Best Indian Fiction Books for Middle Graders

Looking for the best Indian fiction books for middle-graders between the ages of 9 to 12 years? Your search ends here.

Who are middle graders, why should they read fiction and which are the best fiction books?

Middle graders are kids who are growing up and becoming more independent. They are no longer little children, but they are not quite teenagers yet.

Changes in 9 to 12 years old

Middle-grade kids between 9 to 12 years are neither little kids nor teenagers. There are many physical and intellectual changes beginning to happen within them. This means, kids aged 9 to 12 years old learn about managing their emotions and form new perspective towards everything in their life. 

Moreover, they develop curiosity about people, societies, nations, concepts and much more. Additionally, their attention span, vocabulary and reading comprehension is improved and better than before. It should be noted, middle graders deal with a lot of expectations and pressures from well-meaning people around them and they strive to live up to these expectations.

best fiction books for kids age 9 to 12 years

Benefits of reading fiction for 9 to 12-year-old kids

To know the benefits, you have to place yourself in a middle grader’s shoes! 

To begin with, reading fiction books is the quickest way to help middle graders deepen understanding of themselves and their life situations. Secondly, it helps them to empathize with other people’s feelings and situations. Because of this, kids feel comfortable and secure as individuals by reading the best fiction books. 

Thirdly, Reading fiction books supplements the learning process in an entertaining way. Additionally, kids intuitively learn about sentence structure, expand their vocabulary and expression of thoughts and ideas. Let’s read further to find the best Indian fiction books for 9 to 12-year-old kids.

Which are the best Indian fiction books for 9 to 12 years old middle graders?

Pinkoo Shergill Pastry Chef

  • Author: Vibha Batra
  • Publisher: Scholastic India
  • Pages: 200 pages

Pinkoo Shergill is a turbaned little Sardar, who wants to become a pastry chef. Not only this, but he also wants to participate and win an Olympic gold medal in a Bake-A-Thon. However, following general gender stereotypes, Pinkoo’s family does not approve of his goal to become a pastry chef.

Fortunately, Prabhjot aka Pinkoo has good friends who support his dreams and aspirations. Does the determined boy refuse to give up on his dreams in face of objections? This beautifully illustrated fiction book breaks gender stereotypes. Middle graders will find this fiction book’s story and presentation inspiring and fun. New fun words like “confuzzled” devised specially by the author will amuse the readers.

The Night Diary 

  • Author: Veera Hiranandani
  • Publisher: Puffin Books
  • Pages: 288

It’s a historical fiction about Nisha, a 12-year old half-Hindu and half-Muslim girl living in Pakistan during the 1947 partition. Considering the unsafe volatile times, her father decides to leave Pakistan and migrate to India. Nisha’s mother has been dead since she was a baby.

This makes Nisha insecure and scared while undergoing the traumatic transit. As an adaptive measure, Nisha starts writing letters to her dead mother. It’s an emotional narrative about a 12-year-old’s quest to make sense of her massive transitional times and find security.

Woof! Adventures By The Sea

  • Author: Aparna Kartikeyan
  • Publisher: Red Panda
  • Pages: 136

A gang of beach dogs in Mumbai find a pup in a mysterious box on the beach during the monsoon. Initially, they detest the new arrival on the beach as their gang is affected. But soon, change happens in their protective circle of friendship and brotherhood. Young middle graders who love dog books will love reading this fiction book.

Loki Takes Guard

  • Author: Menaka Raman
  • Publisher: Talking Cub
  • Pages: 200

Loki aka Lokanayaki Shanmugam is a spirited and determined girl. That’s not all, she is crazy about cricket. She wants to become a player in the local cricket team named Temple Street Tankers. However, it’s not easy to enter the “All Boys” team. 

The parents of the eleven-year-old girl do not think much of her wish as they are busy with her brother’s studies. Injustice cannot be tolerated, so Loki decides to write a petition and get signatures from people. Unfortunately, they let her down because most people, including her parents, are disinterested in signing her petition. 

A turn of event takes place when her petition goes online and gains national support, strongly backed by somebody named @_poetic_patti. It’s overwhelming when Loki’s petition goes viral, but will she be able to take her place rightfully? Read this interesting and fast-paced thrilling fiction book for middle graders that is inspiring and challenges societal attitudes.

The Snow-Leopard Adventure

  • Author: Deepak Dalal
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Pages: 224

The theme of wildlife conservation extends to snow leopards in the Ladakh region in this adventure fiction book. Vikram and Aditya are young schoolboys accompanied by a team of enthusiastic trekkers, a wildlife scientist, camp boys, cooks and a horseman. 

They are on an expedition to the picturesque Ladakh in search of the elusive snow leopard to observe the leopard in its habitat. Several exciting twists and turns in their journey will be an exciting and thrilling read for young kids aged 9 to 12 years. 

