25 Enthralling Summer Books for Boys 8-12

Karen Patten

I can remember spending entire summer days on our couch reading Nancy Drew books one after the other. I try really hard to keep our summer time unscheduled and allow the boys to find their own way. And one of the things that my oldest loves is getting lost in books! Here I’m sharing some of his favorite books in a summer reading list for boys 8 to 12 that he helped me put together. If you have boys between 8-12, this is the only book list that you’ll need to have plenty of amazing reading to get lost in this summer!

You can check these out at your local library, start a book club or swap with some friends, and if you’d like – you can purchase them through the affiliate links that I’ve provided below. (You can read more about those here.) Enjoy!!!

I love having a list of great books right at my fingertips! This is a great summer reading list for my boys between the ages of 8-12! www.themidlifemamas.com

Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a talking fox, a giant robot—and two ordinary children on a mission.

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.

It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.

Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone.

From acclaimed author, Candace Fleming, of The Great and Only Barnum—as well as The Lincolns, Our Eleanor, and Ben Franklin’s Almanac—comes the thrilling story of America’s most celebrated flyer, Amelia Earhart.

In alternating chapters, Fleming deftly moves readers back and forth between Amelia’s life (from childhood up until her last flight) and the exhaustive search for her and her missing plane. With incredible photos, maps, and handwritten notes from Amelia herself—plus informative sidebars tackling everything from the history of flight to what Amelia liked to eat while flying (tomato soup)—this unique nonfiction title is tailor-made for middle graders.

The fourth graders at Aesop Elementary are, well, unusual. There’s Calvin Tallywong, who wants to go back to kindergarten. But when he actually gets the chance, he’s forced to do the squirrel dance and wear a yellow-school-bus name tag. The moral of his story? Be careful what you wish for. Then there’s Amisha Spelwadi, who can spell wildebeest, no problem. She’s sure she’ll get 100 percent on her spelling test. But when the teacher, Mr. Jupiter, asks the class to spell cat, all Amisha can come up with is kat. The moral this time? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.

In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion.

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run–and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.

Roald Dahl’s books are always favorites! The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants—rather than the BFG—she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!

Kyle Keeley is the class clown and a huge fan of all games—board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the construction of the new town library. Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot as one of twelve kids invited for an overnight sleepover in the library, hosted by Mr. Lemoncello and riddled with lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must solve every clue and figure out every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route!

Each year, Gloriana Hemphill celebrates her Fourth of July birthday at the community pool. But the summer before her twelfth birthday, in 1964, Hanging Moss, Mississippi, is in turmoil, and that turmoil reaches right into Glory’s life. Yankee “freedom people” have infiltrated the town, rousing rabble and insisting the white-only pool be desegregated. The town council, in response, has closed the pool “for repairs,” indefinitely. And so Glory’s summer, once a promise of happy tradition, is now fraught with unwanted change. First-time novelist Scattergood has a deft hand with characterization, fully realizing the supporting players, from Frankie, Glory’s best friend and son of the bigoted town council chief, to Jesslyn, her teenaged older sister, to Laura, a girl visiting from Ohio while her mother sets up a free clinic. In Glory herself, tilting on the threshold of adolescence, Scattergood paints a balanced portrait of childlike self-interest and awakening integrity.

This tongue-in-cheek superheroine graphic novel will hit the spot for chapter-book readers. Lunch Lady and Betty, her assistant in both the cafeteria and her role of wrong-­righting supersleuth, investigate the strange case of an absent teacher, his creepy substitute, and a plan to grab the Teacher of the Year Award by truly foul means. Three little kids join in the action as Lunch Lady, equipped with a variety of high-tech kitchen gadgets like a spatu-copter and a lunch-tray laptop, tracks a cleverly disguised robot to his maker’s lab, where a whole army of cyborgs require kicking, stomping, and the wielding of fish-stick nunchucks. Yellow-highlighted pen-and-ink cartoons are as energetic and smile-provoking as Lunch Lady’s epithets of “Cauliflower!” and Betty’s ultimate weapon, the hairnet.

