The 12 Best Classic Books for Middle Schoolers

Introducing classic books to middle schoolers have always been a great way to encourage them to love reading. Not only do these books entertain, but they also offer timeless lessons that can stay with children for a lifetime. Here are the best classic books that every middle schooler should read:

The 12 Best Classic Books for Middle Schoolers

Why Classic Books are Important for Middle Schoolers

Reading classic books can be a transformative experience for young readers. The following are just a few reasons why:

Building a strong literary foundation

Classic literature provides a strong foundation of knowledge that allows children to build their literary lives upon. A good classic novel can hone their reading and comprehension skills, cultivate their imagination, and help them to discover new potential interests and passions.

For example, reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee can introduce children to the concept of prejudice and discrimination in a relatable and engaging way. This can spark important discussions about social justice and equality, which are important topics for children to explore as they grow and develop.

Encouraging critical thinking and empathy


Reading classic novels can encourage children to think about important issues and themes that are timeless and relevant. Classic novels often deal with important societal issues such as inequality and discrimination, which can promote empathy and understanding towards others.

For instance, reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” can help children understand the impact of war and persecution on innocent people. This can help them develop a greater sense of empathy and compassion towards others, which is an important life skill that can benefit them in many ways.

Enhancing vocabulary and language skills

Pride and Prejudice

Classic novels can introduce children to a wide range of vocabulary words and literary devices that they may not encounter in contemporary books. By engaging with classic novels, children can develop sophisticated language skills that will serve them well both academically and beyond.

For example, reading “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen can expose children to complex sentence structures and subtle nuances of language that can help them become more effective communicators. This can benefit them in many areas of their lives, from writing essays to giving presentations.

Overall, reading classic books is an important part of a child’s literary development. By engaging with classic literature, children can build a strong foundation of knowledge, develop critical thinking and empathy skills, and enhance their vocabulary and language skills. So, encourage your child to pick up a classic novel today and start exploring the wonderful world of literature!

Top 5 Classic Novels for Middle Schoolers

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harperperennial Modern Classics)

This classic novel examines the racism and classism that were prevalent in the South during the 1930s. Told through the eyes of a young girl, To Kill a Mockingbird is an accessible and thought-provoking story that will inspire readers to think critically about social issues and injustice.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit: 75th Anniversary Edition

The Hobbit is a classic adventure story that captures the imagination of readers of all ages. This tale of a hobbit’s journey through Middle Earth is full of memorable characters and vivid images, and its themes of loyalty and bravery still resonate with readers today.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables series Book 1)

Anne of Green Gables is a beloved classic that follows the adventures of an imaginative orphan girl named Anne Shirley. The story is set in the beautiful Canadian countryside, and its themes of family, friendship, and imagination make it a must-read for middle schoolers.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver (Giver Quartet, Book 1)

The Giver is a haunting dystopian novel that imagines a world where emotions and personal experiences are forbidden. The story is told through the eyes of a young boy named Jonas who discovers that the world is much more complicated than he had ever suspected.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women

Little Women is a heartwarming novel of family and sisterhood set during the Civil War era. The book follows the lives of four sisters as they grow from childhood to adulthood, and its characters and themes have inspired generations of readers.

Top 5 Classic Adventure Books for Middle Schoolers

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of adventure, and these classic books are sure to ignite the imaginations of middle schoolers everywhere. From pirates to sled dogs, these stories are full of excitement, danger, and unforgettable characters. Here are five of the best classic adventure books for middle schoolers:

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island

Set sail with Jim Hawkins and the crew of the Hispaniola as they search for buried treasure on a remote island. But beware, for Long John Silver and his band of pirates will stop at nothing to claim the treasure for themselves. With its vivid descriptions of tropical landscapes, thrilling sea battles, and larger-than-life characters, Treasure Island is a swashbuckling adventure that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Join Tom Sawyer and his friends as they explore the Mississippi River, play pranks on their unsuspecting neighbors, and search for buried treasure. But when Tom and his friend Huck witness a murder, they find themselves in grave danger. Set against the backdrop of a small Missouri town in the mid-19th century, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a timeless coming-of-age story that captures the spirit of a bygone era.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The Call of the Wild (yourbooks)

Follow the journey of Buck, a domesticated dog stolen from his home in California and sold into the brutal world of the Alaskan wilderness. As Buck learns to adapt to his new life as a sled dog, he discovers the primal instincts that lie within him. With its vivid descriptions of the frozen landscapes of the far north and its powerful themes of survival and self-discovery, The Call of the Wild is a classic adventure story that will leave readers breathless.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden

Enter the enchanting world of Misselthwaite Manor, where orphaned Mary Lennox discovers a hidden garden that has been locked away for years. As she tends to the garden and uncovers its secrets, Mary begins to heal from the pain of her past and find joy in the beauty of nature. With its lush descriptions of gardens and its themes of redemption and renewal, The Secret Garden is a timeless classic that will inspire readers to appreciate the natural world around them.

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

The Swiss Family Robinson (Bantam Classics)

Shipwrecked on a remote island in the South Pacific, the Robinson family must use all their ingenuity and resourcefulness to survive in a hostile environment. From building a treehouse to taming wild animals, the family’s adventures are full of excitement and danger. With its themes of family, resilience, and the power of the human spirit, The Swiss Family Robinson is a classic adventure story that will inspire readers to overcome any obstacle.


Classic literature has stood the test of time and continues to be captivating to children. These best classic books for middle schoolers demonstrate the breadth and depth of the classic literary canon and its importance in encouraging reading and critical thinking skills.

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Eddison Monroe
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