Middle grade reading is a brand new educational adventure—your little one isn’t learning to read, they’re reading to learn!
(Ok smartypants, I know what you’re thinking: aren’t all books educational? The answer from us is a resounding “yes.” However, if you’re looking for a bonus boost of brainpower, with perplexing puzzles and scholarly endeavors, these extra-educational reads are a great place for your little brainiac to begin).
Grab your thinking caps, tiny Einsteins—it’s time to get those gears turning!
This is Not a Science Book
For a brain-enriching blend of biology, math, art, and engineering activities, look no further than This is Not a Science Book. Your 9- or 10-year-old will be scribbling away at puzzles, drawings, and designs, while discovering the science all around them. Make no bones about it. This is not a science book. At least it’s not just a science book.
More STEM-tastic activities:
The Ultimate Activity Book for Mad Scientists: The scientific name for this rare species of science book is Nonstoppum funnicus—it’s truly the ultimate activity book for anyone intrigued by the wacky, weird, and wonderful world of science.
Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret
It’s fast-paced fiction with an extra dose of expedition. Cruz Coronado is training to become an elite explorer, but it’s not all fun and brain games—he’s got a high-stakes secret to uncover. Packed with codes to crack, plus stories of real-life young explorers, Explorer Academy lets little adventure-seekers dive deep into new possibilities—from the depths of the oceans to galaxies beyond.
More enriching adventures:
The Lost Property Office: When the young protagonist of this novel gains membership to his father’s secret club, he embarks on a magical steampunk adventure (one that might just turn your elementary-schooler into a British history buff).
Write Your Own Story Book
Sometimes all a curious storyteller needs is a springboard! Write Your Own Story Book is a guided workbook to get every rookie wordsmith excited about writing. With whimsical illustration and engaging prompts, readers can channel their inner Shakespeare and learn the foundational skills to go above and beyond as writers.
More for budding authors:
LOL: A Keepsake Journal of Hilarious Q&As: These peculiar prompts are not for the faint of funny bone. Middle-grade readers can try out their comedy chops in this giggle-inducing journal, and learn a thing or two about reflective writing along the way.
Machines That Think!
In order to go from early Arabic mathematics to the computers we know today, a whole bunch of brains and bright ideas had to link up. Don Brown brings the history of computers to life, taking kids—and adults—on an adventure through time and technology. Seriously, you’ll never talk to Siri or Alexa the same way again.
More for the technologically-inclined
Adventures in Engineering for Kids: This interactive book lets kids take on the challenges of creating “City X.” That means designing the systems that make everything possible—from food to transportation to communication. This is an advanced adventure for the next generation of problem-solvers.
Women Who Dared
These are the female daredevil stories we don’t get to read about in the history books—and, spoiler alert, they’re all 100% awesome. For inspiring tales with a fair share of fearlessness for your fourth grader (and up!), Women Who Dared is the perfect introduction.
More for the hearty historian:
Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First: Sure, we’ve heard “everybody makes mistakes,” but these encouraging stories are the kind you have to read to believe. They’re more than history lessons—this collection of slip-ups reminds readers that success takes a little perseverance, and a lot of trying.
Lively Learning with Literati
Well, what do you know? These are our picks for the most engaging, most artfully entertaining, educational books for 9- and 10-year-olds. With these riveting reads under their belt, fourth- and fifth-graders will be off to explore new subjects, sending brain waves in all directions.
For more fantastic reads, hand-selected by experts, check out Literati Kids’ Phoenix Book Club. With a monthly subscription, your curious middle-grade reader will receive five wonderful stories, tailored to their age level, in a try-before-you-buy book box. Every Literati Kids box comes with a new theme to explore—each one an adventure in itself.