Mom, I want a dog!
Tommy’s family got a gerbil last week! Can we get a gerbil?
But these kittens are sooooo cute!
Most parents are familiar with their kids’ pleas for a furry friend. And who can resist? Besides providing cuddles and entertainment (and responsibility lessons), 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 – Clans, Cats, and Clashes in the Deep Woods
Image Source: https://warriorcats.com/books/into-the-wild
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.
ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and ShadowClan have coexisted in the forest for years under shared laws. But with Rusty’s arrival, threats and rivalries begin to stir. What is causing mystery deaths within the clans? And can a housecat ever fit into the harsh life of ThunderClan?
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 – For Those Seeking a Pack to Call Home
Image Source: http://rosanneparry.com/books/a-wolf-called-wander/
For most kids, home is family. Without the love and support of close ones, the world becomes a scary, lonely place.
But what if you suddenly find yourself all alone?
Our wolf protagonist Swift finds himself in that exact predicament. After a rival wolfpack breaks his family apart, he’s 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 – A Jungle Journey of Self-Empowerment
In school, nocturnal animals are just a science class unit. But in Eliot Schrefer’s rainforest adventure, the creatures of Caldera jungle are ruled by day and night… or so it seems.
Separated by the mystical Veil, Caldera’s animals live by daylight or moonlight—but never both. And Mez, a young panther, has only known the night. But when Mez suddenly crosses the Veil, mysterious forces begin to awaken within her and the jungle.
Can Mez’s new powers uncover the ancient mystery of the Veil? Perhaps—but not without the help of a few scaly and furry friends. 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 – Crawl Right into This “Tail” of Friendship
Deep underneath the Oakley Plantation, 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 at the plantation, Celeste’s underground is turned upside down. Between dodging rats, cats, and human visitors, how will she find a new home?
When she befriends Audubon’s struggling assistant, Celeste calls on the plantation birds to pose for his drawings. It soon becomes clear that maybe home isn’t about location—it’s about the people you keep close.
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—Sagas and Secrets on the African Savannah
Be warned—you won’t find a singing warthog or fussy toucan on this savannah. Switch out musical numbers for rivalries and riddles in Erin Hunter’s new thrilling animal series.
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 Through Our Club Phoenix Animal Stories
Animals aren’t just pets or zoo entertainment. They’re complex living creatures with human-like needs and desires—and much more dramatic lives. And that mixture of empathy and adventure makes them the perfect coming-of-age narrators for young readers and the best books for middle-school-aged kids.
Let your middle schooler walk in someone else’s paws through Literati’s best animal stories. And for more adolescent tales, check out our other Club Phoenix reads! Your reader will laugh, shiver, and engage with each flip of the page.
Can we get a roooooaaaar for encouraging a love of literature with Literati?