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Animal Books (talking and not) for Middle Grade (4th-6th) and Young Adult Readers

Many books listed for 9 and up are also good for young adult readers. These days there is quite a bit of crossover between the two levels of fiction. The Harry Potter books are good example of books enjoyed both by a 10-yr-old and a 15-yr-old.

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Adventure books for kids

 

 
     

Ages 9 and up

Malcolm at Midnight W.H. Beck,  272 pages
"When Malcolm the rat arrives as the pet at McKenna School, he revels in the attention. He also meets the Midnight Academy, a secret society of classroom pets that keeps the nutters (kids) safe. There’s just one problem…rats have a terrible reputation! So when the Academy’s iguana leader is kidnapped, Malcolm must prove his innocence—and that even rats can be good guys. Illustrated by Brian Lies of Bats at the Beach, this engaging middle-grade novel will have readers rooting for Malcolm as they try to solve the mystery alongside him."
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Ages 12 and up

Cat Girl's Day Off Kimberly Pauley,  336 pages
Never listen to a cat. That will only get you in trouble. Actually, scratch that. Listening to cats is one thing, but really I should never listen to my best friend Oscar. It s completely his fault (okay, and my aspiring actress friend Melly s too) that I got caught up in this crazy celebrity-kidnapping mess. If you had asked me, I would have thought it would be one of my super-Talented sisters who d get caught up in crime fighting. I definitely never thought it would be me and my Talent trying to save the day. Usually, all you get out of conversations with cats is requests for tummy rubs and tuna. Wait . . . I go back to what I said first: Never listen to a cat. Because when the trouble starts and the kitty litter hits the fan, trust me, you don t want to be in the middle of it.

     
     
     
 

Books for reluctant readers

 

 

Adventure books for kids

 

 
     

Ages 9 and up

Saving Zasha by Randi Barrow, 225 pages
“World War II has just ended when Mikhail finds a dying man and his German shepherd, Sasha, in the woods. It’s dangerous – some say traitorous – to own a German dog after Germany attacked Russia, so Mikhail must keep Zasha a secret to keep her alive.  

But Mikhail’s rival, Katia, is determined to find the dog she is sure he’s hiding. At the same time, a soldier named Dimitri is breeding a new Russian dog at a nearby farm. So many dogs were lost to starvation and in combat that the country is in dire need of every kind of dog. Dimitri, too, has suspicions of Zasha’s existence, and would like nothing more than to add her to his breeding program. However, Dimitri will have to compete with the armed dog thieves who are also on her trail.” Jacket cover excerpt, Scholastic Press, 2011

Ages 9 and up

A Dog’s Way Home by Bobbie Pyron, 321 pages
"Abby knows that Tam, her Shetland sheepdog, is her north star, and she’s pretty certain she’s his, too. But when an accident separates Abby and Tam, it feels as though all the stars have fallen out of the sky and nothing will ever be right again. As the days between them turn to weeks, then months, dangers and changes fill up Abby’s and Tam’s lives. Will they ever find their way home to each other?" Jacket cover excerpt, Katherine Tegen Books, HarperColins, 2011

Ages 9 and up

Me & Jack by Danette Haworth, 232 pages
"Joshua Reed knows how to play new kid: hang back, don’t talk too much, be invisible. He’s moved around plenty since his dad became a recruiter for the US Air Force and the Vietnam War broke out. But their newest home in the mountains of Pennsylvania feels special somehow. And it’s all because of Jack. With his strange glowing ears and unique ability to understand Joshua’s feelings, Jack is like no other dog Josh has ever seen.

