• Celebrate Pride Month with These Inclusive Middle Grade Books


    June is Pride Month, and to celebrate inclusion here are five great middle grade novels, all available at the Barrington Area Library.

    Zenobia July
    Lisa Bunker

    Zenobia just moved across the country to Maine, and everything feels different: she's making new friends, she doesn't want to stay cooped up in her room all day, and, perhaps most importantly, nobody calls her a boy.

    As she settles into her new life and community, Zenobia is shocked to discover that someone has been posting hateful memes on the school website. Using her skills as a coder and hacker, Zenobia must team up with her newfound friends and figure out who is trying to hurt her.


    Too Bright to See
    Kyle Lukoff

    It's the summer before middle school, and while Bug would prefer to spend it having fun with Moira, Moira has different priorities -- buying new clothes, honing her makeup skills, and talking about boys. But Bug doesn't have time to worry about Moira's changing personality: there's a ghost in Bug's house...

    Too Bright to See is a heartfelt exploration of grief, the complexities of friendship, growing older, and what it's like to grapple with one's gender identity.


    Martin McLean, Middle School Queen
    Alyssa Zaczek

    When you look at it objectively, Martin shouldn't have any trouble expressing himself: his mother's an artist, his uncle's in theater, he's surrounded by quirky, outspoken personalities... but Martin just can't seem to find the right way to be himself. That is, until his uncle introduces him to the world of drag.

    And thus, Lottie León is born!

    Martin loves dressing in drag, loves the confidence boost, but he can't bring himself to open up to his friends about it. What if they make fun of him? What if the magic of Lottie León goes away? And that's not even mentioning Martin's new crush, Chris. Martin's content to keep his double life a secret, until a scheduling conflict between his Mathletes club and his first-ever drag show forces him to reveal his true self to his friends.


    Answers in the Pages
    David Levithan

    Donovan's a huge fan of The Adventurers, a story about two boys trying to thwart an evil genius. Donovan's mom, on the other hand, isn't wild about the book, especially when she becomes convinced that the two main characters are gay.

    The whole town works itself into a frenzy as Donovan's mom tries to get the book banned from school. Caught in the middle are Donovan, who doesn't understand why the adults are making such a big deal out of the book; as well as Gideon and Roberto, two classmates who are assigned to work on a book unit together.

    Told in three interwoven stories -- Donovan's, Gideon's and Roberto's, and the plot of The Adventurers -- Answers in the Pages depicts a very real, very pressing issue in the world of literature and education.


    Ellen Outside the Lines
    A.J. Sass

    Ellen Katz prefers it when things fit into easy categories. When plans work out and life makes sense: attending temple with her parents every weekend, hanging out with her best (and only) friend Laurel, etc. Ellen, who is on the autism spectrum, relies on Laurel to help her navigate the turbulent waters of middle school life. But now Laurel's making new friends, her interests are changing, and she doesn't seem to have as much time for Ellen.

    The two friends plan to fix their friendship during their Spanish class's trip to Spain, but things don't work out as they planned. Ellen is assigned to a different group, and finds herself without Laurel for the first time. Included in her new group is Isa, a nonbinary student whose identity challenges Ellen's way of looking at things.

    Ellen Outside the Lines is a heartwarming, sweet, and often silly celebration of those moments where life doesn't go exactly according to plan.


    Looking for recommendations? Fill out our form to get a custom list of reads or a Book Bundle for pickup.

      Youth Services Librarian Chris