Recommended Reads - Rainbow Reads for Middle Grades

Every single reader deserves a book where they can see a reflection of themselves, regardless of race, sexuality, creed and many other factors.

Redwood and Ponytail

by K.A. Holt

Kate and Tam meet, and both of their worlds tip sideways. At first, Tam figures Kate is your stereotypical cheerleader; Kate sees Tam as another tall jock. And the more they keep running into each other, the more they surprise each other. Beneath Kate's sleek ponytail and perfect façade, Tam sees a goofy, sensitive, lonely girl. And Tam's so much more than a volleyball player, Kate realizes: She's everything Kate wishes she could be. It's complicated. Except it's not.

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!


Alan Cole is Not a Coward 

by Eric Bell

Alan Cole can't stand up to his cruel brother, Nathan. He can't escape the wrath of his demanding father, who thinks he's about as exceptional as a goldfish. And -- scariest of all -- he can't let the cute boy across the cafeteria know he has a crush on him.

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

Hurricane Child 

by Kacen Callender

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child, being born during a hurricane is unlucky. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won't stop following her, and — worst of all — Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back. But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend — and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother — before Caroline loses her forever.

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James 

by Ashley Herring Blake

When Sunny St. James receives a new heart, she decides to set off on a "New Life Plan": 1) do awesome amazing things she could never do before; 2) find a new best friend; and 3) kiss a boy for the first time. Her "New Life Plan" seems to be racing forward, but when she meets her new best friend Quinn, Sunny questions whether she really wants to kiss a boy at all. When the reemergence of her mother, Sunny begins a journey to becoming the new Sunny St. James.

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

Better Nate than Never 

by Tim Federle

Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he's wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he'd settle for seeing a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he's stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby's help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There's an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

Zenobia July 

by Lisa Bunker

Zenobia July is starting a new life. She used to live in Arizona with her father; now she's in Maine with her aunts. She used to spend most of her time behind a computer screen, improving her impressive coding and hacking skills; now she's coming out of her shell and discovering a community of friends at Monarch Middle School. People used to tell her she was a boy; now she's able to live openly as the girl she always knew she was. When someone anonymously posts hateful memes on her school's website, Zenobia knows she's the one with the abilities to solve the mystery, all while wrestling with the challenges of a new school, a new family, and coming to grips with presenting her true gender for the first time.

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

The Best at It 

by Maulik Pancholy

Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you're really good at and become the BEST at it. Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul's brain. While he's not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Miller will stop torturing him at school. And he won't be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge. . . But what if he discovers he isn't the best at anything?

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

Drum Roll, Please 

by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It's the only time she doesn't feel like a mouse. Now she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods. But this summer brings a lot of big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself unexpectedly falling for another girl at camp. To top it all off, Melly's not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock 'n' roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart?

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

The Backstagers 

by James Tynion IV

When Jory transfers to the private, all-boys school St. Genesius, he figures joining the stage crew would involve a lot of just fetching props and getting splinters. To his pleasant surprise, he discovers there's a door backstage that leads to different worlds, and all of the stagehands know about it! All the world's a stage...but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic!

Available on hoopla

Elle of the Ball 

by Elena Delle Donne

Elle has always been tall, but as she enters seventh grade she is already six feet. It is a good thing she loves playing basketball since that is all anyone ever asks her about when they meet her. With her new extra height, she is moving from a guard to center this year. Along with learning a new position, she is adjusting to her new height, making her feel like she will never be coordinated again. Elle is also dealing with her school's annual cotillion in which she will have to dance with a boy for the first time ever. As the tween protests being forced to wear a dress and dance for a grade, she learns that her friends and her family love her for who she is and that she is more capable than she believes.

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

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