115 Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

with 6 Comments

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading


UPDATED July 2022!

Summer is here! Well, at least in the northern hemisphere… Time to stock up on summer reads for your middle-graders!

There is something for everyone on this extensive list of multicultural middle-grade novels sorted by ethnicity (African & African American, Asian & Asian American, Hispanic & Hispanic American, Native American, and Diverse).

115 Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

African & African American

The Season of Styx Malone
by Kekla Magoon

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: The Season Of Styx Malone

When brothers Caleb and Bobby Gene meet their cool new neighbour, Styx Malone, they are in for a mad adventure. Styx convinces them to join in the Great Escalator Trade: Exchanging one small thing for something better in the hope of ending up with a motorbike. But soon things get out of control. The Season Of Styx Malone is a heartwarming novel about friendship, trust, and the yearning to escape the ordinary. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys

by Coe Booth

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

This should be an exciting time for Caprice. She has been offered a place at the school of her dreams, where she’s just had a fantastic summer. But this great opportunity coincides with a lot of internal doubt and the disturbing news that her long-estranged grandmother has fallen ill and may be near death. As Caprice tries to figure out her future, she is pulled back toward her past, and the abuse she endured from her uncle when she was little — an abuse she’s never told anyone about. With extreme sensitivity and honesty, Caprice has written a painful but ultimately healing novel about finding support from your parents and friends, articulating your truth, and choosing your own path. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2020

As Brave As You
by Jason Reynolds

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: As Brave As You

11-year-old Genie and his older brother Ernie are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents in rural Virginia. It is a time full of surprises for Genie and learning about himself and his family: From finding out that his grandfather is blind to discovering his secret room to learning that bravery can mean different things. Just published this month, As Brave As You Are is a thoughtful and gentle middle-grade novel by Coretta Scott King/Johnson Steptoe Award-winner Jason Reynolds (When I Was the Greatest). ~ African – Middle School

Take Back the Block
by Chrystal D. Giles

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

Wes Henderson has the best style in sixth grade. That–and hanging out with his crew and playing video games–is what he wants to be thinking about, not the protests his parents are always dragging him to. But when a real estate developer wants to buy Kensington Oaks, the neighbourhood Wes has lived his whole life, everything changes. The grownups are supposed to have all the answers, but all they’re doing is arguing. Even Wes’s best friends are fighting. And some of them may be moving. But Wes isn’t about to give up the only home he’s ever known. With an irresistible protagonist, Take Back The Block explores themes of community, gentrification, justice, and friendship. ~ African – Middle School

Just Right Jillian
by Nicole D. Collier

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

Fifth grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won’t speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school’s biggest competition. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self. Just Right Jillian is heartfelt middle-grade debut novel about family, friendship, and finding the confidence to break free from the crowd and be who you truly are. ~ African – Middle School

by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp. In this society created by formerly enslaved people, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home. Deeply inspiring and loosely based on the history of maroon communities in the South, Freewater is a striking tale of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage. ~ African – Middle School

Related: NEW 2022 Black History Books for Children & Teenagers

A Good Kind of Trouble
by Lisa Moore Ramée

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

All twelve-year-old Shayla wants is to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead. But in junior high, she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Through her sister, she starts getting involved in the Black Lives Matter movement and soon has to decide to do what’s right. A Good Kind Of Trouble is a funny and big-hearted debut novel about family, friendship and standing up for what is right. ~ African – Middle School

Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming is a deeply personal and touching account of the author’s childhood as an African American girl in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Growing up in South Carolina and New York, she becomes increasingly aware of the Civil Rights Movement. In poetic language full of imagery this award-winning book gives a glimpse into a child’s soul and her journey of self-discovery. ~ African – Middle School

Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms
by Jamar J. Perry

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

Cameron Battle grew up reading The Book of Chidani, cherishing stories about the fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger. Passed down over generations, the Book is Cameron’s only connection to his parents who disappeared one fateful night, two years ago. Ever since, his grandmother has kept the Book locked away, but it calls to Cameron. When he and his best friends Zion and Aliyah decide to open it again, they are magically transported to Chidani. But instead of a land of beauty and wonder, they find a kingdom in extreme danger, as the Queen’s sister seeks to destroy the barrier between worlds. The people of Chidani have been waiting for the last Descendant to return and save them . . . is Cameron ready to be the hero they need? Inspired by West African and Igbo history and mythology, Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms is a gripping fantasy novel that celebrates one boy’s journey to greatness. ~ African – Middle School

Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence
by Sonja Thomas

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

12-year-old Mira’s summer is looking pretty bleak. Her best friend Thomas moved away, her jobless dad has been super down lately, and her phone screen cracked after a home science experiment gone wrong. Mira’s beloved cat, Sir Fig Newton, has been the most stable thing in her life lately, but he’s been diagnosed with diabetes. When Mira’s parents tell her they may have to give Fig up to people who can afford his treatment, Mira insists she can earn the $2,000 needed within a month. Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence is a heartfelt middle grade novel about a determined young girl who must rely on her ingenuity and scientific know-how to save her beloved cat. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 50+ Multicultural STEAM Books for Children

Finding Langston
by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Finding Langston

After the death of his mother, 11-year-old Langston and his father move from Alabama to Chicago’s Bronzeville district. Everything is different here and Langston misses his home, his family and his friends. Being bullied at his new school and not seeing much of his father, Langston feels lonely in the big and noisy city. The library becomes his safe place and this is where he discovers the Langston his mother named him after. Finding Langston is a lyrical novel about one boy’s experiences during the Great Migration. ~ African – Middle School

Hurricane Child
by Kheryn Callender

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Hurricane Child

12-year-old Caroline Murphy struggles with being bullied by students and teachers alike at her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit that keeps following her, and the fact that her mother left home one day and never came back. When Caroline befriends Kalinda, a new student from Barbados, she soon realizes that her feelings for her are more than platonic. Although those feelings are not being reciprocated, Kalinda wants to help Caroline look for her missing mother and so the girls set out in a hurricane to find her before it is too late. Award-winning Hurricane Child is a moving and suspenseful coming-of-age novel that young readers will love. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 36 Children’s Books set in the Caribbean

Stuntboy, in the Meantime
by Jason Reynolds

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

Portico Reeves’s secret superpower is making sure all the other superheroes—like his parents and two best friends—stay super. And safe. Super safe. No one in his civilian life knows he’s actually…Stuntboy! But Portico has another, not-so-super secret. His parents are fighting all the time. They’re trying to hide it by repeatedly telling Portico to go check on a neighbour “in the meantime.” Portico knows that it is his superhero responsibility to save them —as soon as he figures out how. But all these secrets give Portico the worry wiggles, the frets. Plus, like all superheroes, Portico has an arch-nemesis who is determined to prove that there is nothing super about him at all. With dynamic illustrations, StuntBoy, In The Meantime is a hilarious and action-packed middle grade novel about the greatest young superhero you’ve never heard of. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 30 Multicultural Children’s Books featuring Superheroes

Summer in the City (Mango Delight #2)
by Fracaswell Hyman

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

It’s summer break, and Mango is content to spend her time babysitting her brother, hanging with her friend Izzy, and binge-watching movies late into the night. Then she runs into her drama teacher, who has some big news: their middle school play Yo, Romeo! is headed to the stage in New York City . . . and he wants Mango for the lead role! So Mango goes off to Brooklyn to stay with her Aunt Zendaya but soon she must confront homesickness, insecurity, and the all-important question of what it means to be a good friend. Sequel to Mango Delight, Summer In The City follows the delightful heroine’s adventures—and misadventures—as she prepares to make her off-Broadway debut. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Friendship

