Family, Friends, & School: 15+ Realistic Fiction Titles for Ages 8-12

3 Jul

Summer is here! And that means loads of time for kids to experience books in all their glory. This is also a great time to encourage kids to read the books they choose (without having to worry about school assignments) and to try out new genres that they might be interested in learning more about.

This series will offer titles for toddlers to teens and include a variety of formats. Each week will focus on a different genre and will follow the same format:

  • Mondays – Titles for Ages 3-7
  • Tuesdays – Middle Grade Titles for Ages 8-12
  • Wednesdays – Young Adult Titles for Ages 13+
  • Thursdays – Nonfiction pairings
  • Friday – Recap of the Week

Middle Grade

25817074All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
For the past 11 years, Perry has been born and raised in the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility and the Warden has made some allowances to make it work. But a new district attorney threatens the only life Perry knows by forcing him into foster care.

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Amina’s biggest problems as she enters middle school is a best friend who starts hanging out with the popular girls and thinks about changing her name to something more “American.” That is until her mosque is vandalized and she must find her voice and speak out.

Checked by Cynthia Kadohata
Connor feels special when he’s on the ice, which is anytime he’s not at school or taking care of his dog, Sinbad. When Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Connor chooses to give up extra hockey practice to help pay for the vet bills and without hockey to distract him, he begins to realize more about the people around him.

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez
“On Day One, twelve-year-old Malu (Maria Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself. ” (Taken from Goodreads)

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes
Garvey’s dad wants him to be athletic, but Garvey’s more interested in science and reading. When his only friend encourages him to join choir, Garvey finds a place for himself to shine and is able to reach out to his dad with a new passion.

George by Alex Gino
When her classmates and teacher look at her, they see a boy, but George knows she’s a girl. So when the class decides to put on a play – Charlotte’s Web, George wants desperately to play Charlotte. What happens when the teacher doesn’t allow George to even tryout?

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
Lily’s dog slips out of his collar leading her a chase through a blueberry field where she meets Salma, the daughter of migrant workers in the field and the girls soon become fast friends. Salma decides to run for the local Blueberry Queen pageant, but can an outsider win a small-town pageant as the girls face prejudice and stand tall in friendship.


Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
“In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud and boisterous family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister Gen is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just act normal so that he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends — at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. ” (Taken from Goodreads)

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
Mark is like any other kid, he’s got a dog, a best friend, writes poetry and loves taking pictures. But, he’s also very sick, the kind you don’t get better from and Mark’s goal is to climb Mount Rainier. So, he runs away on a journey that isn’t easy, but must be done.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Aven’s parents move her across the country to run a Wild West theme park, where being the new kid is hard enough, but through in the fact that Aven was born with arms and it’s a whole other issue. Soon, Aven meets Connor a new friend dealing with his own disability, a new friend that pushes her farther than she ever thought possible.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
“When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him:
Joseph almost killed a teacher. He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain. He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her. What Jack doesn’t know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl. Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help. But the past can’t be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.” (Taken from Goodreads) *Definitely an older middle grade title

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
“Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom – the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it – somehow.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks
Joe and Ravi think they have nothing in common – Joe was fine until his best friends moved away and Ravi’s family just moved from India as he searches for where he belongs in this new place. The boys team up one week to take control of their lives and stop the bullying that’s happening to both of them.


Schooled by Gordon Korman
Cap’s been homeschooled by his grandmother his whole life, but when she ends up in the hospital, he’s forced to attend public middle school. He’s got no friends, no reference to popular culture and is in way over his head.

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
“11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
“Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn’t ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of Oz casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way.” (Taken from Goodreads)


2 Responses to “Family, Friends, & School: 15+ Realistic Fiction Titles for Ages 8-12”


  1. Realistic Fiction Booklist Recap | literacious - July 6, 2018

    […] Family, Friends, & School: 15+ Realistic Fiction Titles for Ages 8-12 […]

  2. Genre Booklists for Summer 2018 | literacious - July 16, 2018

    […] Family, Friends, & School: 15+ Realistic Fiction Titles for Ages 8-12 […]

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