Seventh grade is one of my favorite grades.
It’s the best of both worlds, middle school speaking. Students are “so past” the babyish immaturity of 6th graders, but not quite as jaded as their 8th grade counterparts. They’re too cool for the kind of silliness that totally derails class, but aren’t too cool for games or stickers. They’re just dipping their toes into who they are and their place in the world. And they’re (unfortunately for those of us who teach them and have to keep a straight face) hilarious.
The last year has seen a fantastic crop of books for this age, and our list is the perfect starting point for a 7th grade classroom or a 7th grader you know and love. While there are great lessons to be learned in each of these books, make sure to preview them before assigning or recommending them to ensure they’re a good fit for your kids.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
1. The Moth Keeper by K. O’Neill
Anya protects the lunar moths that keep her village thriving. But what happens when being a moth-keeper isn’t all she thought it would be? Seventh graders will love this gorgeous graphic novel and the world K. O’Neill builds within it.
2. Finally Seen by Kelly Yang
Lina Gao is finally joining her parents and sister in America after five long years of being separated. But so far life in America isn’t turning out to be what she thought: at school, at home, or anywhere in between. A story about courage, resilience, and high-achieving little sisters (ugh), Finally Seen will be a welcome addition to any classroom library.
Buy it: Finally Seen on Amazon
3. The Superteacher Project by Gordon Korman
What if you found out your teacher was an AI robot from a top-secret experimental project? For Oliver Zahn, that question is about to become a reality. Seventh graders will love getting to the bottom of this hilarious, mysterious story.
Buy it: The Superteacher Project on Amazon
4. The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh
So far, the pandemic is leading to a lot of stress and isolation for 13-year-old Matthew, who is dealing with big shifts in his family. But when he finds a clue in an old black-and-white photograph, he will learn that his family’s past contains a shocking story of strength and resilience from the Holodomor, the famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s and was covered up for decades. This book, called “the resistance novel for our times” by the New York Times, will hook your 7th graders from the first chapter.
Buy it: The Lost Year on Amazon
5. The Town With No Mirrors by Christina Collins
At first glance, the town of Gladder Hill seems like a utopia. Everyone seems happy in this town that has outlawed cameras and mirrors. But when Zailey is determined to see her face for the first time, she unlocks a world of knowledge that might unravel the history of her town and herself. Ask your 7th graders, “What would life be like if we didn’t have cameras or mirrors?” and they’ll be fully committed to find out what happens in this book.
Buy it: The Town With No Mirrors on Amazon
6. The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore and Allison Hong Merrill
When Tai Choi is sold into slavery to pay for her father’s gambling debts, she is forced into a new life of huge change and hardship. She goes from Tai Choi to Tien Fu Wu, the name forged on her immigration papers, and from her home in the Zhejiang province of China to San Francisco. She is rescued from her life of servitude, but how can she trust her new friendship? Heather B. Moore and Allison Hong Merrill adapted a true story to this powerful, moving story for young readers that 7th graders (and their teachers) won’t be able to put down.
Buy it: The Paper Daughters of Chinatown on Amazon
7. Lolo’s Light by Liz Garton Scanlon
Grief. Guilt. Death. You might be tempted to think these are topics a middle school audience isn’t ready for, and yet these are topics middle schoolers are already facing. This is the story of Lolo, a main character 7th graders will love, who encounters an unavoidable tragedy when babysitting her neighbor’s child. Walking through Lolo’s thoughts, emotions, and responses offers 7th graders the opportunity to have important conversations about grief and death, but also about redemption and life.
Buy it: Lolo’s Light on Amazon
8. A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga
From the author of Other Words for Home, A Rover’s Story is a powerful tale told from the point of view of Resilience, a Mars rover. Res was made to explore Mars, but will he be able to conquer the harsh terrain of this new planet, or disappoint the legions of people watching his journey back home? (A note for teachers: A Rover’s Story is fantastic for teaching character development and point of view.)
