darkness of human nature and the fragility of civilization.

Lord of the Flies

39. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

Published: 1951

Holden Caulfield, a disenchanted teenager, recounts his experiences and encounters during a few days in New York City. The novel offers a candid exploration of alienation, teenage angst, and the search for authenticity.

The Catcher in the Rye

40. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

Published: 2012

Auggie Pullman, a boy with a facial difference, enters mainstream school for the first time in fifth grade. The novel follows Auggie’s journey to acceptance as he navigates friendship, empathy, and the challenges of being different in a judgmental world.


41. “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson

Published: 1977

Jesse Aarons forms a deep friendship with Leslie Burke, and together they create an imaginary world called Terabithia. This novel explores themes of friendship, imagination, and the complexities of growing up.

Bridge to Terabithia

42. “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli

Published: 1990

Jeffrey Lionel Magee, known as “Maniac,” becomes a legend in his town as he crosses racial boundaries, challenges prejudices, and brings people together with his kindness and athleticism.

Maniac Magee

43. “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo

Published: 2000

Ten-year-old Opal adopts a stray dog named Winn-Dixie, and the dog helps her make new friends and heal from past wounds. The novel explores themes of friendship, forgiveness, and the impact of companionship.

Because of Winn-Dixie

44. “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli

Published: 2000

Stargirl Caraway is an eccentric and unique girl who challenges the norms of her high school. Her influence on her peers leads to both admiration and conflict, as the story delves into themes of individuality and acceptance.


45. “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate

Published: 2012

Ivan, a silverback gorilla living in captivity, narrates his life in a shopping mall with other animals. When a new arrival, a baby elephant named Ruby, sparks his determination to create a better life, Ivan must find the courage to change their circumstances.

The One and Only Ivan

46. “The War That Saved My Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Published: 2015

Ada, a young girl with a clubfoot, escapes her abusive mother and finds refuge in the English countryside during World War II. As she adapts to a new life and finds love and belonging, she discovers her own strength.

The War That Saved My Life

47. “Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper

Published: 2010

Melody, a brilliant 11-year-old with cerebral palsy, cannot communicate verbally. The novel follows her journey to express herself, attend mainstream school, and prove her intelligence to those who underestimated her.

Out of My Mind

48. “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo

Published: 2003

Despereaux Tilling, a small mouse with big ears and a bigger heart, embarks on a quest to rescue a princess and confronts a rat with dark intentions. The story weaves together themes of courage, love, and the power of storytelling.

The Tale of Despereaux

49. “The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963” by Christopher Paul Curtis

Published: 1995

The Watson family embarks on a road trip from Michigan to Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. The novel addresses serious themes while incorporating humor and family dynamics.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

50. “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman

Published: 1995

In a parallel universe, Lyra Belacqua embarks on a journey to the Arctic to rescue kidnapped children and uncover a mysterious substance called Dust. The novel is known for its exploration of complex philosophical and ethical themes.

The Golden Compass

51. “Redwall” by Brian Jacques

Published: 1986

In the peaceful Redwall Abbey, a young mouse named Matthias must defend against the threat of Cluny the Scourge and his horde of vermin. The novel combines adventure, fantasy, and themes of courage and heroism.


52. “The Thief Lord” by Cornelia Funke

Published: 2000

Brothers Prosper and Bo run away to Venice and join a group of child thieves led by the enigmatic Scipio, known as the Thief Lord. The novel blends mystery, adventure, and themes of family and loyalty.

The Thief Lord

53. “The City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau

Published: 2003

Lina and Doon live in the underground city of Ember, where resources are dwindling. As they uncover the city’s secrets and search for a way to escape, they discover the truth about their world’s origins.

The City of Ember

54. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis

Published: 1950

Four siblings stumble into the magical land of Narnia through a wardrobe, where they must aid Aslan, the great lion, in his battle against the wicked White Witch. The novel combines adventure, allegory, and Christian symbolism.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

55. “The Phantom of the Opera” by Gaston Leroux

Published: 1910

Christine Daaé becomes a sensation at the Paris Opera House, where she is mentored by a mysterious figure known as the Phantom. The novel delves into themes of love, obsession, and the power of art.

