Funny middle-grade books are a lifesaver! Just like good ol’ comedy, these books are perfect for luring in reluctant readers and are often popular with boys. I’ll be honest: I’m not the biggest “strictly-funny” book reader. Most of my favorite funny middle-grade books also feature serious issues. Still, the “funny” in these books isn’t just comic relief. The protagonists are pretty funny (whether it’s ridiculous laugh-out-loud funny or dry, clever wit) and the story arcs also feature a hilarious turn of events. All in all, you will laugh out loud or at least suppress a giggle every few pages in these books.
I’ve included classics and new releases, and — in line with popular requests — boy and girl books! There are also multiple graphic novels on this list, as well as a funny anthology. I really hope everyone finds something they’ll love!
Click on the graphics to head over to the book’s Amazon page.
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52 Hilarious Middle Grade Books for Tweens
Here are 52 funny middle grade books to read:
Published: October 1, 1996
Is Nick Allen a troublemaker?
He really just likes to liven things up at school — and he’s always had plenty of great ideas. When Nick learns some interesting information about how words are created, suddenly he’s got the inspiration for his best plan ever…the frindle. Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle? Things begin innocently enough as Nick gets his friends to use the new word. Then other people in town start saying frindle. Soon the school is in an uproar, and Nick has become a local hero. His teacher wants Nick to put an end to all this nonsense, but the funny thing is frindle doesn’t belong to Nick anymore. The new word is spreading across the country, and there’s nothing Nick can do to stop it.
Grow Up, Tahlia Wilkins
Published: April 19, 2022
Twelve-year-old Tahlia Wilkins is ready to kick off the perfect summer at the popular kid’s pool party. But when the Red Goddess of Panties, aka her first period, arrives 24 hours before the pool party, it messes up all her plans. To make matters worse, her mom is out of town, and there’s no way she’s going to ask her dad for help! Tahlia always feared that growing up would be tough, but this is just not fair.
In order to save herself from total embarrassment, it will take all of Tahlia and her best friend Lily’s scheming to keep her reputation—and her favorite jeans—from being ruined. Sneak off to the grocery store only to have the clerk price check your “goods” over the loudspeaker? Check. Trick your mature teenage neighbor into letting you use her bathroom to ‘rehome’ some tampons? Check. Take a dip into a fountain to ‘borrow’ some quarters for a bathroom period product dispenser? Check, check, check!
Published: June 2, 2009
Meet Nikki Maxwell! She’s starting eighth grade at a new school—and her very first diary packed with hilarious stories and art in this SUPER SQUEE updated edition of Book One of the #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!
Nikki confesses all in her first diary ever: her epic battle with her mom for an iPhone, meeting her new soon-to-be BFFs Chloe and Zoey, falling for adorably sweet crush Brandon, dealing with her zany little sister Brianna’s antics—and the immediate clashes with mean girl MacKenzie, who becomes Nikki’s rival in a schoolwide art competition.
New Kids and Underdogs
Published: October 25, 2022
Robyn Kellen has been the new kid six times. She’s practically an expert on the subject and has developed foolproof rules to help her get by: Blend in, don’t go looking for trouble, and move on. Unfortunately, Robyn’s mom has a rule, too: Robyn must do an after-school activity.
When Robyn discovers a dog agility class, she thinks she’s found the perfect thing—but then her dogs, Sundae and Fudge, are rejected from the class. Sundae won’t do anything without Fudge, and Fudge is deaf and blind, and the instructor refuses to change the rules to fit their needs. Luckily, the instructor’s grandson, Nestor—a legend at Robyn’s new school—offers Robyn a deal: If she helps him with math, he’ll train Sundae and Fudge. Problem is, Robyn isn’t so great at math herself, so she’s forced to recruit the class outcast, Alejandra, to help.
Suddenly, Robyn finds herself surrounded by people who do anything but blend in—and sticking to her rules becomes harder than ever. But as Robyn learns how to adapt the rules of agility for Sundae and Fudge, she will find that some rules are worth breaking altogether.
Escape from Camp Boring
Published: July 8, 2021
After Will is caught listening to music on his phone in class again, his mum has had enough. Will is sent to a ‘rewilding’ camp in the middle of the woods for kids addicted to tech… Disaster.
Not only is the camp a screen-free snooze-fest, Will realises he has accidentally taken something of his brother’s that he must return urgently. And with no way of contacting him, Will and his three new friends plot to escape the camp in the middle of the night, and embark on a ridiculous journey through the woods.
