Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Of Dragons, Swallows, Vikings and Societies (Middle School Reads)

Have you looked at any Middle school summer reading lists lately? They tend to be filled with story lines that are filled with death, dying and depression... I have been disheartened by the choices my children's friends have been bringing home from their "summer reading lists" for the past 5 or 6 years.

I'm going to put up a quick little list that will actually include a BUNCH of books, because they are mostly the first book in a series~ which should keep your voracious AND reluctant reader busy during the summer months. The vast majority of these are appropriate for/enjoyed by both boys and girls.

I'll start with a series that I am personally just finishing up, but that my children have read the past few years... The Mysterious Benedict Society. This series is about a somewhat misfit group of 2 boys and 2 girls with extraordinary talents, who are asked to go on a dangerous undercover mission in order to save their town (and possibly their country and, indeed, the whole world) from the diabolical "Whisperer."

What a fantastic story with so many interesting plot twists, so many fascinating characters and situations~ Great read!
Next up is one of our perennial favorites, and probably the most lent set of books from my daughter's personal library , The Viking Quest Series. Pictured at right is the first book in the series, which is set largely in Ireland and Norway. These are thrilling adventures with a strong moral/Christian tone, that kept my children anxiously waiting to get to the next book.
Just a note~ the entire Viking Quest Series (Kindle edition) is available for around $15, so if that is one of the ways your kids read, and they aren't clamoring for a physical book to hold in their hands, this is a good option.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup... Author Eisley Jacobs has written a trilogy (so far~ my kids are rooting for more books, and that is definitely a possibility on the horizon) Dragons Forever, featuring Deglan (boy dragon) and Meia (girl human) who meet, despite the tactics of Lord Edric, who endeavors to keep dragons and humans from ever making contact. We all enjoyed these books (12/13 year old boy, 16/17 year old girl,  and mom), and really think they should be made into movies (especially the 2nd book)~ preferably a faithful rendition~ would be well worth the money to go see them. If you dig a little deeper than the surface story, the themes of character are excellent and provoked much discussion and thought. As with the Viking Quest Series,  Dragons Forever Series, Books 1-3:Kindle edition is a great deal, currently listed for $2.99 for all three books on your Kindle!

The next couple of series are "Classics"

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome isn't really about birds and South American Natives. Instead it tells (with very British Flavour) the adventures of the Walker children, Nancy and Peggy Blackett (the Amazons) and a little catboat (The Swallow) with the stories starting in the 1930's or so. This is the first book in the series and any child who dreams of spending their days on their own, outdoors, exploring and solving mysteries will surely enjoy these books. What a great set of books to read on lazy summer afternoons! :)

The next series is more for the girls~ the The Betsy-Tacy books. These stories are set in the late 1800's-early 1900's and follow the lives of three little girls, Betsy, Tacy, and Tib. They are best friends who live in a small village. We get a glimpse into the lives of children in pre-world war I, very sweet "growing up" books. You *can* purchase them separately, but I think the treasury pictured at right is an excellent deal. It is available on Kindle or in Paperback.

Oh, goodness... I could keep going on, with

But... I'm running out of time... 

Hopefully this gives you a few ideas for Middle School summer reading, and if you choose to shop through my links, I thank you! 

Happy Reading! 

Please visit the TOS Review Crew Carnival for more inspiration
Summer Reading for Middle Grades


  1. I agree that so many recommended middle school books are terribly depressing. I avoid those too!

  2. I'm popping over like you recommended. Great choices. I went ahead and got the Dragon books from Kindle as you suggested. We love the Benedict Society and The Penderwicks, as well. I think they are some of my favorites!

    1. Isn't it sad that the really good books get lost in the shuffle? Let me know what you think about the Dragon books. We really loved them! (Oh, side note: the indie author is a homeschooling mamma as well... and would love a quick review on Amazon if you have a minute~ every bit helps for those who aren't part of a big publishing company)

  3. Great minds think alike! Love the Benedict Society! Checking out the others- thanks! And yes, how there even be a "dark teen"section at the local bookstore. So not right on so many levels!

  4. Yours is the second recommendation I've read tonight for The Mysterious Benedict Society books. I'm adding a lot to our library list. Thanks!


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