Books To Make That 30 Minute Independent Reading Time Fly By

By Lynn Ann Lobash, Associate Director, Readers Services and Engagement
April 24, 2020

Remote learning requirements often include 30 minutes of independent reading a day for school-age kids. If you are looking for something to keep yours reading well past their required time, here are some recommendations (all available as e-books) from famed Jefferson Market's own Children's Librarian Rebecca Schosha.


14 Hollow Road

14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop 

Maddie's perfectly normal life is turned upside down when a tornado destroys her home. A thoughtful realistic fiction novel for middle graders. Based on true events.   











Absolutely Almost

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Albie is a frustrating disappointment to ambitious, successful New York City  parents. He's simply not good at  anything - or is he...? A deep and funny middle grade novel that gets readers thinking about what really matters.










Alvin Ho

Alvin Ho:  Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

Alvin Ho is one of the most neurotic kids out there, but he's also extremely likeable and hilarious. A perfect comfort read for middle grade readers during stressful times.










Amal Unbound

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

When Amal insults one of her Pakistani village leaders, she is forced to abandon her dream of an education in order to serve his family for free. It will take friendship, trust, and ingenuity to save herself. This is a riveting look at the challenges faced by many girls around the world. 










Apartment 1986

Apartment 1986 by Lisa Papademetriou

Unexpected friendship, family drama, and a big mystery. This book middle grade novel set in NYC has it all!  











Armstrong and Charlie

Armstrong and Charlie by Steven B. Frank

The year is 1974, and a new school busing program is about to create an unlikely friendship. A serious and funny historical fiction novel that has middle grade readers exploring the roles that race and class play in our history.










At the Sign of the Sugared Plum

At the Sign of the Sugared Plum by Mary Hooper

A heart-stopping plague novel with drama, romance, and a pretty good ending. I have to say that this is one of my favorite historical fiction novels of all time! And great for readers who are interested in reading about epidemics at this time...:-)









Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!