Shh! Five Quiet Middle Grade Novels

Ask someone for their definition of a ‘quiet’ novel and you’re likely to get a Potter Stewart response: “I know it when I see it.” These books are hard to capture, yet finding one that resonates can be a blissful experience. Character-driven, they often focus on introspection while offering up rich prose. And though they can still showcase bold storylines, high emotion, and bold tension, they’re also … quieter than their louder counterparts, which can be refreshing—particularly in middle grade, where plots flash at breakneck speeds.

Here are five quiet middle grade novels to check out during your next trip to the library.

The Benefits of Being an Octopus
by Ann Braden

Zoey wonders how much easier life would be if she was an octopus. They’re powerful, smart, fierce defenders, and they have incredible camouflage abilities when they most need them.

Goodreads | My Review

Extraordinary Birds
by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

December knows she’s a bird—she’s just waiting for her wings to grow so she can fly away from her newest foster home.

Goodreads | My Review

Harbor Me
by Jacqueline Woodson

Six students meet weekly for unsupervised discussions where they discover just as much about themselves as they do about their peers.


Ruby in the Sky
by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo

Ruby Moon Hayes just wants to go unnoticed after moving yet again, but a persistent classmate and “the Bird Lady” make her reconsider.

Goodreads | My Review

See You in the Cosmos
by Jack Cheng

Alex makes a series of recordings on his iPod during his journey to send a rocket into space.



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