Since November is the month of Thanksgiving, we thought we’d feature middle-grade stories that celebrate kindness and gratitude. Enjoy!
Hope in the Holler by Lisa Lewis Tyre: There’s nothing like the kindness of friends when family situations become difficult. Right before Wavie’s mother died, she gave Wavie a list of instructions to help her find her way in life, including this one: Be brave, Wavie B! You got as much right to a good life as anybody, so find it! But little did Wavie’s mom know that events would conspire to bring Wavie back to Conley Hollow, the Appalachian hometown her mother tried to leave behind. Now Wavie’s back in the Holler–and in the clutches of her Aunt Samantha Rose. Life with the devilish Samantha Rose and her revolting cousin Hoyt is no picnic, but there’s real pleasure in sleeping in her own mother’s old bed, and making friends with the funny, easygoing kids her aunt calls the “neighborhood-no-accounts.” With their help, Wavie just might be able to prevent her aunt from becoming her legal guardian and find her courage and place in the world. -DDA
Lemons by Melissa Savage: Sometimes kindness takes courage! Lemonade Liberty Witt’s mama always told her: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But Lem can’t possibly make lemonade out of her new life in Willow Creek, California—the Bigfoot Capital of the World—where she’s forced to live with a grandfather she’s never met after her mother passes away.Then she meets eleven-year-old Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives Inc., who is the sole Bigfoot investigator for their small town. After he invites Lem to be his assistant for the summer, they set out on an epic adventure to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film. But along the way, Lem and Tobin end up discovering more than they ever could have imagined. And Lem realizes that maybe she can make lemonade out of her new life after all. -DDA
Halfway to Harmony by Barbara O’Connor: New York Times bestselling author Barbara O’Connor has penned a heart-felt story that reminds us gratitude is about being thankful for what we have AND what we’ve lost. Walter has been struggling since his brother died. He keeps having a puzzling dream where his brother tells him to blow out his birthday candles so he can show him his world. When Posey and her three-legged dog move in next door. Walter finds a new friend and an adventure when they help a man who is determined to win the town’s Hot Air Balloon Race. Walter soon realizes moving forward in life doesn’t mean he has to forget his brother. Peace comes with being grateful for both the things he has and what he’s lost. -LSB
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor: After 12-year-0ld Lydia’s mother dies, Lydia goes to live with her aunt, her aunt’s wife on a farm. This story about grief and starting over is as soft, comforting, and beautiful as the hand-knitted sweater that Lydia wears constantly to keep her mother close to her. The unwavering kindness she is shown from her new adults, helps her, in turn, be kind to the unruly, untrained, big yellow dog recently adopted from the animal shelter. Although she never considered herself a dog person before, Lydia bonds with Gruffer and her new adults and begins to feel like she belongs. Although she misses her mother intensely, she’s grateful to her aunt for opening her home and heart to Lydia. -KZ
Wonder by R.J. Palacio: August Pullman would be an ordinary kid except he was born with a deformed face. After years of homeschooling, his mom thinks he needs to go to school—middle school. We all know how tough that can be for any kid. Through the various challenges, Auggie and all of the students, faculty, and staff at Beecher Prep learn about the power of kindness and how it can make a positive difference. -SE