Who doesn’t love middle grade books about libraries? I didn’t grow up with too many great libraries open to me, but just reading about a place housing books gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. In these tween books set in libraries, the library plays a major role for the protagonist. It’s either a safe haven, a place where a lot of the story takes place, or the story itself. If you love books and libraries, this list is for you.
20 Best Middle Grade Books About Libraries
Here are 21 best middle grade books about libraries:
A Kind of Paradise
Thirteen-year-old Jamie Bunn made a mistake at the end of the school year. A big one. And every kid in her middle school knows all about it. Now she has to spend her summer vacation volunteering at the local library—as punishment. What a waste of a summer!
Or so she thinks.
Things You Can’t Say
Nothing is going right this summer for Drew. And after losing his dad unexpectedly three years ago, Drew knows a lot about things not going right. First, it’s the new girl Audrey taking over everything at the library, Drew’s sacred space. Then it’s his best friend, Filipe, pulling away from him. But most upsetting has to be the mysterious man who is suddenly staying with Drew’s family. An old friend of Mom’s? Drew isn’t buying that.
With an unlikely ally in Audrey, he’s determined to get to the bottom of who this man really is. The thing is, there are some fears—like what if the person you thought was your dad actually wasn’t—that you can’t speak out loud, not to anyone. At least that’s what Drew thinks.
But then again, first impressions can be deceiving
Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero
saiah is now the big man of the house. But it’s a lot harder than his dad made it look. His little sister, Charlie, asks too many questions, and Mama’s gone totally silent.
Good thing Isaiah can count on his best friend, Sneaky, who always has a scheme for getting around the rules. Plus, his classmate Angel has a few good ideas of her own–once she stops hassling Isaiah.
And when things get really tough, there’s Daddy’s journal, filled with stories about the amazing Isaiah Dunn, a superhero who gets his powers from beans and rice. Isaiah wishes his dad’s tales were real. He could use those powers right about now!
Kelly J. Baptist’s debut novel explores the indomitable spirit of a ten-year-old boy and the superhero strength it takes to grow up.
The Library of Ever
With her parents off traveling the globe, Lenora is bored, bored, bored—until she discovers a secret doorway into the ultimate library. Mazelike and reality-bending, the library contains all the universe’s wisdom. Every book ever written, and every fact ever known, can be found within its walls. And Lenora becomes its newly appointed Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian.
She rockets to the stars, travels to a future filled with robots, and faces down a dark nothingness that wants to destroy all knowledge. To save the library, Lenora will have to test her limits and uncover secrets hidden among its shelves.
A Summer of Sundays
A sweet middle-grade title about getting lost in a big family and unlikely friendship.
Almost-twelve-year-old Sunday Fowler is a middle-of-the-middle child, and it’s the absolute worst. Her sisters say she’s too young. Her brothers say she’s too old. And her parents remember the dog’s name more often than they remember hers. But standing out is hard work when you have to help repair an old library and make sure your siblings don’t steal your new best friend—or ruin all your plans. Then Sunday finds something in the library’s basement that might make her so famous no one will forget her name ever again. But revealing her finding means stirring up secrets that some people in the town hoped to keep buried. Sunday must decide if some things—loyalty, trust, friendship—are worth more than her name in the headlines. A Summer of Sundays is a charming, funny celebration of family and finding friendship in unexpected places.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
When Kyle learns that the world’s most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, he’s determined to be there! But the tricky part isn’t getting into the library—it’s getting out. Because when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must solve every clue and figure out every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route!
Ban This Book
In Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, a fourth grader fights back when From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library. Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don’t mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books that will make you laugh and pump your fists as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take a stand against censorship.
Property of the Rebel Librarian
When twelve-year-old June Harper’s parents discover what they deem an inappropriate library book, they take strict parenting to a whole new level. And everything June loves about Dogwood Middle School unravels: librarian Ms. Bradshaw is suspended, an author appearance is canceled, the library is gutted, and all books on the premises must have administrative approval.
