Today’s post is sponsored by Kimberly Behre Kenna and Jett Jamison and The Secret Storm!
Title Jett Jamison and The Secret Storm
Author Kimberly Behre Kenna
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date August 3rd 2023 by Black Rose Writing
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon ● Blackwell’s ● Barnes & Noble ● IndieBound
Jett Jamison can’t catch a break.
Her home in small town Wisteria is noisy as a zoo on steroids, and her mind buzzes with bits of a traumatic memory she’d rather forget. She’s filled a shoebox with one hundred thirty-three to-do lists, her roadmaps to peace, but they only lead to dead ends. Sister Gia, master gardener and cat-whisperer extraordinaire, suggests a book by an anonymous author sure to bring calm quicker than those lists, but it’s disappeared from all local libraries, and nobody wants to talk about it.
Enraged at the injustice, Jett continues to dig for answers and is drawn into a censorship battle with a high-profile radio host. Her peaceful protest backfires big time, and the town goes berserk. Now, for peace to be within reach, Jett must either face up to her past or remain forever bound by silence much more suffocating than the din in Wisteria.
Speaking as someone who wasn’t formally diagnosed with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder until her late twenties and therefore didn’t understand and couldn’t articulate many of the challenges she faced as an adolescent, I’m deeply grateful for the wealth of resources and books now available to young readers that explore the issue of mental health. Had stories like the ones in this post been available to me when I was a child, I can only imagine the comfort and understanding I could have drawn from this incredibly valuable and important representation.
In honour of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve curated a collection of 45 middle grade books in this post that feature characters with anxiety with the hope that it will help the next generation of readers see themselves reflected in the stories they read and feel accepted and understood, exactly as they are. Ongoing transparency and discussion regarding mental health is critical in combatting the stigma surrounding mental illness and books like the ones listed below are vital in helping to ensure those with anxiety receive the visibility, education and unconditional support they so richly deserve.
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Upcoming publication dates listed below might be subject to change.
From the acclaimed author of The Last Super Chef and Dan Unmasked comes a heartfelt standalone novel about community, justice, and redemption, perfect for fans of Take Back The Block and Brave Like That.
Mortimer Bray is not okay.
It seems like everything in his life is changing for the worse. After his own much-loved dog dies, he can’t bring himself to carry on with his dog-walking business; there’s a strange new girl who’s moved into the house next door; and suddenly there’s a buzzing feeling of anxiety in his head and heart when he’s faced with something new.
His neighborhood, Townsend Heights, used to feel like the most comfortable place in the world. But lately, it seems like everyone is arguing, and there’s uncertainty around every corner.
The neighborhood’s only vacant lot is somehow behind it all, Mortimer is sure of that much. If he can unearth the lot’s secret history, he just might stop the Heights from unraveling completely.
Mortimer can’t save Townsend Heights on his own. But when it comes to community, you’re never truly on your own — not as long as you’re willing to learn from the past, in order to do better in the future.
The Gray is a sensitively told middle grade story from Chris Baron about living with anxiety and finding ways to cope.
It’s been a tough year for Sasha ― he’s been bullied at his middle school and his anxiety, which he calls the Gray, is growing. Sasha’s dad tells him to “toughen up” ― and he does, but with unfortunate, hurtful results. His parents and therapist agree that a summer in the country with his aunt might be the best medicine, but it’s the last place he wants to be. He’ll be away from his best friend, video games, and stuck in the house that reminds him of his beloved uncle who died two years earlier.
His aunt is supportive, and there are lots of places to explore, and even some potential new friends. When Sasha is introduced at a local ranch to a horse coincidentally – incredibly – nicknamed the Gray, he feels he’s found a kindred spirit.
But his own Gray is ever-present. When one of his new friends disappears, Sasha discovers that the country is wilder and more mysterious than he imagined. He tries to muster enough courage to help in the search…but will the Gray hold him back?
Stella North (Virgo) has waited her whole life for a coveted birthday party invite that will guarantee a friend-filled summer in Washington. Forget summer, this opportunity could change her universe. Maybe in this universe, she’ll have less anxiety about big things, like the growing absence of her addict mom, and small things, like what everyone else is thinking or what she’s wearing or or or…breathe.
But those perfect summer plans implode when her Dad returns with a surprise from his business trip: his new fiancée, Whitney. Even worse, Stella and her brother have to spend the next couple of weeks in Whitney’s Las Vegas home pretending like these absolute strangers are her family. At least her potential stepsister feels the same way about ruining their parents’ wedding. Together, the girls set out to discover (and ultimately change) the future through astrology, crystals, and even Magic 8 Balls. Yet nothing can predict the surprising friends, new maybe-more-than friends, and ghosts from the past that Stella encounters on her quest to find calm in a galaxy beyond control.
From the author of American As Paneer Pie comes a magical middle grade adventure steeped in Indian folklore following a girl who learns how to find her voice and face her fears, perfect for fans of Aru Shah and Amina’s Song.
Ten-year-old Geetanjali doesn’t mind singing, but she knows she’ll never be as good as her mother, Aai, or grandmother, Aaji, famous classical singers from India whose celebrity has followed the family all the way to their small town of Deadwood, Michigan, where Geetanjali lives with her aai, and father, Baba.
