Extraordinary Books About Robots for Your Middle-Grade Reader

Does your child watch and rewatch Robozuna, Big Hero 6, and every iteration of Transformers? Do they recreate their favorite robotic friends with nothing but toilet paper rolls, tin foil, and hot glue? Do they go full Jimmy Neutron in their science and computer classes anytime there’s a chance they’ll learn about robots?

It’s official: like Poe and Tony Stark before them, your kid is ready for their very own robot sidekick (in the pages of their new favorite book, of course).

Autobots, roll out! to get your hands on the best science fiction books for kids—droid style. 

#1 The Last Human


Image source: https://www.leebaconbooks.com/the-last-human.html

In a future where robots run the world without the messiness of human-made war, pollution, and crime, their society runs smoothly, efficiently, perfectly… except for one problem.

There’s one last human living—more accurately, hiding—amongst them.

When the android narrator XR_935 finds 12-year-old Emma, he and his two robot pals go against the established rules to accompany her on a perilous journey for her survival. Along the way, they realize that maybe humans aren’t as bad as they’ve been told, and perhaps their utopian, utilitarian lifestyle isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Highlights of this robot read:

  • Despite the robot-human dynamic, the themes of overcoming biases, forging unexpected relationships, and helping those in need apply to all people (and machines!).
  • The narrator’s unique mix of human-prose and robot-binary provides the most interesting introduction to coding.
  • Elaborate world-building? Fast-paced adventures? The curious musings of a robot that finds our people strangely wonderful and wonderfully strange? What’s not to love?

#2 The Homework Machine

The Homework Machine

Image source: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Homework-Machine/Dan-Gutman/9780689876790

If your child claims they’ve never, not once, longed for a machine that does their homework, don’t trust them for a second. It’s every middle schooler’s dream!

But for the D Squad—Brenton, the geek; Sam, the class clown; Judy, the teacher’s pet; and Kelsey, the slacker—it’s not just their dream. It’s their reality.

Their homeworker-completing robot machine, nicknamed Belch, is solving all of their fifth grade problems. But before long, it’s creating problems too—suspicious adults, private pop quizzes, and eventually, a homework robot with a mind of its own (and the potential to create a serious mess for all of them).

Highlights of this robot read:

  • Told through a series of interviews instead of traditional prose, The Homework Machine embraces a unique storytelling approach.
  • There’s a diverse character in the D Squad for every middle schooler to relate to.
  • It’s the perfect escape for every student that has ever dreaded doing homework (while serving as an almost life-or-death warning against cheating—parents, you’re welcome!). 

#3 EngiNerds


Image source: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/EngiNerds/Jarrett-Lerner/MAX/9781481468718

Ah, yes. A classic tale of boy meets bot, bot consumes snacks with superhuman speed, bot blasts boys with 90-mph farts, and boys must frantically disable bot to save the world from havoc-wreaking flatulence-gone-wrong.

Okay, so this isn’t a classic literary trope, but it is a hilariously thrilling middle-grade novel.

When Ken and his crew of super-smart EngiNerds find robots on their front porches, they have no idea that Dan, one of their own, has been secretly building and sending them to each member of their nerdy friend group. Robot companions? Awesome! Except that this dream-come-true quickly gets out of hand, with only the EngiNerds to turn things around. 

Highlights of this robot read:

  • For every so-called “nerd” out there, this novel shows that sometimes you get to be the hero of the story, too.
  • One of the best early chapter books for reluctant-to-read young boys, EngiNerds is jam-packed with humorous quips, silly strategies, and affable antics from robots and humans alike for the perfect mix of adventure, science, friendship, and comedy.

#4 Machines That Think!: Big Ideas That Changed The World #2

Image source: https://www.abramsbooks.com/product/machines-that-think_9781419740985/

What’s another word for “machines that think?” Oh, that’s right: robots!

This nonfiction deep dive into the riveting world of technology lets your middle-grade reader into the secrets behind the stories they love so much. From the earliest mathematical devices to the birth of computer programming to the first smartphones and eventually artificial intelligence, Machines That Think! covers the most important robot-related inventions in captivating graphic-novel form.

Highlights of this robot read:

  • By infusing comprehensive historical accounts with humor, stunning illustrations, and a light, easy-to-follow narrative, author Dan Brown has created the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of robots.
  • Through the inspiring stories of science’s greatest figures, your child won’t just learn about inventions—they might be ready to think up a few of their own. 

Enjoy Automatons & More With Automatic Book Shipments

Ken the EngiNerd doesn’t have to be the only kid getting exciting packages delivered to their door—your child can receive a kids book delivery every month through Literati’s Club Phoenix.

And no, their box won’t contain a ferocious farting robot, but it will include:

  • Five age-appropriate books with a common theme
  • A collectible art poster
  • Personalized stickers
  • And surprise extras (sorry, still not a robot!)

From robot-run dystopias one month to outer space the next, and from sea creatures to ancient Egypt and back home again, your middle-grade reader will have no shortage of exciting content to spark their imagination and solidify their love of reading.
Read on, lovers of all things robots, cyborgs, and humanoids! We’ve got your bot-book needs covered with Literati.

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