Middle Grade Novels for Disability Pride Month and More Great Kids’ Books!


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Margaret Kingsbury grew up in a house so crammed with books she couldn’t open a closet door without a book stack tumbling, and she’s brought that same decorative energy to her adult life. Margaret has an MA in English with a concentration in writing and has worked as a bookseller and adjunct English professor. She’s currently a freelance writer and editor, and in addition to Book Riot, her pieces have appeared in School Library Journal, BuzzFeed News, The Lily, Parents, StarTrek.com, and more. She particularly loves children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, horror, graphic novels, and any books with disabled characters. You can read more about her bookish and parenting shenanigans in Book Riot’s twice-weekly The Kids Are All Right newsletter. You can also follow her kidlit bookstagram account @BabyLibrarians, or on Twitter @AReaderlyMom.

Happy Sunday, kidlit friends! Have you heard of Regal Cinemas $1 movies? We took my daughter to the theater for the first time today, and it cost under $20 for all three of us, plus snacks. There are limited times and movie selections, though.

Today I’m reviewing all middle grade novels: four novels with disability representation and two new releases. They’re all fantastic.

New Releases

Cover of I'm from Here Too by Kashmira Sheth

I’m from Here Too by Kashmira Sheth

This is the first novel I’ve read told from a Sikh boy’s perspective. It’s a middle grade novel-in-verse about an Indian American Sikh boy, Anoop, starting 8th grade and experiencing racially-charged bullying. At the same time, he’s worried about his grandfather in India, who has pneumonia. Over winter vacation, he and his father visit India, and Anoop learns more about his grandfather’s story during the Partition and what it means to be Sikh. When he returns home, he has more confidence in how to handle the bullies. However, the bullying increases.

Cover of Majestica by Sarah TolcserCover of Majestica by Sarah Tolcser

Majestica by Sarah Tolcser

Now for a new middle grade fantasy that reminded me of Jurassic Park, but with fantasy creatures! Hattie Swift aspires to be a maid at the Hotel Majestica, a resort by a magical wildlife refuge. After her parents died, the hotel staff raised her. She gets her chance to be a maid, but not in the way she wanted. She has to accompany the hotel’s spoiled niece on a train tour of the magical forest. Also accompanying them is an apprentice magician. When the train breaks down and the fences holding in the magical creatures malfunction, Hattie and her two companions go on an unexpected magical adventure.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

For Disability Pride Month, I reviewed picture books with disability representation in the last newsletter. For this one, I’m reviewing middle grade novels with disability representation.

the cover of The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet by Jake Maia Arlowthe cover of The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet by Jake Maia Arlow

The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet by Jake Maia Arlow

This is a phenomenal and voice-driven novel about 12-year-old Al Schneider, who is queer and Jewish, discovering she has Crohn’s Disease. She can’t stop rushing to the bathroom, and she’s miserable when she gets the diagnosis. Her doctor recommends an IBD support group, which her mother makes her go to. For the first time, she’s making friends who get where she’s coming from, but meanwhile, her forever friend is feeling left out. And their mothers are acting weird.

Cover of Sail Me Away Home by LaZotteCover of Sail Me Away Home by LaZotte

Sail Me Away Home by Ann Clare LeZotte

This is the third and final book in LeZotte’s lovely Show Me a Sign series, which takes place on Martha’s Vineyard in the early 19th century. Each book follows Mary Lambert, who is Deaf. Many people on Martha’s Vineyard are Deaf, and Martha is treated normally and is able to communicate with everyone local with signs. In this third book, she’s a teacher who reluctantly agrees to accompany a group of missionaries abroad to European schools for the Deaf. It seems like a chance of a lifetime, but the missionaries treat her as less than human, which only gets worse as they travel. They don’t see her as having any agency. This is written in diary format. While it is the third in a series, it could be read as a standalone.

Cover of Mirror to MirrorCover of Mirror to Mirror

Mirror to Mirror by Rajani LaRocca

In this middle grade verse novel, two twin sisters decide to switch places at summer musical theater camp. Whoever can pull it off the longest gets to choose which high school they attend. Chaya seems like the obvious choice to win: she’s outgoing and loves being center stage. Maya has severe anxiety, which she tries to hide from everyone, though Chaya knows. But at summer camp, pretending to be the other, the twins come to understand one another better. It’s a fast, engaging read.

Cover of Puzzled: A Memoir about Growing Up with OCD by Pan CookeCover of Puzzled: A Memoir about Growing Up with OCD by Pan Cooke

Puzzled: A Memoir about Growing Up with OCD by Pan Cooke

This fantastic graphic memoir opens when the author is 10 and ends while he is in high school. Cooke tells the story of his OCD and the long journey to discovering that he had OCD. Attending Catholic school, Cooke thought if he could just get his Hail Marys and prayers just right, it would be like puzzle pieces fitting together. He would stay awake many hours in the night trying to get them perfect. During services, he would be plagued by intrusive thoughts and believed he might be possessed by the devil. These obsessions changed as he grew, worsening until he felt he could no longer hang out with his friend because of them.

Bookish Good

Literacy Tee by angiepeaLiteracy Tee by angiepea

Literacy Tee by angiepea

You can get this design as a t-shirt, tank, sweatshirt, or hoodie. Show where you stand in every season! $30+

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