After freezing on stage during a concert performance, Geetanjali adds “fear of singing” to her list of fears, a list that seems to be multiplying daily. Aai tries to stress the importance of using one’s voice and continuing to sing; Geetanjali hopes that when her Aaji, comes to visit this summer, she’ll be able to help her.
But when they pick Aaji up at the airport, she’s not alone. Lata, an auntie Geetanjali has never met before is with Aaji and their neighbor, Heena Auntie, who is acting strange and mean, and not like the warm auntie she normally is. Lata Auntie has heard all about Geetanjali’s family, growing up in India. She knows Aai and Aaji are the only ones who can sing raag Naagshakti. Aai plays it off, but Geetanjali thinks back to the raag in the binder that started with an N that had been torn out. She has never heard of Raag Naagshakti, which sounds like it is about the power of cobras.
Geetanjali is determined not to let her imagination get the best of her and add aunties to her list of fears, but she can’t help but wonder about the connection between the missing raag, Heena Auntie’s cold behavior, and their interesting summer visitor.
A humorous, heartfelt, highly illustrated new middle grade series about friendship, feelings, and finding your people, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sara Shepard.
Why does the cubby room always smell like farts? Who etched the words “I Am Bug Man” inside my desk? Why is Mom suddenly acting like she has a secret?
Nobody said starting fifth grade would be easy, and Penny Lowry’s anxiety means a million questions are always spinning through her thoughts. Luckily she’s got a lot to look forward to, like her favorite after-school activity, Art Club, and seeing her best friend Violet again after spending the whole summer apart.
The thing is, Violet has been acting weird ever since she got back. She never wants to hang out anymore, says Art Club is for babies, and spends all her time with Riley, the meanest girl in school. Did Penny do something wrong? And if she did, can she undo it?
In this hilariously sweet introduction to a lovable kid still figuring out how to manage her anxiety, the author of the #1 bestselling Pretty Little Liars series gets to the heart of how to let go of the friends who aren’t right for you…and how to make room for the ones who are.
From National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson, a kaleidoscopic middle-grade adventure that mixes the anxieties, friendships, and wonders of a Cherokee boy’s life with Cherokee history and lore.
Ziggy has ANXIETY. Partly this is because of the way his mind works, and how overwhelmed he can get when other people (especially his classmate Alice) are in the room. And partly it’s because his mother disappeared when he was very young, making her one of many Native women who’ve gone mysteriously missing. Ziggy and his sister, Moon, want answers, but nobody around can give them.
Once Ziggy gets it in his head that clues to his mother’s disappearance may be found in a nearby cave, there’s no stopping him from going there. Along with Moon, Alice, and his best friend, Corso, he sets out on a mind-bending adventure where he’ll discover his story is tied to all the stories of the Cherokees that have come before him.
Ziggy might not have any control over the past – but if he learns the lessons of the storytellers, he might be able to better shape his future and find the friends he needs.
From APALA Honor award-winning author Susan Tan, a middle-grade novel about a girl who must overcome her worries to find the truth behind her town’s urban legend.
Mo is not afraid of toast. Just to be clear. She is afraid of fires, though. Which can be caused by everyday appliances, like toasters. So toast isn’t the problem, but you could say it’s the start of a slippery slope. Since her family’s recent move, Mo’s been eating oatmeal for breakfast.
Moving to a new town is never easy, but it’s even harder when you’re dealing with a stepdad who just left and a mom who can’t get out of bed long enough to find a new a job.
But Mo doesn’t have time to dwell on these things. Because it’s her job to keep her family together. To keep them safe.
So when an elephant starts to haunt her dreams ― and a mysterious spirit attacks her home ― Mo knows it’s up to her to intervene before things get too dangerous.
With her new friend, Nathaniel, she embarks on an investigation, searching for the truth about the town, its people, and their history. But things are much more complicated and tangled than she thought.
To find out what’s really going on, Mo might have to live a little dangerously after all.
Rajani LaRocca, recipient of a Newbery Honor and Walter Award for Red, White, and Whole, is back with an evocative novel in verse about identical twin sisters who do everything together — until external pressures threaten to break them apart.
Maya is the pragmatic twin, but her secret anxiety threatens to overwhelm her.
Chaya is the outgoing twin. When she sees her beloved sister suffering, she wants to tell their parents — which makes Maya feel completely betrayed. With Maya shutting her out, Chaya makes a dramatic change to give her twin the space she seems to need. But that’s the last thing Maya wants, and the girls just drift further apart.
The once-close sisters can’t seem to find their rhythm, so they make a bet: they’ll switch places at their summer camp, and whoever can keep the ruse going longer will get to decide where they both attend high school — the source of frequent arguments. But stepping into each other’s shoes comes with its own difficulties, and the girls don’t know how they’re going to make it.
This emotional, lyrical story will speak to fans of Ali Benjamin, Padma Venkatraman, and Jasmine Warga.
Anxiety has always made Ava avoid the slightest risk, but plunging headfirst into danger might be just what she needs.
Dad hasn’t even been dating his new girlfriend that long, so Ava is sure that nothing has to change in her life. That is, until the day after sixth grade ends, when Dad whisks her away on vacation to meet The Girlfriend and her daughter in terrifying Colorado, where even the squirrels can kill you! Managing her anxiety, avoiding altitude sickness, and surviving the mountains might take all of Ava’s strength, but at least this trip will only last two weeks. Right?
