These 25 best middle-grade books about summer camp capture that summer feeling! While I’ve never attended summer camp, I love to disappear into one between the pages of middle-grade or even YA books. For this list, I tried to find books featuring summer camps and all their customs. A few of them are set at day camps, but the majority are full-on sleep-away camp books, complete with all the required drama and camp spirit.
Let’s get started. Click on the images to go straight to their Amazon page. I’ve marked Kindle Unlimited titles with an asterisk(*), and indicated when a book is part of a series.
Disclaimer: I use affiliate links for Amazon and will make a cent or two if you buy using these links. It’s a great way to support a blog(ger) you love.
Best Middle-Grade Books About Summer Camp
Rating Your Bunkmates and Other Camp Crimes
Published: February 1, 2020
Twelve-year-old Abigail Hensley is a socially awkward aspiring anthropologist who has always had trouble connecting with her peers. Abigail is hopeful that a week at sleepaway camp is the answer to finally making a friend. After all, her extensive research shows that summer camp is the best place to make lifelong connections. Using her tried-and-true research methods, Abigail begins to study her cabinmates for friendship potential. But just when it seems that she is off to a good start, her bunkmate’s phone gets stolen, and Abigail is the main suspect. Can she clear her name, find the real culprit, and make a friend before the week is done?
Brother Wars: Cabin Eleven* (Series)
Published: April 12, 2018
Ten-year-old Harry can’t wait for a week of summer camp in the mountains at Camp Awonjahela. Unfortunately, his older brother Randy is coming too. If that weren’t bad enough, his Cabin Eleven is cursed. Or at least that’s the legend. Even worse, a girl named Poison Ivy won’t stop talking to him.
No one from Cabin Eleven has ever won the camp-wide competition, but that’s exactly what Harry and his friends set out to do. To break the curse, they’ll have to survive the overnight hike, win Capture the Flag, and face the mysterious figure who lives across the lake. But Randy isn’t going to make it easy. When disaster strikes, this might be one brother war too many for Harry.
Join the adventure in this exciting second book in the Brother Wars series by Steven K. Smith, author of The Virginia Mysteries.
Be Prepared (Graphic Novel)
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!
Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #2: Baby-sitters’ Summer Vacation! (Series)
The Baby-sitters are going to Camp Mohawk. That means two weeks full of camp food, homesick campers, poison ivy, and the boys’ camp across the lake!
Nerd Camp (Series)
Published: April 26, 2011
Ten-year-old Gabe has just been accepted to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. That means he’ll be spending six weeks at sleepaway camp, writing poetry and perfecting logic proofs. S.C.G.E. has been a summer home to some legendary middle-school smarty-pants (and future Jeopardy! contestants), but it has a reputation for being, well, a Nerd Camp. S.C.G.E = Smart Camp for Geeks and Eggheads.
But is Gabe really a geek? He’s never thought about it much—but that was before he met Zack, his hip, LA-cool, soon-to-be stepbrother. Gabe worries that Zack will see him only as a nerd, until a wild summer at camp—complete with a midnight canoe ride to “Dead Man’s Island”—helps Gabe realize that he and Zack have the foundations for a real friendship.
This clever, fun read from Elissa Brent Weissman is full of great minor characters (like a bunkmate who solves math problems in his sleep) and silly subplots (like the geekiest lice outbreak ever). Adjust your head-gear, pack your camp bag, and get ready to geek out!
Published: June 26, 2018
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.
Camp Dork (Series)
Published: May 3, 2016
Sheldon convinces Lucy, Sam, April, and Amanda to join him at Camp Paleo. Like cavemen, the campers are going to have to make do without air conditioning, and they’ll dig for fossils during the day. And Grandma’s coming too—as the lunch lady for the camp next door.
But Sam backs out at the last minute to attend a gymnastics camp instead. Lucy wonders why she misses him so much—it’s not like he’s her boyfriend. Why does the word “boyfriend” make her blush? She needs a distraction.
Enter Mr. Bosserman, the grouchy camp leader who won’t budge on the camp’s caveman theme. The old man needs some softening up, and Lucy knows just the person for the job: Grandma.