When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

When Callum spots crazy Iona McNair on his family’s sprawling property, she’s catching a fish with her bare hands. She won’t share the fish, but does share something else: a secret.

She’s discovered a rare endangered bird, an Osprey, and it’s clear to both her and Callum that if anyone finds out about the bird, it, and its species, is likely doomed. Poachers, egg thieves, and wild weather are just some of the threats, so Iona and Callum vow to keep track of the bird and check her migratory progress using the code a preservationist tagged on her ankle, no matter what.

When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don’t even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest.

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.

All of the Geronimo Stilton series are hits in our house – my son love Geronimo. I chose the “Kingdom of Fantasy” series because that’s the one he’s tearing through now – but there are several other series and many many more Geronimo Stilton books!

I knew from the start that it was no ordinary day, but I certainly didn’t expect to find a golden staircase in my attic. Up at the top, there was a door. And beyond the door was a world I never could have imagined — the Kingdom of Fantasy!

Along with my guide, a frog named Scribblehopper, I set off on an incredible adventure to save the Queen of the Fairies. But along the way, I had to face giant scorpions, witches, sea serpents, pixies, and dozens of other creatures that I had only ever heard stories about. Holey cheese, what a journey! Could I save the Queen . . . and my own tail?

A dying criminal confesses that his loot has been stored “in the tower.” Both towers of the looted mansion are searched in vain. It remains for the Hardy boys to make an astonishing discovery that clears up the mystery and clears the name of a friend’s father.

Each beautifully illustrated spread features tons of fun facts on the different characters, variants of each minifigure, and the various vehicles, weapons, and locations that make up the LEGO Ninjago world. Additional pages will be included featuring special events from the new animated series on Cartoon Network, making this book the perfect addition to every LEGO lover’s collection!

Aimed at slightly younger readers than her previous novels, despite its massive five hundred pages, Dragon Rider is about a brave young dragon called Firedrake who embarks upon a dangerous journey to the Rim of Heaven in the Himalayas–a magical place where silver dragons can rest easy, free from the threat of destruction by mankind and their only hope of sanctuary. The key to its location is a map rendered by a rat who is a master cartographer.

Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts — a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children — and the world — have been changed forever.

Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers . . . and on you.

The most checked-out book in the Hogwarts Library, and a volume no Quidditch player or Harry Potter fan should be without!

If you have ever asked yourself where the Golden Snitch came from, how the Bludgers came into existence, or why the Wigtown Wanderers have pictures of meat cleavers on their robes, you need QUIDDITCH THROUGH THE AGES. This invaluable volume is consulted by young Quidditch fans on an almost daily basis.

Straight from the library at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a book of magical creatures that no Harry Potter fan should be without!

A copy of FANTASTIC BEASTS & WHERE TO FIND THEM resides in almost every wizarding household in the country. Now Muggles too have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats, and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl.

Andy and Terry live in a treehouse. But it’s not just any old treehouse, it’s the most amazing treehouse in the world!

This treehouse has thirteen stories, a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a secret underground laboratory, and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you are hungry.

Life would be perfect for Andy and Terry if it wasn’t for the fact that they have to write their next book, which is almost impossible because there are just so many distractions, including thirteen flying cats, giant bananas, mermaids, a sea monsters pretending to be mermaids, enormous gorillas, and dangerous burp gas-bubblegum bubbles!

If you liked some of the selections that we chose for you – spread the love and share the list with your friends! Then I’d love for you to come share your child’s favorites with me on Facebook or Twitter!

 

3 Comments

  1. Mother of 3 on March 24, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Great list! I’m pinning this for later. I see many of our favorites and a few new ones I can’t wait to try!



  2. The Ultimate List of Books About Dragons on June 18, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    […] Related Post You May Also Like: 25 Enthralling Summer Books for Boys Ages 8-12 […]



  3. […] Related Post You May Also Like: 25 Enthralling Books for Boys 8-12 […]



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Hi, I’m Karen, the Atlanta mama, writer, and creator at Intentional Family Life. I’m a passionate advocate for intentional living so that you can experience all that you deserve for yourself and your family. Here, I inspire moms to chose what matters most and then to only do the things that move them closer to what matters most. Read More About Karen…

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