Most parents are familiar with their kids’ pleas for a furry friend. And who can resist? Besides providing cuddles, entertainment, and lessons in responsibility, animals serve as reflections of our own human needs. After all, we’re animals too! We’ve selected five thrilling books for middle schoolers that bring human stories to the animal world. Mixing the chaos of nature with adolescent struggles, these coming-of-age tales will fascinate young readers.
Sharpen your claws and wiggle your whiskers—it’s time to pounce on Literati’s best chapter books with a four-legged lead.
Warriors #1: Into the Wild
by Erin Hunter
A roof, some food, and human affection—what more could housecat Rusty want? When this pampered feline accidentally wanders off into the deep woods, he stumbles into the tumultuous new world of warrior cats.
Odds are, you’ve already heard of Erin Hunter’s breakout series. Combining mystical fantasy, tribal politics, and daring adventure, Warriors will make your house cat look like a majestic lion. Start your middle schooler on this standout feline saga with Warriors #1: Into the Wild.
A Wolf Called Wander
by Rosanne Parry
After a rival wolfpack breaks his family apart, our wolf protagonist Swift is left to find his way back home—wherever that may be. The only things standing in his way? The treacherous Pacific Northwest coast and the ticking of time.
Based on a true story, A Wolf Called Wander will suck your child into its gripping tale of survival and hope. Young readers will pour over each cliffhanger and twist, as well as Rosanne Parry’s detailed sketch illustrations. For the adventurous student, it’s a sure-fire, unputdownable novel.
The Lost Rainforest #1: Mez’s Magic
by Eliot Schrefer
In this rainforest adventure, the creatures of Caldera jungle are ruled by day or night, but never both. But when Mez suddenly crosses the divide, mysterious forces begin to awaken. Among the jungle trees, she’ll learn that maybe true power comes from friendship and courage (but a few jokes can help, too).
Blending fantasy, quest, and coming-of-age elements, Schrafer’s acclaimed writing will have middle schoolers swinging through the pages.
A Nest for Celeste: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home
by Henry Cole
Celeste the mouse lives peacefully, weaving her tiny baskets. Everything is calm and quiet—just how Celeste likes it. But when naturalist John James Audobon arrives, Celeste’s underground is turned upside down.
A Nest for Celeste proves that not all animal stories are action adventures. Sometimes, furry friends teach our most human traits—companionship, care, and creativity. With gorgeous illustrations and a charming historical fiction twist, younger readers will easily fall in love with Celete’s tiny world.
Bravelands #1: Broken Pride
by Erin Hunter
For most creatures, the African plains are a brutal place. Without protection, species learn to stick to their own kin. But when mysterious deaths occur within clans, young pack members must set out to find answers. Now, it’s up to the lion Fearless, the baboon Thorn, and the elephant Sky to restore justice to the savannah—or else, let evil rule the plains.
With Warriors author Erin Hunter at the helm, readers of Bravelands #1: Broken Pride are in good hands. The novel smartly sneaks in multi-perspective narration, while still keeping the action at top speed. We guarantee your child will ask for the sequel before the last page.
Fly, Crawl, Swing, and Gallop into Literati Book Clubs
Animals aren’t just pets or zoo entertainment; they’re complex living creatures with human-like needs, desires, and very dramatic lives. That mixture of empathy and adventure makes them the perfect coming-of-age narrators for middle school readers.
With Literati’s personalized book club for kids, your middle schooler can walk in someone else’s paws through exciting animal stories and enriching tales of all kinds. Our curated book boxes are tailored to your reader’s level and interests, with selections that adapt as they become stronger readers and their favorite topics change. So even if an animal obsession is short-lived, their passion for books certainly won’t be. Take the quiz to get started in one of Literati’s fourteen benchmark-based reading levels. Can we get a roooooaaaar for encouraging a love of literature? ROAR!