Please welcome my guest blogger today, Kerry Cerra. She’s the author of Just a Drop of Water (9/11 and Religious Intolerance), but she’s here today with author friends –Shannon Wiersbitzky of What Flowers Remember (Alzheimer’s),Kathleen Burkinshaw of The Last Cherry Blossom (Hiroshima), Joyce Moyer Hostetter of Comfort (War Trauma), and Shannon Hitchcock of Ruby Lee & Me (School Integration) — to create a comprehensive list of realistic fiction for middle grade (ages 9 and up).
This list of 165 chapter books covers a plethora of topics. Let me know if you need a category that isn’t listed. I hope you find this list as useful and I do!
- Chapter Books with Abandonment
- Chapter Books with Verbal or Physical Abuse
- Chapter Books with ADD/ADHD
- Chapter Books with Adoption/Foster Care
- Chapter Books with Substance Abuse
- Chapter Books with Alzheimer’s/Dementia
- Chapter Books Covering Anxiety
- Chapter Books with Autism/Asperger’s
- Chapter Books with Blended Families
- Chapter Books with Body Image Issues
- Chapter Books with Bullying
- Chapter Books with Civil Rights/Integration
- Books for Tweens with Deaf/Hearing Loss
- Chapter Books with Death of a Parent/Grandparent
- Chapter Books with Death of a Sibling
- Chapter Books with Depression and Mental Illness
- Chapter Books with Discrimination & Prejudices (religious, ethnic, etc.)
- Chapter Books with Divorce
- Chapter Books with Dyslexia
- Diverse Chapter Books
- Chapter Books with Eyesight/Blindness
- Feeling like You’re a Bad Friend Chapter Books
- Chapter Books About Following Your Dreams Despite Odds
- Chapter Books with Gifted Characters
- Chapter Books on Homelessness
- Chapter Books Dealing with Illness
- Chapter Books on Immigration
- Books with LGBTQ
- Chapter Books with Physical Disability/Disfiguration
- Chapter Books with Self-Doubt
- Chapter Books with Stepfamilies
- Chapter Books with Suicide
- Chapter Books with Survivor’s Guilt
- Chapter Books About Wanting to Fit In
- Chapter Books with War Trauma
Hands down my favorite thing about visiting schools as an author is the ability to recommend books to readers. Of course I speak about my own novel, but I always bring others with me. Lots of them. Why? Because I wholeheartedly believe it’s important for kids to be able see themselves in a story, and I know my book may not be that book for everyone. So I’m thrilled to be part of an exciting campaign, #MGGetsReal, with four other awesome authors. Our goal is simple: to highlight books which kids can relate to on a personal level—so they don’t feel so alone, afraid, or different.
All most of us have to do is remember back to our pre-teen years to know that kids long to feel one with the masses. To be accepted. To fit in. The recent video of a young girl, Emma, from Texas who wears a prosthetic leg is proof of this. With videotape rolling, Emma’s excitement is palpable as she realizes she’s getting an amazing gift, an American Girl doll. And lucky for myself and the millions (yes, millions) of viewers who have now seen the footage, we witness Emma’s genuine happy-shock reaction when she opens the box to discover that the doll is actually sporting a prosthetic leg just like her own. Seriously? Can you imagine anything better for this girl? Go ahead and view it here, but be careful, for Emma’s tears are infectious!
My own middle-grade novel, Just a Drop of Water, is the story of two thirteen-year-old boys—one Christian, one Muslim—and how their friendship is tested in the wake of September 11, 2001. It has strong themes of friendship, loyalty, bullying, and peace. Every so often at a school visit, I’ll encounter a Muslim student who pulls me aside to say how much the book, particularly the character of Sam, resonates with them and to thank me for writing it.
A handful of times, I’ve had kids tell me they are like the main character Jake. They too only see the world in black and white. With no gray. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. They are Jake! And like Jake, they sometimes get in trouble for it. I feel like the luckiest author in the world when I get to have these important discussions with them about how it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in, but to do so peacefully. And to know that sometimes my book is one that a kid connects to in such a personal way, well, it’s singlehandedly the reason why I write!