Inspiring picks for fearless middle graders.
  1. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
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    Carter and Sadie may be siblings, but feel more like strangers since their mother died. Nothing like an epic adventure in the realm of Egyptian gods to bring them together.
  2. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
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    Married at 13, Miyax (Julie), runs away with a goal to get to her pen pal in San Francisco. As she becomes part of a wolf pack, the story deftly moves between human and animal consciousness as she learns to communicate her pack in this story of courage and survival.
  3. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
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    This thoroughly researched novel is an alternate look at the Revolutionary war through the eyes of Isabel, a slave. Devastated after she is promised freedom only to become the property of an anti-Revolution New York City couple, she begins to spy on them for the Patriots
  4. Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
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    Lily, NOT Tim, and Dunkin, not Norbert, strike up an unlikely friendship right before they start 8thgrade. This slightly humorous yet emotional story reflects on the ins and outs of struggling with bi-polar depression, being transgender and surviving middle school.
  5. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
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    Told through a combination of alternating narrator and hilarious footnotes, interview excerpts and contestant profiles, this story explores what would happen if a plane full of Miss Teen Dream Pageant contestants crash landed on a supposedly deserted island.
  6. A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
    Veda’s passion for Bharatanatyam, traditional Indian dance, is crushed when she loses her legs from the knees down in a terrible accident. Her strength in accepting her disability and rediscovering her passion and spirituality are beautifully explored in this novel in verse.
  7. Zodiac Starforce by Kevin Panetta, and Paulina
    High school is hard enough without being part of a secret magical sisterhood battling evil from other dimensions in this exciting graphic novel a la Sailor Moon.
  8. Ms. Marvel, Vol 1.: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
    The newest addition to the Marvel universe is just an ordinary Muslim teen from New Jersey, or is she? The first volume of Kamala Khan’s crazy adventure as a super hero with actual powers is full of quirk, snark and of course, battles of epic proportions.
  9. Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath
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    Combining illustrations worthy of the former movie animator with funny, inspiring and sometimes gruesome stories about infamous women of history, myth and literature.
  10. Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein
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    The radical lives of artists, athletes, activists and adventurers from all over the world—2000 BCE to present—are told through crisp, bold black paper cut illustrations and thoughtful research.
  11. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
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    Quirky, doodle-like illustrations accompany mini biographies about female scientists throughout history. Further information is explored through infographics on things like wages of women in STEM careers today and a timeline of scientific discoveries by women.