Cookies & Milk
by Shawn Amos

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

11-year-old Ellis Johnson dreamed of spending the summer of 1976 hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing his harmonica. Instead, he’ll be sleeping on a lumpy pullout in Dad’s sad little post-divorce bungalow and helping bring Dad’s latest far-fetched, sure-to-fail idea to life: opening the world’s first chocolate chip cookie store. They have six weeks to perfect their recipe, get a ramshackle A-frame on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard into tip-top shape, and bring in customers. Along the way, Ellis discovers a family mystery, the power of community, and new faith in himself. Packed with humor and heart, Cookies & Milk is a semi-autobiographical novel about self-discovery, unconditional love, and belonging. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Novels of 2021

Marcus Makes a Movie
by Kevin Hart

Marcus is NOT happy to be stuck in after-school film class . . . until he realizes he can turn the story of the cartoon superhero he’s been drawing for years into an actual MOVIE! There’s just one problem: he has no idea what he’s doing. So he’ll need help, from his friends, his teachers, Sierra, the strong-willed classmate with creative dreams of her own, even Tyrell, the local bully who’d be a perfect movie villain if he weren’t too terrifying to talk to. Marcus Makes A Movie is a hilarious illustrated middle grade novel about never giving up on your goals, even when nothing’s going your way. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys

Walking Home
by Eric Walters

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Walking Home

13-year-old Muchoki and his little sister Jata have lost almost everything: Political violence has destroyed their Kenyan village and killed their father. Now living in an overcrowded refugee camp with their ailing mother, the siblings are faced with hunger and fears about the future. Driven by both hope and desperation, Muchoki and Jata set off on a brave, seemingly impossible journey, walking hundreds of kilometers to find their last remaining family. Walking Home is an inspiring and moving story about loss and forgiveness, perseverance and hope. ~ African – Middle School

Swim Team
by Johnnie Christmas

Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees—until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help, and Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake. Swim Team is a splashy, contemporary middle grade graphic novel from bestselling comics creator Johnnie Christmas. ~ African – Middle School

Related: NEW Multicultural Children’s Books May 2022

A Soft Place to Land
by Janae Marks

After Joy’s dad lost his job, the family moves into a tiny apartment with shared bedrooms, and tense arguments between Mom and Dad. Hardest of all, Joy doesn’t have her music to escape through anymore. Without enough funds, her dreams of becoming a great pianist have been put on hold. But then Joy discovers the complex’s best-kept secret: the Hideout, a cozy refuge that only the kids know about. There Joy starts exchanging secret messages with another kid in the building who also seems to be struggling, until—abruptly, they stop writing back. What if they’re in trouble? Joy is determined to find out who this mystery writer is. A Soft Place To Land is a compelling story of connection, mystery and hope. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Friendship

The Length of a String
by Elissa Brent Weissman

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: The Length Of a String

Imani is adopted and she knows exactly what she wants as her big bat mitzvah gift: to find her birth parents. Being Black in her mostly White Jewish community, she has always wondered where she came from. When her great-grandma Anna passes away, Imani discovers her old diary from 1941, the year she was twelve and fled Nazi-occupied Luxembourg alone. Anna’s diary records her journey to America and her new life with an adoptive family of her own. As Imani reads the diary, she begins to see her family, and her place in it, in a whole new way. The Length Of A String is a gripping novel about identity, family and belonging. ~ African – Middle School

Simon B. Rhymin’
by Dwayne Reed

Eleven-year-old Simon Barnes is constantly spitting rhymes in his head. He dreams of becoming a world-famous rapper that everyone calls Notorious D.O.G. For now though, he’s just a Chicago fifth grader who’s small for his age and afraid to use his voice. But when his new teacher assigns the class an oral presentation on something that affects their community, Simon must face his fears. Written by America’s favourite rapping teacher, Simon B. Rhymin’ is a humorous and heartwarming underdog story about a young rapper whose rhymes help bring his community together. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 60+ Children’s Books About Legendary Black Musicians

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry tells of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. This classic masterpiece focuses on Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, and learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect. ~ African – Middle School

Ann Fights for Freedom: An Underground Railroad Survival Story
by Nikki Shannon Smith

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Ann Fights For Freedom

Twelve-year-old Ann understands there is only one thing to be grateful for as a slave: having her family together. But when the master plans to sell her and her younger brother to two different owners, the family decides to run away on the Underground Railroad. Will they survive the dangerous trip to their freedom in the North? Ann Fights For Freedom is a compelling read with expressive illustrations. ~ African – Middle School

Related: African American Historical Fiction for Middle School

New Kid
by Jerry Craft

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading

Seventh-grader Jordan Banks’ passion is drawing cartoons about his life. He’d love to go to art school but his parents decide to send him to a prestigious private school known for its academics instead. Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds. New Kid is an engaging graphic novel about fitting in and staying true to yourself. ~ African – Middle School

by Kwame Alexander

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Booked

“Like lightning / you strike /fast and free / legs zoom / down field / eyes fixed / on the checkered ball / on the goal / ten yards to go / can’t nobody stop you…” In this follow-up to award-winning The Crossover, twelve-year-old Nick struggles with problems at home, is faced with a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. With the help of his best friend and inspiring books given to him by a rapping librarian, Nicky learns about the power of words and how to stand up for himself. Booked is an exciting and heartfelt novel-in-verse about soccer, family, love and friendship. ~ African – Middle School

Stella by Starlight
by Sharon M. Draper

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Stella by Starlight

One night 11-year-old Stella and her brother witness a Ku Klux Klan meeting in the North Carolina woods. For the African American siblings, living in the South is a dangerous, scary and often humiliating experience. Stella by Starlight is a gripping and realistic portrayal of life in the segregated South during the Great Depression. ~ African – Middle School

The Parker Inheritance
by Varian Johnson

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: The Parker Inheritance

In an old attic in Lambert, South Carolina, Candice finds a letter addressed to her grandmother, who left the town in shame. The letter tells of an injustice that happened decades ago, a mystery and the fortune awaiting the person who solves the puzzle. Together with her friend Brandon, Candice embarks on a journey that leads deep into Lambert’s dark history, and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. The Parker Inheritance is a powerful novel about racism, justice and friendship. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 37 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination

by Elise Allan

Generations ago, twins, black cats, and other potentially magical beings were outlawed in the kingdom of Kaloon. So from birth, twins Flissa and Sara had to pretend to be one princess, Flissara. But when a magical attack puts their mother’s life in danger, the girls must break the rules that have protected them to save her. They set off on an epic quest to the Twists-a forbidden place full of dark magic-to find the evil mage who cursed the queen. The first book in a new series, Twinchantment brings to life a fantastical world of sisterhood, adventure, and incredible twists. ~ African – Middle School

The Watsons Go to Birmingham
by Christopher Paul Curtis

Meet the “Weird Watsons”: 10-year-old Kenny, his mom, dad, little sister Joetta and older brother Byron. When Byron gets into too much trouble, the family drives to Alabama to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. It’s 1963, and little does the family know that they are heading straight into one of the most horrific moments in America’s history: the bombing of a church that killed four little girls. Award-winning The Watsons Go To Birmingham is both hilarious and heartbreaking – a modern classic that every middle grader should read. ~ African – Middle School

The Usual Suspects
by Maurice Broaddus

Because of his disruptive antics and pranks, Thelonius Mitchell is in special ed, separated from the “normal” kids at school who don’t have any “issues.” When a gun is found at a neighbourhood hangout, Thelonius and his pals become instant suspects and they must find the real culprits in order to prove their innocence. The Usual Suspects is an engaging and honest middle-grade thriller that young readers won’t want to put down. ~ African – Middle School

Ways to Make Sunshine
by Renée Watson

Ryan Hart has a lot on her mind–school, self-image, and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight and the family has to sell their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But even if her life isn’t everything she would wish for, Ryan always finds a way forward, with grace and wit. Ways To Make Sunshine is the first book in a charming new middle grade series about a girl who is pure spirit, kindness, and sunshine~ African – Middle School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Book Series for Girls & Boys

