If you’re looking for a diverse group of middle-grade books (books geared for kids in upper elementary to middle school), then this is the list for you!
The characters in these books are from all around the world and allow readers to experience a variety of cultures!
I will update this list as I find more books! Follow me on Instagram to get updates and ideas for other picture books! If there’s a book you think I should add, comment below!
Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission. The price of the books does not change for you.
I’m also a Bookshop Affiliate. Bookshop works with local independent bookstores to deliver books to your door. You can shop this entire list on Bookshop here.
Mia and her family have recently moved to the United States from China.
An opportunity arises for her family to manage a motel in Anaheim, California, where Mia decides to run the front desk. The front desk isn’t exactly Mia’s first job, but it the first job she keeps longer than a few hours.
What I enjoyed most about this book is that it encourages the reader to stand up for what is right. If I had fifth graders this school year, this would be our first novel of the year.
Mia’s job at the front desk is a nonstop adventure! Bookshop Affiliate Link
Scoob and his Grandma go on an unforgettable road trip that doesn’t end as expected.
Scoob learns that his Grandma and Grandpa took the same road trip years earlier with the help of The Green Book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had excellent historical references that could lead to more research and discussions with your students or children. There are so many things you could do with this book. If I still had 5th graders. Bookshop Affiliate Link
The night diary
The Night Diary takes place in 1947 right after India was free from Britain’s rule. India is divided, and part of the country becomes Pakistan. Nisha is half Hindu and half Muslim and must leave her home because it has become too dangerous for Muslims.
We follow Nisha and her family, who are now refugees as they make the dangerous trip to their new home. This is another book on this list with historical references that will leave kids wanting to learn more. Bookshop Affiliate Link
Jordan Banks and Drew Ellis are just a few of the Black students at RAD Middle School. Some days they fit right in, while other days they feel like outcasts. Through the ups and downs, they learn how to build friendships and survive middle school.
New Kid: Bookshop Affiliate Link
Class Act: Bookshop Affiliate Link
Save Me a Seat
Most of my students LOVE Save Me a Seat. Ravi. who is a star student back home struggles is new to the United States and Joe is misunderstood. Both are outcasts, but find that they have a lot more in common than they think. I pair physical copies of the book with the audiobook. Bookshop Affiliate Link
The Only Black Girls In Town
Alberta is a true California girl who loves to surf. She’s also the only Black girl in her class. That is until a new family moves into the bed and breakfast next door. Edie and her mother move to the small beach town for a fresh start. Alberta and Edie don’t have much in common but connect instantly.
While hanging out in the B&B, they find some old journals that contain a mystery that they have to solve! Bookshop Affiliate Link
Becoming Muhammad Ali
In Becoming Muhammad Ali, young Ali and his best friend Lucky take turns telling the story about how one of the greatest boxers in the world came to be.
One of my former students is a boxer and would LOVE this book. I’m emailed his parents to let them know about this book!
Although this book takes us back to the 50s, Ali’s childhood experiences are easily relatable to kids today.
Also included are moments in history like the murder of Emmitt Till and the integration of schools.
We also learn how Ali struggled in school because he was dyslexic.
Becoming Muhammad Ali is written in prose and verse. It was fitting that Ali’s voice is written as poetry, making his voice stand out. Bookshop Affiliate Link
Isaiah Dunn is My Hero
This is such a sweet story about 10 year Isaiah who is learning how to navigate life without his dad.
I loved how so many adults in his life supported his interests and looked out for his well-being.
His relationship with the barber is soooooo sweet. I may or may not have teared up reading one of their interactions. Bookshop Affiliate Link
These middle grade novels will make a perfect addition to any home or classroom library!