The hapless heroes must make it back to civilisation in time to return Will’s smuggled cargo – and avoid being defeated by the great outdoors in the process…
Published: July 3, 2018
Stu Truly is the coming-of-age story of 12-year-old Stu as he struggles to navigate the murky waters of adolescence when he finds himself living a lie that seems to be growing beyond his control to impress the new girl in school.
When Stuart Cornelius Truly first sets eyes on the new girl, Becca, he staples his finger to his sixth-grade history assignment. The second time he sees her, he coughs up a bite of her lunch—a vegetarian roasted pepper sandwich—all over her sweater, and promptly lies, claiming that he, too, is a vegetarian. Their third encounter goes more smoothly, but Stu’s lie turns out to be harder to keep than he expected, especially since his family owns a butcher shop.
In this hilarious, heartwarming, contemporary middle grade novel, Stu suddenly begins to realize the opposite sex exists (and isn’t so bad, after all!). Can Stu learn to successfully navigate old friends, new crushes, and horror-filled school dances or will his lie, intended to impress his crush, actually cause his world to fall apart?
It’s My Party But I Don’t Want to Go
Published: September 15, 2020
Ellie Katz is sabotaging her own party.
Sure, it seems extreme, but it’s the only option for her bat mitzvah. Crowds and attention always made her nervous, and lately they’ve been making it harder and harder for Ellie to breathe. The celebration would mean (1) a large crowd, (2) lots of staring, and (3) distant family listening to her sing in another language. No thank you!
To avoid certain catastrophe, she hatches a plan with her best friend Zoe to ruin the big day. Cue the email hacking, DJ takedown, and an all-out food fight! Everything is falling apart according to plan, until a fight with Zoe leaves Ellie alone on her path of destruction, facing some unintended consequences and disappointments. Can she find a way to right her wrongs, face her fears, and light her candles?
Not Starring Zadie Louise
Published: June 21, 2022
Zadie loves Tae Kwon Do, comic books, and outer space. She also loves visiting the community theater that her mom runs, especially the lighting grid over the stage and the stage manager’s booth, which is filled with levers and buttons like a spaceship control panel. So when the family’s finances suffer a blow and Zadie has to give up her usual activities to spend the summer at the theater, she doesn’t mind too much. After all, she’s always wanted to tech a show.
She knows she’d be great at it, but her mom and the new stage manager are totally opposed to the idea of having a kid do tech. Instead, Zadie’s stuck handing out snacks and folding flyers. But the future of the theater rides on this show, and Zadie is determined to help. She’s going to make Spinderella the hit of the season—unless she accidentally turns it into a disaster.
When Mischief Came to Town
Published: January 5, 2016
In the tradition of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and PIPPI LONGSTOCKING comes a heart-warming novel about love, family, grief, joy and the power of laughter and imagination.
When Inge Maria arrives on the tiny island of Bornholm in Denmark to live with her grandmother, she’s not sure what to expect. Her grandmother is stern, the people on the island are strange, and children are supposed to be seen and not heard. But no matter how hard Inge tries to be good, mischief has a way of finding her. Could it be that a bit of mischief is exactly what Grandmother and the people of Bornholm need?
The Great Wall of Lucy Wu
Published: January 1, 2011
Lucy Wu, aspiring basketball star and interior designer, is on the verge of having the best year of her life. She’s ready to rule the school as a sixth grader, go out for captain of the school basketball team, and take over the bedroom she has always shared with her sister. In an instant, though, her plans are shattered when she finds out that Yi Po, her beloved grandmother’s sister, is coming to visit for several months — and is staying in Lucy’s room.
Lucy’s vision of a perfect year begins to crumble, and in its place come an unwelcome roommate, foiled birthday plans, a bully who tries to scare Lucy off the basketball team, and Chinese school with the annoying know-it-all Talent Chang. Lucy’s year is ruined — or is it?
A wonderfully funny, warm, and heartfelt tale about the ways life often reveals silver linings in the most unexpected of clouds.
The Magnificent Life of Mya Tibbs
Published: January 26, 2016
Nine-year-old Mya Tibbs is boot-scootin’ excited for the best week of the whole school year—SPIRIT WEEK! She and her megapopular best friend, Naomi Jackson, even made a pinky promise to be Spirit Week partners so they can win the big prize: special VIP tickets to the Fall Festival!
But when the partner picking goes horribly wrong, Mya gets paired with Mean Connie Tate—the biggest bully in school. And she can’t get out of it.
Now Naomi is friend-ending mad at Mya for breaking a promise—even though Mya couldn’t help it—and everyone at school is calling Mya names. Can Mya work with Mean Connie to win the VIP tickets and get her best friend back?