One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer is the first book of Williams-Garcia’s award-winning trilogy about three resilient young sisters in the late 60’s. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern travel to Oakland in 1968 to spend the summer with their mother who abandoned them seven years earlier. They receive a cold welcome from their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, and are being sent to the Black Panther’s day center every day.  This heartfelt, funny and thought-provoking novel addresses two difficult subjects: The controversial Black Panther Party, and a mother who leaves her children behind. ~ African – Middle School

The other books in the trilogy: P.S. Be Eleven // Gone Crazy in Alabama

Forever This Summer (Love Like Sky)
by Leslie C. Youngblood

Georgie has no idea what to expect when she, Mama, and Peaches are plopped down in Bogalusa, Louisiana–where Mama grew up and Great Aunt Vie needs constant care. Georgie wants to help out at the once famous family diner that served celebrities like the Jackson 5 and the Supremes, but everyone is too busy to show her the ropes. When Markie –a foster kid who’d been under Aunt Elvie’s care– asks Georgie to help her find her mom, the summer suddenly has a real purpose. Sequel to acclaimed Love Like Sky, Forever This Summer is about family, identity, and learning to stand up for what’s right. ~ African – Middle School

How High the Moon
by Karyn Parsons

It’s 1944 and 12-year-old Ella spends her days fishing and running around with her best friend Henry and cousin Myrna in the small town of Alcolu, South Carolina. But she struggles with being bullied for her light skin tone her mother being away pursuing a jazz singer dream in Boston. So Ella is ecstatic when her mother invites her to visit for Christmas. Little does she expect the truths she will discover about her mother, the father she never knew and her family’s most unlikely history. After a life-changing month, she returns South and is shocked by the news that her schoolmate George has been arrested for the murder of two local white girls. How High the Moon is a bittersweet and powerful novel about a girl finding herself in a world that is determined to hold her down. ~ African – Middle School

Clean Getaway
by Nic Stone

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Your Grandma: Grab a Suitcase (prepacked from the cancelled spring break trip). Fasten Your Seatbelt (G’ma’s never conventional, so this trip won’t be either). Use the Green Book (G’ma’s most treasured possession). Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, Clean Getaway takes readers on a trip with an eleven-year-old boy who is about to discover that the world hasn’t always been a welcoming place for kids like him, and things aren’t always what they seem (including G’ma). ~ African – Middle School

Related: African American Historical Fiction for Middle School

Asian & Asian American

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel
by Firoozeh Dumas

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: It Ain't So Awful Falafel

Another fantastic brand new release! In times of the anti-Iran sentiments of the 1970s, fitting in has become even more difficult for brainy loner Zomorod Yousefzadeh. Her family has just moved again, this time to Newport Beach, California, and she is determined to fit in, even changing her name to all-American Cindy. It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel is a moving yet lighthearted middle-grade novel from the author of best-selling Funny in Farsi. ~ Asian – Middle School

New from Here
by Kelly Yang

New Multicultural Children's Books March 2022

When the coronavirus hits Hong Kong, 10-year-old Knox Wei-Evans’s mom makes the last-minute decision to move him and his siblings back to California. Knox has two days to prepare for an international move—and for leaving his dad, who has to stay for work. At his new school, Knox’s classmates think that because he’s from Asia, he must have brought over the virus. As anti-Asian racism skyrockets, Knox tries to stand up to hate, while finding his place in his new country. Can you belong if you’re feared; can you protect if you’re new? And how do you keep a family together when you’re oceans apart? New From Here is a poignant story about courage, hope, and resilience. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination

The Night Diary
by Veera Hiranandan

2019 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award-Winners: The Night Diary

After India has been divided into two countries (India and Pakistan), 12-year-old half-Muslim/half-Hindu Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs anymore. Her family embarks on a dangerous journey to find a new home. Told through Nisha’s letters to her late mother, The Night Diary is a poignant story of loss, identity and hope. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 15 Children’s Books set in Pakistan


My Basmati Bat Mitzvah
by Paula J. Freedman

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, Tara Feinstein doesn’t seem have enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-O―who might also be her boyfriend―and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with the snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith. My Basmati Bat Mitzvah is a delightful coming-of-age story and young romance with universal appeal. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 24 Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Listen, Slowly
by Thanhha Lai

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Listen, Slowly

Instead of spending her holidays at the beach, Californian girl Mai has to accompany her grandmother to Vietnam. Her parents are hoping that the trip will connect their out-of-touch daughter with her roots, but Mai struggles with the foreign country and its culture. Bestselling Listen, Slowly is an irresistible and poignant story about the true meaning of home, culture, family and friends. The paperback edition includes a letter from the author, a Vietnamese glossary and a pronunciation guide. ~ Asian – Middle School

Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field
by Angela Ahn

Eleven year-old Peter Lee has one goal in life: to become a paleontologist. Okay, maybe two: to get his genius kid-sister, L.B., to leave him alone. But his summer falls apart when his real-life dinosaur expedition turns out to be a bust, and he watches his dreams go up in a cloud of asthma-inducing dust. Even worse, his grandmother, Hammy, is sick, and no one will talk to Peter about it. Armed with notebooks and pens, Peter puts his observation and experimental skills to the test to see what he can do for Hammy. Told in short, accessible journal entries, Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field is a humorous and poignant middle grade book that will win readers’ hearts. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 50+ Multicultural STEAM Books for Children

Amina’s Song
by Hena Khan

Amina has loved every minute of her vacation in Pakistan — the food, the shops, the time she’s spent with her family. She is sad to leave, but also excited to share the wonders of Pakistan with her friends back in Greendale. But they don’t seem overly interested in her trip. And when she decides to do a presentation on Pakistani hero Malala Yousafzai, her classmates focus on the worst parts of the story. How can Amina share the beauty of Pakistan when no one wants to listen? Companion novel to the award-winning Amina’s VoiceAmina’s Song is once again about using your voice to bridge places, people, and communities —this time across continents. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 15 Children’s Books set in Pakistan

Proud (Young Readers Edition): Living My American Dream
by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Multicultural Children's Books About Women In Sports

At the 2016 Olympic Games, Ibtihaj Muhammad smashed barriers as the first American to compete wearing hijab and the first Muslim American woman to win a medal. But before she was an Olympian, activist, and entrepreneur, Ibtihaj was a young outsider growing up in suburban New Jersey. When she fell in love with fencing, a sport most popular with affluent young white people, she stood out even more. Despite often being told that she would never succeed, Ibtihaj powered on to pursue her dream. Enhanced with helpful advice and never-before-published photographs , Proud (Young Readers Edition) is an all-American tale of faith, family, hard work, and self-reliance. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 40 Multicultural Children’s Books About Women In Sports

Front Desk
by Kelly Yang

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: Front Desk

Ten-year-old aspiring writer Mia Tang manages the front desk of a motel where her immigrant parents clean the rooms. If the mean motel owner, Mr Yao, finds out they’ve been letting other immigrants stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Featuring an irresistible protagonist, award-winning Front Desk is an engaging middle-grade novel about immigration, poverty and resilience. ~ Asian – Middle School

More books about immigration: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Save Me a Seat
by Gita Varadarajan

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Save Me A Seat

Ravi, who recently arrived in the US from India, and Joe, whose best friend has just moved away, both attend Fifth Grade at the same school. Each in their own way, they struggle to acclimatize to the new situation. Over the course of a single crazy week, they find out that they have more in common than they thought: Dillon Samreen, the school’s biggest bully. Together Ravi and Joe try to take control of their lives. Save Me A Seat is an authentic middle grade novel about fitting in and staying true to yourself. ~ Asian – Middle School