Buy it: A Rover’s Story on Amazon
9. Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
Chet, Kaori, Virgil, and Valencia couldn’t be more different. In fact, one of the only things bringing them together is that they live in the same neighborhood. But all of that is about to change when a prank puts Virgil and his guinea pig’s life in danger. All at once, he’ll need the intelligence, courage, and a little cosmic fairy dust from his neighborhood gang.
Buy it: Hello, Universe on Amazon
10. Life Skills for Tweens by Ferne Bowe
There is one in every class. OK, there are several in every class: the kids who would rather watch informational TikToks than look at scores of memes. Kids who eschew fantasy and sci-fi with “Why would I want to read about something that isn’t real?” Life Skills for Tweens is perfect for those knowledge-hungry realists, with how-tos on everything from communication and self-regulation skills to keeping calm in emergencies.
Buy it: Life Skills for Tweens on Amazon
11. Calling the Moon: 16 Period Stories From BIPOC Authors, an anthology edited by Aida Salazar and Saied Méndez
If you’re watching Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret this summer, this anthology with 16 short stories about menstruation is a perfect companion. Written by authors who are Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color, Calling the Moon showcases coming-of-age stories that range from hilarious to heartrending, helping readers understand they’re not alone in the period wilderness.
Buy it: Calling the Moon on Amazon
12. As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh
To stay and fight for a country you love or escape and survive? This speculative novel about the Syrian Revolution will have 7th graders hanging on Katouh’s every word. Something to note: Fans of The Book Thief will love As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow, particularly the way fear is personified as Salama’s companion Khawf.
Buy it: As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow on Amazon
13. Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho
Kat Cho has done it. First, she has taken the secret dream of so many teenagers and written it down in book form: What if a K-pop star asked you to prom? Then, she has horrified legions of K-pop fans with: What if you’re not sure you want to go? Once Upon a K-Prom is fun and funny, and it’s one of those books that will entertain your 7th graders’ inner fanfolks.
Buy it: Once Upon a K-Prom on Amazon
14. Miss Quinces by Kat Fajardo
Sue can’t wait to go to summer camp with her friends and make comics all day. So when her family announces they’re going to visit relatives in a remote area of Honduras with no cell service or Internet and they’re throwing her a surprise quinceañera complete with giant fluffy dress, she wonders if it’s humanly possible for her life to get worse. Kat Fajardo’s debut graphic novel is a hilarious journey about family, tradition, and self-discovery, perfect for middle schoolers.
Buy it: Miss Quinces on Amazon
15. Azar on Fire by Olivia Abtahi
After a condition in infancy damaged her vocal chords, Azar has decided to stay silent in high school. But when she hears about a local Battle of the Bands concert, she can’t resist—will she end up speaking to her crush to convince him to sing vocals, or miss out on a dream altogether? If you’re looking for books for 7th graders who love both music and feisty main characters, try Azar on Fire.
Buy it: Azar on Fire on Amazon
16. Camp QUILTBAG by Nicole Melleby
Twelve-year-old Abigail can’t wait to go to the inclusive camp for queer and trans kids, Camp QUILTBAG. Thirteen-year-old Kai is … not excited to be there. After a rocky start, the two make a pact to help each other in navigating camp life—will it end in success or disaster? We’re grateful for Nicole Melleby’s work in making sure all kids are represented in literature.
Buy it: Camp QUILTBAG on Amazon
17. The Track Series by Jason Reynolds
Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu ended up on the same elite track team together. However, they’re worlds apart in terms of pretty much everything else. Seventh graders will love this series—each is told from a different character’s perspective—and teachers will love the insights that happen when reading the same story from a different perspective.
Buy it: The Track Series on Amazon
18. This Is How I Roll by Debbi Michiko Florence
Your sushi-loving 7th graders (and even those who blanche at raw fish) will love this story about Susannah Mikami. Susannah dreams of being a famous sushi chef like her father, but he won’t teach her his skills (and won’t say why). Suddenly, cute Koji rolls around and offers to film her skills and share them with the world. Will she lie to her parents or go after her dreams?