Published: June 22, 2021
Hudi needs to lose weight, according to his doctors. Concerned about the serious medical issue Hudi had when he was younger, his parents push him to try out for sports. Hudi would rather do anything else, but then he meets Chunky, his imaginary friend and mascot. Together, they decide to give baseball a shot.
As the only Mexican and Jewish kid in his neighborhood, Hudi has found the cheerleader he never had. Baseball doesn’t go well (unless getting hit by the ball counts), but the two friends have a great time drawing and making jokes. While Hudi’s parents keep trying to find the right sport for Hudi, Chunky encourages him to pursue his true love—comedy.
But when Hudi’s dad loses his job, it gets harder for Hudi to chart his own course, even with Chunky’s guidance. Can Chunky help Hudi stay true to himself or will this friendship strike out?
Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas
Published: October 11, 2016
Twelve-year-old Addison Cooke just wishessomething exciting would happen to him. His aunt and uncle, both world-famous researchers, travel to the ends of the earth searching for hidden treasure, dodging dangerous robbers along the way, while Addison is stuck in school all day.
Luckily for Addison, adventure has a way of finding the Cookes. After his uncle unearths the first ancient Incan clue needed to find a vast trove of lost treasure, he is kidnapped by members of a shadowy organization intent on stealing the riches. Addison’s uncle is the bandits’ key to deciphering the ancient clues and looting the treasure . . . unless Addison and his friends can outsmart the kidnappers and crack the code first. So it’s off to South America, where the excitement, danger, gold, booby traps, and car chases are never-ending!
Save Me a Seat
Published: May 10, 2016
Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they’re both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL.
Joe’s lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own.
Ravi’s family just moved to America from India, and he’s finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in.
Joe and Ravi don’t think they have anything in common — but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.
Published: August 26, 2014
Raina can’t wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren’t quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she’s also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn’t improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn’t seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.
Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado.
Related: 30 Best Middle-Grade Books About Sisters
The Best Man
Published: May 9, 2016
Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of the best are his grandpa, the great architect; his dad, the great vintage car customizer,; and his uncle Paul, who is just plain great. These are the three he wants to be. Along the way he finds a fourth—Mr. McLeod, a teacher. In fact, the first male teacher in the history of the school.
But now here comes middle school and puberty. Change. Archer wonders how much change has to happen before his voice does. He doesn’t see too far ahead, so every day or so a startling revelation breaks over him. Then a really big one when he’s the best man at the wedding of two of his role models. But that gets ahead of the story.
Insert Coin to Continue
Published: September 20, 2016
Meet Bryan Biggins. Most of the time he’s a freckle-faced boy, small for his age, who attends a school known for its unwritten uniform of North Face jackets and Hollister jeans. The rest of the time he is Kieran Nightstalker, the level-fifty dark-elf hero of his favorite video game, Sovereign of Darkness.
Until one day Bryan wakes up to find out his life has become a video game. Sort of. Except instead of fighting dragons or blasting bad guys, he’s still doing geometry and getting picked last for dodgeball. It’s still middle school. Only now there’s much more at stake.
Stealing the Twinkie from underneath the noses of those dieting teachers isn’t enough to earn him another life. And battling the creature that escaped from the science lab doesn’t seem to cut it either. And who knew Romeo and Juliet would turn into a zombie bloodbath?!
All the while he’s losing hit points and gaining levels, and facing the truth that GAME OVER might flash before his eyes at any minute. It all seems to be building to something…something that has been haunting Bryan since way before his life turned into an X-Box nightmare, a challenge that only he can face. Will Bryan find a way to beat the game before it’s too late?
Lupe Wong Won’t Dance
Published: September 8, 2020
My gym shorts burrow into my butt crack like a frightened groundhog.
Don’t you want to read a book that starts like that??
Lupe Wong is going to be the first female pitcher in the Major Leagues.
She’s also championed causes her whole young life. Some worthy…like expanding the options for race on school tests beyond just a few bubbles. And some not so much…like complaining to the BBC about the length between Doctor Who seasons.
Lupe needs an A in all her classes in order to meet her favorite pitcher, Fu Li Hernandez, who’s Chinacan/Mexinese just like her. So when the horror that is square dancing rears its head in gym? Obviously she’s not gonna let that slide.
Not since Millicent Min, Girl Genius has a debut novel introduced a character so memorably, with such humor and emotional insight. Even square dancing fans will agree…
Stand Up, Yumi Chung
Published: March 17, 2021
On the outside, Yumi Chung suffers from #shygirlproblems, a perm-gone-wrong, and kids calling her “Yu-MEAT” because she smells like her family’s Korean barbecue restaurant. On the inside, Yumi is ready for her Netflix stand-up special. Her notebook is filled with mortifying memories that she’s reworked into comedy gold. All she needs is a stage and courage.
