March 9, 2020
10 Inspirational Reads For Middle Grade March
***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
To participate in #middlegrademarch, I’ve compiled a list of ten (plus!) 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? 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 (or buddy reads). As a bonus, most Middle-Grade stories have heartfelt themes without the angst and/or objectionable language of YA. Reading builds understanding and compassion.
What theme do you think Middle Grade books have in common?
For adults, Middle-Grade books make the perfect palate cleanser or fit the description of books that can be read in a day. If I’m feeling in a reading “funk,” I often seek out a recommended Middle Grade read to stimulate my reading life once again. I love that Middle-Grade books almost always end on a hopeful note. This theme of hopefulness is one of the main reasons I love reading in the Middle-Grade genre. 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.
(in no particular order)
A poignant childhood memoir. My Review.
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. My Goodreads Review.
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. My Goodreads Review
Amal is a determined and brave girl, and in this story we learn about her forced indentured servitude experience. My Review
A charming and delightful modern retelling of Little Women featuring a Pakistani-American family living in Atlanta, Georgia. My Goodreads Review.
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 Goodreads review of Stella)
Two recent titles by a 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 (my Goodreads review), and Crenshaw explores poverty, homelessness, and an imaginary friend (my Goodreads review).
I love this poetic and poignant refugee and immigrant story of Ha and her family told in free verse. (my Goodreads review) I loved the themes of acceptance, understanding, friendship, and anti-bullying.
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 Goodreads 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 Picks (because who can stop at 10?):
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. (my review)
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 endearing and engaging story is one of “found family.” (my Goodreads review)
Have you read any of these titles?
If you were to pick one book off this list to read, which would you choose?
What’s your favorite or last Middle Grade read?
Do you have recommendations for me?
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?
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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.