One successful match made, Lucy starts to see potential lovebirds everywhere. But when the wrong campers pair up, the pack falls apart, all under the watchful eye of a secret blogger who’s been writing about the camp’s activities. Even worse? A thief is targeting everyone but Lucy, setting her up to look guilty. Soon Lucy finds herself alone, left to fix the messes she’s made. If she fails, the pack may be splintered for good.
Breakout! (Camp Rolling Hills #3)
Published: May 9, 2017
It’s the end of the summer, which means one thing: Color War time! Color War is the event of the summer, a massive camp-wide competition. The camp is divided into two teams, Blue and White, with upper campers vying for the envied spot of lieutenant, a team leader position. Jenny assumes she’s got lieutenant in the bag, being a “popular girl” and all. And Play Dough sure hopes he does too—members of his family have been White team lieutenants for generations! But when assignments are announced, both are in for a surprise. Play Dough’s a lieutenant all right—for the enemy Blue team—and Jenny isn’t lieutenant at all. So who is? Jamie, Jenny’s sidekick. With the entire camp amping up for an all-out war, can Jenny and Play Dough overcome expectations and lead their teams to victory?
Pranked (Summer Camp Secrets Book 2)
” Dear __,
I dreaded coming to camp Pine Haven and my first week here was the worst. While my best friend was sunbathing on the beach in Hawaii, I was stuck with outdoor showers, a rickety cabin, and only one friend — quiet, boring Melissa. Then the “Evil Twins” showed up. It turned out they’re totally cool and they wanted to be my friend! They’re not really evil — well, not to me, at least. They AREN’T too nice to Melissa. We started playing a few pranks and it’s kind of gotten out of controlÉ.I know I should put a stop to thinks, but I don’t want to lose my only friends here. I just hope that I don’t do anything I regret.
Like Bug Juice on a Burger* (Series)
I hate camp. I just hate it. I wish I didn’t. But I do. Being here is worse than bug juice on a burger. Or homework on Thanksgiving. Or water seeping into my shoes. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, Eleanor is off to summer camp. At first she’s excited to carry on the family tradition at Camp Wallumwahpuck, but when she gets there she finds icky bugs, terrible food, and worst of all: swim class, where she just can’t seem to keep up with everyone else. But as the days go on, Eleanor realizes that even the most miserable situations can be full of special surprises and that growing up is full of belly flops.
The Key to Every Thing
Tash didn’t want to go to camp, didn’t want to spend the summer with a bunch of strangers, didn’t want to be separated from the only two people she has ever been able to count on: her uncle Kevin, who saved her from foster care, and Cap’n Jackie, who lives next door. Camp turns out to be pretty fun, actually, but when Tash returns home, Cap’n Jackie is gone. And Tash needs her — the made-up stories of dolphin-dragons, the warm cookies that made everything all right after a fight, the key Cap’n Jackie always insisted had magic in it. The Captain always said all Tash had to do was hold it tight and the magic would come. Was it true? Could the key bring Cap’n Jackie back? In a heartfelt and stunningly written story, Pat Schmatz introduces readers to a tenacious, fiercely loyal girl struggling to let go of the fantasies and fears of her childhood . . . and say yes to everything that lies ahead.
One Crazy Summer* (Series)
In One Crazy Summer, eleven-year-old Delphine is like a mother to her two younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern. She’s had to be, ever since their mother, Cecile, left them seven years ago for a radical new life in California. But when the sisters arrive from Brooklyn to spend the summer with their mother, Cecile is nothing like they imagined.
While the girls hope to go to Disneyland and meet Tinker Bell, their mother sends them to a day camp run by the Black Panthers. Unexpectedly, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern learn much about their family, their country, and themselves during one truly crazy summer.
Related: Best Middle-Grade Books By Black Authors
The Stars of Summer
In this charming sequel to All Four Stars, eleven-year-old foodie Gladys Gatsby now has her first published review under her belt and is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and reviewing. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend Charissa Bentley delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley. As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy: she struggles to pass her swim test and can’t keep the other campers happy while planning lunches. The worst part is she can’t seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper and sneak away for her latest assignment—finding the best hot dog in New York City. But when it turns out her hot dog assignment was a dirty trick by a jealous reviewer, Gladys’s reviewing career may be over forever.