But adopting Jack yanks Josh from the sidelines to the front lines, and before he knows it, he’s butting heads with Alan Prater, the toughest kid around. Joshua wants to be friends with Ray, Prater’s cousin, but Prater’s not letting outsiders in. Plus, being the air force recruiter’s son during and unpopular war doesn’t exactly make fitting in easy. So when a few late-night disturbances rip through town and everything points back to his beloved dog, Joshua will have to fight for Jack, his family, and his new home." Jacket cover excerpt, Walker $ Co., Bloomsbury, 2011 

Ages 9 and up

Mousenet by Prudence Breitrose, 400 pages
"Ten-year-old Megan has helped her uncle invent the Thumbtop, the world’s smallest computer, and mice are overjoyed. For years, they’ve been looking for a computer that fits in the average mousehole—and here it is, in the hands of a young human.
The order comes from the Big Cheese, leader of the Mouse Nation: Follow that girl—even if it means trailing her clear across the country. That’s because while Megan’s mom is off doing research on climate change, Megan has been sent to live with a dad she hardly knows. And it’s not easy. Her stepmother thinks she’s uncivilized, the kids at school gang up on her, and even her step-cousin, Joey, avoids her. 


Then comes a mouse in the night to be Megan’s friend, and to tell her the biggest secret in the history of the world: that mice have evolved, and they need her help in getting a Thumbtop for all,. In return, she will become the most powerful girl alive, because with the Mouse Nation behind her, there’s no limit to what she can do—fro her family, and for the planet."

Jacket cover excerpt, Disney Hyperion 2011

     
 

Books for reluctant readers

 

     

Ages 9 and up

 

Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner, 262 pages

"Deep beneath a modern metropolis lies the Catacombs, a kingdom of remarkable rats of superior intellect. Juniper and his maverick band of rebel rats have been plotting ever since the Bloody Coup turned the Catacombs, a once-peaceful democracy, into a brutal dictatorship ruled by decadent High Minister Killdeer and his vicious henchman, Billycan, a former lab rat with a fondness for butchery. When three young orphan rats-brothers Vincent and Victor and a clever female named Clover-flee the Catacombs in mortal peril and join forces with the rebels, it proves to be the spark that ignites the long-awaited battle to overthrow their oppressors and create a new city: Nightshade City." Jacket cover excerpt, Holiday House, 2010

     
     

     

Ages 9 and up

Elska (book 1 of the Horse Diaries series) by Catherine Hapka, illus. by Ruth Sanderson, 110 pages
“Iceland, Circa AD 1000 - Elska is a silver dapple Icelandic filly. She spends summers frisking about the countryside and winters in the farmyard, where the girl human Amma take special care of her. But when a powerful neighbor notices Elska, her contented life suddenly changes. Here is Elska’s story…in her own words.” Jacket cover excerpt, Random House, 2009*Dee’s note-This is a fun series with each book set in a different place and a different time.

Ages 9 and up

Tumtum & Nutmeg, Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn, 503 pages
“Deep inside the broom cupboard of Rose Cottage, two mice live in great style.Tumtum and Nutmeg lead cozy and quiet lives, secretly looking after Arthur and Lucy, the dishelved human children of the cottage, never dreaming that so many exciting adventures will soon find them. But evil Aunt Ivy, a squeamish school-teacher named Miss Short, and pirating pond rats threaten the safety of those they hold dear, the courageous pair will stop at nothing to save the day." Jacket cover excerpt, Little, Brown and Co., 2009

Ages 9 and up

The Mousehunter by Alex Milway, 422 pages

"Across the  Seventeen Seas there is no mousehunting pirate has as feared as the legendary Captain Mousebeard. He seeks out the rarest and most precious breeds of mice to collect and trade, his fearsome reputation preceding him wherever he goes. Emiline, mousekeeper to one of Old Town’s  wealthiest  citizens, is anything but feared.  So when her master puts a bounty on Mousebeard’s head, she sees it as the chance of a lifetime. Her journey takes her on a high-seas adventure, filled with swords and sea monsters, betrayal, lies, and the chance to capture the most dangerous man in mousing history." Jacket cover excerpt, Little, Brown Books, 2009

Ages 9 and up

The Secret Zoo by Byran Chick, 245 pages
"Something extraordinary is happening at the Clarksville City Zoo, but only nine-year-old Megan Nowicki knows it. Megan lives in a neighborhood right beside the zoo. Late one night from her tree fort, she spots monkeys hurdling the zoo walls, landing on rooftops and lunging from house to house. They are searching for something-but what? 