But June can’t give up books . . . and she realizes she doesn’t have to when she spies a Little Free Library on her walk to school. As the rules become stricter at school and at home, June keeps turning the pages of the banned books that continue to appear in the little library. It’s a delicious secret . . . and one she can’t keep to herself. June starts a banned book library of her own in an abandoned locker at school. The risks grow alongside her library’s popularity, and a movement begins at Dogwood Middle–a movement that, if exposed, could destroy her. But if it’s powerful enough, maybe it can save Ms. Bradshaw and all that she represents: the freedom to read.
Equal parts fun and empowering, this novel explores censorship, freedom of speech, and activism. For any kid who doesn’t believe one person can effect change…and for all the kids who already know they can!
Mary Anne and the Library Mystery
When a small fire breaks out at the Stoneybrook Library, Mary Anne is determined to find out who started the fire and why someone would want to burn down the library.
It’s 1946. Langston’s mother has just died, and now they’re leaving the rest of his family and friends. He misses everything– Grandma’s Sunday suppers, the red dirt roads, and the magnolia trees his mother loved.
In the city, they live in a small apartment surrounded by noise and chaos. It doesn’t feel like a new start, or a better life. At home he’s lonely, his father always busy at work; at school he’s bullied for being a country boy.
But Langston’s new home has one fantastic thing. Unlike the whites-only library in Alabama, the Chicago Public Library welcomes everyone. There, hiding out after school, Langston discovers another Langston–a poet whom he learns inspired his mother enough to name her only son after him.
For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.
Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game—before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.
Book Uncle and Me
Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library on the street corner. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something.
What can she do? The local elections are coming up, but she’s just a kid. She can’t even vote!
Still, Yasmin has friends — her best friend, Reeni, and Anil, who even has a blue belt in karate. And she has family and neighbors. What’s more, she has an idea that came right out of the last book she borrowed from Book Uncle.
So Yasmin and her friends get to work. Ideas grow like cracks in the sidewalk, and soon the whole effort is breezing along nicely… Or is it spinning right out of control?
An energetic, funny and quirky story about community activism, friendship, and the love of books.
The Bookshop Girl
Property Jones and her family have just won the Great Montgomery Book Emporium in a contest, and it’s every book lover’s dream! The pull of a lever calls forth rooms full of marvelous wonders―from the Room of Woodland Tales with its squirrels and mice, to the rocket ship in the Room of Space Adventures, and the aquarium ceiling in the Room of Ocean Tales.
But there is more to the Emporium than its thousands of books in extravagant displays. In fact, the previous owner is hiding something that could destroy absolutely everything for the Joneses.
Property has a whopper of a secret too―and it might just be the key to saving her family and their bookshop from the clutches of a nasty villain.
Wish on All the Stars
Juliet is now an official member of the Starry Beach Club, and loves working with her new friends, Emma and Carmen, to make people’s wishes come true. Living away from her dad is still hard, and she misses her best friend from her old town, but she has her friends and the bookmobile, and San Diego feels more like home than ever. But then she learns that the bookmobile is going to have to shut down. The owner of the parking lot wants to start charging rent, and soon the bookmobile won’t be able to stay in business. The Starry Beach Club comes up with different ways to save their favorite store, but none seem to work. But then Emma gets the idea to have a crafts fair…and she wants Juliet to sell her paintings! Juliet is nervous, and isn’t sure whether she’s ready to put herself on display. Meanwhile, Carmen is feeling anxious about the possibility of her mother being deported. Will Juliet be able to be brave for herself and for Carmen?
The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library
Eddie, a passionate reader and a shiny green bug, saves the school library in this funny, heartwarming tale that fans of Flora & Ulysses and Charlotte’s Web will love. Includes black-and-white illustrations throughout from Newbery Honor Medalist and New York Times-bestselling author-artist Victoria Jamieson.
