Lost Password

Best Middle Grade Books About Kids With Challenges

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


An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!

Share This Post

Like This Post


Related Posts


Recent Reviews & Posts