Instead of spending the summer studying her favorite YouTube comedians, Yumi is enrolled in test-prep tutoring to qualify for a private school scholarship, which will help in a time of hardship at the restaurant. One day after class, Yumi stumbles on an opportunity that will change her life: a comedy camp for kids taught by one of her favorite YouTube stars. The only problem is that the instructor and all the students think she’s a girl named Kay Nakamura–and Yumi doesn’t correct them.
As this case of mistaken identity unravels, Yumi must decide to stand up and reveal the truth or risk losing her dreams and disappointing everyone she cares about.
Related: An Interview with Jessica Kim, Author of Stand Up, Yumi Chung
Published: August 10, 2021
Elfie Oster was sure that Hampshire Academy was going to be the perfect school for her. She was sure about it right up to the minute she got expelled. On her first day.
It was all a terrible misunderstanding, but until she can find a way to fix things, Elfie has to go back to Cottonwood Elementary for fifth grade. Where she’s never really fit in. Or had friends. It is not a perfect situation. And then it gets worse. Her babysitter gets really sick. Her aunt and uncle aren’t speaking. She’s forced to do a group project involving an egg. . . .
But sometimes when everything goes spectacularly wrong, you figure out what truly matters–and what doesn’t. So really, this terrible, horrible, surprisingly hilarious year may just be the best thing that’s ever happened to Elfie.
Related: Kristin Mahoney on Elfie Unperfect (+ Giveaway!)
Well, That Was Awkward
Published: February 28, 2017
Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can’t breathe, can’t walk, can’t anything—and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.
But it turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie’s beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J.’s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if she were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She’s had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.
It’s all good. Well, almost all. She’s trying.
Funny and tender, Well, That Was Awkward goes deep into the heart of middle school, and finds that even with all the heartbreak, there can be explosions of hope and moments of perfect happiness.
Stuntboy in the Meantime
Published: November 30, 2021
Portico Reeves’s superpower is making sure all the other superheroes—like his parents and two best friends—stay super. And safe. Super safe. And he does this all in secret. No one in his civilian life knows he’s actually…Stuntboy!
But his regular Portico identity is pretty cool, too. He lives in the biggest house on the block, maybe in the whole city, which basically makes it a castle. His mom calls where they live an apartment building. But a building with fifty doors just in the hallways is definitely a castle. And behind those fifty doors live a bunch of different people who Stuntboy saves all the time. In fact, he’s the only reason the cat, New Name Every Day, has nine lives.
All this is swell except for Portico’s other secret, his not-so-super secret. His parents are fighting all the time. They’re trying to hide it by repeatedly telling Portico to go check on a neighbor “in the meantime.” But Portico knows “meantime” means his parents are heading into the Mean Time which means they’re about to get into it, and well, Portico’s superhero responsibility is to save them, too—as soon as he figures out how.
Only, all these secrets give Portico the worry wiggles, the frets, which his mom calls anxiety. Plus, like all superheroes, Portico has an arch-nemesis who is determined to prove that there is nothing super about Portico at all.
Greetings from Witness Protection
Published: October 3, 2017
Nicki Demere is an orphan and a pickpocket. She also happens to be the U.S. Marshals’ best bet to keep a family alive. . . .
The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.
Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.
Jake Burt’s debut middle-grade novel Greetings from Witness Protection! is as funny as it is poignant.
An Occasionally Happy Family
Published: May 18, 2021
There are zero reasons for Theo Ripley to look forward to his family vacation. Not only are he, sister Laura, and nature-obsessed Dad going to Big Bend, the least popular National Park, but once there, the family will be camping. And Theo is an indoor animal. It doesn’t help that this will be the first vacation they’re taking since Mom passed away.
Once there, the family contends with 110 degree days, wild bears, and an annoying amateur ornithologist and his awful teenage vlogger son. Then, Theo’s dad hits him with a whopper of a surprise: the whole trip is just a trick to introduce his secret new girlfriend.
Theo tries to squash down the pain in his chest. But when it becomes clear that this is an auditioning-to-be-his-stepmom girlfriend, Theo must find a way to face his grief and talk to his dad before his family is forever changed.
The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue
Published: September 17, 2019
For the Vanderbeeker kids of Harlem’s 141st Street, spring break couldn’t be off to a better start. Isa’s back from band camp, Oliver’s building his first-ever treehouse in the backyard of the brownstone, and Laney, Jess, and Hyacinth are excited to help their mother when she gets the once-in-a-lifetime chance to star in a cooking magazine.
