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Engaging Middle Grades Books in Verse

A fantastic list of middle school novels in verse for middle school English Language Arts from 2 Peas and a Dog. #novelsinverse #middleschoolbooks #middleschoolELA #booklists

Middle grades books in verse are a great way to get all students reading, especially reluctant readers who are intimidated by the long paragraphs found in traditionally formatted novels. This blog post provides 18 different suggestions for middle grades books in verse along with a brief summary to help you get your students interested and engaged in reading.

My students who want a different reading experience look for engaging middle grades books in verse to challenge their reading habits.  I recommend these books to students who I know want a change in their current reading diet. I ask students to read the first few pages to see if they enjoy this writing style before they commit to the book.

This Engaging Middle Grades Books in Verse blog post contains affiliate links that are of no cost to the reader. If you make a purchase through the provided links, this blog will receive a small commission to help with the financial costs of maintaining the site.

20 Engaging Middle Grades Books in Verse

Swing by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

Walt and Noah are best friends and want to use their abilities to add good things to the world. Walt feels that this is the year they can achieve their dreams and goals. Nothing is going their way, and it gets worse when Noah’s private artwork about his childhood crush goes public. Noah must decide to step up and claim the art or remain anonymous forever.

Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

Blade does not want to be the son of Rutherford Morrison a has-been rock star who dreams of his next comeback tour. His girlfriend’s parents won’t let them be together because they think Blade will follow in his father’s footsteps and live the rockstar life. One night, Rutherford gets drunk and crashed his son’s high school graduation. Blade must work to repair the damage his father has done.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Billie Jo survives an awful accident that kills her mother and leaves her hands scarred and unable to play the piano. Billie Jo must find a way to move on.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lại

Hà lives in Saigon until the Vietnam War forces her and her family to flee aboard a ship to America.

Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz

A novel about how a teen boy survives the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

Rhyme Schemer by K. A. Holt

A novel about a bully and what happens when he becomes the person being bullied.

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

Based on a true story during Auschwitz. A girl makes her friend a birthday card and needs to keep it hidden.

Odette’s Secrets by Maryann Macdonald

Inspired by the real-life of Odette Meyers it tells the story of Odette’s life as a young Jewish girl hiding in plain sight during the Nazi invasion.

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes

Garvey isn’t interested in sports, he is teased by bullies and is lonely. He joins the chorus and it changes his life.

Addie on the Inside by James Howe

Addie is in seventh grade and starts to struggle with who she is.

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards

A novel about sixteen-year-Old Celstia who spends summers with her family at an elite resort. Celstia falls in love with a boy that could get her disowned.

Audacity by Melanie Crowder

The real-life story of Clara Lemlich who emigrated from Russia to New York and fought for equal rights at the turn of the twentieth century.

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Amira has a peaceful life in Sudan until Janjaweed attackers arrive. After the attack, Amira needs to journey on foot to a refugee camp.

May B by Caroline Starr Rose

A novel about a young girl’s struggle to survive alone with winter approaching. While she is fighting to survive and find her way home she remembers her hardships with reading in school.

Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle

Tony’s mother is sent to jail and Tony moves to Sierra, Nevada with his uncle. Tony learns about unconditional love with Gabe a search-and-rescue dog.

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg

Matt Pin is from war-torn Vietnam but now lives in the US with an adoptive family.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

Jack doesn’t like poetry and his teacher keeps assigning poetry work. As Jack has to write he realizes that he has something to say.

Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech

Jack returns and still does not enjoy poetry. He befriends a local cat at his bus stop and his teacher teaches new poems.

Moo by Sharon Creech

When a family moves from an urban area to a rural one, 12-year-old Reena develops an unexpected friendship with a cow.

House Arrest by K. A. Holt

Timothy is under house arrest for a year for stealing and has to keep a journal and stay out of trouble. Staying out of trouble proves harder than anticipated.

Your students will love reading middle grades novels in verse once they give them a try. Show them this list and challenge them to read at least one novel in verse by the end of the grading quarter, term, or semester.

12 Genre Book Reports Assignment


Love teaching with genres?

Help your students dive deeper into their reading with these 12 different genre-focused book report assignments. Each assignment enables students to showcase their creativity while meeting curriculum standards. This assignment covers both fiction and non-fiction books. The assignment structure rotates every three months helping students achieve proficiency, while still providing student choice. Assignments can be used in any order. A sample teaching schedule is provided.

Included Genres

  • Realistic Fiction
  • Mystery Fiction
  • Graphic Novel
  • Science Fiction
  • Biography & Memoirs
  • Historical Fiction
  • Classical Fiction (pre-1970)
  • Fantasy Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Traditional Literature vs. Fractured Fairy Tales
  • Sports Fiction
  • Free Verse Fiction

Assignment Types:

  1. Written Response – critical thinking and written reflection assignment.
  2. Creative Choice Board – students are provided with 3 options and must select which creative option they want to produce.
  3. Oral Presentation – a book talk format assignment.
  4. Student-Created Lesson based on a non-fiction book
  5. Traditional Literature vs. Fractured Fairy Tales Comparison Assignment

Find the 12 Genres Book Reports resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

You might also want to learn more about: 

For more great middle school books, check out this blog post – Best Middle School Book Recommendations. Also, check out some fantastic YA books in this blog post – High School Book Recommendations.

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