Check out these fascinating realistic fiction books for 6th-8th graders. With diverse topics of humanity, connection, friendship, acceptance, these books are sure to strike a chord with middle schooler. The underlying theme of them remains the same – compassion!
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Realistic Fiction Books For Grades 6-8 (Middle School)
Explore the middle grade realistic fiction books for 6th-8th graders below.
Posted. Branton Middle School has banned cell phones at school, leaving Frost and his friends to come up with a unique way to communicate – sticky notes. While, most notes are friendly and funny, some are cruel.
When a new girl Rose joins the school, the sticky notes war escalates further. This contemporary realistic fiction book tackles many topics middle graders can easily relate to – bullying, broken friendship, social media, etc.
It Wasn’t Me
Theo’s photography project gets mysteriously vandalized at school. His 7th-grade teacher decides to help solve the crime. For this, he calls the six suspects into school for a talk.
The students though initially different from each other, start connecting once they start talking. The narrative is sharp and humorous and sure to strike a chord with middle graders.
Sara and the Search for Normal
Sara and the Search for Normal. Seventh-grader Sara is diagnosed with many mental health issues and struggles to make friends. She wishes to live a normal life like other kids. Things change when Sara joins a weekly therapy group. There she makes a friend Erin. Together they start attending many events like movies, parties, etc. Life almost seems normal now.
There are not many books dealing with mental health illness in middle graders. This book does a fine job of educating and bringing awareness amongst children. It also details the impacts on families of children dealing with mental health issues. A must-read book for every kids – to understand and accept others with mental health challenges.
Name Tags and Other Sixth-Grade Disasters
Name Tags and Other Sixth-Grade Disasters. After her parent’s divorce, 12 years-old Lizbeth moves to a new place and joins sixth-grade ins a new school. There she was made to sit with three weirdos. Even though she initially could not find anything in common with them, Lizbeth finally ends up becoming friends with the three.
This story touches on many contemporary issues faced by middle-schoolers, in a matter-of-fact and humorous manner, without being preachy. It is an easy read for reluctant readers.
Maybe He Just Likes You
Maybe He Just Likes You. Mila is a typical seventh-grader with a good set of friends and regular life problems. Things were going fine till a group of boys target her and start behaving inappropriately. Unwanted hugs, standing too close, awkward comments – became part of the routine behavior.
Her best friend does not understand the issue. And Mila is too uncomfortable with the male school counselor to describe the problem.
Unfortunately, this book is needed and a must-read for middle-school kids. While many girls can relate to Mila, boys can learn about appropriate behavior.
Restart. Chase falls off the roof and loses his memory completely. Once he joins back to school, students welcome up with mixed behavior. Some treat him like a hero while others are angry with him. Chase now wants to find out what he was and did in school. In the process, he ends up learning more about himself and decides what kind of person he now wants to be. A story encouraging kids to have a fresh start and trying to make the wrong right.
Read the story of a Korean- descendent American child Julia Song. Julia teams up with her friend Patrick to win the state project competition. However, when her mother suggests the idea of raising silkworms for the project, Julia is skeptical.
This multidimensional book weaves many different topics in it – ethics of killing silkworms, animal cruelty in fashion, racism, peer pressure. It is a suitable read-aloud for the middle-grade class and sure to start a great discussion.
Up for Air
Up for Air. Read the story of thirteen-year-old Annabelle. She is excellent at swimming while struggles with everything else at school. When she is invited to join a new team over the summer, things change and Annabelle makes new friends. However, the good times don’t last. Now she is left to figure out her self-worth and who her true friends are.
365 Days to Alaska
365 Days to Alaska. This is the story of Rigel Harman, an eleven-year-old girl, growing up in the wilderness of Alaska with her family. They don’t have modern amenities, but she loves her time with nature.
Then her parents get a divorce, and Rigel ends up moving to Connecticut with her mother. She hates her time there and starts counting days when she can move back to Alaska with her father. Read the story to find how Rigel adjusts finally.
My Storied Year
My Storied Year. Read the story of Dragon Stewart, a dyslexic seventh-grader at Piney Woods Middle school. He does not enjoy going to school. Things turn worse when his mother gets sick and is unable to take care of Dragon.
However, his teachers and assistant principal at the school are helpful. Slowly with lots of help and compassion, Dragon comes out of his shell and be confident about his true self. A touching novel about personal struggles and coming out a winner.
Just As Long As We’re Together
This fictional storybook takes a realistic take on the old and new friendship. Stephanie and Rachel have been best friends for years. However, at the beginning of seventh grade, Stepahine made a new friend Alison, who had just moved in.
How would Rachel react to this new friendship? Along with many other middle-grade dramas, family issues, adolescence – this book is quite relatable. It has a lovely message of friendship in the end.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Bruno’s father is in the army. The entire family moves to a new place after his transfer. Bruno has no friends to play with, in this new place. While exploring the neighborhood, he meets another boy, and they became friends. As twisted as fate can be – the boy turned out to be a prisoner.
The powerful narration of innocent friendship during Holocaust is heart-touching. The illustrations are gorgeous. This international bestseller has sold millions of copies worldwide.
The Blackbird Girls
This story narrates how a friendship grows out of sorrow and through difficult times. Two girls, Valentina and Oksana, always considered each other enemies. However, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster hit, and both their fathers died in the accident. Soon they found themselves together on a train to stay with Valentina’s grandmother.
Their new life throws many other challenges at them. However, during all the times of grief, they finally become friends. They must support each other to get through this tough time. It is a captivating story of friendship and survival in difficult times.
A Good Kind of Trouble
Twelve-year-old Shayla wants to go through her seventh grade without any trouble. She has wishes like any other girl of her age – staying out of trouble, keeping her friendship intact, learn to run track, follow the rules, etc. Things change when her sister Hana gets involved in Black lives matter. After one close experience with the protest, Shayla realizes that some rules are unfair and worth breaking.
This contemporary middle-grade book teaches kids about standing up for what is right. A perfect realistic fiction book for middle graders when they start understanding some painful, unjust realities of the world. A book cheering courage, maturity, and standing up for what is right ( in the right way). This one is relevant reading for today’s kids.
Out of My Mind
This book was on New York Times bestseller list for two years.
It narrates the story of 11-years-old Melody, who has cerebral palsy. She can’t walk, talk or write. Melody has a photographic memory and never forgets anything. But her teacher, doctors, friends think of her as a mentally challenged girl because of her inability to speak.
However, Melody is determined to showcase her ability to others and prove them wrong. Finally, with courage, and some technological assistance, Melody proves to others that she has a lot to say. The author narrates the frustrations and emotions of Melody well. This realistic fiction book teaches kids about disability, tolerance, and acceptance.
Shouting at the Rain
If your child loved the book Fish in a Tree, this is the worthy successor from the same author. Delsie was abandoned by her mother when she was just a baby. Being raised by her grandmother makes her the one with an untraditional family. The feeling of abandonment grows when her best friend leaves her for a ‘cooler’ girl.
Soon Delsie makes a new friend Ronan, who is also troubled by the losses he had endured. With the help of some of her amazing neighbors, she learns the real meaning of family. Family is people who love and support you. The story is realistic and relatable.
The above list covers some of the good realistic fiction books in children’s literature. Though we love them all, the below are our absolute favorites.
- Sara and the Search for Normal – This book strikes a chord with many kids.
- A Good Kind of Trouble – for tackling a tricky subject in child friendly way.