Diverse Middle Grade Reads

Diverse books are important as they show and represent different cultures, beliefs, skin colours and abilities. Reading diverse books can help readers change their attitude towards the differences in society. It allows the reader to step into the shoes of the main character and see a different life through their eyes.

Diversity in reading is something that we are really passionate about. There's very little diversity in books (and authors) in the Western society - the majority of books are written by white people.

This blog post contains own voices books that have main characters that are of a variety of ethnicities and origins. Own voice means that the author is of the same ethnicity as the characters they write about.


The book cover contains a boy who is walking down the street. He is wearing an orange tshirt and has a black backpack, shorts and shoes. The ground is an orange colour and the sky is a light blue

Efrén Divided - Ernesto Cisneros

Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman - or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved.

 But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.

 Genre: Contemporary fiction


The background of the book is blue. There is a girl sitting on two large slices of pizza

American as Paneer Pie - Supriya Kelkar

An Indian-American girl who struggles to navigate her two very different lives: the one at home, where she can be herself, and the one at school, where she is teased for her culture. When a racist incident rocks her small town, she must decide to continue to remain silent or find her voice.

 Genre: Contemporary fiction


The cover of the book contains a night time scene in South Korea. There are multi coloured lights in the building in the background, and in foreground there's a river and a boat with a man stood in it

A Wish in the Dark - Christina Soontornvat

All light in Chattana is created by one man — the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom, and he dreams of the day he will be able to walk among them. But when Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars. The wealthy dine and dance under bright orb light, while the poor toil away in darkness. Worst of all, Pong’s prison tattoo marks him as a fugitive who can never be truly free.

 Genre: Fantasy | Adventure


The background of the book cover is a red curtain. There's a girl stood in front of the curtain with a microphone to her mouth. There is a spotlight pointing at her

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! - Jessica Kim

On the outside, Yumi Chung suffers from #shygirlproblems, a perm-gone-wrong, and kids calling her "Yu-MEAT" because she smells like her family's Korean barbecue restaurant. On the inside, Yumi is ready for her Netflix stand-up special. Her notebook is filled with mortifying memories that she's reworked into comedy gold. All she needs is a stage and courage.

 Genre: Contemporary fiction | Humour


The background is sky blue. There's a large bird in the foreground. Inside the bird is a black starry sky and two children pointing up to the stars

Return to Sender - Julia Alvarez

After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

 Genre: Historical Fiction


The background is green which fades down into a yellow and then a red. There's a sign in the foreground that is pointing in 3 different directions

Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish - Pablo Cartaya

Marcus Vega is six feet tall, 180 pounds, and the owner of a premature mustache. When you look like this and you're only in the eighth grade, you're both a threat and a target. Marcus knows what classmates and teachers see when they look at him: a monster.

 But appearances are deceiving. At home, Marcus is a devoted brother. And he finds ways to earn cash to contribute to his family’s rainy day fund. His mom works long hours and his dad walked out ten years ago—someone has to pick up the slack.

 Genre: Contemporary Fiction


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