The View from the Very Best House in Town
by Meera Trehan

Sam and Asha have been friends forever. But when Sam is accepted into snobbish Castleton Academy as an autistic “Miracle Boy,” he leaves Asha, who is also autistic, to navigate middle school alone. Soon Sam is spending time with Prestyn, Asha’s nemesis, whose family owns Donnybrooke, the best house in town. Since a housewarming party gone wrong, Anna has been forbidden to set foot inside. Who is Asha without Sam? And who will she be when it becomes clear that Prestyn’s interest in her friend isn’t so friendly? Told from the points of view of Asha, Sam, and Donnybrooke itself, The View From The Very Best House In Town is a witty and suspenseful debut novel that explores issues of ableism and classism as it delves into the mysteries of what makes a person a friend and a house a home. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books for Children & Teenagers

Keep It Together, Keiko Carter
by Debbi Michiko Florence

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Keiko feels ready to tackle Seventh grade together with her besties, Audrey and Jenna. But when Audrey decides they need boyfriends before Fall Ball, Jenna is sick of caving in to Audrey’s demands, and soon Keiko’s besties are barely talking, leaving her caught in the middle. Keiko feels pulled in two directions. Should she try to help her friends — even if it means losing one of them — or follow her heart? Keep It Together, Keiko Carter is a charming tween drama about first flirts, friendships, and fallouts. ~ Asian – Middle School

Omar Rising
by Aisha Saeed

Son of a servant, Omar knows his scholarship to Ghalib Academy Boarding School is a huge opportunity. He can’t wait to experience all the school has to offer, especially science club and the soccer team; but he soon learns that first-year scholarship students aren’t allowed to join clubs or teams—plus, they have to earn their keep doing menial chores. On top of that, the school requires scholarship students to get significantly higher grades than kids who can pay tuition, making it nearly impossible for kids like him to graduate. With the help of his tightknit new group of friends Omar sets out to do what seems impossible: change a rigged system. Omar Rising is the compelling companion to bestselling Amal Unbound~ Asian – Middle School

American as Paneer Pie
by Supriya Kelkar

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Being the only Indian American kid in her small town, Lekha Divekar feels like she has two versions of herself: Home Lekha, who loves watching Bollywood movies and eating Indian food, and School Lekha, who pins her hair over her bindi birthmark and avoids confrontation about her culture at all costs. When another Desi girl moves across the street, Lekha is excited to finally have a friend who gets it. But Avantika does not feel the same way as Lekha. She proudly displays her culture and doesn’t take the bullying quietly. When a racist incident rocks the community, Lekha must make a choice: continue to remain silent or find her voice before it’s too late. Full of humour and heart, American As Paneer Pie is a brilliant middle grade novel about prejudice and the power of your own voice. ~ Asian – Middle School

by Reem Faruqi

When her family moves from Pakistan to Peachtree City, all Nurah wants is to blend in, yet she stands out for all the wrong reasons. Nurah’s accent, floral-print kurtas, and tea-colored skin make her feel excluded, until she meets Stahr at swimming tryouts. And in the water Nurah doesn’t want to blend in. She wants to win medals like her star athlete brother, Owais—who is going through struggles of his own in the U.S. Yet when sibling rivalry gets in the way, she makes a split-second decision of betrayal that changes their fates. Unsettled is a warm and powerful coming-of-age story about family and belonging. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 15 Children’s Books set in Pakistan

The Magical Imperfect
by Chris Baron

Etan has stopped speaking since his mother left. His father and grandfather don’t know how to help him, and his friends have given up on him. When he is asked to deliver a grocery order to the outskirts of town, he meets Malia Agbayani, also known as the Creature due to the eczema on her face. Her grandmother, a refugee from the Philippines befriended Etan’s Jewish grandparents after they had escaped the Holocaust. Etan thinks he has cure for Malia’s condition, if only he can convince his family and hers to believe it too. But even if it works, will these two outcasts find where they fit in? The Magical Imperfect is a powerful novel-in-verse about friendship, family and finding your place in the world. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 40 Filipino American Books for Children & Teenagers

The Land of Forgotten Girls
by Erin Entrada Kelly

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: The Land Of Forgotten Girls

Abandoned by their father, sisters Soledad and Ming from the Philippines live in Louisiana with their evil stepmother. All they have is the stories their deceased mother used to tell them about the travels of her magical sister. The stories give the sisters hope, but for little Ming they also blur the lines between fact and fiction. Sol needs to find a way to pull her sister back into reality. Mixing fantasy and realism, The Land of Forgotten Girls is an enchanting middle-grade novel about sisterhood, hope and the power of imagination. ~ Asian – Middle School
From the same author: Blackbird Fly

Welcome Back, Maple Mehta-Cohen
by Kate McGovern

NEW Multicultural Children's Books October 2021

Maple Mehta-Cohen loves dictating stories into her recorder—especially the adventures of a daring sleuth who’s half Indian and half Jewish like herself—but words on a page just don’t seem to make sense to her. Despite all her clever tricks to hide her reading troubles, Maple has to repeat fifth grade. She is devastated—what will her friends think? Maple uses her storytelling skills to convince her classmates that she’s staying back as a special teacher’s assistant. But as she navigates friendships and her reading challenges, her deception becomes harder to keep up. Welcome Back, Maple Mehta-Cohen Readers is a heartwarming story about friendship, creativity and self-love. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 21 Middle Grade Novels With Multiracial Characters

Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year
by Nina Hamza

Ahmed Aziz is having an epically bad year. After his dad gets sick, the family moves from Hawaii to Minnesota where his dad grew up. Ahmed can’t imagine a worse place to live. He’s one of the only brown kids in his school. And as a proud slacker, Ahmed doesn’t want to deal with expectations from his new teachers. But when he starts learning about his uncle, who died before Ahmed was born, he gets more insight into his family’s history might which is an upside, as his dad’s health hangs in the balance and the school bully refuses to leave him alone. Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year is a hilarious and poignant tween debut about dealing with bullies, making friends, and the power of good books. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books about Bullying

Fly on the Wall
by Remy Lai

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Henry Khoo’s family treats him like a baby. He’s not allowed to go anywhere without his sister/chaperone/bodyguard. And he definitely CAN’T take a journey halfway around the world all by himself! But that’s exactly his plan. After his family’s annual trip to visit his father in Singapore is cancelled, Henry decides he doesn’t want to be cooped up at home with his overprotective family.. Plus, he’s hiding a your-life-is-over-if-you’re-caught secret: he’s the creator of an anonymous gossip cartoon, and he’s on the verge of getting caught. Determined to prove his independence and avoid punishment for his crimes, Henry embarks on the greatest adventure ever. . . hoping it won’t turn into the greatest disaster ever. Written in diary style, Fly on the Wall takes readers on a hilarious adventure with an endearing protagonist. ~ Asian – Middle School

Wishing Upon the Same Stars
by Jacquetta Nammar Feldman

When twelve-year-old Yasmeen Khoury and her family move from Detroit to San Antonio, she feels more alone than ever before as she faces middle school mean girls and tries to make new friends. Eventually Yasmeen befriends her neighbour, Ayelet Cohen, a first-generation Israeli American, who understands how she feels. But then Yasmeen’s grandmother moves in after her home in Jerusalem is destroyed, Yasmeen and Ayelet must grapple with how much closer the events of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are than they’d realized. Wishing Upon The Same Stars is a poignant middle-grade novel about family, heritage, identity and friendship. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books for Children & Teenagers

The House That Lou Built
by Mae Respicio 

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: The House That Lou Built

Lou Bulosan-Nelson plans to build a tiny house on land she inherited from her dad. She longs for a place where she can escape her lovable but crazy extended Filipino family. But then she finds out that the land may not be hers for much longer. With Lou’s determination and the help of friends and relatives, her dream eventually begins to take shape. The House That Lou Build is a warm coming-of-age story about culture and family, forgiveness and friendship. ~ Asian – Middle School