Buy it: This Is How I Roll on Amazon
19. Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow
Simon O’Keefe is a funny kid with a seriously quirky family. But his life turns upside down when he is the lone survivor of a school shooting. He and his family move to the National Quiet Zone, the only place in America where the Internet is banned. Instead of journalists hounding him to talk about the incident, the NQZ is full of astronomers using the quiet to look for signs of life in space. What if Simon finds it? This review speaks to where the book meets 7th graders: “Blunt as trauma, delicate as healing, and hilarious and tragic as middle school can be. This book is as close to everything as one book can be.”—Kyle Lukoff, Newbery Honor–winning author of Too Bright to See
Buy it: Simon Sort of Says on Amazon
20. Izzy at the End of the World by K.A. Reynolds
For Izzy Wilder, an autistic 14-year-old, losing her mom felt like the end of the world. That is until the world actually ends amid mysterious flashing lights, and Izzy and her dog, Akka, are seemingly the only survivors. Izzy embarks on a journey of regulating her anxiety, interpreting clues for survival that seem like they’re from her mom, and battling some seriously intimidating monsters. If you’re looking for books to hook your 7th graders, give them this nail-biting adventure novel!
Buy it: Izzy at the End of the World on Amazon
21. The House Swap by Yvette Clark
Sometimes you just need a Parent Trap meets The Holiday book, you know? Your 7th graders will love this story of friendship, family, and belonging about Allie and Sage, two girls from across the world who become friends (and confidantes about their family issues) when their families swap houses on vacation.
Buy it: The House Swap on Amazon
22. Not an Easy Win by Chrystal D. Giles
Twelve-year-old Lawrence moved to live with his granny in another city. He then promptly got expelled for a fight that wasn’t his fault. Instead of school, he goes to the rec center where a neighbor is running a chess program. Lawrence has a chance to compete in a chess tournament in his home city. Could this be his ticket home? Whether you’re looking for books for 7th graders who love chess or just love an endearing character, Not an Easy Win is a double check in our book.
Buy it: Not an Easy Win on Amazon
23. Iceberg by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Hold please, while my inner 7th grader screeches with anticipation. OK, thank you. This book follows Hazel Rothbury’s stowaway voyage on the Titanic as she travels to work in a factory to help make ends meet for her family. While exploring the fancy ship in secret, she encounters a mystery—one that only gets more dangerous when disaster strikes on the Titanic. Adventure meets mystery meets survival? I’m just calling it now: This will be one of those books your 7th graders (or your inner 7th grader) will want to reread.
Buy it: Iceberg on Amazon
24. A Bit of Earth by Karuna Riazi
The Secret Garden meets Other Words for Home? Say no more. To give her a better life, Maria Latif’s parents have sent her from her home in Pakistan to Long Island, New York. Her new life is in many ways not what she expects, the least of all being a secret garden where she feels at home. Peppered with beautiful poetic verses, A Bit of Earth is one of those perfect books for 7th graders to pair with The Secret Garden for a classic/contemporary comparison.
Buy it: A Bit of Earth on Amazon
25. Hamra and the Jungle of Memories by Hanna Alkaf
Haven’t we all gotten mad that our family forgot our birthday and wandered into a forbidden forest? No? OK, maybe just Hamra, the lead character in Hamra and the Jungle of Memories. After breaking every rule of the jungle, Hamra soon discovers she’ll have to embark on the adventure of a lifetime to undo its curse involving mythical beasts, fantastical worlds, and her own courage.
Buy it: Hamra and the Jungle of Memories on Amazon
Love these books for 7th graders? Check out our big list of 50 Refreshing and Relatable Books to Teach in Middle School for even more great books for 7th graders to add to your classroom library.
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