The Phantom of the Opera

56. “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman

Published: 1973

A fairy tale adventure unfolds as Westley and Buttercup navigate obstacles, true love, and swashbuckling foes. The novel seamlessly blends humor, romance, and fantasy.

The Princess Bride

57. “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende

Published: 1979

Bastian Balthazar Bux discovers a magical book that draws him into the land of Fantastica, where he must complete a quest to save the realm. The novel explores the connections between imagination and reality.

The Neverending Story

58. “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini

Published: 2002

Farm boy Eragon discovers a dragon egg that leads him on a journey to become a Dragon Rider and challenge the oppressive rule of the empire. The novel is a tale of destiny, magic, and the bonds between humans and dragons.


59. “The Secret of NIMH” by Robert C. O’Brien

Published: 1971

Mrs. Brisby, a field mouse, seeks help from the mysterious rats of NIMH to save her family’s home from destruction. The novel explores themes of courage, intelligence, and the consequences of human experiments on animals.

The Secret of NIMH

60. “The Midwife’s Apprentice” by Karen Cushman

Published: 1995

A nameless, homeless girl becomes the apprentice of a midwife and learns to navigate medieval England’s challenges. The novel portrays the girl’s growth, self-discovery, and journey toward finding her own identity.

The Midwife's Apprentice

61. “Esperanza Rising” by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Published: 2000

Esperanza Ortega’s life drastically changes when she and her mother must leave their privileged life in Mexico and start anew as farmworkers in California during the Great Depression. The novel explores themes of resilience, immigration, and family bonds.

Esperanza Rising

62. “Tuck Everlasting” by Natalie Babbitt

Published: 1975

Ten-year-old Winnie Foster discovers the Tuck family’s secret: they are immortal due to a magical spring. As Winnie befriends them, she faces a moral dilemma and considers the implications of eternal life.

Tuck Everlasting

63. “The War with Grandpa” by Robert Kimmel Smith

Published: 1984

When Peter’s grandfather moves into his room, a comical war ensues between the two. The novel humorously explores intergenerational relationships and the challenges of adjusting to change.

The War with Grandpa

64. “A Single Shard” by Linda Sue Park

Published: 2001

Tree-ear, an orphaned boy in 12th-century Korea, dreams of becoming a potter. His journey involves challenges, mentors, and a determination to prove his worth and artistic talent.

A Single Shard

65. “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” by Jacqueline Kelly

Published: 2009

Calpurnia Tate, a young girl in Texas in the late 1800s, develops a fascination for science and nature, defying the traditional roles for girls. The novel captures her growth, aspirations, and relationship with her grandfather.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

66. “Fever 1793” by Laurie Halse Anderson

Published: 2000

During the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia, 16-year-old Matilda Cook struggles to survive and care for her family. The novel portrays the challenges of the epidemic and the strength of the human spirit.

Fever 1793

67. “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” by Avi

Published: 1990

Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle voyages on a ship in the 19th century and becomes entangled in a web of intrigue, danger, and mystery. The novel addresses themes of independence, courage, and societal expectations.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

68. “The Boxcar Children” series by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Published: 1924

Siblings Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden solve mysteries and embark on adventures while living in an abandoned boxcar. The series has captivated young readers for generations.

The Boxcar Children

69. “Encyclopedia Brown” series by Donald J. Sobol

Published: 1963

Leroy “Encyclopedia” Brown, a boy detective, solves mysteries with his impressive knowledge and keen observation skills. Each book features a collection of short stories where readers can attempt to solve the cases themselves.

Encyclopedia Brown

70. “The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)” by Ellen Raskin

Published: 1971

In this whimsical mystery, Mrs. Leon Carillon vanishes under peculiar circumstances, and her granddaughter, Noel, sets out to uncover the truth. The novel combines wordplay, humor, and unexpected twists.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)

71. “The House with Chicken Legs” by Sophie Anderson

Published: 2018

Marinka, a girl living in a house that has chicken legs and roams the land, yearns for a more traditional life. The novel explores themes of identity, destiny, and the balance between freedom and responsibility.

