The best middle-grade books featuring an LGBTQIA+ protagonist

Why am I passionate about this?

The world is an amazing, diverse place that needs stories that represent everyone. I identify as gender fluid and am part of my city’s LGBTQIA+ community. For kids, there aren’t enough stories that feature non-straight cis protagonists where that identity isn’t the focus. LGBTQIA+ kids exist. They are normal. Let a gay kid go into space. Let a teenage lesbian solve a mystery. Let a trans girl defeat a dragon. Let an ace teen be a witch. Everybody deserves their adventure. 


I wrote...

The Case of the French Fry Phantom: Dotty Morgan Supernatural Sleuth Book One

By Erik Christopher Martin,

Book cover of The Case of the French Fry Phantom: Dotty Morgan Supernatural Sleuth Book One

What is my book about?

6th grader Dotty Morgan is Elderton’s premier supernatural sleuth. When a potato-thieving phantom targets the town, Dotty takes the case. Armed with her Arcanometer and the help of her BFF Parker and her new girlfriend Hannah, Dotty pursues the sticky-fingered spirit.

Her investigation uncovers a larger plot. A trio of weird lunch ladies, a snide yoga teacher, a creepy health food store manager—the list of suspects is long. Will Dotty be able to solve the mystery in time to save Elderton?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Lumberjanes Original Graphic Novel: The Infernal Compass

Erik Christopher Martin Why did I love this book?

Lumberjanes books, comics, and graphic novels are tremendous fun featuring a group of girls (and a non-binary scout named Barney) at a summer camp located in a forest full of mythical beings, some helpful, some mischievous, and some that are downright malevolent.

Growing up, I would have begged to be a Lumberjane had they been around then. The Infernal Compass is a wonderful addition to the franchise.

The Infernal Compass is standard Lumberjanes fare, focusing on Molly and Mal, who are worried how their dating each other might impact the other campers. There is magic and peril and problems to solve. Lumberjanes books have everyone: gay scouts, straight scouts, super strong scouts, trans scouts, non-binary scouts, and even a Greek goddess.

Diversity is the norm, not the story.

By Lilah Sturges,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lumberjanes Original Graphic Novel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The first original graphic novel set in the award winning and critically acclaimed Lumberjanes world!

When the Janes start to become separated during an orienteering outing thanks to a mysterious compass, Molly becomes more and more insecure about the effect of her relationship with Mal on the other girls. Meanwhile, a lonely woman explorer is trying to steal the compass, with the help of some weirdly polite automaton butlers.

Based on the New York Times bestseller and multiple Eisner-Award and GLAAD-award winning series, Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass is written by Lilah Sturges and illustrated by polterink.


Book cover of Pet

Erik Christopher Martin Why did I love this book?

The City of Lucille has gotten rid of all its monsters.

That’s what Jam, a teenage trans girl, believed until the demonic-looking Pet emerged from one of her mother’s paintings. But despite their monstrous appearance, Pet isn’t the monster, but came forth to hunt a monster already living among the people of Lucille undetected. 

Pet contains vivid imagery, powerful themes, and a sensitive and brave protagonist. Be bold. Be vigilant. Monsters never entirely go away because we are the monsters.

By Akwaeke Emezi,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Pet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

She stumbled backwards, her eyes wide, as the figure started coming out of the canvas
...
She tried to be brave. Well, she said, her hands only a little shaky, at least tell me what I should call you.
...
Well, little girl, it replied, I suppose you can call me Pet.

There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson…


Book cover of The Derby Daredevils

Erik Christopher Martin Why did I love this book?

Kenzie and Shelly aspire to greatness on the roller derby track, but they’re told they are too young to play.

One day, they see a flyer for tryouts for a new junior derby league for girls 10-14. The try-outs are in a week. All girls must try out individually. Determined to stay together, Kenizie and Shelly find a loophole: teams of five may try-out together. All they have to do is find three more girls to join their team.

Doing that proves to be easier said than done. Friendships are tested, crushes are a thing, and the competition is intense. Also, Kenzie is adorable. I loved this book.

