March Middle Grade Pick of the Month

Middle grade is a term that refers to books written for readers between the ages of eight and twelve. In this column, Erica will recommend great books for children in this age group!

The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali
Library Catalog: Print
Libby: eBook

Amos Abernathy is a gay middle schooler who’s been volunteering as a historical reenactor for most of his life – his mom runs the entire park. When Amos learns about the LGBTQ+ history in his backyard, he wants to share it with audiences through the park – but he gets passed over to maintain the “family-friendliness” of the park. This rejection is quickly followed by his crush pushing him away in the wake of an almost-date and an almost-kiss. He can’t do much about his broken heart, but he does have a plan about sharing his idea with the park. Will Amos be able to share his message that LGBTQ+ people are and always have been a part of history? Or will he get silenced once again?

Amos’ story is one of passion and determination. He has his moments of weakness and self-centeredness – realizing that his Black best friend Chloe is fighting her own battles as well, ones he completely missed during his own crusade – but he learns from his mistakes. Talking about his crush Ben comes off as pretty one-sided at first, but Ben gets the chance to tell his story too – and it’s more complicated than Amos had realized. Overall, this is an inspiring story about what does and doesn’t get talked about when discussing history – and how important it is to be open to the stories you may not identify with yourself, or have even considered in the first place. Everyone deserves to feel seen and heard in history, and this is a powerful reminder of that – especially today.

Check out the book that Booklist Reviews described as “a valuable addition to the still-slender body of middle-school literature with queer content” with “intrinsic drama and empathetic characters,” Publisher’s Weekly praised as an “engaging” and “earnest debut that explores representation in the past and present,” and School Library Journal called “well-written coming-of-age novel that encompasses many valuable topics” and “an entertaining and engaging read with diverse characters and subject matter.”

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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