Related: Best Middle-Grade Books About Food and Cooking
Silver Meadows Summer
Eleven-year-old Carolina’s summer–and life as she knows it–is upended when Papi loses his job, and she and her family must move from Puerto Rico to her Tía Cuca and Uncle Porter’s house in upstate New York. Now Carolina must attend Silver Meadows camp, where her bossy older cousin Gabriela rules the social scene.
Just as Carolina worries she’ll have to spend the entire summer in Gabriela’s shadow, she makes a friend of her own in Jennifer, a fellow artist. Carolina gets another welcome surprise when she stumbles upon a long-abandoned cottage in the woods near the campsite and immediately sees its potential as a creative haven for making art. There, with Jennifer, Carolina begins to reclaim the parts of the life she loved in Puerto Rico and forget about how her relationship with Mami has changed and how distant Papi has become.
But when the future of Silver Meadows and the cottage is thrown into jeopardy, Carolina and–to everyone’s surprise–Gabriela come up with a plan to save them. Will it work?
A group of 11-year-olds arrives to spend six weeks playing sports at Camp Avalon―which they affectionately call Camp Average, because they never win at any sport. And that’s the way they like it. But this summer, new camp director Winston―who hates losing―has some hyper-competitive ideas about how to improve their performance, whether they want to or not!
Led by main character Mack and his friend Andre, the boys of Cabin 10 decide to reclaim their summer and revolt by losing spectacularly at every game they play, and especially at the big baseball tournament coming up with three nearby camps.
In a story full of plotting, planning, and plenty of push-ups, it’s a full-court press on losing for the campers, strategic play-by-play for the camp director, and great teamwork on all sides. Who will come out on top? The first book in the new Camp Average series is a smart, funny summer read featuring a diverse group of realistic characters and a winning storyline.
The Girls of Firefly Cabin
Lauren, Isla, Jade, and Archer meet the first day of summer camp, and friendship magic is made in Firefly Cabin. If only they could immortalize their summer memories by winning the contest to be the face of the camp’s website. But it won’t be easy; not with rival cabins, distracting crushes, and of course, the girl’s own secrets getting in the way. Can friendship—and the Fireflies—triumph over all?
Letters from Camp
Mom and Dad,
You’ve got to get us out of here! When you get this letter, COME IMMEDIATELY!
The brother-sister pairs who arrive for the summer at Camp Happy Harmony are almost too busy fighting with each other to notice how strange the camp really is. Not only are the campers forced to wear bizarre uniforms, eat gross food, and do chores all day, but the members of the family that runs the camp fight constantly–with each other. Are the campers in danger? Or–in spite of sibling wars–do they need to stick together to solve the mystery humming under the surface of Camp Happy Harmony?
No Boys Allowed (Camp Sunnyside Friends #1) (Series)
The unanimous agreement among the girls of cabin six–Katie, Trina, Megan, Sarah, and Erin–that Camp Sunnyside should remain an all-girl camp is broken when the boys from Camp Eagle arrive and boy-crazy Erin befriends them
Mother-Daughter Book Camp (Series)
Spend one last summer with the Mother-Daughter Book Club at camp in this bittersweet conclusion to Heather Vogel Frederick’s beloved and bestselling series.
After so many summers together, Emma, Jess, Megan, Becca, and Cassidy are reunited for one final hurrah before they go their separate ways. The plan is to spend their summer as counselors at Camp Lovejoy in a scenic, remote corner of New Hampshire, but things get off to a rocky start when their young charges are stricken with a severe case of homesickness. Hopefully, a little bit of bibliotherapy will do the trick, as the girls bring their longstanding book club to camp.
Abby is back at the same old camp she goes to every summer — except for the fact that this summer, nothing is the same. Her friend Rose is a cabin assistant, her friend Beth is pierced, and now the only person who doesn’t seem too cool for Abby is Shasta, the new girl. Shasta, who was struck by lightning, whose Internet boyfriend is a senior in high school, and who is totally annoying to everyone but Abby…
Just Like Me
Who eats Cheetos with chopsticks?! Avery and Becca, my “Chinese Sisters,” that’s who. We’re not really sisters―we were just adopted from the same orphanage. And we’re nothing alike. They like egg rolls, and I like pizza. They wave around Chinese fans, and I pretend like I don’t know them.
