Middle Grade Robot Stories

 

Robots

Like every genre, science fiction comes in all flavors. Most people don’t realize that there is humor, as well as seriousness, to be found in science fiction. Science fiction is usually near the bottom of the list for popularity. If you want to turn kids on to science fiction, steer them toward books by popular authors such as James Patterson, Tom Angleberger and Gordon Korman.

Humorous Sci-Fi Books

House of Robots by James Patterson (series)

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Samuel’s mom invents robots. Their house is full of them. Samuel is ok with it until his mom makes a robot to go to school with him. At first the robot is a geek and a total embarrassment. His mom reprograms the robot, and to Samuel’s surprise, he realizes that robots can be friends.

Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger

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Fuzzy is a robot sent to Vanguard Middle School to improve its artificial intelligence. Maxine takes it under her wing and teaches it everything she knows. But BARBARA, the school’s AI software, is tasked with improving the school’s rating. Max, her friends, and now Fuzzy aren’t meeting her standards, so she’s on a mission to get rid of them.

Ungifted by Gordon Korman (series)

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Donovan is a prankster. When an unintended prank becomes his downfall, the superintendent mistakenly writes his name on the list of students going to the gifted school. It doesn’t take the gifted students long to realize that Donovan is anything, but gifted. He makes his talents clear, however, when he brings down the rival school’s robotics team.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (series)

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When a cargo ship of robots sinks, only one lands safely on an island. Roz has no programming. She learns by watching. At first the animals are afraid of her, but she learns nurturing skills, and ends up saving many of the animals on the island. Sweet story, full of illustrations.

Cats vs. Robots by Margaret Stohl

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The Robot Federation and Feline Empire have been at war forever. Now each of them want the singularity chip to extend their lives. Meanwhile, twins Max and Min are just as different as the cats and robots. One loves to build robots and the other rescues cats. This war is coming to their house.

Serious Sci-Fi Books

The Search for Wondla by Tony Diterlizzi (series)

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Eva Nine lives underground with her robot mother. When her compound catches on fire she has to exit to the world above ground where she has never been. With her robot mother and several other species she meets along the way, she goes in search of other humans and the answer to the question “Where am I?” Full of amazing illustratons.

Under Their Skin by Margaret Peterson Haddix (series)

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Twins Nick and Eryn have just learned that their mom is getting remarried. They are ok with this until they find out the man she is marrying has kids that have never been mentioned in the two years they’ve known him. Weirder still, both sets of step siblings will never live in the house at the same time. The truth is bigger than Nick and Eryn could have even imagined.

Watchdog by Will McIntosh

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Vick and Tara are on their own after the economy tanks. Their dad leaves town and their mom dies unexpectedly. They spend their days rummaging through the dump to find junk Tara can use to build robots. One of her robots is a highly advanced dog named Daisy. When her talent is discovered, she’s kidnapped with the intent of using her tech skills to build a watchdog empire.

The Boy at the End of the World by Greg van Eekhout

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The earth has survived man’s environmental destruction far into the future. Scientists saved human DNA in special pods and now they are being awakened. Fisher is the only survivor in his ark, along with a robot tasked to help him survive. Together they go in search of other humans in order to repopulate the earth.

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Middle Grade Dystopian Books

Dystopian

Margaret Peterson Haddix is arguably the queen of children’s dystopian. She launched her shadow children series in 1998. Nancy Farmer followed several years later with House of Scorpion which was nominated for multiple awards. City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau reached similar popularity. Today these books are still in demand, and other authors have jumped into the fray to offer their take on the dark side of society and where it may take us in the future.

The City of Ember (series) by Jeanne DuPrau

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Hundreds of years ago an underground civilization was created by the Builders. They left behind a message with directions to an exit. Now the situation is dire. Food and light bulbs are running out. Two children find a piece of the original message and the race is on to save the people from catastrophe.

Among the Hidden (series) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Classic dystopian series about the shadow children. In the future, families are only allowed two children, but Luke is a third child and no one can find out. When a new subdivision goes up in the woods behind his house, he notices a child’s face at the window of a home that already has two children. It’s another shadow child and Luke is desperate for a friend.

The Big Dark by Rodman Philbrick

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An electromagnetic event occurs that shuts down all electricity, including batteries. Charlie lives in New Hampshire and it’s the dead of winter. He must help his family stay warm, get food and most importantly get the medicine his mom needs for diabetes. The only pharmacy in town has been destroyed. An anarchist family is wreaking havoc. The only chance for medicine is 50 miles away.

The Firefly Code (series) by Megan Frazer Blakemore

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Mori and her friends live in one of several utopias in the U.S. At age 13, they choose a “latency” based on a series of skills tests. Soon after, they undergo a surgical procedure to enhance their latency, or natural born talent. When a new girl moves in across the street and they decide to search the abandoned home of the original founder of their town, the friends begin to question the purpose behind their perfect utopia.

The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

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This book is unsettling, but absolutely spellbinding. Matt is a clone of the very wealthy El Patron. El Patron is trying to beat death using clones. They are created for spare parts and therefore are treated as lab animals, rather than humans. This book will leave you thinking about the ethical dilemma of cloning. Nominated for multiple top literary awards.

Masterminds (series) by Gordon Korman

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Everything is perfect in Serenity, New Mexico. No crime. No unemployment. Perfect houses. One problem. It’s boring. When Eli and his friends try to leave the city limits, they are swarmed by a S.W.A.T. team. What’s going on? Who can they trust? Certainly not their parents.

The Giver (series) by Lois Lowry

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This is one of the first children’s books to tackle the idea of utopian societies. People are equal. Negative emotions are stifled. Everything is chosen for you. At age 12, children are given their future job assignment. Jonas receives a mysterious assignment that is rarely handed out. He will work with the Giver, the keeper of memories, and what he learns will be unsettling.

A Whisper of Horses by Zillah Bethell

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An event known as the Gases has changed London. There’s now a wall around the city and no one can leave. The government sends out deceptive images of the world outside the wall. When Serendipity’s mother dies, she must move to a cruel orphanage or take her chances on the outside. Along with Tad, a boy smuggler, she escapes the wall and goes in search of any horses that might still exist.

Dark Life (series) by Kat Falls

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Earth has succumbed to environmental changes that has left 20% of the land underwater. The United States is overcrowded and a colony has been built underwater in the ocean. A band of outlaws are wreaking havoc on the ocean colony and the government can’t catch them, so they are talking about closing the settlement. When ocean dweller Ty meets land dweller Gemma, they both get caught up in the fight to stop the outlaws.