The House with Chicken Legs

72. “The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place” series by Maryrose Wood

Published: 2010

Governess Penelope Lumley tries to tame the wild behavior of three children raised by wolves. The series offers a blend of humor, mystery, and adventure with themes of family and belonging.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

73. “The Puzzling World of Winston Breen” by Eric Berlin

Published: 2007

Puzzle enthusiast Winston Breen uncovers a mysterious treasure hunt in his small town, leading him and his friends on an exciting adventure. The novel incorporates puzzles for readers to solve along with the characters.

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen

74. “The 39 Clues” series

Published: 2008

Siblings Amy and Dan Cahill embark on a global treasure hunt following a family tragedy. The series combines action, history, and puzzles, inviting readers to participate in solving the mysteries.

The 39 Clues

75. “Chasing Vermeer” by Blue Balliett

Published: 2004

When a famous painting is stolen, two friends, Petra and Calder, use their puzzle-solving skills to unravel the mystery and recover the artwork. The novel celebrates art, intuition, and critical thinking.

Chasing Vermeer

76. “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” by Judy Blume

Published: 1972

Peter Hatcher faces the challenges of having an annoying younger brother, Fudge, in this humorous and relatable story that explores sibling dynamics and the ups and downs of family life.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

77. “The Indian in the Cupboard” by Lynne Reid Banks

Published: 1980

A magical cupboard brings toys to life, including a tiny Indian figure named Little Bear. As Omri, the young owner, learns the responsibilities of his power, the novel addresses themes of friendship and respect.

The Indian in the Cupboard

78. “The Sign of the Beaver” by Elizabeth George Speare

Published: 1983

Matt Hallowell, left to fend for himself in the wilderness, befriends a Native American boy and learns survival skills and valuable life lessons. The novel explores cross-cultural understanding and self-reliance.

The Sign of the Beaver

79. “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls

Published: 1961

A boy named Billy Coleman works hard to achieve his dream of owning two coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. Their adventures and bond shape Billy’s character and lead to a poignant and heartrending ending.

Where the Red Fern Grows

80. “My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George

Published: 1959

Sam Gribley runs away from home to live in the wilderness and survive on his own. The novel depicts his resourcefulness, connection with nature, and personal growth as he faces challenges and makes a home in the wild.

My Side of the Mountain

81. “Matilda” by Roald Dahl

Published: 1988

Matilda Wormwood is a gifted girl with telekinetic powers who faces adversity from her neglectful parents and tyrannical headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. The novel celebrates the power of intelligence, kindness, and the love of books.


82. “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech

Published: 1994

Salamanca Tree Hiddle embarks on a cross-country journey with her grandparents to find her mother, all the while recounting the story of her friend Phoebe’s mysterious disappearance. The novel explores themes of loss, friendship, and the complexities of growing up.

Walk Two Moons

83. “Roller Girl” by Victoria Jamieson

Published: 2015

Twelve-year-old Astrid Vasquez signs up for roller derby camp, discovering a new passion and facing challenges as she navigates changes in her friendships and family dynamics. The graphic novel captures themes of perseverance, self-discovery, and determination.

Roller Girl

84. “Flora & Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo

Published: 2013

Flora Belle Buckman rescues a squirrel, Ulysses, after he gains superpowers following a near-fatal vacuum cleaner incident. The novel explores themes of friendship, family, and the unexpected connections between humans and animals.

Flora & Ulysses

85. “One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia

Published: 2010

In 1968, three sisters travel to Oakland, California, to spend the summer with their estranged mother, who is involved in the Black Panther movement. The novel examines themes of family, identity, and social justice during a turbulent time.

One Crazy Summer

86. “Absolutely Normal Chaos” by Sharon Creech

Published: 1995

Thirteen-year-old Mary Lou Finney recounts her summer experiences in a journal, including her crushes, family dynamics, and involvement in a school play. The novel captures the humor and challenges of adolescence.

