March 6, 2019
10 Reads For Middle Grade March
To participate in #middlegrademarch, I’ve compiled a list of ten great Middle Grade Reads! There are many wonderful middle grade books from which to choose and even though I haven’t read extensively in middle grade, these titles are stories that I’ve recently read and thought were exceptional because of their themes and/or diversity.
Often, children fall in love with reading in Middle Grade. Was this your experience? At last, children in Middle Grade have “learned to read” and they can fully immerse themselves in the world of words as they “read to learn” and “read for enjoyment.” They have more autonomy to choose their own reading material and can pursue individual interests. Many stories promote great family read aloud experiences. As a bonus, most Middle Grade stories have heartfelt themes without the angst and/or objectionable language of YA. Reading builds understanding and compassion.
For adults, Middle Grade books make the perfect palate cleanser or fit the description of books that can be read in a day. I strongly believe that great Middle Grade literature can be enjoyed by adults!
In addition to all the above reasons to read Middle Grade literature, I appreciate the authors who write diversely for Middle Grade readers and write on difficult themes or topics in an easy to read and understandable manner. If we buy and read more Middle Grade diverse literature, it will encourage publishers and writers to produce more. I think it’s important for children to see themselves in literature.
Middle Grade Literature
(in no particular order)
Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
Merci experiences being a minority on scholarship at an exclusive private school, accepts changes in her beloved grandfather’s health, and gains confidence while finding her voice. (review)
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Mia helps her immigrant parents manage a motel, and the story has strong themes of family, poverty, immigration, friendship, determination, resourcefulness, problem solving, and following your dream. (review)
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Amal is a determined and brave girl, and in this story we learn about her forced indentured servitude experience. (review)
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
The Vanderbeekers falls into the category of “Delightful Stories Featuring a Loving Family”! Light hearted, charming, and heartfelt, this is the first in a series, so there’s more wonderful reading ahead!
Louisana’s Way Home
Louisana’s endearing and engaging story is one of “found family.” (review)
Jefferson’s Sons and Stella by Starlight
Jefferson’s Sons and Stella by Starlight are two excellent examples of diverse reads for Middle Grade. Jefferson’s Sons explores slavery and Stella’s story includes themes of prejudice and racism. Both provide opportunities for thoughtful discussions. (brief review of Stella)
Wishtree and Crenshaw
Two recent titles by beloved author, Katherine Applegate (well known for The One and Only Ivan) touched me. Wishtree explores themes of optimism, hope, friendship, loyalty, diversity, and tolerance (review), and Crenshaw explores poverty, homelessness, and an imaginary friend (review).
Inside Out and Back Again
I love this poetic and poignant refugee and immigrant story of Ha and her family told in free verse. (review) I loved the themes of acceptance, understanding, friendship, and anti bullying.
The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won
If you’re looking for WW11 histic for Middle Grade readers, these are highly recommended. Both are compelling stories, and I especially appreciated the themes of hospitality and acceptance in The War I Finally Won (very brief review).
I recommend Refugee for mature Middle Grade readers and older. This riveting story is told from three perspectives over three different time periods and features three different locations (Syria, Germany, and Cuba). This compelling story provides the opportunity for thoughtful discussion, and I’ve heard that teachers are using it in their classrooms to promote understanding and empathy. (review) It’s one of the best middle grade books I’ve read. If it’s been a long time since you’ve experienced a middle grade read, start here!
Bonus Pick: A “Must Read” Story For Everyone
Wonder falls into the category of “A Must Read For Everyone.” The themes of kindness, compassion, and acceptance are universal. (review)
Middle Grade TBR
On my Middle Grade TBR: Brown Girl Dreaming, Esperanza Rising, and Counting by 7s. Do you have recommendations for me?
Imagination Soup has compiled a great list of additional titles.
An Old Favorite: Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock
This is not considered great literature, but any book (like Diary of a Wimpy Kid) that causes children to love reading is a good read for them (children can always be guided into better quality literature after they’ve fallen in love with reading). Nancy Drew is a series that I loved as a child and I think The Secret of the Old Clock is one of the strongest reads in the series. Did you read this series (or The Hardy Boys) as a child?
If you or your children have read this Nancy Drew selection, here’s a trailer for the movie!
If you were to pick one book off this list, which would you choose?
What is the last middle grade book you read?
Do you have a Middle Grade recommendation to share?
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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.
Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.
You nailed Wonder correctly as a must read for everyone.
Right?! Thanks for commenting!
I love middle grade reads and have read several of these selections. Counting by Sevens is another wonderful read for everyone and I thought Ungifted was great fun.
I’ve had Counting By 7s on my TBR for a long time! Thanks for the encouragement to read both of these titles! 👍 Thanks for stopping in and commenting Sharon!
[…] RELATED: Middle-Grade March […]
[…] Themes: On the subject of themes, I love the other thoughtful themes here that include grief, homelessness, poverty, compassion, bullying, kindness, depression, writing, and family. I love that Middle Grade lit addresses issues that kids might face in gentle and hopeful ways (because the middle-grade genre always infuses hope!). More of my MG favorites can be found here and here. […]