A Beautiful Lie

  • Author: Irfan Master
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing India 
  • Pages: 496

A historical fiction set in 1947 about a boy named Bilal, during India-Pakistan partition times. Bilal’s father is very sick, suffering from an illness. To prevent further deterioration, Bilal does not have the heart to inform his father about the massive political changes of partition in the country.

The boy decides to lie to his father by hiding information about the political events. Friends also support Bilal to protect his father from the emotional turmoil of the disruptive change. Read the story of Bilal trying to balance his life and protect his family with responsibility.

Champs of Devgarh

  • Author: Aditya Sharma
  • Publisher: Penguin India
  • Pages: 224

Reminiscent of R.K. Narayan’s “Swami and friends”, this sport-themed fiction book follows a group of schoolboys trying to preserve the honour of their school team in the upcoming R. P. Memorial trophy. Playing sports is accompanied by mastering game techniques, emotions, human relations and determination. Moreover, the boys have to balance education with sports.

The highlight is when transformation in the characters helped by a capable coach, aid the boys in times of desperation. Those young middle graders who enjoy reading sports fiction books will certainly find this book exciting and thrilling. You can read this book on Kindle too.

The Adventures Of Kakababu

  • Author: Sunil Gangopadhyay
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
  • Pages: 288

Kakababu is Raja Roy-Chowdhury, a secretive ex-director of the Archaeological Survey of India. He has an amputated leg yet goes on mysterious trips that no one knows about. Since Kakababu is an archaeologist, he likes to visit unlikely ravages and places to unravel mysteries of the past. His nephew Shontu gets to accompany Kakababu on the trip for which Shontu is very excited. 

The two stories in this book, “The Emperor’s Lost Head” and “King Of The Emerald Isle” will take you to solve ancient mysteries in Kashmir and a strange deserted island in the Indian ocean. Additionally, the stories are beautifully translated from the original and retain the exciting, racy pace to keep you reading till the end. “More Adventures Of Kakababu” is the second volume of the 2-part Kakababu series.

Victory Song

  • Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • Publisher: Puffin Books
  • Pages: 144

A historical fiction set in 1939, during the freedom struggle, 12-year-old Neela’s father is held captive by the British because he participated in a freedom march. Neela travels to Calcutta with a mission to save her father from the clutches of the British before he is deported to the prison in the Andaman Islands. Read the story of spirited and brave Neela in the engaging, lucid writing style of author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

Mystery Of The School On Fire: The SMS Detective Agency Series

  • Author: Ravi Subramaniam
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
  • Pages: 148

The story is about a gang of three adventurous school friends up in the cool, Pine tree-laden mountains of the Solan valley in the foothills of the Himalayas. It’s a small town where everybody knows each other for the longest time

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They are fourth-graders in a renowned local school and call their group “Super Mystery Solvers”, in short, the SMS gang. Despite being 9-years old, they solve local mysteries which surprises the local authorities. What new mystery are they about to solve, especially since repeated fire accidents in their school.

Trouble in Gangtok

  • Author: Satyajit Ray
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Pages: 100

This fiction book is part of “Adventures of Feluda” series of storybooks written by the award-winning filmmaker and writer Satyajit Ray. Feluda is a private detective living in Calcutta assisted by his accompliceTapesh or Topshe, a younger cousin. 

Jatayu or Lalmohan Ganguli is a writer friend of detective Feluda, who appears in several Feluda stories. Detective Feluda and Topshe are in Gangtok on vacation when they get to know of the mysterious murder of a businessman. They set out to find the murderer and zero in on many suspects.

How do they solve the mystery and where does it lead them to? Adventure fiction books are a hit with middle graders. This story will keep the middle-grade readers engaged in the book till the end. A Kindle edition of this book is also available.

Grandpa’s Suitcase Of Stories

  • Author: Stuti Agarwal
  • Publisher: Juggernaut
  • Pages: 228

Thirteen short stories in this delightful book will take middle graders with Abir and Megha to their grandfather’s house in the hils. Grandfather has an old red suitcase from which he pulls out stories to tell. From scary stories to catching a chicken, the gentle readers will be gleefully entertained.

The narrative is conversational, interesting and engaging. Sometimes, reading light short stories is tasteful for young readers and they can catch up on reading at intervals.

Across The Line

  • Author: Nayanika Mahtani
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishers
  • Pages: 248

This historical fiction has a narrative that moves from 1947 to 2008 and then 2012. It tracks the journey of Inaya and Jai, two among lakhs of people affected by India’s partition in 1947. They were young kids at the time yet the huge political event left an emotional impact on the young minds. 

Families move on, so the kids live in the countries of their faith. Inaya lives in Rawalpindi and Jai in New Delhi. The traumatic events create hatred for the other faith, nostalgia and latent emotions. Yet destiny brings them together in London. There are subplots, twists and turns in the story.

Grandparents, families, friend’s life pre and post partition create layers and depth in the narrative. This poignant fiction book will keep you reading from cover to cover in one go.

