I know many of you are in the same fix. I'm sharing some of the books I have preread in the last few years in case it is helpful for your own book quests.
These are what I consider middle-grade novels since my children are 2nd to 7th grade. My list was too long for one post so I'm splitting it into realistic, fantasy, and historical fiction posts. Today's list contains some great books that will help your child gain an understanding for children who live in various life circumstances from blindness to foster care and various parts of the world from Oman to Alaska.
This is only a small number of the great books that are out there. As always, I'm hoping that you will share your favorite books with me.
The Seventeenth Swap by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Eric has no money, but he longs to buy a pair of cowboy boots for his handicapped friend. A warm story with lots of twists.
The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
Aref doesn't want to move to Michigan, but Sidi says, that just like the turtles, Aref will come back. As Aref says good-bye to all the things he loves about living in Oman, we get to visit his home. A warm book to introduce a child to another nation through the eyes of a child.
We The Children by Andrew Clements
Is there a way to save Benjamin's school from demolition? Secret messages and codes will take Benjamin and his friends on a quest. First book in the Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School series.
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Ally has hidden her inability to read by causing distractions, but her new teacher will not be easily fooled. Perfect book for anyone who has felt like a misfit or who wants to read a hopeful book on the power of a good teacher. I had my children read this to understand their brother's dyslexia.
The Boy Who Biked the World by Alastair Humphreys
Tom dreams of being an explorer. He decides to make his dreams come true and bike around the world from his home in England. A great way to learn geography. Part One tells of biking to Africa. Though the book is fiction, the author himself actually biked around the world.
The Worm Whisperer by Betty Hicks
Ellis longs to help earn money to pay for his dad's back surgery. When he finds a woolly worm who seems to follow his directions he plans to enter the annual Woolly Worm Race to win the $1,000 prize.
The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill
None of the teachers have stayed in Fred's village long. Would the smell of fish, the loneliness of the Alaskan village, or the challenges of teaching send Miss Agnes away too?
Canyon Winter by Walt Morey
After the plane crash, Peter needs to learn how to survive in the wilderness with the help of old Omar. Peter finds he has more courage than he expected.
Extra Credit by Andrew Clements
Abby is going to have to repeat sixth grade unless she completes some extra credit -including writing to a foreign pen pal. When her letter arrives in a small Afghanistan school, Sadeed's sister is chosen to write to Abby. Jumping from American to Afghanistan this book shows the connection words can bring. This book is one of Clement's school series.
Star Island Boy by Louise Dickinson Rich
Larry arrived at Star Island determined not to like his new home. But maybe the lobster-fishermen on this Maine island are different than his other foster families. Note: small amount of swearing.
Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield
An accident with a firecracker turned Jimmy's world to darkness. How would he learn to cope with blindness? Leader, his guide dog, helped Jimmy learn to function in the new world. Great book to help appreciate the gift of sight and includes a good example of loving your enemy. Note: mild swearing.
The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren
Birthdays, Christmas, fishing, and fun with cousins in a little Swedish community.
The Year of the Baby by Andrea Cheng
Anna needs to find a topic for the science fair, but her mom is worried that their newly adopted baby from China is not gaining. Can Anna and her friends help?
Find more book recommendations on the book page.
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