Which is not easy since we’re all going to summer camp to “bond.” (Thanks, Mom.) To make everything worse, we have to journal about our time at camp so the adoption agency can do some kind of “where are they now” newsletter. I’ll tell you where I am: At Camp Little Big Lake in a cabin with five other girls who aren’t getting along, competing for a camp trophy and losing (badly), wondering how I got here…and where I belong.
Told through a mix of traditional narrative and journal entries, don’t miss this funny, surprisingly sweet summer read!
How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer
There is no way eleven-year old Chloe is going into the sixth grade riding her old pink bicycle! But before she can earn money for a new bike, she’s shipped off to career camp.
She decides to make the best of it: she’ll learn cake decorating and earn money when she gets home, frosting cupcakes at a local shop. But nothing goes according to plan. Between fighting off a rampaging goat named King Arthur, a spider that just won’t die, and a prima donna bunkmate named Victoria Radamoskovich, there’s no time left for Chloe to learn cake decorating.
When the last day of camp comes, will Chloe be ready to cupcake-decorate her way to a new bike? Or does everything really have to go to plan?
CAMP* (Graphic Novel Series)
Olive is sure she’ll have the best time at summer camp with her friend Willow – but while Olive makes quick friends with the other campers, Willow struggles to form connections and latches on to the only person she knows – Olive. It’s s’more than Olive can handle! The stress of being Willow’s living security blanket begins to wear on Olive and before long…the girls aren’t just fighting, they may not even be friends by the time camp is over. Will the two be able to patch things up before the final lights out?
Summer at Meadow Wood
Vic Brown did not want to go to camp this summer.
Even though it’s nice being back with her friends at Meadow Wood, Vic still can’t forget about the secret reason her mom wanted her and her brother out of the house—or how much her family is going to change. When her home life is blowing up, it can be hard to focus on campfires and canoeing.
But there is something about summer and surprises that go together like blueberry pancakes and maple syrup. And soon, Vic starts to feel like—just maybe—a summer at Meadow Wood was exactly what she needed.
When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she’s recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she’d rather forget.
Mia’s change in scenery brings day camp, new friends, and time with her beloved grandmother. But Gram is convinced someone is trying to destroy her cricket farm. Is it sabotage or is Gram’s thinking impaired from the stroke she suffered months ago? Mia and her friends set out to investigate, but can they uncover the truth in time to save Gram’s farm? And will that discovery empower Mia to confront the secret she’s been hiding–and find the courage she never knew she had?
In a compelling story rich with friendship, science, and summer fun, a girl finds her voice while navigating the joys and challenges of growing up.
There they are: 25 of the best middle-grade books about summer camp! I love that these camp books have a mix of friendship, adventure, food, and many other important themes besides the usual camp drama. Many also teach kids the value of physical work which is much needed.
Which of these middle-grade summer camp books have you read? Which ones would you love to read soon? I’m currently listening to Amy Rebecca Tan’s Summer at Meadow Wood. I enjoyed her debut, A Kind of Paradise last year.
Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do:
Get 2 FREE months when you sign up with my link! (not sponsored, but I get one free month of listening)
Frances Judge says
Great list for summer reading! I love reading children’s books since I write them, so I’ll add some of these to my future reading list.
Afoma Umesi says
Hi Frances, thanks for reading! Nice to hear that you’re a kidlit writer 🙂
This is a fun list! 🙌
Another hilarious camp book is I want to go Home by gordon Korman.
Hi Afoma! My voracious reader girls (now 9 and 11) were supposed to go away this past summer for their fourth summer of sleepaway camp, but like so many lost things…..coronavirus. We are hopeful camp happens next time, but, we just don’t know.
This Christmas will be FILLED with camp-themed books. I had a solid start already, but I adore the diversity your list brings, and I know that these will be some welcome selections on their bookshelves.
Also, while on your page, I scoped around and I think you have some awesome pieces. Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to “following” you!
Afoma Umesi says
Hi Kirsten! Thank you for such a lovely comment. Thrilled for your girls that they have a mom like you who brings them books!
Also, another great read that I wore out as a child is Yours Til Niagara Falls, Abby by Jane O’Connor. I loved sharing that one with my girls a few summers ago!