It isn't easy being new... Middle Grade Fiction about Moving & Starting a new school from Mackin Books in Bloom

For adults, moving a household usually means packing boxes and loading them into a truck. But for a kid, the hard part of moving, I can tell you from personal experience, is starting at a new school and making new friends.

It isn't easy to start over.

It felt awfully lonely to be the only one who doesn't know the rules, doesn't have any friends, and doesn't know where anything is.

The kids in these books know that feeling very well.

These stories may spark discussion about the immigrant experience, about what it means to feel at home, and about making connections.

Even if you have never been The New Kid, these stories will give you a glimpse of what it might be like to start over in a new and different place. Keep scrolling for more about the books and click the links for the full book record on

Catching a Storyfish uses several different styles of poetry to create a quiet but compelling narrative of a young African-American girl finding her voice.

In Catching a Storyfish, Keet's family moves from Alabama to Illinois. Keet talks different from the other kids, and she feels different in her new home. The time is measured in weeks as she slowly finds her voice and begins to feel at home in her new location.

In alternating chapters Ravi, who has moved to New Jersey from Bangalore, and Joe, whose only two friends moved away over the summer, narrate the ups and downs of the first week of fifth grade.

For Joe and Ravi the first week of fifth grade is full of misunderstandings and other challenges, but if they'll give each other a chance, they may find a friend.

Thyme’s younger brother is sick, so her family moves across the country for a new, experimental treatment that might save him. Thyme wants her brother to get better, but she finds starting over difficult.

Thyme's wants to be supportive, but you try starting a new school with a name like "Thyme." All she wants in the world is to go home...

Lily and Dunkin is an important story of acceptance and friendship that explores mental illness and gender identity for middle school readers.

Norbert Dorfman wants to change his name before he starts 8th grade at his new school in Florida after moving from New Jersey, but changing your name is complicated. No one knows how complicated a name change can be better than Lily, who was born Timothy. Lily wants to start 8th grade using her new name and wearing girl’s clothes, but she doesn’t want to disappoint her dad. Both teens long for acceptance, but they are slow to trust each other with their secrets.

Wendelin Van Draanen mixes humor and heart in her latest middle grade novel as she takes on serious topics with a light touch.

Lincoln Jones was happy to move with his mother since it meant getting away from his mom’s abusive boyfriend, but things don’t start out well for him at his new school. Right from the first day, he gets made fun of for his Southern accent, and he gives up hope of making friends. Instead, he focuses on keeping his life outside of school a secret.

It isn't easy being new, but, for me, stories always helped.

By Mindy R.

Read more about the best new books for teachers and librarians at

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