Summer is here! And that means the kids are on a break from school and looking for things to do. So, it’s the perfect time to encourage your middle graders to read. Whether your family is staying home or going on a trip during the summer, there is always time for a good book. If it’s too hot outside, you can read a book. If you are having fun on the beach, you can wear sunglasses and read a book.
Below is a list of awesome diverse middle-grade novels kids between nine and twelve can read during summer break.
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The Ghosts of Rancho Espanto by Adrianna Cuevas
To deal with his mother’s deteriorating health and his father’s authoritarian personality, Cuban American ten-year-old Rafa escapes reality with his favorite role-playing game, The Forgotten Age. But the game goes too far when Rafa and his friends try to steal a slushie machine from the school’s cafeteria. As punishment, his dad sends him from Florida to New Mexico to spend a month helping on a ranch called Rancho Espanto (Terror Ranch). Once he arrives, he becomes friends with Korean American Jennie Kim and Marcus Coleman, an Army veteran and the barn’s manager. When an odd man wearing a green sweater starts causing problems, Rancho Espanto becomes a scary place where strange things happen. Rafa works with his new friend Jennie to solve the mysteries of Rancho Espanto.
New From Here by Kelly Yang
The Wei-Evans family lived in Hong Kong when news about the Covid-19 pandemic started circulating in January 2020. The family decides that mom, Knox, and his siblings will return to their San Francisco Bay Area home while dad stays back for work. Their Chinese mom tells them positive things about the United States to encourage them. However, Knox and his siblings encounter a different reality involving racism and anti-Asian hate. Not only that, but mom also loses her job, and Knox is diagnosed with ADHD. But Knox and his siblings do not lose hope and initiate Operation Dad Come Over.
Ellie Engle Saves Herself by Leah Johnson
Unlike her best friend, Abby Ortega, Ellie Engle is a 12-year-old Black girl who does not stand out and prefers it that way. Reading comic books and being with her best friend makes her happy. But life has other plans for Ellie, and after an earthquake hits her town, Ellie wakes up with magical powers that allow her to bring anything back to life with only her touch. Wanting to keep her powers a secret, she only tells Abby about them, but an incident at science class puts Ellie in the spotlight. And her powers were not her only secret, as Ellie has a crush on Abby. Now Ellie has to navigate middle school while in the spotlight and having a secret crush on her best friend.
A Bit of Earth by Karuna Riazi
In a retelling of The Secret Garden, Maria Latif is an orphaned girl who shields herself with a bad attitude. As her relatives got tired of her, they sent Maria from Pakistan to Long Island to live with Mr. and Mrs. Clayborne, friends of her late parents. The couple is odd, but their house is even stranger. One day, unruly Maria finds a locked gate that leads to a secret garden, where she feels at home and finds new life and friendship.
The Takeout by Tracy Badua
Mila’s family owns the Filipino-Indian food truck called The Banana Leaf in Coral Beach, and she loves food and helping her family. She is excited when the famous twin chefs, the Fab Foodie Brothers, open a restaurant close to The Banana Leaf. But when Mila tries their food, she is left with the suspicion that the Fab Foodie Brothers have stolen her family’s recipes. To prove their thievery and take them down before her family’s business goes down, Mila joins forces with family friend Ajay and dips into Filipino folk magic.
We hope you enjoy your summer and these excellent diverse and multicultural middle-grade books.
Please leave us a comment telling us what you thought about these reads!
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