Middle-grade books about anxiety are becoming more and more important, thanks to the anxious times we're living in. More people (parents, teachers, and children) struggle with clinical anxiety. While many manage their symptoms with therapy and medication, it doesn't hurt to see their stories reflected in the books they read. In the past, I made a list of middle-grade books about mental illness which included some of the books on this list. For today's list though, I'm focusing on the best middle-grade books about anxiety disorders.
I'm pleased that this list has a range of characters of different races and social backgrounds. These stories also have a variety of themes besides music. You'll find among these middle-grade music books, stories about race, homelessness, immigration, sexual harassment, anxiety, neurodiversity, and much more.
I've read and am reading or plan to read most of the titles on this list of 2020 middle-grade books. Several are also sophomore novels by authors whose debuts I loved. I hope you'll pre-order some of these or at least keep an eye out for them in your library! If you want to add more 2020 middle-grade books to your TBR, check out my first list of 2020 anticipated releases featuring 52 books!
While I was making this list, I thought deeply about what makes a "strong female protagonist" to me. None of the girls in these books are "perfect," obviously and they don't always do lovable things, but they will be scored on your heart by the last page. Even better, they'll leave you feeling you feeling inspired. You'll find fierce girls who play sports, are thrilled by science and space, solve mysteries, enjoy music, love hard, are loyal friends, courageous dream chasers, and wonderful daughters.
Middle-grade books with Muslim characters are a rarity. If you have a Muslim reader who yearns to see themselves in books, these middle-grade books with Muslim characters are a good start. They, of course, also make for excellent windows into the lives of others, though different from ours. Beyond practicing Islam though (which is a small fraction of these books' contents), these stories cover a wide range of themes from sports to immigration to food and friendship.
These 25 best middle-grade books about summer camp capture that summer feeling! While I've never attended summer camp, I love to disappear into one between the pages of middle-grade or even YA books. For this list, I tried to find books featuring summer camps and all their customs. A few of them are set at day camps, but the majority are full-on sleep-away camp books, complete with all the required drama and camp spirit.
The best middle-grade mysteries to me are those that have more than just a mystery as the plot. But, I have to admit, many great middle-grade mystery books are also just about the mystery (at least it's the central plot) -- and that's fine too. For today's list, I've included the best middle-grade mysteries as well as a sprinkling of early readers (chapter books) aimed at younger readers. I've marked which ones are part of a series, so if your kids enjoy series, you can get your hands on those picks.
So many people have told me how hard it is to find middle-grade books for boys. Okay, okay, before you think "how sexist of you!" this is a real issue -- one I've also experienced in my brief stint as an English tutor. Many boys (far from all) gravitate towards books with boys on the cover, and it makes sense -- windows and mirrors and all that. I read a lot of books by women, about women/girls, so for a while I didn't even pick up middle-grade books about boys. Thankfully, that is changing, thanks to these excellent middle-grade boy books.
I define short middle-grade books as middle-grade books under 250 pages. Once we're past that 250-page mark, it can be tough for beginning or reluctant readers. Personally, I'm good until page 400 -- then my interest starts to dissolve. That's why I've made this list of middle-grade books under 250 pages! There's surprisingly a good number of short middle-grade books (I've read many on this list myself). However, I did go ahead and include a few additional picks which barely miss the mark at 256 pages but are also super quick and easy reads.
I hope you enjoy middle-grade books with multiple narrators, because I've dug deep for this book list. Most of the books here are ones I've read. I'm also splitting my list into "two narrators" and "more than two narrators" -- the more the merrier, eh? In this list you'll mostly find middle-grade books with multiple narrators from the first-person perspective. So, that means for each of these books, each chapter is probably titled by the name of the narrating character who then narrates in first person.