Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Theme: Great Escapes

Escape: The Story of the Great Houdini - (ISBN: 978-0060850968)

by Sid Fleischman

This non-fiction selection tells the story of the great Houdini through the eyes of another aspiring magician. While not revealing complete details about Houdini’s techniques, the book has a lot of information about the various tricks he played and his marvelous ability to escape from almost anything. Which ruse would you like to try?

I, Freddy - (ISBN: 978-0439283571)

by Dietlof Reiche

After Freddy the hamster is adopted and goes to live with Sophie, he puts his brains to work. He learns to escape from his cage daily, begins to read, and, eventually, teaches himself computer skills. Enjoy his humor and superior intellect as he tells the story of his unpredictable life!

Night Boat to Freedom - (ISBN: 978-0312550189)

by Margot Theis Raven

Christmas John has a difficult time leaving Granny Judith behind when she insists he try to escape his life of slavery; he has already helped many get across the river to freedom. This touchingly evocative story reveals the African American and human side of the fight for freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation.

The House of Dies Drear - (ISBN: 978-1416914051)

by Virginia Hamilton

Thomas loves the mysterious old house his family has come to live in, even the fact that there may be ghosts from the Underground Railway still haunting it. He and his father patch together the story of the house’s history. He enjoys exploring the hidden passages and searching for its concealed history and treasures. What surprised you about the unexpected ending of the book?

Tut, Tut - (ISBN: 978-0142400470)

by Jon Scieszka

The Time Warp Trio are at it again, time traveling to Egypt, along with an extra sister and her cat. When they are about to be mummified or fed to crocodiles, Anna, the sister, helps them find a magic text so they escape sure death and get back home. What parts of Egyptian civilization that you read about here would you like to find more out about?

Friend on Freedom River - (ISBN: 9781585362226 )

by Gloria Whelan

Goodbye, Vietnam - (ISBN: 9780679922636)

by Gloria Whelan

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom - (ISBN: 9780786851751)

by Carole Boston Weatherford

Night Boat to Freedom - (ISBN: 9780374312664)

by Margot Theis Raven

Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth - (ISBN: 9780679891864)

by Anne Rockwell

The Ravenmaster’s Secret: Escape from the Tower of London - (ISBN: 9780439281331)

by Elvira Woodruff

Activities for this Theme

Make an escape plan for your family to safely exit your house in case of a fire.


Read and see pictures of some of Houdini’s most daring escapes.


If you live near historical sites used by the Underground Railroad, visit them and imagine the excitement and intrigue that took place inside the walls.


Learn more about the Underground Railroad with these activities from Scholastic.