But the Vanderbeekers’ plans go off the rails when an unexpected visit from city officials puts their mother’s bakery in jeopardy. Now they’ll have to band together to save the day before they’re out of business. Perfect for fans of The Penderwicks and Front Desk.
It’s the End of the World and I’m in My Bathing Suit
Published: April 5, 2022
Twelve-year-old Eddie Gordon Holloway has concocted his most genius plan ever to avoid chores . . . especially the dreaded L-A-U-N-D-R-Y. If he can wears every item of clothing in his wardrobe, summer will be halfway over before he has to do laundry!
On the day of the highly anticipated Beach Bash, Eddie ends up grounded until he can get his clothes clean. While left home alone to do his laundry, the power goes out mid-cycle. With his first load of laundry soaking wet and the rest still filthy, Eddie sets out to explore the seemingly empty neighborhood in just his swim trunks and flip-flops.
As he meets up with other neighborhood kids to find out what happened, they realize that their families aren’t coming back anytime soon. And as night falls, the crew realizes they aren’t just the only people left in the neighborhood — they might be the only people left . . . anywhere
The Terrible Two
Published: January 13, 2015
Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.
It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.
In The Terrible Two, bestselling authors and friends Mac Barnett and Jory John have created a series that has its roots in classic middle-grade literature yet feels fresh and new at the same time.
Wedgie & Gizmo
Published: August 22, 2017
When a bouncy, barky dog and an evil genius guinea pig move into the same house, the laughs are nonstop! Wedgie is so excited, he can’t stop barking. He LOVES having new siblings and friends to protect. He LOVES guinea pigs like Gizmo! He also LOVES treats!
But Gizmo does not want to share his loyal human servant with a rump-sniffing beast! He does not want to live in a pink Barbie Playhouse. Or to be kissed and hugged by the girl human. Gizmo is an evil genius. He wants to take over the world and make all humans feel his wrath. But first he must destroy his archenemy, Wedgie, once and for all!
Published: February 5, 2019
Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
This middle grade graphic novel is an excellent choice for tween readers, including for summer reading
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Published: May 26, 1998
Accidentally built sideways and standing thirty stories high (the builder said he was very sorry for the mistake), Wayside School has some of the wackiest classes in town, especially on the thirtieth floor. That’s where you’ll meet Bebe, the fastest draw in art class; John, who only reads upside down; Myron, the best class president ever; and Sammy, the new kid—he’s a real rat.
More than fifteen million readers have laughed at the clever and hilarious stories of Wayside School. So what are you waiting for? Come visit Wayside School! Kids 7 to 13 will zoom through these chapter books—laughing their way through the fast, funny, silly but relatable stories.
The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other)
Published: April 7, 2015
Twelve-year-old twins, Claudia and Reese, who couldn’t be more different…except in their determination to come out on top in a vicious prank war. But when the competition escalates into an all-out battle that’s fought from the cafeteria of their New York City private school all the way to the fictional universe of an online video game, the twins have to decide if their efforts to destroy each other are worth the price. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly declared “This uproarious series opener… is packed with both laugh-out-loud moments and heart.”
The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell
Published: February 2, 2021
In a typical school year, every kid has one or two things go wrong. But for Jordan, there’s A LOT going wrong ALL THE TIME.
Take this year. Here are some of the thing going wrong:
— His teacher hates him. Like, really hates him. Like, is totally out to get him even when he’s trying to be good, and is willing to fail him on the simplest things, like show and tell.
— He has a slight breathing problem because of his asthma. And breathing is never really an optional activity.
— His pet snake has given birth to way, way, way too many baby snakes, all who need a home.
— He is finding that becoming The World’s Best Drummer in no time whatsoever is maybe not the easiest goal.
— There are bullies ready to stomp him when all he has to defend himself with is a lunchbox.
And all this doesn’t even include the freak swing set accident, the fears inside his head, or the funniest class presentation ever.
By keeping his cool (some of the time), banging on the drums (a lot), and keeping his sense of humor (all the time), Jordan’s going to try to make it through the year . . . and grow up to write a book about it!
Published: March 6, 2012
Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he’s already pegged his dream job: C.I.A. or bust. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn’t exactly scream “secret agent.” In fact, Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap. Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science—but he’s entirely shocked to discover that the school is actually a front for a junior C.I.A. academy. Could the C.I.A. really want him?