From the acclaimed author of Tune It Out and Roll With It comes an inspirational and engaging middle grade book about a young girl who sets out to overcome her anxiety over the course of one life-changing summer.
Twelve-year-old June Delancey is kicking summer off with a bang. She shaves her head and sets two goals: she will beat her anxiety and be the lion she knows she can be, instead of the mouse everyone sees. And she and her single mama will own their power as fierce, independent females.
With the help of Homer Juarez, the poetry-citing soccer star who believes in June even when she doesn’t believe in herself, she starts a secret library garden and hatches a plan to make her dreams come true. But when her anxiety becomes too much, everything begins to fall apart. It’s going to take more than a haircut and some flowers to set things right. It’s going to take courage and friends and watermelon pie. Forget second chances. This is the summer of new beginnings.
Jules Machias, author of Indie Next List Pick Both Can Be True, delivers another inspiring story about how an unexpected friendship transforms the lives of two middle schoolers.
Avery Hart lives for the thrill and speed of her dirt bike and the pounding thump of her drum kit. But after she’s diagnosed with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a disease that affects her joints, Avery splits her time between endless physical therapy and worrying that her fun and independence are over for good.
Sarah Bell is familiar with worry, too. For months, she’s been having intense panic attacks. No matter how much she pours her anxiety into making art, she can’t seem to get a grip on it, and she’s starting to wonder if she’ll be this way forever.
Just as both girls are reaching peak fear about what their futures hold, their present takes a terrifying turn when their school is seemingly attacked by gunmen. Though they later learn it was an active shooter drill, the traumatic experience bonds the girls together in a friendship that will change the way they view their perceived weaknesses — and help them find strength, and more, in each other.
New grade. New friends. New worries? Introducing an irresistibly honest, relatable graphic novel about friendship, anxiety, and growing up – just right for fans of Real Friends and Guts!
Katie knows there’s stuff that makes her different. She’s homeschooled, she has freckles, and her teeth are really crooked. But none of these things matter to Kacey. They’re best friends forever — just like their necklaces say. But when they go to summer camp, Kacey starts acting weird. What happened to the “forever”? And when Katie gets home, she can’t stop worrying. About getting braces. About 6th grade. About friends. She knows tapping three times or opening and closing a drawer won’t make everything better…but sometimes it helps stop the worrying. Is something wrong with her? And will anyone want to be friends with her if they find out?
For fans of Crenshaw and When You Trap A Tiger comes the extraordinary tale of a headstrong girl and the magical dictionary she hopes will explain the complicated feelings she can’t find the right words for — or erase them altogether.
Zia remembers the exact night the Shadoom arrived. One moment she was laughing with her best friends, and the next a dark room of shadows had crept into her chest. Zia has always loved words, but she can’t find a real one for the fear growing inside her. How can you defeat something if you don’t know its name?
After Zia’s mom announces that her grouchy Greek yiayia is moving into their tiny apartment, the Shadoom seems here to stay. Until Zia discovers an old family heirloom: the C. Scuro Dictionary, 13th Edition.
This is no ordinary dictionary. Hidden within its magical pages is a mysterious blue eraser shaped like an evil eye. When Zia starts to erase words that remind her of the Shadoom, they disappear one by one from the world around her. She finally has the confidence to befriend Alice, the new girl in sixth grade, and to perform at the Story Jamboree. But things quickly dissolve into chaos, as the words she erases turn out to be more vital than Zia knew.
In this raw, funny, and at times heartbreaking middle grade debut, Bree Barton reveals how — with the right kind of help – our darkest moments can nudge us toward the light.
Starting middle school is hard enough when you don’t know anyone; it’s even harder when you’re shy. A contemporary middle-grade graphic novel for fans of Guts and Real Friends about how dealing with anxiety and OCD can affect everyday life.
As long as Maggie rolls the right number, nothing can go wrong…right?
Maggie just wants to get through her first year of middle school. But between finding the best after-school clubs, trying to make friends, and avoiding the rumored monster on school grounds, she’s having a tough time…so she might need a little help from her twenty-sided dice. But what happens if Maggie rolls the wrong number?
A touching middle-grade graphic novel that explores the complexity of anxiety, OCD, and learning to trust yourself and the world around you.
From Newbery Medal honoree and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a hilarious, hopeful, and action-packed middle grade novel about the greatest young superhero you’ve never heard of, filled with illustrations by Raúl the Third!
Portico Reeves’s superpower is making sure all the other superheroes — like his parents and two best friends — stay super. And safe. Super safe. And he does this all in secret. No one in his civilian life knows he’s actually…Stuntboy!
But his regular Portico identity is pretty cool, too. He lives in the biggest house on the block, maybe in the whole city, which basically makes it a castle. His mom calls where they live an apartment building. But a building with fifty doors just in the hallways is definitely a castle. And behind those fifty doors live a bunch of different people who Stuntboy saves all the time. In fact, he’s the only reason the cat, New Name Every Day, has nine lives.
All this is swell except for Portico’s other secret, his not-so-super secret. His parents are fighting all the time. They’re trying to hide it by repeatedly telling Portico to go check on a neighbor “in the meantime.” But Portico knows “meantime” means his parents are heading into the Mean Time which means they’re about to get into it, and well, Portico’s superhero responsibility is to save them, too — as soon as he figures out how.