More books about friendship: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Friendship

Somewhere Among
by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Somewhere Among

11-year-old Ema is looking forward to the arrival of her baby sibling. Finally, someone who will understand how it feels to be half American and half Japanese. But spending the summer with her grandparents in Japan is difficult for Ema: Her harsh grandmother, her mother’s tricky pregnancy, and then their stay is extended and she must attend a new school, once again not fitting in. When the tragedy of 9/11 strikes an ocean away, and her grandfather falls ill, Ema feels more helpless than ever and learns about the tender side and the strength of her grandmother. Entirely written in free-verse, Somewhere Among is a heartfelt debut middle-grade novel about family, loneliness and hope. ~ Asian – Middle School

A Girl Named Faithful Plum
by Richard Bernstein

Multicultural Children's Books About Fabulous Female Artists: A Girl Named Faithful Plum

In 1977, 11-year-old Zhongmei travelled for several days to attend the open auditions of the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy. Against all odds, the poor country girl beat out 60,000 other girls, became a famous dancer, and made her New York debut with her own dance company when she was in just her late 20s. Written by Zhongmei’s husband, A Girl Named Faithful Plum is a fascinating account of one girl’s journey from the remote farmlands of China to the world’s stages. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 40 Multicultural Children’s Books About Fabulous Female Artists

Red, White, and Whole
by Rajani LaRocca

Newbery Honour Book

Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked—Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon”—but they are a universe apart. When Reha finds out that her Amma is very sick, she is determined to make well again by being the perfect daughter. Red, White, and Whole is a heartbreaking yet hopeful novel in verse about a girl whose life is turned upside down when her mother is diagnosed with leukemia. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

Not Your All-American Girl
by W. Wan-Long Shang & M. Rosenberg

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Best friends Lauren and Tara both try out for the upcoming school play. Tara scores the lead role, while Lauren lands in the ensemble because she “just doesn’t look the part of the all-American girl”. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the every girl star from Pleasant Valley, USA? When Lauren just can’t bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again? Not Your All-American Girl is a middle-grade novel full of heart and hilarity. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2020

That Thing about Bollywood
by Supriya Kelkar

You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance from the mountaintops? Eleven-year-old Sonali wonders if they do the same when they’re breaking up. The truth is, Sonali’s parents might be separating. Sonali’s little brother, Ronak, is not taking the news well, constantly crying. Sonali would never do that. It’s embarrassing to let out so many feelings, to show the world how not okay you are. But then something strange happens… The Thing About Bollywood is a magical middle grade novel about an Indian American girl whose world turns upside down when she involuntarily starts bursting into glamorous song-and-dance routines during everyday life. ~ Asian – Middle School

From the same author: Strong As Fire, Fierce As Flame

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story
by Susan Tan

New Multicultural Children's Books March 2019

Chinese-American Cilla Lee-Jenkins has already written a “Bestseller” and a “Classic”―now it’s time for her to write an Epic Story. Epics are all about brave heroes overcoming struggles to save the world, and this year, Cilla is facing her toughest struggles yet: She is in fifth grade and, unlike her classmates, not at all ready to start middle school; she has to look after two younger sisters who don’t get along, and her beloved grandfather YeYe has had a stroke and forgotten his English. With humour, heart and a lovable main character, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story will appeal to young readers entering middle school, especially aspiring young writers. ~ Asian – Middle School

by Allie Condie

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Summerlost

After her father and younger brother were killed in accident, Cedar and what’s left of her family are spending the summer in Iron Creek. The Asian American girl befriends local boy Leo who introduces her to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Cedar gets a job at the festival and soon finds herself surrounded by mysteries: That of a deceased Hollywood actress haunting the halls of Summerlost, and that of the strange gifts Cedar keeps receiving. Summerlost is a tender and touching middle grade novel about processing loss and finding friendship. ~ Asian – Middle School

Hispanic & Hispanic American

I Lived on Butterfly Hill
by Marjorie Agosin

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: I Lived On Butterfly Hill

11-year-old Celeste lives a peaceful life among family, friends and neighbours in the idyllic seaside town of Valparaiso, Chile. But her world is turned upside down when one day warships arrive, and classmates start disappearing without an explanation. Celeste doesn’t quite understand but she knows that no one is safe anymore. Celeste’s parents have to go into hiding and send Celeste to America to protect her. Based on true events during Pinochet’s dictatorship, I Lived on Butterfly Hill is a heart-rending historical fiction novel about exile and reunification, loss and hope. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa
by Julian Randall

New Multicultural Children's Books March 2022

12-year-old Pilar Ramirez’s is intrigued by Abuela and Mami’s silence around her cousin Natasha―who vanished in the Dominican Republic fifty years ago during the Trujillo dictatorship. When Pilar discovers a folder with her cousin’s name on it, she gets sucked into the blank page within. She lands on Zafa, an island swarming with coconut-shaped demons, butterfly shapeshifters, and a sinister prison where her cousin is being held captive. Pilar has to go toe-to-toe with the fearsome Dominican boogeyman, El Cuco, in order to free Natasha and get back home. Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa is a gripping middle-grade fantasy that brings Dominican myths and legends to life. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022

Island Treasures
by Alma Flor Ada

Children's Books set in the Caribbean: Island Treasures

Island Treasures is a collection of autobiographical stories from renowned author Alma Flor Ada, offering a moving glimpse into her childhood in Cuba. The book features Ada’s award-winning books ‘Where the Flame Trees Bloom’ and ‘Under the Royal Palms’ as well as five new stories, family photos and a Spanish/English glossary. The poignant and often humorous stories bring to life some of the important people in Ada’s life, from her blind great-grandmother with her wisdom and generosity to her brave aeroplane-flying Uncle Medardo, from music-loving worker Samoné to Ada’s beloved and supportive dance teacher. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Lucky Broken Girl
by Ruth Behar

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Newly arrived in the U.S. from Cuba in the 1960’s, Ruthie Mizrahi is confined to a full-body cast after a life-changing accident. With the support of her Cuban Ashkenazi-Sephardic family and a diverse group of neighbours, the fifth-grader finds the strength to heal and grow. Based on the author’s childhood, 2018 Pura Belpré award-winner Lucky Broken Girl is an unforgettable middle-grade novel that celebrates courage, resilience and the Latinx experience. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems
by David Bowles

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: They Call Me Guero

Twelve-year-old Güero is a Mexican American border kid with red hair, light skin and freckles. He is a book, game and music nerd and has just started 7th grade with a woke English teacher who knows how to make poetry cool. They Call Me Güero is a vibrant novel-in-poems about growing up between two cultures. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: 24 Children’s Books set in Mexico

Alicia Alonzo Takes the Stage
by Rebel Girls

Multicultural Children's Books About Brave Ballerinas

From the moment Alicia slips on pointe shoes for the first time, she’s determined to become a professional ballerina. A few years later, Alicia moves from Cuba to the United States to follow her dreams. But then, she begins to lose her sight. Stuck in bed and only able to practice with her fingertips, Alicia doesn’t give up. She finds a way to get back on stage, dancing into the hearts of audiences as one of the world’s most famous prima ballerinas. Part of the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls seriesAlicia Alonso Takes the Stage is a heartfelt story of perseverance in the face of adversity. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: 22 Multicultural Children’s Books About Brave Ballerinas

Cuba in My Pocket
by Adrianna Cuevas

“I don’t remember. Tell me everything, Pepito. Tell me about Cuba.” When the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 solidifies Castro’s power in Cuba, twelve-year-old Cumba’s family makes the difficult decision to send him to Florida alone. From the author of 2021 Pura Belpré Honor Book The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopezcomes Cuba In My Pocket, a sweeping, emotional middle grade historical novel about a twelve-year-old boy who leaves his family in Cuba to immigrate to the U.S. by himself, based on the author’s family history. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: 36 Children’s Books set in the Caribbean

