Middle grade book recommendations for parents of kids ages 5-12

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in Age 8-12, All Book Recommendations, Modern Classics

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

This lovely story chronicles the seventh grade year of a 12-year-old girl and her two best friends. The friendship is challenged as the girls sort through their new identities in the larger environment of middle school. One girl sends a boy a photo of herself in a bra, which gets circulated around the school, and the girl’s friend retaliates by posting a photo of the boy in his underwear on social media. The episode is handled deftly; you can see how the boy and girl got into this position, no one is vilified, and the parents and school administrators take it seriously. There are consequences for all, and it may serve as a cautionary tale for kids who could find themselves considering a similar action. Another plotline involves an older sister who is friends with a mean girl, and skips school and runs away for the day. She is found, and nothing terrible happens, though again, there are consequences for her behavior. Finally, the main character has a friendship with a boy, which develops, slowly and in an age-appropriate way, into something more. They do not kiss (though a later epilogue from ninth grade mentions their first kiss), and their friendship is a sweet model of how romance can develop. P&P Amazon

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