Diversity in MG Lit #47 March & April 2024


A roundup of diverse MG books coming out in April and May of 2024.

Here’s a round up of some of the many diverse books available for MG readers this spring. Please include any I’ve missed in the comments.
Books for kids about disability are rare and fiction about chronic illness even more so. I was delighted to find a book about Crohns disease by the always fabulous Kirby Larson and her daughter Quinn Wyatt who lives with Crohn’s. Gut Reaction (Scholastic) is about a girl who is grieving the loss of her father and coping with a new school. When her stomach troubles become worse than ever before, it becomes even harder to find new friends and achieve her hearts desire–winning a baking championship.Book covers for Gut Reaction and Running in Flip-flops from the end of the world
What if the apocalypse were funny, seems to be the jumping off place for Justin A Reynolds in his newest novel Running in Flip-Flops from the End of the World (Scholastic Press). Set in a beach town with a twelve year old friend group, it’s a fast paced romp perfect for summer reading.
Lyla Lee, the author of the chapter book Mindy Kim series, has a new series for older readers. Gigi Shin is Not a Nerd(Aladdin) is her homage to the Babysitter’s Club series. It fits the bill admirably. Gigi and her friends decide to earn money to attend a dream summer camp by tutoring kids in the library. The story has plenty of charm and the slightly larger and easy to read font will make it an appealing book for kids looking for a bridge between younger chapter books and more densely-written MG books.book covers for Gigi Shin is not a Nerd and Any Way You Look
Sheine Lende by Darcie Little Badger art by Rovina Cai (Levine Querida) is the follow up to her blockbuster debut Elatsoe. The story begins with a missing child in the heat and wilderness of south Texas, and it’s pace never flags over the next 300+ pages. It is a fantastical mystery thriller–not for the faint of heart but delightful in so many ways. Our lead character Shane can call on the ghost of her former dog the wonderfully faithful Nellie. She can also call on the ghosts of other long dead creatures to aid her in her times of need. This book is available in audio.book covers for Sheine Lende and The Things We Miss
It’s not at all unusual for a girl to be followed or even stalked in public. I remember it happening to me. But I don’t remember it ever being the focus of a novel for MG readers. In Any Way You Look (Scholastic Press) Maleeha Siddiqui addresses the issue along side a Muslim girls decision to wear the hijab. The issues are thoughtfully addressed but the story is far from a single issue book. Any young reader with an eye for fashion will find much to enjoy.
I’m always happy to recommend a book that champions mental heath and body acceptance. The Things We Miss(Bloomsbury) by Leah Stecher take the typical coming-of-age and growing-into-self story and adds a time travel twist. A convenient magical door in a neighborhood treehouse gives JP the option to skip the most agonizing parts of seventh grade and the most uncomfortable parts of grieving her father’s death. It invites the question what is the cost of magical escape and what is the value of a painful and difficult times? This is Leah Stecher’s debut novel.
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Rosanne Parry
Rosanne Parry is the author of 8 MG novels including best sellers A Wolf Called Wander, A Whale of the Wild and her newest A Horse Named Sky. She sells books at Annie Blooms Bookstore in Multnomah Village and writes books in her treehouse in Portland, Oregon.