Julieta and the Diamond Enigma
by Luisana Duarte Armendariz

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Nine-year-old Julieta is off to Paris to help her art-handler dad collect pieces for a new exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Sadly, they must leave Julieta’s very pregnant mother behind. Julieta sees the best of Paris: the Eiffel Tower, the Sacré-Coeur, and plenty of great art. But things go awry when she and Dad walk in on a thief stealing the Louvre’s most prized piece–a priceless cursed diamond with a shady history. Julieta And The Diamond Enigma is smart younger middle-grade mystery with a spunk main character who cracks the case. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

The Last Cuentista
by Donna Barbara Higuera

NEW Multicultural Children's Books October 2021

Petra Peña wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra’s world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over, bent on erasing the sins of humanity’s past. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again? The Last Cuentista is a gripping journey through the stars, to the very heart of what makes us human. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022

The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez
by Robin Yardi

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez

“‘Nobody believed me when I said two skunks stole my old trike. But I’d seen those stinkers take it. Swear.’ When Fourth Grader Mateo Martinez insists that two talking skunks stole his old trike, his family believes he was only dreaming, as he also constantly dreams of being a medieval knight. But that’s not all that’s difficult in Mateo’s life: He has to deal with bullies at school, with Johnny not being his best friend anymore and with developing his new friendship with Indian American Ashwin. And above all, he struggles with his Mexican American identity. The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez is a funny and action-packed middle-grade novel with a touch of fantasy, a story about growing up and letting go. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor
by Sonia Sotomayor

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: The Beloved World Of Sonia Sotomayor

Growing up in the rough South Bronx, Sonia Sotomayor dreamed of becoming a lawyer and a judge. Her determination, along with the guidance from mentors and the love of her extended Puerto Rican family, propelled her forward until her dream eventually came true. She became the first Latina and the third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor is the middle-grade adaptation of this inspiring woman’s memoir. Includes an 8-page photo insert and a brief history of the Supreme Court. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs
by Pam Muñoz Ryan

On the brink of her Quinceañera, and her official coronation, Solimar visits the oyamel forest to sit among the monarch butterflies. The sun shines on her and sends the butterflies humming and swirling around her. After the magical frenzy, she realizes she’s been given a gift―and a burden: she can predict the near future! She has also become a protector of the young and weak butterflies. This alone would be a huge responsibility, but tragedy strikes when a neighbouring king invades while her father and brother and many others are away. The remaining villagers are taken hostage―all except Solimar. Can this princess-to-be save her family, the kingdom, and the future of the monarch butterflies from a greedy and dangerous king? Fans of Esperanza Rising will find a new Mexican heroine to love in Solimar. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: 24 Children’s Books set in Mexico

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe
by Carlos Hernandez

New Multicultural Children's Books March 2019

When Sal Vidon and Gabi Real meet for the first time, it isn’t under the best of circumstances. Sal is in the principal’s office for allegedly putting a raw chicken in Yasmany’s locker (that has since magically disappeared), and Gabi, student council president and editor of the school paper, is there to support her friend Yasmany. Sal prides himself on being an excellent magician. When Gabi learns that he’s capable of conjuring things much bigger than a chicken–including his dead mother– and she takes it all in stride, Sal knows that she is someone he can work with. There’s only one slight problem: their manipulation of time and space could put the entire universe at risk. Sal & Gabi Break The Universe is a hilarious and quirky novel that middle-graders won’t be able to put down. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna
by Alda P. Dobbs

It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna’s mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. When her papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra, her abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito flee north through the unforgiving desert. Through battlefields, hunger and fear, Petra will stop at nothing to keep her family safe and lead them to a better life across the U.S. border—a life where her dreams could finally become reality. Based on a true story, Barefoot Dreams is the gripping tale of one girl’s perilous journey during the Mexican Revolution. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: 24 Children’s Books set in Mexico

by Matt Wallace

MJ knows what it means to hurt. Bruises from gymnastics heal, but big hurts—like her dad not being around anymore—don’t go away. Now her mom needs to work two jobs, and MJ doesn’t have friends at school to lean on. When MJ learns that her neighbour, Mr. Arellano, is a former luchador and runs a wrestling school, she has a new mission in life: join the school, train hard, and become a wrestler. But threats to shut the school down put MJ’s new community at risk. What can she do to help? Bump is a moving middle grade nove about finding the courage to fight for what you love. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Fear and Courage

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco
by Judith Robbins Rose

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Look Both Ways In The Barrio Blanco

Daughter of undocumented Mexican immigrants, Jacinta Juarez doesn’t know much about the world outside her barrio. When a well-known news anchorwoman becomes her mentor after reporting on her youth center, Jacinta finds herself caught between two cultures. She want to embrace a better future but also longs for the comfort of her family and the barrio. When her family is torn apart, Jacinta needs to find her own strength to pick up the pieces. Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco is a charming and authentic coming of age story, told with humour and sensitivity. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Merci Suárez Changes Gears
by Meg Medina

Multicultural 2019 ALA Youth Media Award-Winning Books: Merci Suarez

Sixth-Grader Merci Suarez and her older brother are the only scholarship students at their private school in Florida. They have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. Added to that Merci is being targeted by a jealous girl and at home, her beloved grandfather is acting increasingly strange. Merci feels very alone with her confusion and worry and tries to find her own way of navigating the difficult situation. Award-winning Merci Suárez Changes Gears is a heartfelt yet humorous coming-of-age novel about change, authenticity and family connection. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

by Skila Brown

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Caminar

Set in 1981 during Guatemala’s Civil War, this is the story of a young boy who has to flee when soldiers invade his village. Separated from his mother, Carlos joins a band of guerillas and tries to make his way to his grandmother’s mountain village. Written entirely in free-verse, Caminar is a gripping and moving story of a young boy’s loss, survival and growth. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits
by Anna Meriano

New Multicultural Children's Books February 2019: Love Sugar Magic

In this follow-up of the instant hit Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble, Leonora Logroño has finally been introduced to her family’s bakery bruja magic. But since her special power hasn’t shown up yet, her family still won’t let her perform her own spells, and they expect her to keep the family magic secret, even from her best friend Caroline. Suddenly spirits are popping up all over town, causing all sorts of trouble! Is this Leo’s fault? And can she reverse the spell before it’s too late? Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle Of Spirits is a charming book that middle-graders will love. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Tortilla Sun
by Jennifer Cervantes

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Tortilla Sun

Initially, 12-year-old Lizzy is not keen on spending the summer with her grandmother in a remote village in New Mexico. But soon she enjoys her loving Nana’s company and the enchanted atmosphere of a village frozen in time. Lizzy also starts to uncover the mystery surrounding her father who died before she was born. Tortilla Sun is a gentle story about family, friendship and dealing with the past. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

The Moon Within
by Aida Salazar

New Multicultural Children's Books February 2019: The Moon Within

11-year old Celi Rivera has lots to grapple with, from her changing body to her first crush and her best friend’s exploration of gender fluidity. But most of all, she is dreading the looming arrival of her first period, because her mother insists on having a traditional Mexican moon ceremony. Told in verse, The Moon Within is a sensitive and humorous coming-of-age story that will appeal not only to young Latinas but girls everywhere. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Lety Out Loud
by Angela Cervantes

