Book List: 13 Funny Middle Grade Books with Diverse Characters

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but a middle school sense of humor is so delightful! When the temperature is freezing, what better way to spend your time than by reading a hilarious book? We’ve put together a list of middle grade humor books (all of which feature diverse main characters), so get ready to have your funny bone tickled!

Note: In general, middle grade books are appropriate for kids ages 8-12. If any of these books fall outside that range, we’ve tried to note that below.

For you visual learners, we’ve also pinned these titles on Pinterest:

diverse middle grade humor booksThese books have been recommended in various places – we haven’t (yet) read them all ourselves. If you have other recommended humorous middle grade titles that feature characters of color or are written by authors of color, let us know in the comments! For more on middle grade humor, check out Cat Girl’s Day Off author Kimberly Pauley’s guest post she wrote on How to Write Humor for Young Readers.

Let the giggles and laughs commence!

smiling cat

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night by Lenore Look, ill. by LeUyen Pham: Alvin Ho is an Asian American second grader who is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell, ill. by Joe Berger: The much-anticipated sequel to the children’s classic by Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond — featuring a contemporary family and a camper van with a mind of its own.

Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich: A Brooklyn middle-schooler finds the superhero within himself thanks to old friends, new dreams, and a pair of magical “Dora the Explorer” sneakers.

Galaxy Games: The Challengers by Greg R. Fishbone, ill. by Ethen Beavers: Eleven-year-old Tyler Sato and his friends who are recruited by aliens to compete in the Galaxy Games, an Olympics-style outer space sports competition.

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung, ill. by Mike Maihack: Vincent Wu and his pals Max and George are the leaders (and, well, sole members) of the (unofficial) Captain Stupendous Fan Club. But when the Captain is hurt, the entire city is in danger, and Vincent’s parents and his friends aren’t safe, only Vincent has what it takes to save the day!

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami: Eleven-year-old Dini and her best friend Maddie are in love . . . with Dolly Singh, the most beautiful and talented actress/singer/dancer in all of Bollywood. But they have been picking up on signs – signs that only a true fan would notice! – that Dolly is in some kind of trouble. When Dini’s family suddenly moves to India, she knows this is her chance to find Dolly and fix everything. The only problem is, she’ll be leaving Maddie behind . . .

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang: Lucy Wu is on the verge of having the best year of her life. She’s ready to rule the school as a sixth grader until she finds out that Yi Po, her beloved grandmother’s sister, is coming to visit for several months — and is staying in Lucy’s room.

Hickey of the Beast by Isabel Kunkle (upper middle grade, younger YA): A hilarious look about all the things that make growing up hell: boys, history class, annoying little brothers, and saving the world from evil. When the supernatural comes to school, it’s no field day – and that’s before you factor in homework.

How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen (upper middle grade, younger YA): Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker’s Bowling Paradise. But while Lamar’s a whiz at rolling strikes, he always strikes out with girls and his family. Until bad boy Billy Jenks convinces Lamar that he has a plan that will fix everything . . .

Lowji Discovers America by Candace Fleming (young middle grade, age 6-10): Nine-year-old Lowji relocates from India to a small American town in Illinois. He really wants a pet, but the landlady of his apartment building does not allow them. Lowji, however, is able to cleverly convince Mrs. Crisp that animals can help ease her workload, until everything starts going wrong.

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee: For Millicent Min, it’s tough being a genius (upper middle grade, younger YA). But then Millie meets Emily. Emily doesn’t know Millicent’s IQ score. She actually thinks Millie is cool. And if Millie can hide her awards, ignore her grandmother’s advice, swear her parents to silence, blackmail Stanford, and keep all her lies straight, she just might make her first friend.

The Monster in the Mudball by S.P. Gates (young middle grade, age 6-10): When 11-year-old Jin accidentally lets his baby brother drool on a mudball, releasing the monster Zilombo, he must team up with Chief Inspector of Ancient Artifacts Mizz Z to track the monster down.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex: When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. In any case, Gratuity’s story is much, much bigger than the assignment.

One Comment

  1. Posted December 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Also check out Uma Krishnawswami’s article in the Horn Book regarding culture and humor: http://www.hbook.com/2012/05/choosing-books/no-joke-humor-and-culture-in-middle-grade-books/


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] When you’re in middle grade and you’ve been reading about a disproportionate number of m… ( and isn’t that every middle grader?) from Lee & Low Books […]

  2. […] just shared their “Book List: 13 Funny Middle Grade Books with Diverse Characters” (http://blog.leeandlow.com/2013/12/13/book-list-13-funny-middle-grade-books-with-diverse-characters/), which you can also identify by cover here: […]

  3. […] Lee & Low’s “Thirteen Funny Middle Grade Books with Diverse Characters” […]

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