Actually, no. There’s been a case of mistaken identity—but that doesn’t stop Ben from trying to morph into a supercool undercover agent, the kind that always gets the girl. And through a series of hilarious misadventures, Ben realizes he might actually be a halfway decent spy…if he can survive all the attempts being made on his life!
It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel
Published: May 3, 2016
Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can’t distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. A poignant yet lighthearted middle grade debut from the author of the best-selling Funny in Farsi.
Published: April 24, 2018
In Be Prepared, all Vera wants to do is fit in―but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there’s one summer camp in her price range―Russian summer camp.
Vera is sure she’s found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the “cool girl” drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!
Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever.
Published: May 9, 2017
What could be funnier than family? Read stories about Ursula Brown’s grandmother driving her on a road trip to disaster, Lisa Brown’s little brother getting a Tic-Tac stuck up his nose, and Carmen Agra Deedy’s mom setting the bathtub on fire.
What could be funnier than friends? Pretty much nothing, as Rita Williams-Garcia shows two besties hatching a bird-brained scheme to get on to a TV talk show, and Deborah Underwood introduces a dynamic dog-and-cat duo teaming up on a pet advice column.
What could be funnier than YOU? Tell your future with Mad Libs, discover your Chinese Zodiac sign with Lenore Look, and learn the best tricks of the comedy trade from professional humorists like Adrianne Chalepah and Delaney Yeager.
With clever contributions from award-winning and bestselling authors including Cece Bell, Sophie Blackall, Libba Bray, Shannon Hale, Lisa Graff, and Raina Telgemeier, this anthology of funny girls will make you laugh until you cry. Or cry until you laugh. Or maybe you won’t cry at all. Either way, you’ll definitely laugh.
Funny Girl isn’t just an anthology: it’s a cause, a mission, a movement. Girls are funny. Now it’s time for the world to know it.
Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom
Published: September 27, 2016
Meet Abbie Wu. Abbie is in crisis—and not just because she’s starting middle school or because she’s stuck in a family that doesn’t quite get her or because everyone seems to have a Thing except her. Abbie Wu is always in crisis.
From author and professional doodler Booki Vivat, Frazzled dives right into the mind of this hilariously neurotic middle school girl as she tries to figure out who she is and where she belongs. Akin to Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Frazzled is heavily illustrated, embarrassingly honest, and sure to appeal to anyone in the middle of figuring out how to survive the everyday disasters of growing up.
Published: September 12, 2017
David can eat an entire sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. Not bad. But he knows he can do better. In fact, he’ll have to do better: he’s going to compete in the Super Pigorino Bowl, the world’s greatest pizza-eating contest, and he has to win it, because he borrowed his mom’s credit card and accidentally spent $2,000 on it. So he really needs that prize money. Like, yesterday. As if training to be a competitive eater weren’t enough, he’s also got to keep an eye on his little brother, Mal (who, if the family believed in labels, would be labeled autistic, but they don’t, so they just label him Mal). And don’t even get started on the new weirdness going on between his two best friends, Cyn and HeyMan. Master talent Pete Hautman has cooked up a rich narrative shot through with equal parts humor and tenderness, and the result is a middle-grade novel too delicious to put down.
Published: January 8, 2019
The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and academic train wrecks. Like Aldo, with anger management issues; Parker, who can’t read; Kiana, who doesn’t even belong in the class—or any class; and Elaine (rhymes with pain). The Unteachables have been removed from the student body and isolated in room 117.
Their teacher is Mr. Zachary Kermit, the most burned-out teacher in all of Greenwich. He was once a rising star, but his career was shattered by a cheating scandal that still haunts him. After years of phoning it in, he is finally one year away from early retirement. But the superintendent has his own plans to torpedo that idea—and it involves assigning Mr. Kermit to the Unteachables.
The Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.
This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 4 to 6, in the classroom or for homeschooling.
My Life as a Potato
Published: March 24, 2020
Ben Hardy believes he’s cursed by potatoes. And now he’s moved to Idaho, where the school’s mascot is Steve the Spud! Yeah, this cannot be good.
After accidentally causing the mascot to sprain an ankle, Ben is sentenced to Spud duty for the final basketball games of the year. But if the other kids know he’s the Spud, his plans for popularity are likely to be a big dud! Ben doesn’t want to let the team down, so he lies to his friends to keep it a secret. No one will know it’s him under the potato suit . . . right?
Life as a potato is all about not getting mashed! With laugh-out-loud illustrations throughout, hand to fans of James Patterson, Gordan Korman, Jeff Kinney, and Chris Grabenstein!
