Please welcome Nic Stone today to kick off our #ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2020 with the Children’s Book Council. She has created a list of middle grade reads perfect for children of color.
Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
How to Go on an Unplanned Road Trip with Your Grandma:
• Grab a Suitcase: Prepacked from the big spring break trip that got CANCELLED.
• 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. It holds history, memories, and most important, the way home.
What Not to Bring:
• A Cell Phone: Avoid contact with Dad at all costs. Even when G’ma starts acting stranger than usual.
Set against the backdrop of the segregation history of the American South, take a trip with New York Times bestselling Nic Stone and 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–his G’ma included. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
We are giving away one copy of Clean Getaway. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
Middle Grade Reads Perfect for Children of Color
I loved reading as a middle schooler, but it was hard for me to find a book that had contemporary characters who weren’t white. This was damaging in a number of ways that I won’t get into right now, but here is a list of books I wish I’d had as a kid:
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
In this book, Jackson Greene—a downright brilliant black boy—and a colorful cast of secondary characters set out to prevent a school bully from stealing the class election (Jackson’s best friend, Gaby de la Cruz, who is Latinx, is the other candidate). This delightful romp is sure to make kids laugh while simultaneously exposing some of the ways systems can be rigged so that certain people benefit and others lose out. I also love the flipped trope of a “heist” that’s actually designed to keep someone else from taking something unfairly. (BONUS: the follow-up, To Catch a Cheat.) [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramee
Twelve was the age I began to wonder who I was, and to realize I could have an impact on the world. If you ask me, it’s never too early to learn how to stand up for what you believe in. In this epic debut, goody-two-shoes (initially) Shayla does just that. Watching her transform from a girl who doesn’t make waves into one who realizes the importance of making the right kind of noise was deeply empowering for me as an adult. I can only imagine how awesome it would be for a kid. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender
This book is a wonder: a perfect example of specificity begetting universality. Caroline lives on St. Thomas and is contending with a number of unfortunate things (potentially as a result of being born during a hurricane): bullying at school, a spirit who won’t leave her be, and an absentee mother who left and didn’t come back. It gave me a glimpse into a culture—including traditions and superstitions—different from my own, while simultaneously painting a detailed picture of something I did face: developing feelings for a best friend. The emotions Caroline experiences in response to the circumstances she faces throughout the story will be relatable to any kid. It’s a beautiful lesson in the power of books as vehicles for empathy. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya
Listen: I would follow Pablo’s books to the end of the earth. This one tackles so many *important* topics (in that “teachable” way we adults can’t seem to get enough of) without ever getting didactic or unrelatable. Seeing Emilia doing her best to be herself and find her place as the world and her family shift and morph right before her eyes gave me hope. A wavy-haired girl who gets into welding? Sign me up. Additionally, the infusion of Spanish into the gorgeous prose in this book was exciting for me as an adult who, as a kid, was always told there’s only one way to speak and write in English. It’s super validating. [middle grade, ages 10 and up]
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
As a kid, I loved a book about an adventure. Harry Potter? Check. Harriet the Spy? Check. This one features a Bangladeshi Muslim girl who gets sucked into an old game Jumanji-style and has to overcome a set of challenges to get out. At the heart of the adventure, though, is love. Fighting for those you most care for. This is another one that exists as both an amazing mirror and a freshly washed window. It also made me delightfully hungry [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Giveaway: 1 copy of Clean Giveaway!
We are giving away one copy of Clean Getaway. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.We can only mail to U.S. addresses.
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.