With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we decided to feature our favorite middle-grade books that inspire gratitude and kindness. Here’s our list:
Hope in the Holler by Lisa Lewis Tyre: Right before Wavie’s mom died, she gave Waivie a list of instructions to help her move on. When Waivie is forced to live with her dastardly aunt in Conley Hollow, she finds beauty in the mountains and makes friends with friendly, kind-hearted souls. Together they help her grab a piece of the good life her mom told her about.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio: Auggie Pulman’s brain works the same as every other 10-year-old, but his appearance is anything but normal. This book conveys lessons in gratitude for good friends, a supportive family, and understanding teachers. -S.E.
Class Act by Jerry Craft: Eighth-grader Drew Ellis is no stranger to the saying, “You have to work twice as hard to be just as good.” His grandmother has reminded him his entire life. But what if he works ten times as hard and still isn’t afforded the same opportunities that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted.
To make matters worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend Lima might be one of those privileged kids. He wants to pretend like everything is fine, but it’s hard not to withdraw, and even their mutual friend, Jordan doesn’t know how to keep the group together.
As the pressures mount, will Drew find a way to bridge the divide so he and his friends can truly accept each other? And most important, will he finally be able to accept himself? A good book for promoting kindness and friendship between kids from different backgrounds. -K.S.
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff: Albie isn’t the smartest, the fastest, the most musical, or the most artistic, and he knows that he isn’t living up to his parents’ expectations. With the help of a wise babysitter, Albie learns to appreciate what he’s good at, being a friend. -K.Z.