The Very, Extremely, Naughty Asura Tales For Kids

  • Author:  Anand Neelakantan
  • Publisher: Puffin Books
  • Pages: 184

This delightful book comes from the best selling fantasy fiction author of the Bahubali series. Though the fiction book has colourful glossy pages and a generous sprinkling of illustrations, the text is suitable for middle-grade readers.

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The Asura kids are extremely naughty, and so you will read about all the trouble they cause and the effects of their mischief. Kandakka, Mandakka, Bhasma, Atapi and Vatapi are some of the demon kids. While writing about their mischief, the author goes on a poetic spree as he places some verses here and there.

Before the middle graders start reading the mythological stories in-depth, they can read and imagine the juvenile asura demons.


  • Author: Nayanika Mahtani
  • Publisher: Penguin India
  • Pages: 168

The theme of tiger poaching and conservation is handled beautifully in this adventure fiction book. Tara, a 10-year old girl from the big city of Mumbai, is great at using electronic gadgets and enjoys school. To her surprise, Tara goes to the jungles with her father on a Jungle adventure trip.

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Accidentally, Tara crosses paths with a group of international poachers. She learns about how poachers kill tigers for their skin, bones, teeth and whatnot! Tara would have no such thing happening under her nose. Will thirteen-year-old Satya, a mysterious local boy, be helpful? Moreover, will they team up to successfully plan their next move in the shadow of the poachers? 

Can they defeat the poachers and their evil plans? Read this interesting adventure fiction book set in the Himalayan jungles of India. 

A Cloud Called Bhura

  • Author: Bijal Vachharajani
  • Publisher: Talking Cub
  • Pages: 256

A huge, dark, dense and brown cloud hovers over the big city of Mumbai. Amni and her friends wonder where the cloud came from. The Media covers this dark dangerous looking cloud named “Bhura Cloudus” and the changes it makes in the weather. Everybody gets concerned, thinking, talking, and questioning each other about the cloud.

Additionally, the local politician, film stars, young scientists and all contemplate how the climate is changing. A sense of community brings an awareness of collective responsibility and effort. The narration is funny and effortlessly manages to tackle a serious issue. Reading this book will raise awareness and provoke young readers to take steps in the direction of sustainable living.

Saira Zariwala is Afraid

  • Author: Shabnam Minawalla
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s books
  • Pages: 356

Saira Zariwala is a young fifteen-year-old girl, excited to get her first mobile phone. But her excitement soon turns into concern when she receives several strange messages on her new mobile phone. All the urgent messages are meant for an unknown boy named Aakash. His family and friends are trying to contact him desperately for some reason. The messages are mysterious and Saira is a bit scared.

Then she wonders if Aakash and the messages are connected with the strange happenings in a Mumbai building that’s in the news. Friends help Saira in her attempt to solve the mystery but things get dark when something happens? Read this thriller fiction book to find more.

Tiger Boy

  • Author: Mitali Perkins
  • Publisher: Westland
  • Pages: 148

In the forests of Sunderbans which is home to the tiger and other wildlife, live people in small villages. Among those villagers, is playful and smart boy Neel living with his parents on an island. While going to and fro to his school, Neel the boy of the jungles plays on the trees and swims in the waters, well aware of the dangers that lurk around.

Though Neel’s parents want him to get a scholarship and study in the city, Neel is more concerned about the missing tiger cub. Because Gupta and his men are evil, they might catch the tiger cub to sell elsewhere. What efforts does Neel take to find the tiger cub despite the dangers? You can listen to this book free on Audible too.

Coming Home

  • Author: Priti David
  • Publisher: Karadi Tales 
  • Pages: 69

A lot of people migrate from villages to cities for work. We all know this, don’t we? Don’t we all wish people didn’t need to migrate from villages, instead they would prosper in the villages! When 11-year-old Selva decided to do something about this, he wanted to make his older brother return home. But little did he know that his small idea would create a big change in the village.

(Note: the next book is different from the other books on this list)

India To The Rescue (non-fiction)

  • Author: Sushant Singh and Shruthi Rao
  • Publisher: Juggernaut
  • Pages: 108 

Children get intrigued by the defence services. These adventure stories of the Indian armed forces will fascinate the young readers. Kindly note that these are real incidents and not fiction. However, the presentation is entertaining, conversational and dramatic. Moreover, the illustrations are interesting and expressive, adding to the charm of the book.

So this book is more thrilling than any adventure fiction book. A big salute and respect to the Indian defence services. You will read about military operations, daredevil soldiers, secret flight expeditions, surprise attacks, and so much more. This book full of exciting adventures will soon become one of your favourite books on your bookshelf.


Here you found a variety of best fiction books that middle graders by Indian authors, you will enjoy reading. Note that I have also included one very interesting non-fiction book at the end of this list to delight the young readers. 

Happy reading!

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