Eddie is a tiny green bug who loves to read and who lives behind the chalkboard in the fourth-grade classroom with his parents, his 53 brothers and sisters, and his aunt Min. But when Aunt Min goes to the school library to read a book and never returns, Eddie leaves the comfort of his home for the first time and makes the dangerous trek through Ferny Creek Elementary School to find her. After dodging running sneakers, falling books, and terrifying spiders, Eddie reaches the library, where he discovers Aunt Min stuck in a perilous situation! To top it all off, there’s a substitute librarian who aims to close the library for good and get rid of all the books!
The Losers Club
Sixth grader Alec can’t put a good book down.
So when Principal Vance lays down the law—pay attention in class, or else—Alec takes action. He can’t lose all his reading time, so he starts a club. A club he intends to be the only member of. After all, reading isn’t a team sport, and no one would want to join something called the Losers Club, right? But as more and more kids find their way to Alec’s club—including his ex-friend turned bully and the girl Alec is maybe starting to like—Alec notices something. Real life might be messier than his favorite books, but it’s just as interesting.
A Place to Hang the Moon
It is 1940 and William, 12, Edmund, 11, and Anna, 9, aren’t terribly upset by the death of the not-so-grandmotherly grandmother who has taken care of them since their parents died. But the children do need a guardian, and in the dark days of World War II London, those are in short supply, especially if they hope to stay together. Could the mass wartime evacuation of children from London to the countryside be the answer?
It’s a preposterous plan, but off they go– keeping their predicament a secret, and hoping to be placed in a temporary home that ends up lasting forever. Moving from one billet to another, the children suffer the cruel trickery of foster brothers, the cold realities of outdoor toilets and the hollowness of empty stomachs. They find comfort in the village lending library, whose kind librarian, Nora Müller, seems an excellent choice of billet, except that her German husband’s whereabouts are currently unknown, and some of the villagers consider her unsuitable.
For Fantasy Lovers:
Orphan Elizabeth Somers’s malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms―most notably its massive library. It’s not long before she locates a magical book of puzzles that will unlock a mystery involving Norbridge and his sinister family. But the deeper she delves into the hotel’s secrets, the more Elizabeth starts to realize that she is somehow connected to Winterhouse. As fate would have it, Elizabeth is the only person who can break the hotel’s curse and solve the mystery. But will it be at the cost of losing the people she has come to car for, and even Winterhouse itself?
Mystery, adventure, and beautiful writing combine in this exciting debut richly set in a hotel full of secrets.
The Dragon in the Library
Kit Spencer can’t stand reading. She’d rather be outside playing and getting muddy than stuck inside with a book. But when her best friends, Josh and Alita, drag her to the local library, Kit makes an incredible discovery: she’s a wizard—and books are the key to her abilities. Unfortunately, a greedy businessman wants to tear down the beloved library, destroying all its magic. To make matters worse, there’s a sleeping dragon hidden there, and if she’s awakened, her wild power will wreak havoc. With the help of a friendly dragon-dog hybrid named Dogon, Kit and her companions will have to find a way to save the dragon in the library—and maybe the world! A humorous romp full of library enchantment, with a diverse cast of characters and dynamic illustrations.
Pages and Co. Series
Since her mother’s disappearance, eleven-year-old Tilly Pages has found comfort in the stories at Pages & Co., her grandparents’ bookshop. But when her favorite characters, Anne of Green Gables and Alice from Wonderland, start showing up at the shop,Tilly’s adventures become very real. Not only can she follow Anne and Alice into their books, she discovers she can bookwander into any story she chooses. Tilly’s new ability leads her to fun and exciting adventures, but danger may be lurking on the very next page…
When new secrets are uncovered, it’s up to Tilly to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago. From debut author Anna James comes a charming and exciting adventure about a bookish young heroine, a mysterious librarian, and a magical bookshop that will delight book lovers everywhere.
There they are: 20 of the best middle grade books about libraries. Which of these books have you read? Do you know any other tween books set in libraries? I’d love to hear your recs!