Middle Grades LGBTQ+ Family-Friendly Books

The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister by Charlotte Agell

India takes us along as she chronicles her life, searching to find herself in a pretty special family. India lives with her mom and their dog, across town from her dad and his new partner (and their bird!). India was also adopted from China as a baby, and it’s definitely not easy being the only Chinese person in town. But India tells us all about her life with humor and a smile!

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

The narrator of this story and her best friend Neeka’s lives change forever the summer D Foster came to town. D shows the girls life outside their close-knit Queens community. With subplots about Tupac Shakur’s death, and Neeka’s gay brother serving prison time for being framed for a hate crime, Woodson takes her readers on a complex ride through coming of age.

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

Dennis’ life isn’t easy – his mother has died, his father is depressed, his brother is a bully, and nobody knows about Dennis’ love of fashion – but at least he has his position as leading scorer on the soccer team. That all changes when his friend Lisa convinces Dennis to go to school in a dress as “Denise”, and the principal expels him from both school and the soccer championships! How will Dennis save the team – and his relationships?

The Case of the Stolen Scarab by Nancy Garden

When Nikki and Travis move to Vermont with their two moms, they think it means a new future. What it ends up meaning is digging way into the past, on a mystery mission to find out who stole a valuable artifact from a local museum.

Cher Upon a Midnight Clear by Matteo B. Bianchi and translated by Wendell Ricketts

How do adults know when something is for boys and when it’s for girls? Who tells them so? Where do they learn it? For eight-year-old Luca, it’s a mystery, but if he can’t convince his parents to give him the white ice skates he has his heart set on, Christmas is going to be ruined. Who does a child turn to when he can’t even count on Santa Claus?

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Raina Telgemeier, the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of the Eisner Award winner, SMILE, brings us her next full-color graphic novel . . . DRAMA!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon over Mississippi, she’s a terrible singer. Instead, she’s the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island by Dana Alison Levy

The Fletchers are back on Rock Island, home of all their best summer memories. But from the first day they arrive, it’s clear that this year, things have changed. FIRST, a giant fence is blocking their beloved lighthouse. SECOND, they have new neighbors. THIRD, who the heck is the weird artist guy who’s never actually painting? And FOURTH, there’s now an ice cream truck! Can the island stay the same even with these crazy transformations?

Over the course of the summer, the Fletchers will learn that sometimes, even in a place where time stands still, the wildest, weirdest, and most wonderful surprises await.

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson

A fourteen-year-old African-American boy struggles to come to terms with his mother’s homosexuality.

Gay America: Struggle for Equality by Linas Alsenas

Profusely illustrated with archival images, the groundbreaking Gay America reveals how gay men and women have lived, worked, and loved for the past 125 years. Gays and lesbians play a very prominent role in American life today, whether grabbing headlines over political gains, starring in and being the subject of movies and television shows, or filling the streets of nearly every major city each year to celebrate Gay Pride. However, this was not always the case, and this book charts their journey along with the history of the country.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them.

Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?

The Harvey Milk Story by Kari Krakow

“On a rainy day in January, on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall, Harvey Milk was sworn into office, the first openly gay elected city official in the United States of America. Harvey Milk had made history.”

In making history that day, Minnie Milk’s intelligent, energetic and courageous son “showed the world that by not being afraid to be yourself, you can give others the courage to be proud of who they are.” Harvey’s legacy is everywhere today in the hundreds of openly gay elected officials in every level of government, including the United States Congress.

The House You Pass on the Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Staggerlee is used to being alone. As the granddaughter of celebrities and the daughter of an interracial couple in an all-black town, she has become adept at isolating herself from curious neighbors. But then her cousin, Trout, comes to visit. Trout is exactly like Staggerlee wishes she could be: outspoken, sure of herself, beautiful. Finally, Staggerlee has a friend, someone she can share her deepest, most private thoughts with. Someone who will teach her how to be the strong girl she longs to be. But is Trout really the girl Staggerlee thinks she is?

Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Mryacle

What do Katie-Rose, Yasaman, Milla, and Violet have in common? Other than being named after flowers, practically nothing. Katie-Rose is a film director in training. Yasaman is a computer whiz. Milla is third in command of the A list. And Violet is the new girl in school. They’re fab girls, all of them, but they sure aren’t friends. And if evil queen bee Medusa—’scuse me, Modessa—has her way, they never will be. But this is the beginning of a new school year, when anything can happen and social worlds can collide . . .

