Realistic Fiction

Middle Grade Road Trip Stories

It’s time to hit the road with these excellent stories of adventure on four wheels. The best of the best are Kate DiCamillo’s Louisiana’s Way Home and Dan Gemeinhart’s The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise. Both are Newbery worthy. If you’re looking for a dose of humor with your adventure then check out Dan Gutman’s Mission Unstoppable or Gary Paulsen’s Road Trip. But really. You can’t go wrong with any of these books.

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo (companion novel)


After Louisiana and her grandmother take off in the middle of the night, she finds herself in a different state with her grandmother wailing in pain. Louisiana must take control of the situation which means taking the wheel, finagling a dentist appointment, and getting a motel room with no money. DiCamillo at her best.

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla


Charlie has OCD. The last place he wants to be is traveling across country in an old RV with his crazy family and a weird lady from Bosnia. If he wants to see his dad, that’s what he has to do. The only thing keeping this trip mildly tolerable is his bird obsession and the opportunity to observe the birds on his “someday” list.

The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman (series)


Twins Coke and Pepsi have been recruited by an organization that wants to put kids in charge of solving the world’s problems. That would be fine, if someone else didn’t want them dead. Luckily their mom has planned a coast to coast RV trip to the weird museums and parks across America which will hopefully throw off the killer.

How to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora


It’s been almost a year since Leo’s granddad died and everyone, especially his gram, is a little bit lost without him. When his gram announces that she wants to see the allosaur bones in Utah, a couple thousand miles away, Leo knows nothing and no one is going to stop her. He grabs a few clothes then hops into his gram’s yellow 1973 Ford for a road trip adventure he’ll never forget.

The Great Good Summer by Liz Scanlon


Ivy’s mother goes way out of character when she drops everything to follow Hallelujah Dave to the Great Good Bible Church of Panhandle Florida. No one seems concerned about getting her back, so Ivy and her friend Paul set out on a bus from Texas to Florida to retrieve her mom and maybe even see the space shuttle before it’s retired for good.

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart


Coyote’s mother and two sisters died in a car accident 5 years earlier. Now she and her dad are traveling around the country in a renovated school bus, trying to forget the pain. But when Coyote’s grandmother informs her that the park where she and her sister buried a time capsule will be demolished in 4 days, she has one goal. Travel across the country without her dad realizing her plan.

So B. It by Sarah Weeks


12-year-old Heidi knows very little about herself. All she knows is that she showed up on Bernadette’s doorstep with her mentally handicapped mother when she was only a few days old. Her mother only speaks 23 words and can’t tell her anything. When she discovers some pictures that might offer clues about her family, she decides to hop a bus across the country to a mental hospital where her mother might have been a patient.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech


Sal and her dad have recently left their Kentucky farm for Ohio. Sal’s mom left, and in the midst of her leaving, died in a bus accident in Idaho. Now she and her grandparents are taking a road trip to visit the crash site. During the drive, Sal tells her grandparents all about her friend Phoebe and her theories about her own mother’s disappearance.

Road Trip by Gary Paulsen


Ben and his dad love dogs, especially Border Collies. When a shelter calls to say they have a dog that needs a home, they jump in the truck for a 2 day trip. A lot happens in this short book. They trade in the beat-up truck for a school bus and add a few interesting characters along the way. They even end up in a bus/cop car drag race.

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