10 Awesome and Diverse Reads For #MiddleGradeMarch

March 2, 2021

10 Awesome and Diverse Reads For #MiddleGradeMarch

(top view) picture of a middle grade child reading on a recliner covered with a reddiish knitted afghan

Image Source: Canva

***This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

To participate in #middlegrademarch, I’ve compiled a list of ten diverse 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 diversity. Reading builds understanding and compassion.

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 profanity of YA.

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 myself sliding into a reading “slump,” 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! Here’s an entire post devoted to why I love MG.

In addition to 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)

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming cover

A poignant childhood memoir. My review of Brown Girl Dreaming here.

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (cover) ....girl on bike

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.

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Front Desk by Kelly Yang (cover) ...young girl talking on the phone standing behind a desk

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 Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (cover).... two hands palms facing readers that are brightly decorated wtih drawings

Amal is a determined and brave girl, and in this story we learn about her forced indentured servitude experience. My review of Amal Unbound here.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

Piecing Me Together

Similar themes to The Hate You Give By Angie Thomas.

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

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)

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly Baptist (cover) Image: the back view of a middle grade boy wearing a blue superhero cape and holding a pencil

Love the themes in this poignant read. My review of Isaiah Dunn here.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thannha Lai

Inside Out & Back Again y Thannha Lai (cover) ....a girl holding onto a tree trunk with one hand on a breezy day

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.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (cover) Black text on a yellow background....a young African American boy is running off the page

Thanks Afoma at Reading Middle Grade for great middle-grade recs! Ghost is the first in a sports (track) series.

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Regugee by Alan Gratz (cover)...back view of a child rowing a boat in a story ocean

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. My review of Refugee here. 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!

Other Favorite Middle-Grade Books I’ve Read: Bonus Picks (because who can stop at 10?)

More to the Story by Hena Khan

Wishtree and Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

Louisana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Lemons by Melissa Savage

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

The Next Great Jane by K.L. Going


My next MG read will be I Can Make the Promise by Christine Day (I’ve read great reviews!)


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?

Imagination Soup has compiled a resource of additional titles for children of all ages.

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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.

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  1. Sarah, I follow this reading blog. Today she has suggested reads for middle grade students. Maybe there’s some good reads for Lucy and Jack.

  2. Finished up yet another awesome middle grade I’ve seen nowhere – Of a Feather. I’ll be publishing the review tomorrow

  3. Great ideas! It’s an age where kids are still finding what they like so more options are best!

  4. I love middle grade novels, but I’ve only read about half of these. One of my recent favorites is FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON. It’s diverse as well as funny and poignant. It also involves a murder mystery, which isn’t the norm in MG.


  5. My favorite middle grade is Nevermoor! It’s very whimsical and it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. There were some beautiful messages in there.

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