Hey everyone! With a new school year underway, we find that this is a high stress time, especially for kids who are entering into a new school/classroom, those who have moved and have to navigate new territory as well as attempt to establish friendships. As an adult and educator, EYE have trouble with this so I know that some of the younger generations, especially the introverted of the pack, may struggle with these daunting things.
I was scrolling on twitter (not quite doom but cautiously doing so) when I came across the tweet of an author speaking of their child’s struggle with being in a new setting and attempting to make friends (I’m not linking because I haven’t gained permission from them to do so as their child is the focus of it). This author asked for middle grade book suggestions and y’all know how excited I get over book recommendations so I jumped at providing a list. It got me thinking about the fact what I really hadn’t thought about the older kids in this struggle as my work focuses around 3-5 year olds with special needs so I wanted to make amends by sharing the list here and adding a bunch of others I thought of later! Some of these have their own blog posts or were in others so I’ll link those as well.
- Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas
- The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton
- The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim
- For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama Lockington
- Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D Williams
- Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas
- The Only Black Girls In Town by Brandy Colbert
- Ways To Make Sunshine by Renee Watson
- Front Desk by Kelly Yang
- Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee
- The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
- Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland
- My Life As An Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi
- Maya And The Rising Dark by Rena Baron
- CeCe Rios And The Desert Of Souls by Kaela Rivera
- Amari And The Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
- A Taste Of Magic by J. Elle
- Serwa Boeting’s Guide To Vampire Hunting by Roseanne Brown
- A Curse On Spectacle Key by Chantel Acevedo
- Onyeka And The Academy Of The Sun by Tola Okogwu
- Theo Tan And The Fox Spirit by Jesse Q. Sutanto
- Fibbed by Elizabeth Agyemang
- Zachery Ying And The Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao
- Jennifer Chen Is Not Alone by Tae Keller
- Shinji Takahashi And The Mark Of The Coatl by Julie Kagawa
- In The Key Of Us by Mariama Lockington
- Omar Rising by Aisha Saaed (companion book)
All of these books tackle themes from moving, new school/boarding school, making friends, new abilities and a combination of two or more of these things. I apologize that I didn’t give little reviews, this week has been a lot but I hope to get back to that next week! If you have questions about a specific book, do feel free to drop them in the comments and I will answer (spoiler-free, of course)!
As an educator, I do want to offer a word (or a few) of advice to the parents/guardians out there of children who are dealing with these struggles. Please openly communicate with your child’s teachers (all of them) about creating a more supportive environment for not just your child but all others who may be having these anxieties. Half the time, it’s not just one student having trouble finding their footing with their peers and their new environments. Ask the teachers about doing class meetings where a safe space is created for the children to speak on whatever is on their hearts. This may open the floor for the kids to connect. There is also the possibility of reaching out to school administrators to set up support groups within the grades. I would also recommend asking to be linked to other parents/guardians of children dealing with social anxiety or are new to the environment. Of course, we want these connections to be made organically but we, as adults, can be a positive catalyst. Oh and if you can find a great child therapist and have the means for one, it would be helpful for the kid(s) to have a neutral party to speak to about their struggles and be offered the tools to deal with them.
Anyway, I hope that this list and little bit of advice is helpful. Do you know of any great middle grades by authors of color that should be added to this list? Have any advice for adults who have children having a tough time with new settings or making new friends? Let me know in the comments or on social media on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can find me mostly in book centered clubs/rooms (primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays). Also please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already because it makes me feel like I read some great middle grades that ease my anxious heart! Until the next post, I’m sending y’all bookish love and wishing you happy reading always!