Great Diverse Middle Grade Books for a Welcoming School

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Amina’s Voice. Hena Khan. (4 – 7)  A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community. 

The Best Man. Richard Peck. (3 – 6)  Follows a boy from elementary school to middle school navigating school and family dynamics, including his uncle’s growing involvement with the guy who is the student teacher in the boy's school.

Drama. Raina Telgemeier. (5 – 8) Through drama—a play—and drama between characters, this graphic novel explores middle school feelings with boyfriends and girlfriends and boyfriends and boyfriends. Diverse characters.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Jason Reynolds. (4 – 8) A series of books with four kids from very different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. All are a part of an elite middle school track team that goes to the state championships. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Gone Crazy in Alabama. Rita Williams-Garcia. (4 – 6) The three sisters from One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven head to Alabama to visit their grandmother and great-grandmother for the summer. The book includes family history, family complications and family fun.  

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World. Ashley Herring Blake. (5 – 7) In the wake of a destructive tornado, one girl develops feelings for another in this stunning, tender novel about emerging identity. 

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher. Dana Alison Levy. (3 – 5)  From camping trips to scary tales told in the dark; from new schools to old friends; from imaginary cheetahs to very real skunks –– the Fletchers’ school year is anything but boring. Meet the Fletchers: four boys, two dads, and one new neighbor who just might ruin everything. 

The Pants Project. Cat Clarke. (3 – 6) Liv knows he was always meant to be a boy but he hasn’t told anyone yet – not even his two moms. Now, his new school has a terrible dress code, he has to wear skirts! The only way for Liv to get what he wants is to go after it himself with a mission to change the policy and his life.

The Parker Inheritance. Varian Johnson. (3 – 6) Candice discovers a mysterious old letter about an injustice from decades ago. With the help of Brandon, she begins to decipher the clues to a story that leads them deep into their South Carolina town’s history—a history full of ugly deeds and forgotten heroes. Good historical detail and LGBT characters included. 

Queer Heroes: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heroes From Past and Present! Arabelle Sicardi. (4 – 6) Discover the inspiring stories of a diverse selection of LGBTQ artists, writers, innovators, athletes and activists who have made great contributions to culture, from ancient times to present day. Full-color portraits accompanied by short biographies.

Riding Freedom. Pam Muñoz Ryan. (4 – 6)  A fictionalized account of the true story of Charley (Charlotte) Parkhurst who ran away from an orphanage, posed as a boy, moved to California, drove stagecoaches and continued to pass as a man her whole life.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet. David Barclay Moore. (5 – 9)  A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death. Then his mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. 

Zenobia July. Lisa Bunker. (5 – 9) Zenobia July is starting a new life in Maine with her aunts. People used to tell her she was a boy; now she's able to live openly as the girl she always knew she was. When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school's website, Zenobia knows she's the one with the hacking skills to solve the mystery.