Little girl makeing a face...kids with problems

Best Middle Grade Books About Kids With Challenges

Executive Editor Book Buzz

Sometime it is just tough to be a kid…

Every kid has tough times, but some children have extra, real-life problems to deal with on top of the everyday stuff.  Whether it be a disability or homelessness, the challenges can be real and feel overwhelming.  Here are some of our recommendations for middle grade readers who are looking for a read to provide empathy or to provide insight and understanding.  All the books look at the difficult topics in an age-appropriate and sensitive way.  Also, the books are relatively contemporary in their settings–no fantasy or science fiction here.  Small Steps:  The Year I Got Polio is non-fiction, but the other titles are all fiction.

Click on the book covers below to go to full review with content analysis and ratings.

Losing It, Book CoverThe Problem:  Being overweight

The Book:  Losing It by Erin Fry

 

 

 

 

Counting by 7s, Book CoverThe Problem:  Extraordinary high intelligence leading to difficulties in social interactions.  (And if that wasn’t enough, death of parents.)

The Book:  Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

 

 

 

How to Steal a Dog, Book CoverThe Problem:  Homelessness

The Book:  How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor

 

 

 

 

The Problem:  Stuttering Paperboy, Book Cover

The Book:  Paperboy by Vince Vawter

 

 

 

 

The Problem:  Cerebral PalsyOut of My Mind, Book Cover

The Book:  Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

 

 

 

 

The Problem:  Asperger Syndrome (& school shooting)Mockingbird, Book Cover

The Book:  Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

 

 

 

 

 

The Problem:  Physical deformityWonder, Book Cover

The Book:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio

 

 

 

 

The Problem:  PolioSmall Steps: The Year I Got Polio, Book Cover

The Book:  Small Steps:  The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret

 

 

 

 

Zane and the Hurrican, Book CoverThe Problem:  Hurricane Katrina/Natural Disasters

The Book:  Zane and the Hurricane by Rodman Philbrick