Middle-Grade Books

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This cleverly written chapter book, by Alex Gino, captured our heart from the first page. A quest for a young trans girl to find solidarity and understanding with those around her as she journeys to find the courage to be herself. This is a perfect book for upper elementary children, as the main character is a fourth-grader herself. Children of all ages will appreciate this coming of age story. As we all seek to have those closest to us celebrate us for our authentic selves, we are confident this book will capture your heart, as it did ours. Educators, this is a must-have in your classroom library. We hope you enjoy this poignant book about bravery, compassion, and finding the courage to be one’s self.

Cat Clarke’s poignant young adult book, The Pants Project, centers on Liv, a transgender sixth-grade boy. This incredibly timely book is one of the only we’ve found about the experiences of a trans boy. We jumped for joy when we found this book this spring. The story chronicles Liv’s journey in revealing his truth to his two moms, his little brother, and his closest friend at school. Liv becomes an activist at school as he learns to stand up for his beliefs, defend himself against bullies, and ultimately find his voice to advocate for himself. If you are looking for an incredible story with fierce raw emotion and heart, look no further. You will not be disappointed. Cat Clarke’s words resonate and we are grateful for her voice. Liv’s journey will forever change you. It did for us.

This masterfully written young adult novel, by Ami Polonsky, follows the journey of Grayson as he navigates sixth-grade woes, coming to terms with loss, and finding his true identity as a trans girl. This first-person novel artfully captures the voice and internal dialogue of this main character in an authentic and heartfelt way that every reader, young and old, will relate to. We loved following Grayson along his journey, both internally and with those dearest around him. The story is beautiful as a read aloud for younger audiences or as a novel to sink into for older readers.

This is an intriguing book about two middle school characters trying to break through the constraints of navigating school life, family life, and friendship. Donna Gephart’s book delves the reader into an exploration of two identities: that of a trans girl and her journey to advocate for who she is. The other, of a middle school boy struggling with mental illness. The two children find one another and figure out what it means to create friendship through struggle. It’s an interesting delve into multiple identities through the first-person perspective of each child. Definitely worth a read for adolescents and the adults supporting them.

M. G. Hennessey’s young adult novel chronicles the journey of main character Shane, as he discovers what it means to reveal his authentic self to those closest to him, navigate tween situations of sports and crushes, and seek the support of his growing family. This is a book that middle schoolers or older children can relate to. We’d recommend it as a great book club book in a text set alongside other books addressing subjects on the hearts and minds of middle schoolers. Check it out!

What a wonderful book that features diverse characters in real-life situations: students staring in a middle school drama production while experiencing personal drama – the likes we all remember fondly. This book will delight middle-grade and middle school readers alike. We recommend this book as well because it’s written in a graphic novel format, engaging readers who delight in everyday experiences depicted in graphic novel formats. Check out Raina Telgemeier’s sure to be classic Drama!