Only, all these secrets give Portico the worry wiggles, the frets, which his mom calls anxiety. Plus, like all superheroes, Portico has an arch-nemesis who is determined to prove that there is nothing super about Portico at all.
Honest and funny, this award-winning graphic novel from a debut creator is a refreshingly real exploration of mental health, cultural differences, and the trials of middle school.
Livy is already having trouble fitting in as the new girl at school — and then there’s Viola. Viola is Livy’s anxiety brought to life, a shadowy twin that only Livy can see or hear. Livy tries to push back against Viola’s relentless judgment, but nothing seems to work until she strikes up new friendships at school. Livy hopes that Viola’s days are numbered. But when tensions arise both at home and at school, Viola rears her head stronger than ever. Only when Livy learns how to ask for help and face her anxiety does she finally figure out living with Viola.
Rosena Fung draws on her own early experiences with anxiety and the pressures of growing up as the child of Chinese immigrant parents to craft a charming, deeply personal story that combines the poignancy of Raina Telgemeier’s Guts with the wacky humor of Lumberjanes. Exuberant, colorful art brings Livy’s rich imaginative world — filled with everything from sentient dumplings to flying unicorns — to life on the page.
From the author of The Deep & Dark Blue comes a tender graphic novel, perfect for our time, that gently explores themes of self-discovery, friendship, healing from tragedy, and hope for a better tomorrow.
Struggling with anxiety after witnessing a harrowing instance of gun violence, Manuel Soto copes through photography, using his cell-phone camera to find anchors that keep him grounded. His days are a lonely, latchkey monotony until he’s teamed with his classmates, Sebastian and Caysha, for a group project.
Sebastian lives on a grass-fed cattle farm outside of town, and Manuel finds solace in the open fields and in the antics of the newborn calf Sebastian is hand-raising. As Manuel aides his new friends in their preparations for the local county fair, he learns to open up, confronts his deepest fears, and even finds first love.
The War That Saved My Life meets Coraline in this chilling middle grade historical novel from the author of the acclaimed The Story That Cannot Be Told following an anxious young girl learning to face her fears — and her ghosts — against the backdrop of the typhoid epidemic.
Essie O’Neill is afraid of everything. She’s afraid of cats and electric lights. She’s afraid of the silver sick bell, a family heirloom that brings up frightening memories. Most of all, she’s afraid of the red door in her nightmares.
But soon Essie discovers so much more to fear. Her mother has remarried, and they must move from their dilapidated tenement in the Bronx to North Brother Island, a dreary place in the East River. That’s where Essie’s new stepfather runs a quarantine hospital for the incurable sick, including the infamous Typhoid Mary. Essie knows the island is plagued with tragedy. Years ago, she watched in horror as the ship General Slocum caught fire and sank near its shores, plummeting one thousand women and children to their deaths.
Now, something on the island is haunting Essie. And the red door from her dreams has become a reality, just down the hall from her bedroom in her terrifying new house. Convinced her stepfather is up to no good, Essie investigates. Yet to uncover the truth, she will have to face her own painful history — and what lies behind the red door.
Nine-year-old Erik Sheepflattener’s life motto is Avoid Stuff, despite his family’s attempts to bring out his inner Viking. Can a worrier really become a warrior? In this silly, heartfelt, outrageously quirky novel for fans of Restart and Pay Attention, Carter Jones…why not be both?
Meet Erik Sheepflattener. Each member of his modern-day Viking-heritage family has a motto to live by. His parents have Family and Pride. His sisters have Conquer and Win. His grandfather has Turnip. But Erik is developing a motto he can truly believe in: Avoid Stuff.
Mostly, Erik’s fierce family ignores or discounts him, especially when he tries to say no. But while spending the summer with his rough-and-tumble cousins and older sister Brunhilde in Minnesota, axe-wielding Bru gets the idea to name and Conquer all of Erik’s fears. Will anyone hear him say no before it’s too late? And will Erik end up defined by his fears, or by his fearless family?
Erik vs. Everything is an adventurous, humorous, and heartfelt romp about finding your place, speaking up for yourself, and pursuing what you love…even when it scares you.
A girl with anxiety disorder finds an unlikely friend – and emotional support animal – in the form of an adorable fainting goat.
Twelve-year-old Marvel is afraid of absolutely everything – amusement park rides, food poisoning, earthquakes, and that big island of plastic floating through the ocean. She also obsesses about smaller worries like making friends, getting called on by the teacher, and walking home alone.
Her parents and the school therapist call her worries an anxiety disorder, but Marvel calls them armor. If something can happen, it will. She needs to be prepared.
But when Marvel stumbles on a group of older kids teasing a baby goat that has mysteriously shown up on the soccer field, she momentarily forgets to be afraid and rescues the frightened animal.
Only Butter isn’t any old goat. She’s a fainting goat. When Butter feels panic, she freezes up and falls over. Marvel knows exactly how Butter feels and precisely what Butter needs – her.
