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Video Book Talks: Middle Grade Books

Fiction and Nonfiction


cover art for Because of Winn-Dixie children's fiction
Candlewick Press

I thought it might be helpful to provide you with a list of the middle grade books recommended in the following About.com video book talks. After you watch the videos, you can print a copy to take to your local public library or bookstore or use it to compare prices and order books online.

Video: 5 Nonfiction U.S. History Books for Middle Graders

Dr. Marc Aronson, author and assistant professor at Rutgers University, begins by talking about how kids enjoy facts, such as those found in the Guinness World Records books. He goes on to discuss the value of reading nonfiction about American history. Watch this video about 5 nonfiction books about U.S. history to find out why he recommends the following books for middle grade readers:
  1. An American Plague by Jim Murphy (ISBN: 9780395776087)
  2. Harlem Stomp! by Laban Carrick Hill (ISBN: 9780316034241)
  3. Almost Astronauts by Tanya Stone (ISBN: 9780763645021)
  4. Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose (ISBN: 9780312661052) Read the Book review of Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.
  5. Ain't Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry by Scott Reynolds Nelson with Marc Aronson (ISBN: 9781426300004)
If your kids also enjoy historical fiction, take a look at this annotated list of Award-Winning Historical Fiction for Middle Grade Readers.

Books for Harry Potter Lovers

Elizabeth Bird, children's librarian with New York Public Library's Children's Center recommends books for kids who've read all of the Harry Potter series and want to read more fantasy like it. Watch this video about books for Harry Potter lovers to find out why Bird recommends these middle grade books.
  1. The Dragon’s Tooth by N.D. Wilson (ISBN: 9780375864391)
  2. The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier (ISBN: 9780440240600)
  3. Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (ISBN: 9781416994473)
  4. Small Persons With Wings by Ellen Booraem (ISBN: 9780142420546)
  5. The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson (ISBN: 9780142421352)
For more about each book in the Harry Potter series and the related books, like the Harry Potter Schoolbooks, read The Harry Potter Series: Fast Facts.

Video: 5 Nonfiction Science Books for Middle Grade Readers

Susie Heimbach, children's librarian at the Mulberry Street branch of the New York Public Library, has selected a variety of science books to intrigue middle grade readers. Watch this video about middle grade nonfiction science books to learn more about the books.
  1. Animals Up Close by Igor Siwanowicz (ISBN: 9780756645137)
  2. Volcanoes by Seymour Simon (ISBN: 9780060877170)
  3. Dino Wars by Jinny Johnson (ISBN: 9780810957985)
  4. Outside and Inside Mummies by Sandra Markle (ISBN: 9780802789662)
  5. A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers (ISBN: 9780060091101)
I have several other recommendations for you. One of my favorite nonfiction science series is the Scientist in the Field series, which I recommend for ages 9-14.  I also enjoyed How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous, which is both a witty and an educational book for ages 10 and older.

Video: Classic Summer Reading Books for Middle School Students

Educator Michael White discusses 7 books with themes suitable for middle school students. Watch this video book talk about recommended classic books to learn about what each of these books teaches the reader.
  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (ISBN: 9780618968633) Read the book review of The Hobbit.
  2. Maus by Art Spiegelman (ISBN: 9780394747231)
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (ISBN: 9780060935467)
  4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (ISBN: 9781612930893)
  5. The Giver by Lois Lowry (ISBN: 9780385732550) Read the book review of The Giver.
  6. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (ISBN: 9780679734772)
  7. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (ISBN: 9780812550702)

Video: 5 Dog Books for Middle Readers

Watch this video about 5 middle grade books about dogs and find out the reasons each is a good choice for middle readers. Two of the books are classics. Four of the 5 books have won major children’s book awards, and the fifth, about a dog named Marley, is an adaptation for children of a bestselling book for adults.
  1. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson (ISBN: 9780064403825)
  2. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (ISBN: 0763607762) Read my book review of Because of Winn-Dixie.
  3. A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin (ISBN: 9780439717007 )
  4. Marley: A Dog Like No Other John Grogan (ISBN: 9780061240355)
  5. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (ISBN: 9780689835827) Read the book review of Shiloh.

Video: 5 Dragon Books for Middle Readers

This video about dragon books for middle grade readers introduces a rather diverse group of books for a wide range of middle grade readers, as well as some younger and older kids. It runs from the 528-page-long fantasy Eragon, published in 2003 for ages 12-18 to My Father’s Dragon, first published in the 1940s, which is 96 pages long and popular with independent readers 8 - 11.
  1. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (ISBN: 9780375826696) Fans of Eragon and the other books in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini may also enjoy Eragon's Guide to Alagesia.
  2. Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson (ISBN: 9781423101710)
  3. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell(ISBN: 9780316085274)
  4. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (ISBN: 9780545316484)
  5. My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (ISBN: 9780440421214)
Another good dragon book, The Last Dragon is an award-winning fantasy novel for ages 9-12. Read the review of The Last Dragon.

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