Rise of the Balloon Goons
Published: June 25, 2013
Monsters + Humor + Fun = THE NOTEBOOK OF DOOM!This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!Alexander has just moved to a new town where he is about to uncover all sorts of monsters! He finds an old notebook with the word “DOOM” inscribed on the front cover. The Notebook of Doom, which Alexander now holds, contains top secret information about monsters! In this first book, Alexander goes up against spooky balloon goons–unique and twisted arm-waving balloon guys! This book is full of humor, engaging black-and-white illlustrations, and of course . . . monsters!
Published: March 31, 2020
Ross Maloy just wants to be a normal seventh grader. He doesn’t want to lose his hair, or wear a weird hat, or deal with the disappearing friends who don’t know what to say to “the cancer kid.” But with his recent diagnosis of a rare eye cancer, blending in is off the table.
Based on Rob Harrell’s real life experience, and packed with comic panels and spot art, this incredibly personal and poignant novel is an unforgettable, heartbreaking, hilarious, and uplifting story of survival and finding the music, magic, and laughter in life’s weirdness.
Best Babysitters Ever
Published: February 5, 2019
Once upon a time, a girl named Kristy Thomas had a great idea: to form The Baby-Sitters Club with her best friends. And now twelve-year-old Malia Twiggs has had a great idea too. Technically, she had Kristy’s idea. (And technically, little kids seem gross and annoying, but a paycheck is a paycheck). After a little convincing, Malia and her friends Dot and Bree start a babysitting club to earn funds for an epic birthday bash. But babysitting definitely isn’t what they thought it would be.
Three friends. No parents. Unlimited snacks. And, okay, occasionally watching other people’s children. What could possibly go wrong?
Related: 7 Books Like The Babysitters Club Books
Danny Chung Sums It Up
Published: September 7, 2021
Eleven-year-old Danny’s life is turned upside down when his Chinese grandmother comes to live with his family in England. Things get worse when Danny finds out he’ll have to share his room with her, and she took the top bunk! At first, Danny is frustrated that he can’t communicate with her because she doesn’t speak English—and because he’s on the verge of failing math and Nai Nai was actually a math champion back in the day. It just feels like he and his grandmother have nothing in common. His parents insist that Danny help out, so when he’s left to look after Nai Nai, he leaves her at the bingo hall for the day to get her off his back. But he soon discovers that not everyone there is as welcoming as he expected . . . Through the universal languages of math and art, Danny realizes he has more in common with his Nai Nai than he first thought. Filled with heart and humor, Danny Chung Sums It Up shows that traversing two cultures is possible and worth the effort, even if it’s not always easy.
Related: 83 Best Asian Middle-Grade Books
How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy
Published: February 22, 2011
Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker’s Bowling Paradise. But while Lamar’s a whiz at rolling strikes, he always strikes out with girls. And his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior, is no help. Xavier earns trophy after trophy on the basketball court and soaks up Dad’s attention, leaving no room for Lamar’s problems.
Until bad boy Billy Jenks convinces Lamar that hustling at the alley will help him win his dream girl, plus earn him enough money to buy an expensive pro ball and impress celebrity bowler Bubba Sanders. But when Billy’s scheme goes awry, Lamar ends up ruining his brother’s shot at college and every relationship in his life. Can Lamar figure out how to mend his broken ties, no matter what the cost?
From debut author Crystal Allen comes an unforgettable story of one boy’s struggle to win his family’s respect and get the girl of his dreams while playing the sport he loves.
Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen
Published: March 26, 2019
When you’re a Buttman, the label “bully” comes with the territory, and Bernice lives up to her name. But life as a bully is lonely, and if there’s one thing Bernice really wants (even more than becoming a Hollywood stuntwoman), it’s a true friend.
After her mom skedaddles and leaves her in a new town with her aunt (who is also a real live nun), Bernice decides to mend her ways and become a model citizen. If her plan works, she just might be able to get herself to Hollywood Hills Stunt Camp! But it’s hard to be kind when no one shows you kindness, so a few cheesy pranks may still be up her sleeve. . . .
Get ready to laugh out loud–and maybe even shed a tear–with this fantastic new middle-grade voice!
The Supervillain’s Guide to Being a Fat Kid
Published: January 25, 2022
Max’s first year of middle school hasn’t been easy. Eighth-grade hotshot Johnny Pro torments Max constantly, for no other reason than Max is fat and an easy target. Max wishes he could fight back, but he doesn’t want to hurt Johnny . . . just make him feel the way Max feels.
In desperation, Max writes to the only person he thinks will understand: imprisoned supervillain Master Plan, a “gentleman of size.” To his surprise, Master Plan wants to help! He suggests a way for Max to get even with Johnny Pro, and change how the other kids at school see them both.