New Multicultural Children's Books February 2019: Lety Out Loud

Recently immigrated to the U.S., Lety Muñoz loves volunteering at the Furry Friends Animal Shelter because the dogs and cats there don’t care how fast she can find the right word in English. When another volunteer sets up a secret competition to determine who will be the official shelter scribe, Lety is worried that if the shelter finds out, they’ll kick her out of the program. And then she’ll never be able to adopt her favourite shelter dog! Lety Out Loud is a touching story about compassion, empathy and living between two cultures. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Santiago’s Road Home
by Alexandra Diaz

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

Determined to get away from his abusive grandmother, Santiago joins the kind María Dolores and her young daughter, Alegría, on their journey to the U.S. None of the three travelers realizes that the journey through Mexico to the border is just the beginning of their story. Santiago’s Road Home is a timely and harrowing novel about a young boy who gets detained by ICE while crossing the border from Mexico. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: 30 Multicultural Picture Books about Immigration

Merci Suárez Can’t Dance
by Meg Medina

Seventh grade is going to be a real trial for Merci Suárez. For science she’s got no-nonsense Mr. Ellis, who expects her to be a smart as her brother, Roli. She’s been assigned to co-manage the tiny school store with Wilson Bellevue, a boy she barely knows, but whom she might actually like. And she’s tangling again with classmate Edna Santos, who is bossier and more obnoxious than ever now that she is in charge of the annual Heart Ball. One thing is for sure, though: Merci Suárez can’t dance—not at the Heart Ball or anywhere else! In Merci Suárez Can’t Dance, follow-up to award–winning Merci Suárez Changes Gears, the lovable protagonist takes on seventh grade, with all its travails of friendship, family, and love. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Multicultural 2021 ALA Award-Winning Children’s & YA Books

Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza
by Kitty Felde

New Multicultural Children's Books February 2019: Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza

10-year-old Fina Mendoza’s mom just died. She and her older sister Gabby move to Washington, D.C. to live with Papa, a congressman from California. Fina loves riding the Capitol subways, grabbing snacks in congressional offices, and spending more time with Papa. But after she encounters a mysterious cat, a string of disasters follows, and Fina must solve the mystery of the Demon Cat of Capitol Hill. Welcome To Washington, Fina Mendoza is a fun read with a lovable protagonist that will appeal to middle-graders everywhere. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Native American

Rez Dogs
by Joseph Bruchac

Malian is visiting her grandparents on a Wabanaki reservation when, suddenly, all travel shuts down. There’s a new virus making people sick, and Malian will have to stay with her grandparents for the duration. She helps her grandparents use video chat, and listens to their stories. And when Malsum, one of the dogs living on the rez, shows up at their door, Malian’s family knows that he’ll protect them too. Told in verse inspired by oral storytelling, Rez Dogs highlights the ways Malian’s community has cared for one another through plagues of the past, and how they keep caring for one another today. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents

Healer of the Water Monster
by Brian Young

When Nathan goes to visit his grandma, Nali, at her mobile summer home on the Navajo reservation, he knows he’s in for a pretty uneventful summer, with no electricity or cell service. Still, he loves spending time with Nali and with his uncle Jet, though it’s clear when Jet arrives that he brings his problems with him. One night, while lost in the nearby desert, Nathan finds someone extraordinary: a Holy Being from the Navajo Creation Story—a Water Monster—in need of help. Now Nathan must summon all his courage to save his new friend. With the help of other Navajo Holy Beings, Nathan is determined to save the Water Monster, and to support Uncle Jet in healing from his own pain. Healer of the Water Monster is a powerful debut about a seemingly ordinary Navajo boy who comes to realize he’s a hero at heart. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Sisters of the Neversea
by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Lily and Wendy have been best friends since they became stepsisters. But with their feuding parents planning to spend the summer apart, what will become of their family? Little do they know that a mysterious boy has been watching them from the oak tree outside their window. A boy who intends to take them away from home for good, to an island of wild animals, Merfolk, Fairies, and kidnapped children, to a sea of merfolk, pirates, and a giant crocodile. A boy who calls himself Peter Pan. Sisters of the Neversea is a beautifully reimagined story that follows Native American Lily and her stepsister on a high-flying journey of magic, adventure, and courage to a fairy-tale island known as Neverland. ~ Diverse – Middle School

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: The Absolutely True Diary

Junior, an aspiring cartoonist, leaves his school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school. Based on the author’s own experiences, The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian is a touching and funny middle grade novel about the contemporary adolescence of a Native American boy. Illustrated with poignant cartoon-style drawings. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids
by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, Ancestor Approved is a stunning collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers that bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride. The young protagonists of the stories meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog). ~ Diverse – Middle School

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse
by Joseph Marshall

Native American Children's Books: In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse

Jimmy McClean’ father is part white and part Lakota, and his mother is Lakota. Over summer break Jimmy embarks on a journey with his grandfather, Nyles High Eagle. While on the road, his grandfather tells him the story of Crazy Horse, one of the most important figures in Lakota and American history. Expertly intertwining fiction and non-fiction, award-winning In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse is a moving chapter book about heritage and identity. ~ Diverse – Middle School

by Helen Frost

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Salt

Salt is a compelling middle grade novel about the friendship between children of settlers and a Native American tribe. In 1812 Anikwa and James spend their days fishing, trapping, and exploring the forests together. When tensions rise between the traders and the tribe, the two 12-year-olds face the heartbreaking decision where their deepest loyalties lie. ~ Diverse – Middle School

I Can Make This Promise
by Christine Day

Native American Children's Books

All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers. Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her. Inspired by the author’s family’s history, I Can Make This Promise tells the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secrets—and finds her own Native American identity. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 28 Multicultural Children’s Books about Adoption

Indian No More
by Ch. Willing & T. Sorell McManis

Native American Children's Books

Living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Umpqua girl Regina has ever known. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says their tribe no longer exists, her family has to relocate to Los Angeles where Regina finds a whole different world. She has never met kids of other races, and they’ve never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends. Acclaimed Indian No More is a moving middle-grade novel about change, identity and discrimination. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination

The Barren Grounds  // The Great Bear (The Misewa Saga)
by David Robertson


Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, are brought together in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They each feel disconnected and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home — until they find a secret place, walled off in an unfinished attic bedroom. A portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek and embark on a dangerous mission. Back at home, Eli and Morgan each struggle with personal issues: Eli is being bullied at school, while Morgan has to make an important decision about her birth mother. They turn to the place where they know they can learn the most, and make the journey to Misewa to visit their animal friends. Narnia meets traditional Indigenous stories of the sky and constellations in The Misewa Saga, an epic middle-grade fantasy series. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Book Series for Girls & Boys

by Joseph Bruchac

Twelve-year-old Okwaho’s life has suddenly changed. While he and his best friend are out hunting, his friend is kidnapped by men from a neighbouring tribal nation, and Okwaho barely escapes. Everyone in his village fears more raids and killings: The Five Nations of the Iroquois have been at war with one another for far too long, and no one can remember what it was like to live in peace. Okwaho is so angry that he wants to seek revenge for his friend, but before he can retaliate, a visitor with a message of peace comes to him in the woods. Can Okwaho convince the leaders of the five fighting nations to set down their weapons? Peacemaker is a compelling historical novel based on the creation of the Iroquois Confederacy. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 33 Multicultural Children’s Books about Peace

Race to the Sun
by Rebecca Roanhorse

Native American Children's Books

When her Dad disappears, Nizhoni, her brother and her best friend set out on a rescue mission that can only be accomplished with the help of Diné Holy People, all disguised as quirky characters. The kids must pass a series of trials in which it seems like nature itself is out to kill them. Race To The Sun is a funny and fast-paced adventure novel about the importance of family and respect for the land. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Stone River Crossing
by Tim Tingle