Absolutely Normal Chaos

87. “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander

Published: 2014

Twelve-year-old twin brothers, Josh and Jordan, are basketball stars navigating sibling rivalry, friendship, and the challenges of their father’s health issues. Written in verse, the novel explores themes of sportsmanship, family, and personal growth.

The Crossover

88. “Al Capone Does My Shirts” by Gennifer Choldenko

Published: 2004

Moose Flanagan’s family moves to Alcatraz Island, where his father works as a prison guard. The novel follows Moose’s challenges, friendships, and encounters with the notorious inmate Al Capone.

Al Capone Does My Shirts

89. “Counting by 7s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Published: 2013

Twelve-year-old Willow Chance, a genius with unique quirks, faces tragedy and finds unexpected connections with a diverse group of individuals. The novel touches on themes of resilience, community, and the power of human relationships.

Counting by 7s

90. “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo

Published: 2006

Edward Tulane, a china rabbit, embarks on an epic journey through different owners’ lives, experiencing love, loss, and redemption. The novel explores themes of empathy, transformation, and the importance of connection.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

91. “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens

Published: 1861

“Great Expectations” follows the life of an orphan named Pip, tracing his journey from humble beginnings to the complexities of adulthood. The novel delves into themes of social class, ambition, love, and the transformative power of self-discovery. Set against the backdrop of Victorian England, Dickens weaves a captivating narrative that explores the human spirit’s resilience and the intricate connections between characters from different walks of life.

Great Expectations

92. “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

Published: 1868-1869

The novel follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—as they navigate the challenges of growing up, pursuing dreams, and finding love and happiness during the American Civil War.

Little Women

93. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Published: 1813

Elizabeth Bennet navigates societal expectations, misunderstandings, and her evolving feelings for the proud Mr. Darcy in this beloved classic that explores love, social class, and the power of self-awareness.

Pride and Prejudice

94. “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley

Published: 1818

Dr. Victor Frankenstein creates a creature through scientific experimentation, but the consequences of his actions lead to tragedy and moral dilemmas. The novel delves into themes of creation, responsibility, and the consequences of playing god.


95. “Sherlock Holmes” series by Arthur Conan Doyle

Published: 1887-1927

This series follows the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend Dr. John Watson as they solve complex mysteries and untangle perplexing cases using deductive reasoning and keen observation.

Sherlock Holmes

96. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde

Published: 1890

Dorian Gray remains young and beautiful while a portrait of him ages and reflects his corrupt and immoral lifestyle. The novel delves into themes of vanity, morality, and the consequences of a life lived without accountability.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

97. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë

Published: 1847

The orphaned and mistreated Jane Eyre becomes a governess and falls in love with the enigmatic Mr. Rochester. The novel explores themes of social class, independence, and the pursuit of self-respect and love.

Jane Eyre

98. “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum

Published: 1900

Dorothy Gale is whisked away to the land of Oz, where she embarks on a journey to meet the Wizard and return home. The novel has captivated readers with its fantastical adventures and themes of friendship, courage, and self-discovery.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

99. “Dracula” by Bram Stoker

Published: 1897

The novel introduces Count Dracula, a vampire who seeks to spread his curse to England, and the group of characters who attempt to thwart his plans. The novel is a classic of gothic horror and explores themes of good versus evil.


100. “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens

Published: 1837-1839

Orphan Oliver Twist faces the hardships of the workhouse and the criminal underworld of London, where he encounters colorful characters and seeks a better life. The novel addresses social injustices, poverty, and the struggle for survival.

Oliver Twist

101. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain

Published: 1884

Huck Finn, a young boy, escapes his abusive father and embarks on a journey down the Mississippi River with Jim, a runaway slave. The novel explores themes of friendship, freedom, and the moral complexities of society during the antebellum era.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Useful Resources


In the world of literature, the journey of middle schoolers is enriched by timeless tales. From fantastical realms to historical backdrops, these 101 classic books offer a treasure trove of lessons: courage, friendship, empathy, and discovery. As young minds explore these pages, they forge connections, ignite imaginations, and embark on transformative literary adventures that shape their values and perspectives for years to come.

Simona Johnes

Leave a Comment