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As a student, my classmates and I competed in a program called Battle of the Books. There would be a list of about 10 books that our team would have to read and then we would answer trivia style questions about the books in a faceoff with another team. Once a winning classroom team was declared, we would compete against other classes and eventually against teams from other Alaskan villages via CB radios (well before the days of Skype and Facetime).

The competitions were a fun way to earn prizes and read books outside the regular genre of stories I might select on my own. I remember reading my first sci-fi book called, “Interstellar Pig” by William Sleator. What a way to get hooked on a genre!

Incentive reading programs are a great way to inspire reluctant readers. Every so often my kids come home from school with a coupon for Pizza Hut stapled to their reading logs. That is a reward everyone in our family enjoys.

If you have young readers who don’t always know exactly what they are looking for in a book, or have trouble making their own selections at the library or bookstore, here is a list of appropriate middle grade (ages 8 to 12) books to help get them started.

Just click on each cover and it will take you to their full descriptions:




J.R. Hardin

*** All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available on Amazon.com or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore. ***