The Bok Chitto river is the only border between Martha’s town in the Choctaw Nation and the slave-owning plantation in Mississippi territory. She knows crossing the river to pick blackberries is dangerous as the slave owners could catch her, too. When she meets an enslaved boy called Lil Mo who tells her that his mother is about to be sold, Martha suggest his family crosses the river to become free. Stone River Crossing, an expansion of award-winning Crossing Bok Chitto, teaches  young readers that the strongest bridge between cultures is friendship. ~ Diverse – Middle School

by Thomas King

Borders is a masterfully told story of a boy and his mother whose road trip is thwarted at the border when they identify their citizenship as Blackfoot. Refusing to identify as either American or Canadian first bars their entry into the US, and then their return into Canada. In the limbo between countries, they find power in their connection to their identity and to each other. This powerful graphic novel explores nationhood from an Indigenous perspective and resonates deeply with themes of justice and belonging. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers

The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas
by David Bowles

Fifteen thousand years before Europeans stepped foot in the Americas, people had already spread from tip to tip and coast to coast. Like all humans, these Native Americans sought to understand their place in the universe, the nature of their relationship with the divine, and the origin of the world into which their ancestors had emerged. The answers lay in their sacred stories. The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas is a fascinating collection of stories from nations and cultures across two continents, from the Andes all the way up to Alaska. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 100 Native American Children’s Books


Counting by 7s
by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Counting by 7s

12-year-old Willow Chance is obsessed with nature, diagnosing medical conditions, and counting by 7s. Struggling to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, she leads a quietly happy life, until both her parents die in an accident, leaving her alone in a confusing world. But Willow manages to push through her grief and find a substitute family. With a multicultural cast (Willow describes herself as a ‘person of colour”, her new family is of mixed Vietnamese, African American, and Mexican heritage), bestselling Counting by 7s is a moving middle grade novel about loss, resilience and the true meaning of family. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Too Far From Home
by Naomi Shmuel

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Biracial Jewish girl Meskerem was born in a small town in the Golan Heights of Israel, to an Ethiopian mother and an American father. Soon after Operation Solomon, when several thousand Ethiopian immigrants were brought to Israel, Meskerem’s parents decided to move to the center of the country, to the town of Herzelia. Meskerem comes face-to-face with the ignorance and prejudices of her new classmates. With the help of her Ethiopian grandmother, Meskerem comes to terms with who she is and finds strength in belonging to three different cultures. Too Far From Home is a heartfelt coming-of-age story about immigration, family and multicultural Jewish heritage. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 21 Middle Grade Novels With Multiracial Characters

The Unforgotten Coat
by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: The Unforgotten Coat

Written in the form of a notebook, The Unforgotten Coat chronicles the events of Julie’s sixth-grade year many years ago. Two Mongolian brothers inexplicably appear one morning in her class in Liverpool, England. Chingis, the older brother, proclaims Julie as their “Good Guide” – a nomadic tradition of welcoming strangers to a new land -, and Julie must somehow navigate them through soccer, school uniforms, and British slang, whilst dealing with her own typical tween issues. A unique, moving and sometimes funny middle-grade novel about immigration and two brothers trying to survive. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Best Babysitters Ever
by Caroline Cala

New Multicultural Children's Books February 2019: Best Babysitters Ever

12-year-old Malia convinces her friends Dot and Bree to start a babysitting club in order to earn funds for an epic birthday bash. But babysitting isn’t exactly what they thought it would be… Best Babysitters Ever is a funny middle-grade novel about friendship, jealousy and first crushes. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2020

When the World Turned Upside Down
by K. Ibura

When their school closes due to the virus, Shayla, Liam, Ai, and Ben’s lives are turned upside down. As they each struggle to adjust to life in quarantine, they discover they are not alone: their apartment building is full of people who need their help. Working together, they begin to see that there is power in numbers. It’s a lesson they’ll need when protests explode in the streets. Soon, each friend has to decide what it means to be part of a community―and how much they’re willing to do to make this world safer for everyone. Set against the onset of COVID, When the World Turned Upside Down navigates issues of race and social justice in a heartwarming story of generosity, friendship, and the power of youth. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination

Almost Flying
by Jake Maia Arlow

Would-be amusement park aficionado Dalia only has two items on her summer bucket list: (1) finally ride a roller coaster and (2) figure out how to make a new best friend. But then her dad suddenly gets engaged and wants Dalia to spend the summer with her future stepsister, Alexa. Dalia comes up with a new plan: If she brings Rani, the new girl from her swim team, along maybe she can have the perfect summer after all. But what starts out as a week of funnel cakes and Lazy River rides goes off the rails when Dalia discovers that Alexa’s girlfriend is joining the trip. And keeping Alexa’s secret makes Dalia realize one of her own: She might have more-than-friend feelings for Rani. Almost Flying is an unabashedly queer middle grade debut about a teenage girl’s journey to self-discovery. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 75+ Multicultural LGBTQIA Books for Children & Teenagers

Blue Birds
by Caroline Starr Rose

Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading: Blue Birds

Another one about a friendship between children of settlers and native children, this time with girls as main characters. With rich historical detail, Blue Birds tells the story of two girls from two very different worlds: Alis belongs to a family of settlers from England, and Kimi to a native family of the Roanoke tribe. Despite the tensions between the settlers and the Native people, the two girls form an impossible friendship and risk their lives for one another. ~ Diverse – Middle School

How to Find What You’re Not Looking For
by Veera Hiranandani

Sydney Taylor Book Award (Middle Grade)

Twelve-year-old Ariel Goldberg’s family’s Jewish bakery runs into financial trouble, and her older sister has eloped with a young man from India following the Supreme Court decision that strikes down laws banning interracial marriage. As change becomes Ariel’s only constant, she grapples with both her family’s prejudice and the antisemitism she experiences, while learning to define her own beliefs. How To Find What You’re Not Looking For is a deeply moving historical fiction novel about family, identity, and finding your own voice. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Novels of 2021

Kazu Jones and the Denver Dognappers
by Shauna Holyoak

New Multicultural Children's Books April 2019

When a string of dognappings grips her Denver neighbourhood, spunky Kazu Jones sets out to track down the culprits with the help of her gang, including her best friend and expert hacker, March; and her ginormous, socially anxious pup, Genki. With a diverse cast of characters and a suspenseful storyline, Kazu Jones and the Denver Dogsnappers is the first instalment in a new series. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Wildseed Witch
by Marti Dumas

NEW Multicultural Children's Books May 2022

Hasani’s post-seventh-grade summer to-do list is pretty simple: get a bigger following for her makeup YouTube channel and figure out how to get her parents back together. What she does NOT expect is that an emotional outburst will spark a latent magical ability in her that attracts the attention of witches and lands her in a fancy charm school. While the other girls have always known they were destined to be witches, Hasani is a Wildseed––a stray witch from a family of non-witches, with no background knowledge, no way to control her magic, and a lot to catch up on. Wildseed Witch is a fun contemporary fantasy novel with an all-BIPOC cast. ~ Diverse – Middle School

*You can buy any of the books on this site from Amazon USA by clicking on the book titles or covers*

Multicultural Disney Toys Multicultural Games & Puzzles Multicultural Barbie Dolls
Multicultural Dolls & Puppets Multicultural Play Figures Multicultural Arts & Crafts

Multicultural Children's Clothes

6 Responses

  1. marco
    | Reply

    New Kid
    by Jerry Craft
    Its not the cover that I got interested its the title because I want to see the reaction of him being a new kid and not knowing no one.
    i just read the mini summary and i will love to read it

  2. Cheryl Carpinello
    | Reply

    Thanks for sharing this fabulous collection with the Kid Lit Blog Hop community.

  3. Xyra
    | Reply

    Stopping by from the Kid Lit Blog Hop to say, “Hello.” Thank you for the interesting list of books.

  4. Lisa Lewis, MD
    | Reply

    Wow! What a great selection! Thank you for sharing.

    • Colours of Us

      Thank you! Glad you find it useful!

Leave a Reply