Soon, the two are inseparable, and Butter thrives under Marvel’s support. But Butter also helps Marvel. Everything is better with Butter by her side, and Marvel starts to imagine a life in which she doesn’t have to be so afraid…until she’s told she might have to give up Butter forever. Will Marvel find a way to fight for her friend? Or will she revert back to the anxious, lonely person she used to be?
For fans of the Aru Shah and The Serpent’s Secret series, this action-packed fantasy-adventure sees a girl’s drawings of Indian mythology spring to vivid life – including the evil god who seeks to enter the real world and destroy it.
Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mom is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki’s sketchbook is full of fanciful doodles of the rich Indian myths and legends her mother has told her over the years.
One day, her sketchbook’s calming effect is broken when her mythological characters begin springing to life right out of its pages. Kiki ends up falling into the mystical world she drew, which includes a lot of wonderful discoveries like the band of rebel kids who protect the kingdom, as well as not-so-great ones like the ancient deity bent on total destruction. As the one responsible for creating the evil god, Kiki must overcome her fear and anxiety to save both worlds – the real and the imagined – from his wrath. But how can a girl armed with only a pencil defeat something so powerful?
Two girls form an unlikely friendship during their shared time in the school nurse’s office in this heartfelt middle grade novel for fans of Save Me A Seat and Insignificant Events In The Life Of A Cactus.
Meg spends her days hoping no one thinks too hard about why she wears the same t-shirt and slippers to school every day. Luckily, the nurse’s office provides a welcome escape from classmates who don’t understand…and snacks when food runs out at home.
Riley knows fitting in at her new school would be a lot easier if her friends were more understanding of her type 1 diabetes. So she keeps her testing under wraps…and an emergency bag of jelly beans on hand.
When Meg and Riley end up together in the nurse’s office one day, both girls think they’ve worked each other out, but what if they’ve got it all wrong? On the brink of moving on to junior high, Riley and Meg must find the courage to discover who they really want to be. And maybe a bag of shared jelly beans will provide all the help they need.
In this companion to Tornado Brain, a moving tale of loss and healing comes full circle.
Tess has always understood her role in her family. She is supposed to be the “okay” one. The one no one has to worry about. But all Tess does is worry, constantly picking at her fingers every time a new worry arises. Still grieving her best friend’s death, she is consumed by the fear that everything was her fault and her sadness that Colette is never coming back. Worse still, it seems like everyone else has found a way to move on, even her twin sister Frankie. When her mom decides a change of location might do her good, Tess finds herself on an airplane bound for her aunt’s house in small town Wyoming and a summer vacation attending art camp.
Tess thinks she might never be able to move on from losing Colette but her quirky but determined cousin Kennedy and new friend Izzy are determined to help. When Tess becomes convinced that Colette’s ghost might be haunting her, Kennedy and Izzy find new ways for Tess to make peace with the past and finally let go of the grief that has been haunting her heart.
Jen White’s A Thousand Minutes To Sunlight is a sensitively-written middle grade novel about a girl struggling with anxiety, family secrets, and the meaning of friendship.
Cora is constantly counting the minutes. It’s the only thing that stops her brain from rattling with worry, from convincing her that danger is up ahead. Afraid of the unknown, Cora spends her days with her feet tucked into sand, marveling at La Quinta beach’s giant waves and her little sister Sunshine’s boundless energy.
And then danger really does show up at Cora’s doorstep ― her absentee uncle, whose sudden presence in the middle of the night makes her parents nervous and secretive. As dawn breaks once more, Cora must piece together her family and herself, one minute at a time.
A Thousand Minutes To Sunlight is an endearing and revelatory middle-grade novel that is perfect for fans of Counting By 7s and Fish In A Tree.
While staying in a haunted Colorado hotel for her father’s ghost-hunting television series, Karma Moon must battle her anxiety, interpret the signs of the universe, and get footage of a real ghost – you know, the usual.
Karma Moon is a firm believer in everything “woo-woo,” as her dad calls it. So when she asked her trusty Magic Eight Ball if the call asking her dad to create a ghost-hunting docuseries was her dad’s big break, it delivered: “No doubt about it.” Because the universe never gets it wrong. Only people do.
Karma and her best friend, Mags, join her dad’s Totally Rad film crew at a famous haunted hotel in Colorado over her spring break. Their mission: find a ghost and get it on camera. If they succeed, the show will be a hit, they can pay rent on time, and just maybe, her mom will come back.
Unfortunately, staying at a haunted hotel isn’t a walk in the park for someone with a big case of the what-ifs. But her dad made Karma the head of research for the docuseries, so she, Mags, and a mysterious local boy named Nyx must investigate every strange happening in the historically creepy Stanley Hotel. Karma hopes that her what-ifs don’t make her give up the ghost before they can find a starring spirit to help their show go viral – and possibly even get them a season two.
With Melissa Savage’s quirky cast of characters and spooky setting underlaid by a touching and relatable struggle against anxiety and grief over her fractured family, Karma Moon: Ghost Hunter is bound to charm and delight.
A heartwarming story of secret pets and secret crushes…and learning to take center stage!
Avery Williams can sing, but that doesn’t mean she can sing in front of people. She likes to stay backstage at her new school, which is where, to her surprise, she finds a cat tucked away into a nook. Avery names the stray Phantom and visits any time she’s feeling stressed (which is a lot these days).
