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13 of the Best Middle Grade Science Fiction Books

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Rachel Brittain

Contributing Editor

Rachel is a writer from Arkansas, most at home surrounded by forests and animals much like a Disney Princess. She spends most of her time writing stories and playing around in imaginary worlds. You can follow her writing at Twitter and Instagram: @rachelsbrittain

You don’t have to be an aspiring astronaut or scientist to enjoy these middle grade science fiction books — but it certainly wouldn’t hurt! From kids moving to alien planets and aliens living on Earth to gamer girls kicking butt and taking names, you’ll find a little bit of everything sci-fi when it comes to these books. And personally, I just can’t get enough! Reading science fiction is such a great way to spark the imagination and get kids thinking. But whatever your age, these middle grade science fiction make for some out of this world reading.

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey

What if you were the alien living on another planet? Long after Earth becomes unlivable, a group of human refugees are on their way to make a new life on the planet Choom. But by the time they show up and wake from hyper-sleep, the planet has changed its mind. Humans are no longer welcome! Now Lan and their family are the test case — an experiment to see if Choom can accept humans. But despite making some alien friends, it’s clear most of the planet has no interest in accepting humans. And they even keep spreading terrible rumors about them! How can you change peoples’ minds when they already seem so made up?

An incredibly inventive and entertaining sci-fi book unlike anything you’ve ever seen on this planet or beyond. It also provides compelling parallels to issues of prejudice and immigration.

Weird Kid by Greg Van Eekhout

A shapeshifting alien adopted by human parents is just trying to stay hidden when sinkholes made of goo (the very same goo he is made of) start showing up all over town. Enter a secretive government agency trying to get to the bottom of it. Can Jake and his new friend make like their favorite comic book characters and get to the bottom of the mystery — and save the day — before the town is shallowed up? And even more importantly, can Jake do all that and keep up his secret identity? It’s basically Superman’s origin story meets The Secret World of Alex Mack.

Stowaway by John David Anderson

Leo is just trying to save his family — and possibly the planet. When a new mineral is discovered on Earth that just so happens to be one of the most valuable minerals in the entire galaxy, aliens show up offering protection in exchange for this precious resource. In fact, it’s a resource some aliens are willing to go to war for. Which is why Leo and his brother find themselves stranded in space after their ship is attacked and their scientist father is kidnapped. And it’s why, now, Leo is about to risk everything to stow away on a pirate ship and beg for their help. The fate of his family — and Earth — depends on it.

Dragon Pearl cover

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

The author of Ninefox Gambit and Phoenix Extravagant is an SFF veteran, and his middle grade novel from Rick Riordan Presents is every bit as spectacular as his adult novels. A girl from a long line of fox spirits, forced to hide her magic and pretend to be a regular human, longs for her chance to join the Space Forces alongside her older brother. But when her brother is accused of leaving his post, Min is determined to clear his name. It’s space fantasy at its finest, mixing mythology and science.

the lion of mars book cover

The Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm

Bell is just a regular 11-year-old — even if he spent all 11 of those years growing up on Mars. He does have some questions about why all the adults in the U.S. colony seem to be keeping secrets, though. Like, why aren’t they in contact with any of the other Mars colonies? But when all the adults suddenly fall ill, it’s up to Bell and the rest of the kids to figure things out for once. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll be the ones to finally unite Mars.

Cleo Porter and the Body Electric by Jake Burt

After a devastating flu pandemic overtakes the world, people retreat to hermetically sealed housing complexes to stay safe. There are no windows and no doors. Cleo Porter attends virtual classes and never leaves her home. But when a package arrives with medicine clearly meant for someone else, she knows the clock is ticking. As an aspiring doctor, she knows the importance of getting this package to the right person. But people don’t leave their units. Not ever. If Cleo wants to deliver this medicine and save someone’s life, though, she’ll have to do just that.

A strangely prescient book to have been written before our current COVID-19 Pandemic, but one that may provide some much-needed escapism for kids feeling trapped in their own homes right now.

The Mortification of Fovea Munson

The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider

Fovea’s parents may own a cadaver lab where they perform surgeries on dead bodies, but that doesn’t make her gross. Even if that’s what all her classmates say about her. When her summer camp plans fall through, she’s forced to work in the lab with her parents. But she’s no mad scientist’s assistant. Or at least, she didn’t think so. But then some of the disembodied heads start talking to her, and they need some help. It’s like a monster movie come to life!

Ace Takes Flight by Cory McCarthy

Living in the shadow of a superstar older brother isn’t easy, but things are finally looking up for Ace Wells. He was just accepted into the Biological Enhancement Systems Technology (B.E.S.T.) program. But it turns out making it into the program was the easy part. The AI elevator wants to eat his belongings and his famous classmates don’t have any time for Ace. Even worse: he’s beginning to suspect something more is going on at B.E.S.T. than what he’s been told. Is he ever going to be able to get his SuperSoar wings? He’ll have to make it to graduation first.

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen

Inside the tower, it’s safe. Outside, well, that’s another story. Ade loves living at the top of the tower, even if his mother is terrified to so much as look outside. But when the towers start falling down around them one day, with terrifying plants shooting up outside, Ace and his mother found themselves trapped with no way out. The invasion of the Blutchers has started.

Finn and the Intergalactic Lunchbox by Michael Buckley

Finn Foley’s lunchbox isn’t your average food storage container. Nope, when Finn opens his lunchbox things like giant robots and wormholes tend to pop out. Jumping through shortcuts to the farthest reaches of the galaxy might sound like a blast, but it turns out that technology coming out of his lunchbox belongs to a race of giant alien insects. And now they want it back.

Jillian vs Parasite Planet by Nicole Kornher-Stace

Jillian may have anxiety that makes the thought of surprises get her all panicky, but she’s always dreamed of joining her astronaut parents on a space mission. And today’s her lucky day! It’s Take Your Kid to Work Day and Jillian finally gets to visit an alien planet. Specifically, Planet 80 UMa c. What’s supposed to be nothing more than a fun camping trip turns dangerous when the local flora and fauna starts going all parasitic. Now it’s up to Jillian and the onboard computer, SABRINA, to save her parents and get them off this planet in one piece.

Trouble in the Stars by Sarah Prineas

A young shapeshifter is on the run, and trouble is their name. No, literally, Trouble is their name. Sneaking onto a ship and taking the form of a human boy, Trouble finally begins to feel safe — even if he knows the captain is going to drop him at the nearest spaceport. But when a StarLeague cadet show up on the hunt for a certain shapeshifter, things get complicated. Especially when Trouble reveals a new form none of them could’ve seen coming.

Last Gamer Standing by Katie Zhao

When it comes to the VR game Dayholder, 12-year-old Reyna Cheng is the up-and-comer to watch. She competes in battle royale–style games against AI monsters and her fellow human players. But she keeps her real identity a secret. Gaming is still a boy’s club, and Reyna doesn’t want to find herself on the wrong end of the internet trolls. When she qualifies for the Dayhold Junior Tournament, though, she has to make a choice. Blackmailed and doxed, Reyna will have to decide how to deal with the toxic community surrounding the game she loves and prove she has what it takes to win.

Release date: September 21, 2021

Not enough middle grade sci-fi for you? How about some middle grade science fiction comics set in space? Or maybe try these 25 universe-expanding science fiction books for kids on for size.