Read-aloud books are not just the domain of elementary school teachers – tweens love to hear books read aloud, too! This is a list of 30 of the best middle school read-aloud books. A few of these are picture books that can be read quickly in a single class period, but the majority are lengthier novels with themes about kindness, self-acceptance, and growing up to match the concerns of today’s preteens and early teenagers. 

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1. Zero 

by Kathryn Otoshi

Best middle school read aloud books: Zero

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This picture book is great to prompt discussions about body image and self-worth. In it, the number zero looks at herself and finds herself worthless. She sees all the other numbers having value and tries to stretch and change herself until she looks like them. In the end, of course, she learns that all she can do is be herself and decides to embrace that.

2. Each Kindness 

by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Each Kindness 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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This book, as a middle school read aloud, will render a class of students completely silent. It will give you, the teacher, goosebumps. New girl Maya is bullied, shunned, and made fun of by her classmates, including Chloe. Eventually, Chloe realizes her unkindness and wants to make amends but discovers that it’s too late. This book is about our choices and teaches the hard lesson that sometimes, do-overs are not possible.

3. The Invisible Boy 

by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton

The Invisible Boy 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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Brian might as well be invisible. No one ever includes him – he’s not invited to birthday parties or included in any group, ever. But invisible Brian is the first to include new student Justin, an act of kindness that transforms both of them. Especially relevant to middle school students when cliques take on new importance, this book teaches how easy it is to be kind.

4. The Doorman’s Repose 

by Chris Raschka

30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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This is a collection of 11 short stories about life inside a New York apartment building. Animals talk, and the elevator is a sentient matchmaker, but in spite of the fantastical elements commonly found in children’s books, this is a quirky and fun story collection that will appeal to all ages.

5. A Wrinkle in Time

by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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A Wrinkle in Time is a middle-grade classic, one that is short but powerful. In it, Meg Murray is an outcast in her school – she gets in trouble for fighting, is stubborn and outspoken. She used to be a top student, but that changed when her brilliant astrophysicist of a father disappeared. When Meg’s family is visited by some otherworldly spirits, Meg and her young brother Charles Wallace are thrust into a high-stakes rescue mission with good and evil hanging in the balance. 

6. The Mighty Miss Malone 

by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Mighty Miss Malone 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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Deza Malone is growing up during the Great Depression. She is the smartest girl in school, but when the depression hits her town hard and her father leaves for work, that ceases to matter. When her father doesn’t return, Deza sets out in search for him, along with her mother and brother.

7. The Magician’s Elephant 

by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Yoko Tanaka

The Magician's Elephant 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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A fortuneteller appears in town and orphaned Peter Augustus Duchene asks for his help finding his sister. The magician tells him to follow an elephant and sets off a remarkable, magical chain of events. This middle school read aloud book teachers students about hope and belonging.

8. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane 

by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

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Edward Tulane is a toy rabbit with the best child in the world, a girl named Abilene. But one day, Edward is lost and thus begins a magical journey that takes Edward around the world. At its heart, this softly magical book is about the power of miracles.

9. What Not to do if you Turn Invisible 

by Ross Welford

What Not to Wear When You Turn Invisible 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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Timid Ethel Leatherhead decided to cure her acne using mysterious herbs she finds on the internet plus the power of a tanning bed. Instead, she turns herself invisible. What happens next is a humorous series of events during which Ethel attempts to keep her invisibility a secret. Along the way, shy Ethel learns to become a bit more adventurous in this inspiring middle school read aloud book.

10. When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit 

by Judith Kerr

When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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Anna’s Jewish family lives in Berlin in 1933. Her father is an outspoken writer who publicly criticizes Hitler. When her father disappears one day, Anna’s mother tells her they must flee Germany and go join him.

11. Bayou Magic 

by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Bayou Magic

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This coming-of-age story is about Maddy, a girl raised in the city, who spends her first summer in the Bayou. As she steeps herself in the atmosphere and her grandmother’s stories, she slowly realizes she carries her family’s legacy inside her – the magic, which she will have to use when an oil leak threatens the place she has come to love.

12. The Hero Next Door 

by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

The Hero Next Door 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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This middle-grade short story collection focuses on bravery. Stories are included from well-known middle grade authors, including Joseph Bruchac, Lamar Giles, Ellen Oh, and R.J. Palacio. Published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, this collection delves into what it means to be a hero.  

13.   An Elephant in the Garden 

by Michael Morpurgo

An Elephant in the Garden 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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Loosely based on real events in World War II, young Lizzie and her brother Karl have grown attached to an elephant at the zoo where their mother works as a zookeeper. When bombs threaten the city, the zoo decides to put down the elephant to prevent it from running rampant in a bombing strike. The family pleads for the elephant’s life and stays behind to care for it. Soon, they are forced to flee for their lives, but with an elephant coming along, the already difficult situation is much more complicated.

14. Joyful Noises: Poems for Two Voices 

by Paul Fleischman and Eric Beddows

Joyful Noise Poems for Two Voices

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These are poems about insects and they are filled with sound and song. The poems are great for a read-aloud because they are meant to be read in, as the title suggests, two separate voices. A classroom volunteer (or volunteers) would be can share the reading responsibility and lend their own unique voice to each poem.

15. Out of My Mind

by Sharon M. Draper

Out of My Mind 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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Fans of the novel Wonder will love Out of My Mind, about an eleven-year-old girl named Melody who has cerebral palsy. Melody also has a photographic memory. Because of her disability, she is unable to read, write, or walk, so no one knows just how brilliant she is – until she finds a way to show them.