And it works! When Master Plan’s help pays off for Max in ways he couldn’t have imagined, he starts gaining confidence—enough to finally talk to Marina, the girl he likes in class who shares his passion for baking. With Master Plan in his corner, anything seems possible . . . but is there a price to pay for the supervillain’s help?
All Four Stars
Published: July 10, 2014
Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.
But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?
Related: 41 Best Middle-Grade Books About Food
The Smartest Kid in the Universe
Published: December 1, 2020
12 year old Jake’s middle school is about to be shut down–unless Jake and his friends can figure out how to save it. When Jake spies a bowl of jellybeans at the hotel where his mom works, he eats them. But those weren’t just jellybeans, one of the scientists at his mom’s conference is developing the world’s first ingestible information pills. And THAT’S what Jake ate.
Before long, Jake is the smartest kid in the universe. But the pills haven’t been tested yet. And when word gets out about this new genius, people want him. The government. The mega corporations. Not all of them are good people! Can Jake navigate the ins and outs of his newfound geniusdom (not to mention the ins and outs of middle school) and use his smarts to save his school? BONUS! Includes extra brainteasers to test your smarts!
Payback on Poplar Lane (Poplar Kids Book 1)
Published: January 30, 2018
Ways to Run (Ruin) a Successful Business:
1. Hire your neighbor as an (unpaid) intern.
2. Make them do all the work.
3. Take all the credit.
4. Bask in the glow of your achievements.
5. Completely underestimate your neighbor.
6. Do not expect payback.
ABC’s Shark Tank meets The Terrible Two when a pair of sixth grade entrepreneurs compete to become top mogul on their block. Payback on Poplar Lane is a pitch-perfect comedy, destined to become a middle-grade classic.
Millionaires for the Month
Published: September 1, 2020
Felix Rannells and Benji Porter were never supposed to be field-trip partners. Felix is a rule follower. Benji is a rule bender. They’re not friends. And they don’t have anything to talk about. Until . . .
They find a wallet. A wallet that belongs to tech billionaire Laura Friendly. They’re totally going to return it-but not before Benji “borrows” twenty dollars to buy hot dogs. Because twenty dollars is like a penny to a billionaire, right?
But a penny has value. A penny doubled every day for thirty days is $5,368,709.12! So that’s exactly how much money Laura Friendly challenges Felix and Benji to spend. They have thirty days. They can’t tell anyone. And there are LOTS of other rules. But if they succeed, they each get ten million dollars to spend however they want.
Challenge accepted! They rent cool cars, go to Disney World, buy pizza for the whole school-and that’s just the beginning! But money can’t buy everything or fix every problem. And spending it isn’t always as easy and fun as they thought it would be. . . .
Welcome to Dweeb Club
Published: September 28, 2021
In the second week of seventh grade, Jason Sloan signs up for the brand-new HAIR Club. He and his friends have no idea what it’s about, but since they’re the first to sign up they figure they’ll be in charge in no time. The club turns out to be super weird: using fancy new equipment donated by a mysterious benefactor, the members are supposed to monitor school security footage. Their first assignment: find out what is stealing the cafeteria’s croutons.
Instead of the expected dark cafeteria, the computers show the club members something else entirely: actual footage of themselves as high school seniors, five years in the future! What on earth could be happening? Is it some kind of time warp, or alternate reality? Or is it just an un-funny prank? As they scramble to solve the mystery, they can’t help but notice something else—none of them like what they see five years from now. Is there any way to change the future—and their fates?
Figuring out who you are and who you want to become has never been funnier in this laugh-out-loud romp through the perils of middle school—and beyond.
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There they are! 52 of the best funny middle-grade books you’ll find! Besides being funny, these books also feature friendship, mystery, family love, race issues, and stories about immigration.
More Book Lists with Funny Middle-Grade Books
- Middle-Grade boy books
- The best middle-grade books about sports
- Middle-Grade series and companion titles
- 51 middle-grade books about bullying
Which of these books have you read and loved? Any more funny books you think should be on this list? I’m sure other readers will be grateful.
I’m excited to look into these books more. I’m mom to a 10 yo 5th grade boy who enjoys reading but has pretty narrow genres of interest. Funny is good though! I absolutely love Frindle and was excited to see it at the top of your list. He has read several of these but most are new to us. Now that school has assigned reading everyday we’re going through more books again.
Thank you from a 6th grade ELA teacher! One of my students asked for funny book recommendations, and I was not sure where to direct him since that was not a category I had thought of before. This post helped me find several I already had and I added some to my list!
Afoma Umesi says
So happy to help 🥳