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Awesome Girls in Middle-Grade Fiction

Created by 49thShelf
  • Age: 8 to 14
  • Grade: 3 to 9
tagged: julia nobel
The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane is Julia Nobel's debut novel, and the first in a series about a mysterious English boarding school. In this recommended reading list, Nobel nominates other great middle-grade titles that feature awesome girls. ****** Whenever we talk about strong female characters in children’s fiction, the discussion is almost always limited to books aimed at young adults. Moreover, the definition of "strong" is usually quite narrow, focused on characters who use physical or magical strength to fight for their people. Such a restricted definition of strength is troubling because it doesn’t allow young readers to see that being strong doesn’t have to look a certain way, nor is it something that evolves when a person is older. The following books offer us many different visions of what a strong female character can look like, even when that character is still in their tweens.

Showing 1-7 of 7 books

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The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane

by Julia Nobel
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover
  • age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7
tagged: mysteries & detective stories

The first in an exciting new mystery series, this suspenseful debut brings readers on a journey filled with secrets, mystery, and unforgettable characters.

With a dad who disappeared years ago and a mother who's a bit too busy to parent, Emmy is shipped off to Wellsworth, a prestigious boarding school in England, where she's sure she won't fit in.

Bu …

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Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

by Jonathan Auxier
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover
  • age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7
tagged: fantasy & magic, friendship, orphans & foster homes

A brand-new novel by one of today's most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heart-rending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and hope.

For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on "climbing boys"--orphans owned by chimney sweeps--to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Ele …

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The Night Garden

by Polly Horvath
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover
  • age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
tagged: fantasy & magic, humorous stories, friendship

From Newbery Honor-- and National Book Award--winning author Polly Horvath, a magical middle grade novel that features a garden that grants wishes.

     It is World War II and Franny Whitekraft lives with her parents, Sina and Old Tom, on a farm on Vancouver Island. Their peaceful life is interrupted when their neighbor, Crying Alice, begs Sina to w …

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Dodger Boy

by Sarah Ellis
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook
  • age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 9
tagged: adolescence, friendship, lgbt

In 1970 Vancouver, thirteen-year-old Charlotte and her best friend, Dawn, are keen to avoid the pitfalls of adolescence. Couldn’t they just skip teenhood altogether, along with its annoying behaviors – showing off just because you have a boyfriend, obsessing about marriage and a ring and matching dining-room furniture? Couldn’t one just learn …

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Dear Canada: These Are My Words

The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens

by Ruby Slipperjack
edition: Hardcover
  • age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
tagged: prejudice & racism, native canadian, self-esteem & self-reliance

Acclaimed author Ruby Slipperjack delivers a haunting novel about a 12-year-old girl's experience at a residential school in 1966.

Violet Pesheens is struggling to adjust to her new life at residential school. She misses her Grandma; she has run-ins with Cree girls; at her "white" school, everyone just stares; and everything she brought has been tak …

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Awake and Dreaming

Puffin Classics Edition

by Kit Pearson
edition: Paperback
also available: Paperback Paperback
  • age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7
tagged: classics

Theo and her young, irresponsible mother seem trapped forever in their miserable, poverty-stricken life … but Theo can’t stop dreaming of belonging to a “real” family. When she is mysteriously adopted by the large, warm Kaldor family, her dream seems to be coming true. But as time passes, the magic of Theo’s new life begins to fade, and s …

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The Breadwinner Trilogy

by Deborah Ellis
edition: Paperback
also available: eBook
  • age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 9
tagged: middle east, girls & women, self-esteem & self-reliance

"All girls [should read] The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis." — Malala Yousafzai, New York Times

The three books in Deborah Ellis's Breadwinner trilogy bound into one handsome volume

Deborah Ellis's novels The Breadwinner, Parvana's Journey and Mud City have been a phenomenal success, touching the hearts of readers the world over.

Here are the three b …