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Missouri Literacy Association

An Affiliate of International Literacy Association

The mission of the Missouri Literacy Association is to empower educators, ensure equity, inspire students & encourage leaders with the equitable resources they need to make literacy accessible for all in our diverse community.

Chapter Books

for Middle School Readers

Organized by theme or category.

Click on book cover to go to Goodreads for more information on the book.



By Raina Telgemeier

Published 2010  

In this coming-of-age true story, Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader, but one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear and even a retainer with fake teeth attached--on top of all that, there's a major earthquake, boy confusion and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.

Forget Me Not

By Ellie Terry

Published 2018

Truman Award Nominee 2019-20

Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn't mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn't long before the kids at her new school realize she's different. Only Calliope's neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is―an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?  Partially in verse and partially in prose with two intertwined points of view, Ellie Terry's affecting debut will speak to a wide audience about being true to oneself.


By Tamara Island Stone

Published 2017

Truman Award Nominee 2019-20

New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone combines friendship, coding, and lots of popcorn in her fun and empowering middle-grade debut.

Saturday with Hitchcock

By Ellen Whittlinger

Published 2017

Truman Award Nominee 2019-20


By Watt Key

Published 2017

Truman Award Nominee 2019-20

Lost Boys

By Darcey Rosenblatt

Published 2017

Truman Award Nominee 2019-20

This book is based on historical events and tells the story of a twelve-year-old boy in 1982 who joins Iran’s war effort against Iraq. But, he soon finds himself held in a prisoner-of-war camp in Iraq, where the guards not only threaten violence―they act upon it. 

The Trail

By Meika Hashimoto

Published 2017

Truman Award Nominee 2019-20

This book is a story of physical survival and true friendship, about a boy who's determined to forge his own path -- and to survive.



By Julie Murphy

Published 2015

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (nicknamed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been comfortable with her body. But when she starts dating Bo, she suddenly starts doubting herself. Aside from not-so helpful comments from her mom about her body, Willowdean also suffers from both real and imagined comments from the kids at school. In an attempt to get her confidence back, Willowdean enters the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant.

The Body in the Woods

By April Henry

Published 2014

Truman Award 2nd Place 2016-17

While helping the Portland County Sheriff's Search and Rescue to seek a missing autistic man, teens Alexis, Nick, and Ruby find, instead, a body and join forces to find the girl's murderer, forming an unlikely friendship, as well.


Dear Sweet Pea

By Julie Murphy

Published 2019

The first middle grade novel from Julie Murphy,

#1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’ !

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World

By Shannon & Dean Hale

Published 2017

Superhero fans will recognize Squirrel Girl from Marvel Comics. The inside jokes and the comments made by Doreen in the footnotes make this a fun read.

The Size of the Truth

By Andrew Smith

Published 2019

Theme of friendship.



By Alan Gratz

Published 2017

A New York Times bestseller!

This action-packed novel tackles the following topics:

courage, survival, and the quest for home.

If I Stay

By Gayle Forman

Published 2010

The sole survivor of a family car crash, Mia is in a coma. As she puts together the pieces of what has happened to her, Mia is forced to consider the meaning of life without her parents and brother—and to decide whether or not she will fight to live.

The Raft

By S.A. Bodeen

Published  2012

Truman Award Winner 2019-20

Robbie's last-minute flight to the Midway Atoll proves to be a nightmare when the plane goes down in shark-infested waters. Fighting for her life, the co-pilot Max pulls her onto the raft, and that's when the real terror begins.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

By April Henry

Published  2013

Truman Award 2nd Place 2015-16

She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her. And that she must run.Pu

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