16. The One and Only Ivan

by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan

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Ivan was a real gorilla who lived inside a small enclosure in a shopping mall for decades before finally being relocated to a zoo. He is the inspiration behind this fictional story of a deep friendship between a baby elephant named Ruby. It’s reminiscent of the poignant and powerful relationship between Charlotte and Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web.

17. Counting By 7s 

by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7's 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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Twelve-year-old Willow is a genius, but her world is shattered when her parents die in a car crash. She claws her way back from the brink by being her extraordinary self. While this book is rooted in tragedy, Willow’s tale ends up being one of triumph.

18. Goodbye Stranger

by Rebecca Stead 

Goodbye Stranger

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Goodbye Stranger is about three friends who made a pact to never fight. But of course, middle school means keeping that promise becomes a lot harder as each of the friends stretches their wings and follows their different paths. This makes a great middle school read aloud because it is told in three separate voices – Bridge, Emily, and Tab. 

19. The Forgotten Girl

by India Hill Brown 

The Forgotten Girl

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While making a snow angel in the woods, Iris accidentally uncovers the grave of a young girl. As soon as she disturbs the grave, strange things begin happening and Iris feels haunted. She’s determined to find out more about the girl, Avery Moore, whose grave she uncovered. As it turns out, Avery lived during the time of segregation and was buried in a segregated cemetery. Iris learns a lot about the nature of justice and how the past still touches her life in this spooky story. 

20. Garvey’s Choice

by Nikki Grimes 

Garvey's Choice 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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Garvey’s father wants him to play sports, but Garvey would rather focus on the subject he loves best: science. Garvey also struggles with his weight and self-esteem. One day, he stumbles across the school chorus at the urging of his best friend, and it turns out he’s perfect for the new soloist role. Music proves to be the perfect language to bridge the divide between Garvey and his father. 

21. Wonder

by R. J. Palacio 

Middle school read aloud books: Wonder

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Wonder is a runaway bestseller that is beloved and popular middle school read aloud book for its message about kindness and acceptance. August Pullman has never gone to public school thanks to a severe facial deformity – until fifth grade. He faces the expected bullying in his new school but August’s incredible character teaches his classmates about the importance of looking beyond the exterior to see what’s inside. 

22. Maybe He Just Likes You

by Barbara Dee  

Maybe He Just Likes You

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Maybe He Just Likes You is a book about the #MeToo movement for middle schoolers. It focuses on seventh-grader Mila, who begins receiving unwanted attention from boys – but her friends tell her she’s overreacting. “It was just a hug” or “he’s just flirting with you” are refrains Mila hears. But to her, the attention is bothersome. She enrolls in a karate class and gains her power back. 

23. Among the Hidden

by Margaret Peterson Haddix and illustrated by Cliff Nielsen

Among the HIdden

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This dystopian novel explores a future where families are only allowed to have two children, a mandate strictly enforced by the population police. Luke, an illegal third, is a shadow child who has lived his entire life in isolation. Luke has strictly minded the rules until one day he meets another shadow child, just like himself. 

24. Amal Unbound

by Aisha Saeed 

Amal Unbound 30 of The Best Middle School Read-Aloud Books

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Amal is cast out of her village after accidentally insulting a member of the ruling family. She is sent to work on their estate, destroying her dream of becoming a teacher. Once at the estate of the Khan family, she befriends the other servants and soon realizes that her village will not be free until it is pried from the grips of its rulers. She has to decide whether to join in with the servants in a risky plan to overthrow the Khans. 

25. Clean Getaway

by Nic Stone

Clean Getaway

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Eleven-year-old William “Scoob” Lamar sets out on a road trip around the southern states with his grandma (G’ma) after his spring break trip is canceled by his father after he gets a school suspension. G’ma wants to show Scoob his history in the south, and Scoob wants to escape his father. This is a classic road trip story, with all the expected twists and turns along the way. 

26. We Dream of Space

by Erin Entrada Kelly 

We Dream of Space

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Twins Fitch and Bird are in seventh grade – along with their brother Cash who is repeating his seventh-grade year. The children each anticipate the launch of the space shuttle Challenger while dealing with the problems unique to their own orbits.  It’s a really charming and relatable work that is sure to capture readers when read aloud. 

27. House Arrest

by K.A. Holt 

House Arrest book

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Twelve-year-old Timothy Davidson is on house arrest for a year, and the book House Arrest serves as his mandatory court-ordered journal. This middle school read aloud book is a total crowd-pleaser , but it does not shy away from tough issues like the juvenile delinquent court system and issues of poverty. It’s a not-to-be-missed book. 

28. The Crossover

by Kwame Alexander  

The Crossover

Get it HERE.

Josh Bell is a star basketball player and a star poet, too. His twin brother, Jordan, also excels at basketball, and on the court the two are almost unstoppable. Off the court, when Jordan meets a girl, their relationship must grow and adapt. This short, quick read is absolutely perfect as a classroom read-aloud because the entire novel is written in lively verse that automatically engages students who are listening. 

29. Ghost Boys

by Jewell Parker Rhodes 

Ghost Boys

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Ghost Boys is about a young black boy, Jerome, who is shot and killed by police after they mistake his toy gun for a real one. As a ghost, Jerome watches as his community is devastated by his death. Soon, Jerome meets another ghost named Emmett Till, and the two boys together reflect on racial violence throughout America’s modern history. 

30. No Fixed Address

by Susin Nielsen

No Fixed Address

Get it HERE.

Felix Knutsson’s mom can’t seem to hold onto a job, so they soon find themselves living in a van. Embarrassed, Felix’s mom swears him to secrecy lest he be taken from her and put in foster care. Felix, who loves trivia, decides to try to win a space on the game show “Who What Where Win” to use the prize winnings to help his mom. However, things don’t go according to plans in this middle school read aloud book. 

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30 of The Best Read-Aloud Books For Middle School