Did you know that this year marks the 20-year anniversary of Harry Potter in the United States? It was published by Scholastic Books back in 1998! To celebrate, Scholastic’s 2018 Summer Reading Challenge is all about celebrating a Magical Summer of Reading. I thought now would be a great time to share some of my favorite “magical” books for middle-graders!
All of these books feature some sort of magical or fantasy element, making them perfect for kids who love Harry Potter! Let’s check them out!
Magical Summer Reading Books for Middle School Kids
*Affiliate links included below. If you make a purchase through these links, I earn a small commission. I tried to break this down into manageable categories that made sense to me. 😀
Witches and Wizards
- Harry Potter Boxed Set– counting this as one book, even though there are 7! Celebrate Harry Potter’s 20th Anniversary by reading (or re-reading) the entire boxed set together as a family!
- The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer (preview above)
- W.I.T.C.H. The Graphic Novel by Disney
- Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan
- Wizardmatch by Lauren Magaziner
- Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
- The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Witch & Wizard by James Patterson
- The Witches by Roald Dahl
While Harry Potter is definitely my top choice in this section, I also recommend checking out The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer. The series has a bunch of books out already (six total right now), so if your kids love the first one they can keep up their summer reading momentum all season long with these books alone.
Witch & Wizard by Patterson is another great choice for a story that combines fantasy elements with a dystopian society. I have great respect for James Patterson because he is incredibly passionate about promoting literacy in kids.
- A Wrinkle in Time
- The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- His Dark Materials Boxed Set (The Golden Compass series)
- Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
- The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray by B.A. Williamson
- Everland by Wendy Spinale (a retelling of Peter Pan)
- Sky Raiders (Five Kingdoms Book 1) by Brandon Mull
- The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan
- The Zaria Fierce Trilogy by Keira Gillett:
With the recent theatrical (and now home video) release of A Wrinkle in Time, now is the perfect moment to introduce this classic Madeleine L’Engle story to a whole new generation. It’s a great blend of sci-fi and fantasy, a magical adventure of epic proportions!
Speaking of magical adventures, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman are high on my “must-read” list for tweens and teens. While the series flopped as a movie, the books are absolutely incredible.
Furthermore is one that’s currently on my TBR pile. I loved Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, so I’m interested to see what she does with a story for a slightly younger audience. I’m also looking forward to seeing how she crosses over from dystopian to fantasy.
Dragons & Other Fantastic Beasts
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K.Rowling
- Wings of Fire series by
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
- Warriors: The New Prophecy! boxed set by Erin Hunter
- Endling #1: The Last by Katherine Applegate
- Emily Windsnap: Six Swishy Tails of Land and Sea by Liz Kessler
- The Inheritance Cycle Boxed Set by Christopher Paolini
- The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko
- Bob by Wendy Mass & Rebecca Stead
- Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
Harry Potter fans will want to read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! The version linked above is the original screenplay for the movie. If you want something a little truer to the Hogwarts students’ edition, I recommend this one. The special Kindle in Motion edition really brings the fantastic beasts to life!
For mermaid fanatics, the Emily Windsnap series is a must-read. The box set includes six novels, plus a fun bonus “Best Friends with Emily Windsnap” booklet. The Wings of Fire series and the Warriors series are also great picks, especially if you want something that kids can continue reading all summer long.
Mythology & Epic Tales
- Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians Boxed Set by Rick Riordan
- The Kane Chronicles Boxed Set by Rick Riordan
- The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes
- Sword in the Stone by T.H. White
- The Spider Weaver: A Legend of Kente Cloth by Margaret Musgrove
- Valkyrie by Kate O’Hearn
- Loki’s Wolves (The Blackwell Pages) by K.L. Armstrong & Melissa Marr
- Sea of Trolls Trilogy by Nancy Farmer
- The Heart of a Hummingbird by by
For this section, I tried to include a good mix of myths and legends from around the world. While Riordan’s series are always my top picks, novels like The Spider Weaver and The Heart of a Hummingbird give tweens a glance into other cultures. In today’s political climate, I think it’s more important than ever to bridge the gaps between different walks of life. Our kids are going to have their work cut out for them reversing the mess we’re making right now.
More Magical Fun
I couldn’t really fit these into a specific category!
- Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke
- Float by Laura Martin
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
- The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- Every Day by David Levithan
- Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
- Amulet #1-7 Box Set by Kazu Kibuishi (This one is perfect for tweens who love anime!)
- The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Two of my favorite authors have books in this section: Neil Gaiman and Cornelia Funke. While many of Gaiman’s books are more for older teens and adults than middle graders, the Graveyard Book is one major exception. Did you know that it is the ONLY book to win both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal? If you don’t know what those are, they’re awarded to only the best in children’s literature.
Cornelia Funke, on the other hand, writes exclusively for children (middle graders in particular). Inkheart isn’t just one of my favorites on this list, it’s one of my all-time favorite books ever. It’s perfect for any kid who has ever dreamed of seeing his or her favorite book come to life. Of course, in Inkheart, that’s not always a good thing!
With these 50 magical summer reading books for middle graders, your kids should have no trouble finding something they enjoy! I am a firm believer that summer should be all about choices, and summer reading books should be chosen by your child. I hated being forced to read certain books during my vacation when I was in school.
One more thing before I go: while I’ll continue to post an annual summer reading list for middle graders, I actually just launched an entire site devoted to middle grade reads! In fact, that’s the name of it! If you love this list, please check out Middle Grade Reads for more fun! It’s a work in progress, but I already have a few new lists over there for you to peruse!
What are some of your favorite magical summer reading books? I’d love to hear all about them!
This is such a great list of books. These would be great for my niece.
These look so fun! Thanks for the list!
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