The Manny Files by Christian Burch

“Be interesting.” That’s what the manny tells Keats Dalinger the first time he packs Keats’s school lunch, but for Keats that’s not always the easiest thing to do. Even though he’s the only boy at home, it always feels like no one ever remembers him. His sisters are everywhere! Lulu is the smart one, India is the creative one, and Belly . . . well, Belly is the naked one. And the baby. School isn’t much better. There, he’s the shortest kid in the entire class.

But now the manny is the Dalinger’s new babysitter, and things are starting to look up. It seems as though the manny always knows the right thing to do. Not everyone likes the manny as much as Keats does, however. Lulu finds the manny embarrassing, and she’s started to make a list of all the crazy things that he does, such as serenading the kids with “La Cucaracha” from the front yard or wearing underwear on his head or meeting the school bus with Belly, dressed as limo drivers. Keats is worried. What if Lulu’s “Manny Files” makes his parents fire the manny? Who will teach him how to be interesting then?

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

The start of the school year is not going as the Fletcher brothers hoped. Each boy finds his plans for success veering off in unexpected and sometimes disastrous directions. And at home, their miserable new neighbor complains about everything. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.

The Misfits by James Howe

Four best friends who have been tossed aside by their middle school – a twelve year old tie salesman, a tall outspoken girl, a gay seventh grade boy, and a “hooligan” – all join forces to prove that they’re tired of the name-calling and bullying, and aren’t going to stand for it anymore.

My Mixed Up, Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari

June Farrell is sure of one thing—she’s great at making pies—and she plans to prove it by winning a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. But a backlash against Vermont’s civil union law threatens her family’s security and their business. Even when faced with bullying, June won’t give up on winning the blue ribbon; more importantly, she won’t give up on her family.

The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

Lydia and Julie are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, and human guinea pig. Julie’s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey jock, and faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick. But somehow, the harder Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, the farther they get from their goal—and each other.

Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan

This fictionalized biography of real historical figure Charley Pankhurst follows Charley through work as a stable hand, finding love, losing a husband, and living as a man to achieve some pretty serious dreams.

See You At Harry’s by Jo Knowles

Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. Her dad is always busy planning how to increase traffic to the family business. Her Mom is constantly going off to meditate. Her sister Sarah, who’s taking a “gap year” after high school, is too busy finding ways not to work; and her brother Holden is too focused on his new “friend” to pay attention to her. And then there’s Charlie: three years old, a “surprise” baby, and the center of everyone’s world.

If it wasn’t for Ran, Fern’s best and oldest friend, there would be nowhere to turn. Ran is always calm, always positive. His mantra “All will be well” is soothing in a way that nothing else seems to be. And when Ran says it, Fern can almost believe. But when their lives are unexpectedly turned upside down, Fern feels more alone than ever, and responsible for the event that wrenches the family apart. All will not be well. Or at least, all will never be the same.

The Skull of Truth by Bruce Coville

Charlie Eggleston is the biggest liar in town. When he finds himself at Mr. Elives’ magic shop, his eyes light upon the skull. He steals it, and it puts him under some sort of spell: Soon he can only tell the truth–but now no one believes him!

So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez

Frederick is new at school, and knows he should be flattered that popular, pretty Xio has taken an interest in him. But no matter how much attention Xio gives him, Frederick just can’t stop thinking about soccer captain Victor instead. What’s a new guy to do?

This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy

Sara Johnston-Fischer loves her family, of course. But that doesn’t mean she’s thrilled when her summer plans are upended for a surprise cross-country train trip with her two moms, Mimi and Carol; her younger sister, Ladybug; her older sister, Laurel; and Laurel’s poncho-wearing activist boyfriend, Root. Sara finds herself crisscrossing the country with a gaggle of wild Texans. As they travel from New Orleans to Chicago to the Grand Canyon and beyond, Sara finds herself changing along with the landscape outside the train windows. And she realizes that she just might go home reinvented.

Totally Joe by James Howe

Thirteen year-old Joe has a writing assignment: an “alphabiography,” meaning that it’s supposed to be the story of his life from A to Z. But when he finishes it, he realizes there’s a lot of pretty personal stuff in there, and though he doesn’t censor himself, he begs his teacher to handle it with care (and NOT make him read any of it out-loud!). Joe is gay. This is a story about first crushes, friendship, and family. It’s about being different and being O.K. with that. Joe is totally himself.