Another school year is upon us, so I’ve gathered a list of back to school reads for juvenile fiction (grades 3-6). There’s something for everyone in these stories: humor, mystery, adventure and, most of all, important lessons about growing up.
The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter by Kristen Tracy
Eleven-year-old Bessica’s plans to begin North Teton Middle School as a new person begin to fall apart even before school begins.
Okay, So Maybe I Do Have Superpowers (Dear Dumb Diary #11) by Jim Benton
As their school gets ready for the annual Fun Fair, Jamie and Isabella agree to compete in the bottle toss game and to terrible consequences for the loser.
What’s Bugging Bailey Blecker? by Gail Donovan
When fifth-grader Bailey, who lives on an island off the coast of Maine, suffers a series of setbacks, including a lice outbreak at school, it will take every ounce of her determination and the help of new school friends to get everything back together.
The Vanishing Violin (Red Blazer Girls series) by Michael Beil
Seventh-graders Sophie, Margaret, Rebecca, and Leigh Ann follow a trail of cryptic clues to locate a rare violin, catch the person sneaking into St. Veronica’s School for late-night cleaning and redecorating, and outsmart a conniving classmate.
School Days According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney
Humphrey the hamster is puzzled when unfamiliar students fill Mrs. Brisbane’s classroom at summer’s end, but he soon learns that his friends from last year are fine and that the new class needs his special help.
Tales From a Not-So-Talented Pop Star (Dork Diaries #3) by Rachel Renee Russell
When scholarship student Nikki Maxwell, whose father is the school exterminator, decides to enter the talent show at her expensive private school, her nemesis MacKenzie threatens to reveal Nikki’s status to the rest of the school.
Drama Queen (Kylie Jean series) by Marci Peschke
It’s the start of a new school year, and Kylie Jean wants to play the Queen of Hearts in her second grade class’s production of Alice in Wonderland. She works on her lines with her family’s bull dog, Ugly Brother (whose real name is Bruno), until she memorizes every last one for the tryouts. Unfortunately, the new girl at school, Paula, sets her sights on the same role.
It’s the First Day of School – Forever! by R. L. Stine
Everything goes wrong for eleven-year-old Artie on his first day at Ardmore Middle School, from the moment his alarm goes off until the next morning, when everything is repeated exactly the same way.
I Thought We Were Friends (How I Survived Middle School series) by Nancy Krulik
It’s Career Day at school, and Jenny’s favorite aunt, the art director at a greeting card company, comes to speak. When her aunt takes interest in Jenny’s friend Liza’s artwork, Jenny is thrilled. But when her aunt wants to use Liza’s artwork for a new line of cards, Jenny suddenly finds herself feeling jealous of her friend! Jenny isn’t the only one who is green with envy. The Pops can’t believe that Liza is getting more attention than they are! Will Jenny stand by her friend, or will she succumb to her own jealousy, too?
Invisible Lines by Mary Amato
Coming from a poor, single-parent family, seventh-grader Trevor must rely on his intelligence, artistic ability, quick wit, and soccer prowess to win friends at his new Washington, D.C. school, but popular and rich Xander seems determined to cause him trouble.
Fourth Grade Fairy by Eileen Cook
When fairy-godmother-in-training Willow’s wish to attend a human school comes true, she finds getting along with humans to be harder than she expected, but her newly-acquired magical talent makes it easy to collaborate with animals.
The Lovely Shoes by Susan Shreve
In 1950s Ohio, ninth-grader Franny feels isolated and self-conscious at high school because of her deformed leg and feet, but her irrepressibly high-spirited mother is determined to find shoes for Franny to wear at the school dances.
Nikki and Deja: The Newsy News Newsletter by Karen English
When Nikki and her best friend, Deja, start a newsletter about what is happening on their street and in their school, they focus more on writing exciting stories than on finding the truth.
A Brand-New Me! by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
As he is preparing to attend middle school, Hank, who has learning differences and academic difficulties, gets an unexpected opportunity to audition for a performing arts school where his creativity and humor will be appreciated and nurtured.
The Dazzle Disaster Dinner Party (Sassy series) by Sharon M. Draper
Sassy Simone Sanford plans a fabulous dinner party for her fourth grade class, but it turns into a recipe for disaster when her dog eats the food, her friends make a mess, and the new girl in school is missing.