Weeks later, Megan vanishes! Her brother, Noah, and their best friends Ella and Richie, discover clues that link the zoo with her disappearance. Before long, the three Adventure Scouts find themselves in the thick of a great mystery. To solve it and rescue Megan, they must sneak into the zoo and delve into the unknown world of the animals. The children come to know that the zoo is protecting a great secret-a secret that must never by uncovered the sinister Shadow Man." Jacket cover excerpt, Second Wish Press, 2007

Ages 9 and up

The Capture (Guardians of Ga’hoole series) by Kathryn Lasky, 243 pages

       

“Born in the forest of the barn owls, Soren loves life’s little pleasures, like the feel of a centipede pattering down his throat. But evil lurks in the owl world, and threatens to change the course of Soren’s life forever. One terrifying night the strangers come they capture Soren and fly him to a deep canyon, where the destruction of all owls is being planned Now Soren will have to do something he has never done before: he will have to fly...” Jacket cover excerpt, Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2003 

Ages 9 and up

Warriors Into the Wild (1st of series) by Erin Hunter, 272 pages

"For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying-and some deaths are more mysterious than others. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty…who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all." Jacket cover excerpt, HarperCollins, 2003

Ages 9 and up

Silverwing (1st of a series) by Kenneth Oppel, 216 pages

“Shade is a young Silverwing bat, the runt of his colony, determined to prove himself on the long and dangerous winter migration to Hibernaculum, millions of wingbeats to the south. During a storm, he is swept out over the ocean – away from his family, his friends, and the only life he has ever known. Alone and frightened as winter fast approaches and temperatures plunge, Shade knows he must find a way to rejoin his colony in the south.

And thus begins an extraordinary journey—from the pigeon stronghold in the city’s spires to the rat kingdom deep below the earth. Along the way, Shade encounters a remarkable cast of characters: Marina, a Brightwing bat with a strange metal band on her forearm; Zephyr, a mystical albino bat who can hear into both the past and the future; and Goth, a gigantic carnivorous vampire bat captured in his native jungle and brought to a mysterious human laboratory in the north. If only Shade could figure out which ones are friends, and which ones enemies.” Jacket cover excerpt, Simon & Schuster, 1997

Ages 9 and up

Redwall (1st of a series) by Brian Jacques, 351 pages
"It is the Summer of the Late Rose. But a sinister shadow has fallen across the ancient stone abbey of Redwall, even as the gentle mice of Mossflower Wood gather there to celebrate a year of peace and abundance. For it is rumored that Cluny is coming-Cluny, the terrible one-eyed rat and his battle-seasoned horde-Cluny, whose vow is to conquer Redwall Abeey! The woodland creatures rush to a desperate defense.

But what can an abbey of peaceloving mice do against Cluny the Scourge and his army of rats? If only they had the sword of Martin the Warrior, they might have a chance of saving their beloved Abbey. But the hiding place of the legendary sword has been long forgotten, even by the wise old mouse Methuselah. It is his bumbling young apprentice Matthias who sets out to find the sword and who becomes a most unlikely hero." Jacket cover excerpt, Philomel Books, 1986

     
     
     
     
     



 

This site is maintained by author Dee Garretson, who writes her own adventure books. She does not get paid by the authors or the publishers to list these books. They are all her recommendations based on reading many, many books each year.

 
 

Teachers, Homeschoolers and Librarians:

Dee does complimentary 20 minute Skype visits with groups interested in talking about adventure books or writing. Contact her at deegarretson at gmail.com

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Escape from Camp David:

 
 

  When disaster strikes and the security systems at Camp David go into lockdown, Luke Brockett, the President's son, and his friends must escape before it's too late.
Published by Harper, a divison of HarperCollins

 
 

 
 

  Sometimes filming a movie can go very wrong ... and turn all too real. Stefan Andris never expected his dream adventure to turn into a real-life survival story. Published by Harper, a division of HarperCollins

 
 

Art student Clary Ashton thought studying painting in Paris was a dream come true, until a murder and a royal assassination plot throw her between two dangerous men, a vicious revolutionary who will stop at nothing to carry out his plans and the young intrepid British secret agent determined to stop him.

Adventure books for kids