As she sings to Phantom one day, her crush, Nic, overhears her and ropes Avery into auditioning for the school’s musical. Despite her nerves, Avery lands the lead role!
She knows she should be excited, but mostly Avery is terrified. Can Phantom help her through her stage fright? And what will happen if anyone finds out about her secret pet?
A funny and honest portrayal of living with social anxiety, this timely novel explores the universal themes of growing up and finding your voice, set in a fast-paced comedy.
Ellie Katz is sabotaging her own party.Sure, it seems extreme, but it’s the only option for her bat mitzvah. Crowds and attention always made her nervous, and lately they’ve been making it harder and harder for Ellie to breathe. The celebration would mean (1) a large crowd, (2) lots of staring, and (3) distant family listening to her sing in another language. No thank you!To avoid certain catastrophe, she hatches a plan with her best friend Zoe to ruin the big day. Cue the email hacking, DJ takedown, and an all-out food fight!
Everything is falling apart according to plan, until a fight with Zoe leaves Ellie alone on her path of destruction, facing some unintended consequences and disappointments. Can she find a way to right her wrongs, face her fears, and light her candles?
When anxiety threatens to derail a homeschooled girl’s attempt to make new friends, she finds support in an unlikely source…a herd of adorable alpacas!
To some kids, Amelia’s life sounds like the ultimate fantasy. She and her brothers are homeschooled by their adventurous parents, and the family travels around the country in an RV, scaling mountains, rappelling down canyons, and skiing down double black diamond slopes.There’s just one problem – Amelia didn’t inherit the family’s daredevil gene. She’s terrified of heights and would give anything to be reading instead of careening down a mountain. She’s also desperate for the chance to attend a regular school and make real friends. So when her parents decide to temporarily move to Colorado, Amelia’s delighted by the chance to settle down.
However, starting at a conventional school is much harder than Amelia imagined, and her anxiety makes meeting new friends extra challenging. Everything about her feels wrong, from her clothes to her hobbies to her complete lack of pop culture knowledge.
So when Amelia’s given the chance to volunteer at an alpaca ranch, she’s delighted by the chance to do something she’s good at – take care of animals. And soon, the alpacas and their owners start to feel like real friends.But when a cruel classmate’s prank puts the alpacas in mortal peril, Amelia will have to summon strength she never knew she possessed to save the only place that’s ever felt like home.
The Line Tender meets The Secret Horses of Briar Hill in this hopeful, heartfelt story about one girl’s search for legendary horses and her quest to piece her family back together.
Twelve-year-old Claire Barton doesn’t like the “flutter feeling” that fills her chest when she worries about the future, but she knows what she loves: the land that’s been in her family for three generations; her best friend Maya; her family’s horses, Sunny and Sam; and her older brother Andy. That’s why, with Andy recently sent to rehab and her parents planning to sell the horses, Claire’s world feels like it might flutter to pieces.
When Claire learns about equine therapy, she imagines a less lonely future that keeps her family together, brother and horses included. But, when she finds what seem to be mysterious wild horses in the woods behind her house, she realizes she has a bitmore company than she bargained for. With this new secret — and a little bit of luck — Claire will discover the beauty of change, the power of family, and the strength within herself.
Quintessence is an extraordinary story from Jess Redman about friendship, self-discovery, interconnectedness, and the inexplicable elements that make you you.
Find the Elements. Grow the Light. Save the Starling.
Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven’t stopped ― even though she’s told her parents that they have. She’s homesick and friendless and every day she feels less and less like herself.
But one day she finds a telescope in the town’s junk shop, and through its lens, she watches a star ― a star that looks like a child ― fall from the sky and into her backyard. Alma knows what it’s like to be lost and afraid, to long for home, and she knows that it’s up to her to save the star. And so, with the help of some unlikely new friends from Astronomy Club, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of science, a little bit of magic, and her whole self.
A heartfelt and funny story about a shy eleven-year-old who learns to manage her anxiety through improv classes — and discovers her activist voice. From Margaret Dilloway, author of Summer Of A Thousand Pies, and perfect for fans of Sharon Draper, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Holly Goldberg Sloan.
Eleven-year-old Ava Andrews has a Technicolor interior with a gray shell. On the inside, she bubbles with ideas and plans. On the outside, everyone except her best friend, Zelia, thinks she doesn’t talk or, worse, is stuck-up. What nobody knows is that Ava has invisible disabilities: anxiety and a heart condition.
Ava hopes middle school will be a fresh start, but when Zelia moves across the country and Ava’s Nana Linda pushes her to speak up about social issues, she withdraws further. So Ava is shocked when her writing abilities impress her classmates and they invite her to join their improv group, making up stories onstage. Determined to prove she can control her anxiety, she joins — and discovers a whole new side of herself, and what it means to be on a team.
But as Ava’s self-confidence blossoms, her relationship with Zelia strains, and she learns that it isn’t enough just to raise your voice — it’s how and why you use it that matters.
In this prequel to the Edgar Award–winning OCDaniel, fan-favorite Sara quests for “normal” and finds something even better along the way.
Sara’s Rules to Be Normal
1. Stop taking your pills
19. Make a friend
137. Don’t put mayonnaise on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Sara wants one thing: to be normal. What she has instead are multiple diagnoses from Dr. Ring. Sara’s constant battle with False Alarm – what she calls panic attacks — and other episodes cause her to isolate herself. She rarely speaks, especially not at school, and so she doesn’t have any friends. But when she starts group therapy she meets someone new.