By Kit Rosewater, Sophie Escabasse (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Derby Daredevils as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A highly illustrated middle-grade series that celebrates new friendships, first crushes, and getting out of your comfort zone

Ever since they can remember, fifth-graders Kenzie (aka Kenzilla) and Shelly (aka Bomb Shell) have dreamed of becoming roller derby superstars. When Austin's city league introduces a brand-new junior league, the dynamic duo celebrates! But they'll need to try out as a five-person team. Kenzie and Shelly have just one week to convince three other girls that roller derby is the coolest thing on wheels. But Kenzie starts to have second thoughts when Shelly starts acting like everyone's best friend . .…


Book cover of Hazel Hill Is Gonna Win This One

Erik Christopher Martin Why did I love this book?

Hazel Hill thinks she’s the only girl in the 7th grade who likes girls that way, until Tyler tells her that Ella Quinn told him she likes Hazel.

But Ella Quinn is pretty and popular, and she’s Hazel’s biggest rival in the upcoming speech contest. They talk. Ella confesses she only told Tyler that to stop his sexual harassment. It turns out, Tyler has been harassing a lot of girls.

They tell the school, but the teachers won’t do anything about it, even blaming the girls and punishing them. It is not a coincidence that Tyler’s mom is the superintendent of schools. Determined not to let Tyler get away with it, Hazel comes up with a plan. 

By Maggie Horne,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hazel Hill Is Gonna Win This One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Girls in Hazel's school are being harassed by an anonymous person online, someone who seems to know all about their insecurities and dreams. With no one willing to stand up and face the bully, how will Hazel be able to prove her suspicions?
Hazel Hill is Going to Win This One confronts bullying, both online and in person, to give children the power to stand up for themselves and speak out against harassment.


Book cover of Middle School's a Drag, You Better Werk!

Erik Christopher Martin Why did I love this book?

A book we need right now, something to balance out, in a small way, the awful anti-drag legislation being enacted all over the US.

Twelve-year-old Mikey is an aspiring businessman. Thirteen-year-old Julian hires him as a talent agent. Julian’s talent? Performing drag as Coco Caliente. Mikey knows the perfect place for her debut – the school talent show.

The book is wonderful fun, like a drag show, but pulls no punches regarding the bigotry and bullying gay kids so often experience. The ending was well done. I got a little misty. High recommendation!

By Greg Howard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Middle School's a Drag, You Better Werk! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Twelve-year-old Mikey Pruitt - president, founder, and CEO of Anything, Inc. - has always been an entrepreneur at heart. Inspired by his grandfather Pap Pruitt, who successfully ran all sorts of businesses from a car wash to a roadside peanut stand, Mikey is still looking for his million-dollar idea. Unfortunately, most of his ideas so far have failed. A baby tornado ran off with his general store, and the kids in his neighbourhood never did come back for their second croquet lesson. But Mikey is determined to keep at it.

It isn't until kid drag queen Coco Caliente, Mistress of…


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Funny Folk Tales for Children

By Allison Galbraith,

Book cover of Funny Folk Tales for Children

Allison Galbraith Author Of Funny Folk Tales for Children

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a storyteller and folktale collector. All my jobs have involved telling stories – as a community librarian, in theatre, in education, and since 2006 as a professional storyteller and writer. I work in schools, festivals, and outdoor education with all sorts of people and their animals. I have honed my skills to find the most enjoyable traditional tales that can be shared widely. I live in Scotland, where I encourage families to read and tell their favourite stories together. Storytelling is a living art form that belongs to everyone. More than anything, I love the natural world, and I bring the magnificence of nature into all my work.

Allison's book list on world folktales for reading to everyone over six

What is my book about?

These are the funniest folktales in the world. You will be amazed at the intelligent animals and LOL at the ridiculous scrapes the humans get themselves into in these short stories. Discover why dogs are our best friends, learn how to change a cow into a zombie, and meet a shape-shifting, cartwheeling raccoon dog.

Suitable for reading age 7+. This book is perfect for storytime & reading together at bedtime and holidays. These stories will cheer even the grumpiest grandparent up :).

Funny Folk Tales for Children

By Allison Galbraith,

What is this book about?

'It's the best present you can give. It never breaks and doesn't need batteries. What is it?'

The answer is inside THIS BOOK!

Eleven of the funniest traditional tales from around the world. Laugh your socks off as you discover why dogs are our best friends, learn how to flummox fairies, and meet a shape-shifting, cartwheeling badger.


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