Middle Grade Self Discovery
The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane By Kate O'Shaughnessy
Maybelle Lane is looking for her father, but on the road to Nashville she finds so much more: courage, brains, heart--and true friends.
Eleven-year-old Maybelle Lane collects sounds. She records the Louisiana crickets chirping, Momma strumming her guitar, their broken trailer door squeaking. But the crown jewel of her collection is a sound she didn't collect herself: an old recording of her daddy's warm-sunshine laugh, saved on an old phone's voicemail. It's the only thing she has of his, and the only thing she knows about him.
Until the day she hears that laugh--his laugh--pouring out of the car radio. Going against Momma's wishes, Maybelle starts listening to her radio DJ daddy's new show, drinking in every word like a plant leaning toward the sun. When he announces he'll be the judge of a singing contest in Nashville, she signs up. What better way to meet than to stand before him and sing with all her heart?
But the road to Nashville is bumpy. Her starch-stiff neighbor Mrs. Boggs offers to drive her in her RV. And a bully of a boy from the trailer park hitches a ride, too. These are not the people May would have chosen to help her, but it turns out they're searching for things as well. And the journey will mold them into the best kind of family--the kind you choose for yourself.
Stepping Stones By Lucy Knisley
This contemporary middle-grade graphic novel about family and belonging from New York Times bestselling author Lucy Knisley is a perfect read for fans of Awkward and Be Prepared.
Jen is used to not getting what she wants. So suddenly moving the country and getting new stepsisters shouldn't be too much of a surprise.
Jen did not want to leave the city. She did not want to move to a farm with her mom and her mom's new boyfriend, Walter. She did not want to leave her friends and her dad.
Most of all, Jen did not want to get new "sisters," Andy and Reese.
As if learning new chores on Peapod Farm wasn't hard enough, having to deal with perfect-at-everything Andy might be the last straw for Jen. Besides cleaning the chicken coop, trying to keep up with the customers at the local farmers' market, and missing her old life, Jen has to deal with her own insecurities about this new family . . . and where she fits in.
New York Times bestselling author Lucy Knisley brings to life a story inspired from her own childhood in an amazing journey of unlikely friends, sisters, and home.
"Funny, sweet, and real." -Jennifer & Matthew Holm, co-creators of the bestselling Babymouse series
"This book is gorgeous. Highly recommended." -Kristen Gudsnuk, creator of Making Friends
In the Middle of It All Guide
About the Books
Middle-grade stories follow characters at the most transformative times in their lives. From navigating changes like a divorce in the family to learning about the world in which their parents or grandparents grew up to making an unlikely friend at recess, middle-grade stories can be universal, and have the ability to expand readers’ perspectives, instill empathy, and promote understanding of the human experience.
In the Classroom
This guide provides discussion questions, prompts, and activity suggestions to facilitate insightful conversations about these books and their theme of self-discovery.