Talkative and outgoing Erin doesn’t believe in “normal,” and Sara finds herself in unfamiliar territory: at the movies, at a birthday party, and with someone to tell about her crush — in short, with a friend. But there’s more to Erin than her cheerful exterior, and Sara begins to wonder if helping Erin will mean sacrificing their friendship.
This stunning novel follows a girl looking for answers about a mysterious boy as she learns about grief, family, and putting the pieces back together — perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Erin Entrada Kelly.
Maddy Gaines sees danger everywhere she looks: at the bus stop, around the roller rink, in the woods, and (especially) by the ocean. When Maddy meets a mysterious boy setting booby traps in the North Carolina woods, she suspects is Billy Holcomb – the boy who went missing in the fall.
As Maddy tries to uncover the truth about Billy Holcomb, ghosts from her own past surface, her best friend starts to slip away, and Maddy’s world tilts once again. Can she put the pieces of her life back together, even if some of them are lost forever?
When Rob starts getting mysterious texts from an unknown number, he has to make a decision — stay under the radar, or risk being exposed in a way he’s not prepared for — in this “stirring” (Booklist) middle grade novel that’s perfect for fans of Wonder.
Rob Fitzgerald is determined to impress Destry Camberwick, the perfect new girl who he’s devastatingly in love with. But that’s a difficult task for a painfully shy wallflower who’s prone to panic attacks and would rather hang out with his granddad all day.
That is, until he starts getting mysterious text messages from an unknown number with challenges designed to encourage him to venture outside his comfort zone. Is Rob Fitzgerald on the road to getting the girl? Or will fear keep him out of the spotlight forever?
Powerful, moving, and full of heart and humor, A Song Only I Can Hear is a delightful novel about dreaming big, being brave, and marching to the beat of your own drum.
Tanya Guerrero’s How To Make Friends With The Sea is a middle grade debut novel set in the Philippines about a young boy’s challenges with anxiety while his mother fosters an orphaned child with a facial anomaly.
Pablo is homesick.
He’s only twelve years old, but he’s lived in more countries than he can count. After his parents divorced, he and his mother have moved from place to place for years, never settling anywhere long enough to call it home. And along the way, Pablo has collected more and more fears: of dirt, of germs, and most of all, of the ocean.
Now they’re living in the Philippines, and his mother, a zoologist who works at a local wildlife refuge, is too busy saving animals to notice that Pablo might need saving, too. Then his mother takes in Chiqui, an orphaned girl with a cleft lip ― and Pablo finds that through being strong for Chiqui, his own fears don’t seem so scary.
He might even find the courage to face his biggest fear of all…and learn how to make friends with the sea.
In Shaunta Grimes’ middle-grade novel Center of Gravity, a girl loses her mom, and her dad remarries quickly, so she must rebuild her life and friendships.
Tessa is an anxious person, but it’s become worse since her mother died a few months ago. To calm herself down she cuts out photos of missing kids ― from milk cartons ― and keeps them in a file. It helps her feel like she’s not alone.
When her dad announces suddenly that he’s getting married ― and that they’re moving, Tessa must navigate new friendships and a new stepmother. She knows she should let go of old habits, but that’s easier said than done. Her struggle is one that many readers will understand.
Can Kit’s super-weird superpower save her world?
Twelve-year-old kit (with a small k) likes shopping at the flea market with her best friend, Clem, roller-skating, climbing to the roof to look at the stars, and volunteering at an animal shelter. Until suddenly she has a really big, really strange secret that makes life more complicated than she’s prepared for: Sometimes, without warning, she turns into a tiny naked mole rat.
It first happened as kit watched Clem fall and get hurt during a performance with her acrobatic-troupe family on TV. Since then, the transformations keep coming. Kit can’t tell Clem, because Clem hasn’t been herself after the accident. She’s mad and gloomy and keeping a secret of her own: the real reason she fell.
Months later, kit and Clem still haven’t figured out how to deal with all the ways they have changed — both inside and out. Somehow, kit has to save the day. But she’s no hero, and turning into a naked mole rat isn’t a superpower. Or is it?
Elly Swartz’s Give and Take is a touching middle grade novel about family, friendship, and learning when to let go.
Family has always been important to twelve-year-old Maggie: a trapshooter, she is coached by her dad and cheered on by her mom. But her grandmother’s recent death leaves a giant hole in Maggie’s life, one which she begins to fill with an assortment of things: candy wrappers, pieces of tassel from Nana’s favorite scarf, milk cartons, sticks…all stuffed in cardboard boxes under her bed.
Then her parents decide to take in a foster infant. But anxiety over the new baby’s departure only worsens Maggie’s hoarding, and soon she finds herself taking and taking until she spirals out of control. Ultimately, with some help from family, friends, and experts, Maggie learns that sometimes love means letting go.
From award-winning actor Maulik Pancholy comes a hilarious and heartfelt middle grade debut about a gay Indian American boy coming into his own. One of Time Out’s “LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month,” this is perfect for fans of Tim Federle’s Nate series. A Stonewall Honor Book!
Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small town in Indiana. The start of middle school is making him feel increasingly anxious, so his favorite person in the whole world, his grandfather, Bhai, gives him some well-meaning advice: Find one thing you’re really good at and become the BEST at it.
Those four little words sear themselves into Rahul’s brain. While he’s not quite sure what that special thing is, he is convinced that once he finds it, bullies like Brent Mason will stop torturing him at school. And he won’t be worried about staring too long at his classmate Justin Emery. With his best friend, Chelsea, by his side, Rahul is ready to crush this challenge….But what if he discovers he isn’t the best at anything?
Funny, charming, and incredibly touching, this is a story about friendship, family, and the courage it takes to live your truth.
A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghosts!
Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session.
It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on?Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face – and conquer – her fears.
Inventive, empathetic, and strange in all the best ways, The Spinner of Dreams draws from the author’s own experiences to create a story that feels timeless and universal. As she did in her debut The Land of Yesterday, K. A. Reynolds thoughtfully explores mental health and crafts an adventure that fits right alongside middle grade classics like The Phantom Tollbooth.
Annalise Meriwether — though kind, smart, and curious — is terribly lonely.
Cursed at birth by the devious Fate Spinner, Annalise has always lived a solitary life with her loving parents. She does her best to ignore the cruel townsfolk of her desolate town — but the black mark on her hand won’t be ignored.
Not when the monster living within it, which seems to have an agenda of its own, grows more unpredictable each day.
There’s only one way for Annalise to rid herself of her curse: to enter the Labyrinth of Fate and Dreams and defeat the Fate Spinner. So despite her anxiety, Annalise sets out to undo the curse that’s defined her — and to show the world, and herself, exactly who she is inside.
The critically acclaimed author of Lily and Dunkin delivers another heartfelt story that will remind readers you never know who needs a friend the most.
Miles is an anxious boy who loves his family’s bowling center even if though he could be killed by a bolt of lightning or a wild animal that escaped from the Philadelphia Zoo on the way there.
Amy is the new girl at school who wishes she didn’t have to live above her uncle’s funeral home and tries to write her way to her own happily-ever-after.
Then Miles and Amy meet in the most unexpected way…and that’s when it all begins…
This funny and moving second novel from the author of The Someday Birds features comic trivia, a safety superhero, and a super-cool scavenger hunt all over downtown San Diego, as our young hero Stanley Fortinbras grapples with his anxiety — and learns what, exactly, it means to be brave.
Nobody knows comics trivia like Stanley knows comics trivia.
It’s what he takes comfort in when the world around him gets to be too much. And after he faints during a safety assembly, Stanley takes his love of comics up a level by inventing his own imaginary superhero, named John Lockdown, to help him through.
Help is what he needs, because Stanley’s entered Trivia Quest — a giant comics-trivia treasure hunt — to prove he can tackle his worries, score VIP passes to Comic Fest, and win back his ex-best friend. Partnered with his fearless new neighbor Liberty, Stanley faces his most epic, overwhelming, challenging day ever.
What would John Lockdown do?
Stanley’s about to find out.
An instant New York Times bestseller, Booki Vivat’s Frazzled is the first installment of a funny middle grade graphic novel series about a girl who is always in a tizzy.
Meet Abbie Wu. Abbie is in crisis — and not just because she’s starting middle school or because she’s stuck in a family that doesn’t quite get her or because everyone seems to have a Thing except her. Abbie Wu is always in crisis.
From author and professional doodler Booki Vivat, Frazzled dives right into the mind of this hilariously neurotic middle school girl as she tries to figure out who she is and where she belongs. Akin to Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Frazzled is heavily illustrated, embarrassingly honest, and sure to appeal to anyone in the middle of figuring out how to survive the everyday disasters of growing up.
Reality and fantasy collide in this heartfelt and mysterious novel for fans of Counting By 7s and Bridge To Terabithia, about a girl who must save a magical make-believe world in order to save herself.
Things Finley Hart doesn’t want to talk about:
● Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend like they’re not.)
● Being sent to her grandparents’ house for the summer.
● Never having met said grandparents.
● Her blue days — when life feels overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep her head up. (This happens a lot.)
Finley’s only retreat is the Everwood, a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook. Until she discovers the endless woods behind her grandparents’ house and realizes the Everwood is real — and holds more mysteries than she’d ever imagined, including a family of pirates that she isn’t allowed to talk to, trees covered in ash, and a strange old wizard living in a house made of bones.
With the help of her cousins, Finley sets out on a mission to save the dying Everwood and uncover its secrets. But as the mysteries pile up and the frightening sadness inside her grows, Finley realizes that if she wants to save the Everwood, she’ll first have to save herself.
What if your pencil had all the answers? Would you ace every test? Would you know what your teachers were thinking?
When Ava Anderson finds a scratched up pencil, she doodles like she would with any other pencil. But when she writes a question in the margin of her math quiz, she hears a clear answer in a voice no one else seems to hear.
With the help of her friend Sophie, Ava figures out that the pencil will answer factual questions only – those with definite right or wrong answers – but won’t predict the future. Ava and Sophie discover all kinds of uses for the pencil, and Ava’s confidence grows with each answer. But it’s getting shorter with every sharpening, and when the pencil reveals a scary truth about Ava’s family, she realizes that sometimes the bravest people are the ones who live without all the answers…