Tackling Tough Topics for Middle Graders
Titles such as George by Alex Gino and (Scholastic Press) and Lily and Dunkin (Delacorte), which portray transgender youth, are leading the way for mature middle grade fiction. Though issue-driven works sometimes pose shelving challenges, authors and publishers are confident that they fill a need for young readers.
The years between 10 and 14 are known as the storm-and-stress period, because so much change—physical, emotional, social—can happen seemingly all at once. Books that address the toughest issues kids face can help them navigate their way through a crisis, if books on those topics exist, and if kids have access to them. (Publishers Weekly)