I am grateful that there were so many diverse voices speaking in middle grade fiction this year. Here are a few of them that I’d love to see get a Newbery medal or honor.
Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books
There aren’t a lot of middle grade books addressing body image, and this novel in verse did a fantastic job of showing Ellie’s journey from shame to empowerment.
Playing the Cards You’re Dealt by Varian Johnson
Published by Scholastic
I know I need to finally let go of the fact that Varian Johnson’s The Parker Inheritance didn’t win a Newbery three years ago, and I think giving this book some recognition would go a long way toward making that happen.
Red, White, and Whole by Rajani Larocca
Published by Quill Tree Books
I avoided this book for awhile because I thought it sounded like too much of a downer. It does deal with grief, but more than that, it is about love, connection, and embracing who you are.
Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff
Published by Dial Books
Seems like I read more ghost stories than usual this year. In this powerful novel, a ghost helps the main character realize his true identity as a transgender boy.
Root Magic by Eden Royce
Published by Walden Pond Press
There are more than just ghosts in this amazing book that spans several genres: horror, historical fiction, realistic fiction, and fantasy.