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!
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Hazel likes her life just the way it is – her family, her hobbies, her chores at the family farm, and her best friend Becca. But when her mom is pregnant (for the third time, after two miscarriages) and redistricting means starting at a new school without her best friend, Hazel’s worry over the upheaval in her life builds and builds – until it reaches a pivotal point.
This was such a heartwarming book! Hazel was incredibly relatable, and while I’m normally not a fan of first person, it was the perfect choice for this story. Her love for family and friends shines through every word – even when she might have a hard time expressing it.
Check out the book described by Kirkus Reviews as “warm and memorable,” with a “first person narration [that] is insightful” and a main character who’s “highly likable, and her troubles and triumphs will sound familiar to many”; PW Reviews wrote how Bigelow “celebrates intersectional diversity with her cast of well-drawn characters” and “addresses universal conflicts adolescents face while paying tribute to their individuality”; and Booklist Reviews praised as “a heartfelt novel of family, friends and change” in a “vivid first-person narrative [that] revolves around the well-drawn main character as she slowly, reluctantly learns to cope with challenges and to enlarge her circle of friends.”