Middle Grade Fiction with Protagonists of Color

Middle Grade Fiction is for readers between nine and twelve. The following are middle grade novels I have read that feature protagonists of color. This list is part of my on-going book list project, in response to the Cooperative Book Center’s statistics regarding the lack of diversity in children’s books. Books marked with a * are #ownvoices books, meaning that the author belongs to the same community as the protagonist. I will be adding to this list as I read more books. Please leave suggestions in the comments!


  • One Crazy Summer* by Rita Williams-Garcia (2011 Newbery Honor Book, 2011 Scott O’Dell Award, 2011 Judy Lopez Memorial Award Honor Book)
  • P.S. Be Eleven *by Rita Williams-Garcia (2014 Coretta Scott King Award)
  • After Tupac and D Foster* by Jacqueline Woodson (2009 Newbery Honor Book, 2009 Bank Street College of Education Josette Frank Award )
  • Money Hungry* by Sharon G. Flake (2002 Coretta Scott King Author Honor)
  • Locomotion* by Jacueline Woodson (2004 Coretta Scott King Author Honor)
  • The House of Dies* Drear by Virginia Hamilton
  • Toning the Sweep* by Angela Johnson (1994 Coretta Scott King Award)
  • Crossover* by Kwame Alexander (2015 Newbery Medal, 2015 Coretta Scott King Author honor book)
  • Ninth Ward* by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Coretta Scott King Author Award 2011)
  • As Brave as You* by Jason Reynolds (Schnieder Family Book Award 2017, Coretta Scott King Author Honor 2017)
  • Oddity by Sarah Cannon

Native American

  • The Birchbark House* by Louise Eldrich (2006 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle School Book)


  • Same Sun Here* by Silas House and Neela Vaswani


  • The Circuit: Stories From the Life of a Migrant Child* by Francisco Jiménez
  • Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose
  • The First Rule of Punk* by Celia C. Perez

Middle Eastern 

  • Whichwood* by Tahereh Mafi (fantasy story with elements of Middle Eastern culture)


  • Spirit Hunters* by Ellen Oh

You may also be interested in my Picture Books with Protagonists of Color, Picture Books with Racial or Ethnic Diversity, and International Picture Book lists.