If you have been following my blog, you would know I adore browsing books with beautiful covers. Yes! I am guilty of judging a book by its cover. For this post, I stumbled upon books that have fish on their cover.
While curating this list, I observed many of these books catered to the middle-grade audience, fiction and non-fiction alike. Many of the books listed below (except the first one, which is a horror book) feature children as protagonists and feature themes of dealing with grief, coming of age, and being curious about the world. However, this list cannot be strictly relegated to the middle-grade audience only. There is no reason why these books won’t win the hearts of my adult readers as well.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
End of Watch by Stephen King
Pages: 432 || Published on June 7th, 2016, by Scribner.
The spectacular finale to the New York Times bestselling trilogy.
In Room 217 of the Lakes Region Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, something has awakened. Something evil. Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.
Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney—the woman who delivered the blow to Hartsfield’s head that put him on the brain injury ward. When Bill and Holly are called to a suicide scene with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put their lives at risk, as well as those of Bill’s heroic young friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Pages: 208 || Published on April 1st, 2006, by Scholastic Press.
This Newbery Honor Book is a heartfelt and witty story about feeling different and finding acceptance–beyond the rules.
Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She’s spent years trying to teach David the rules-from “a peach is not a funny-looking apple” to “keep your pants on in public”-in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she’s always wished for, it’s her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?
The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams
Pages: 298 || Published on April 26th, 2005, by Del Rey.
Culled posthumously from Adams’s fleet of beloved Macintosh computers, this selection of essays, articles, anecdotes, and stories offers a fascinating and intimate portrait of the multifaceted artist and absurdist wordsmith.
Join Adams on an excursion to climb Kilimanjaro…dressed in a rhino costume; peek into the private life of Genghis Khan—warrior and world-class neurotic; root for the harried author’s efforts to get a Hitchhiker movie off the ground in Hollywood; thrill to the further exploits of private eye Dirk Gently and two-headed alien Zaphod Beeblebrox. Though Douglas Adams is gone, he’s left us something very special to remember him by. Without a doubt.
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Pages: 380 || Published on August 29th, 2013, by Dial Books.
A joy to read.
Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life…until now.
Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.
What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins by Jonathan Balcombe
Pages: 304 || Published on June 7th, 2016, by Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Do fishes think? Do they really have three-second memories? And can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water? In What a Fish Knows, the myth-busting ethologist Jonathan Balcombe addresses these questions and more, taking us under the sea, through streams and estuaries, and to the other side of the aquarium glass to reveal the surprising capabilities of fishes. Although there are more than thirty thousand species of fish—more than all mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians combined—we rarely consider how individual fishes think, feel, and behave. Balcombe upends our assumptions about fishes, portraying them not as unfeeling, dead-eyed feeding machines but as sentient, aware, social, and even Machiavellian—in other words, much like us.
Hi there! Wanna take a look at some books featuring tigers on their cover? Grrrr!!! Read this post.
Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller
Pages: 225 || Published on April 14th, 2020, by Simon Schuster.
Part biography, part memoir, part scientific adventure, Why Fish Don’t Exist reads like a fable about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.
David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, a man possessed with bringing order to the natural world. In time, he would be credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans in his day. But the more of the hidden blueprint of life he uncovered, the harder the universe seemed to try to thwart him. His specimen collections were demolished by lightning, by fire, and eventually by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake—which sent more than a thousand of his discoveries, housed in fragile glass jars, plummeting to the floor. In an instant, his life’s work was shattered.
Many might have given up, given in to despair. But Jordan? He surveyed the wreckage at his feet, found the first fish he recognized, and confidently began to rebuild his collection. And this time, he introduced one clever innovation that he believed would at last protect his work against the chaos of the world.
When NPR reporter Lulu Miller first heard this anecdote in passing, she took Jordan for a fool—a cautionary tale in hubris, or denial. But as her own life slowly unraveled, she began to wonder about him. Perhaps instead he was a model for how to go on when all seemed lost. What she would unearth about his life would transform her understanding of history, morality, and the world beneath her feet.
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
Pages: 208 || Published on August 26th, 2014, by Random House Books for Young Readers.
Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?
Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?
Kaya’s Journey : The Story of a 100-year-old Koi Fish By Mila Kahlon
Pages: 48 || Published HarperCollins’s Children Books.
The small fish that thought big … The gods descended to meet this incredible fish and reward her for her inspiring strength. One of them turned her color from pink to bright, sparkling gold, so that she would stand out amongst all other fish. Everyone has a dream. Kaya’s was to see the world.
For a tiny koi fish in a little pond, it seemed like an impossible feat. Yet her courageous journey has become a thing of legend in many countries and cultures. This story, inspired by a real fish, real events, folk tales and beliefs, will inspire you to follow your dreams, no matter how big.
Fish Out of Water by Natalie Whipple
Pages: 322 || Published on February 5th, 2015, by Hot Key Books.
Mika Arlington was supposed to spend the summer after her junior year shadowing her marine biologist parents at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but when her estranged grandmother randomly shows up on the doorstep one day, those plans are derailed.
Because Grandma Betty isn’t here to play nice—she is cranky, intolerant of Mika’s mixed-race-couple parents, and oh yeah she has Alzheimer’s and is out of money.
While Mika’s family would rather not deal with Grandma Betty, they don’t have much choice. And despite Mika’s protests, she is roped into caring for a person that seems impossible to have compassion for. And if that wasn’t hard enough, Mika must train the new guy at her pet shop job who wants to be anywhere else, and help a friend through her own family crisis. Something’s gotta give, but whichever ball Mika drops means losing someone she loves. Not exactly a recipe for Best Summer Ever—or is it?
The Last Atlantean by Emily Hayse
Pages: 278 || Published on Published April 28th, 2020.
“Watch, ye sons of the sea, your doom is at hand. With soundless storm rises the fate of Atlantis.”
As a lighthouse keeper’s daughter, Hattie has always been able to handle anything the Atlantic throws at her. But when a stranger washes ashore in a storm, she finds herself unraveling a mystery that will change her life.
Caught up in a high-stakes game of intrigue and hidden loyalties, Hattie watches legends take shape before her eyes. But as kings and pawns prepare for a showdown that will determine the fate of an ancient world, she wonders whether she has thrown in her lot with the hero or the villain.
Summary copied from respective publisher’s pages of the books/Goodreads.
Indulge in some more (book) cover love! Browse through this list as well.
Hiya friends! Did any of the above books pique your interest? Let me know in the comments’ section below.
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If you are in a mood for a captivating, spooky read perfect for the middle-grade audience, then check out The Mulberry Tree by Allison Rushby.
5 thoughts on “Books with Fish on the cover: 10 Spectacular Middle grade books”
Lots of new to me titles on this list, Rules looks interesting, also Counting by 7s and What a Fish Knows
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Thanks for reading, Mallika. 🙂
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Who knew there were so many books with fish on the cover? I love this post, especially the cover of the Stephen King book😁
Oh, yes, I loved that cover too. My favorite one is that of the Fourteenth Goldfish.