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Middle Grade Stories That Teach Forgiveness

by Devon A. Corneal

Photo credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Forgiveness is tough – it requires us to give up resentment and let go of a sense of being wronged by people we know. It’s especially challenging when someone you care about hurts you. But as the characters in the books we’ve included on this reading list discover, forgiveness can also free us from the weight of anger and pain and allow us to move forward into richer lives than the ones we had before.

  • Starfish

    by Lisa Fipps

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    Learning to accept yourself just as you are is a challenge — one that Ellie is working on. She knows that people think she’s fat – the bullies at school and even her mother won’t let her forget. But Ellie also has people who love and support her. With their help, she might be able to forgive the people who have been cruel to her and find the confidence to stand tall and proud in the world.

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  • Paper Heart

    by Cat Patrick

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    It isn’t easy losing someone you love, and Tess struggles to cope with the death of her best friend, Colette. Thankfully, Tess has friends who can help her learn to stop blaming herself, make peace with her grief, and find a way to move forward.

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  • Before the Ever After

    by Jacqueline Woodson

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    ZJ’s dad struggles with his memory. After years as a professional football player, he’s starting to forget things, including ZJ’s name. Football has given ZJ’s family a comfortable life, but now it looks like it has stolen his father from him. Learning to accept that loss will take all of ZJ’s strength and force him to grapple with feelings of anger, loss, love, and forgiveness.

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  • Wonder

    by R. J. Palacio

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    Wonder plunges readers into the awkwardness of middle school, perfectly capturing its fragile friendships and quicksand-like social structure through the eyes of Auggie Pullman, a boy born with severe facial deformities that quickly make him a target for adolescent cruelty. But Auggie isn’t unique only because he looks different; he also has a capacity for forgiveness that will change everyone around him.

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  • Clean Getaway

    by Nic Stone

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    Eleven-year-old Scoob jumps at the chance to take an unplanned road trip with his grandmother. But what Scoob thinks is a simple drive through Alabama soon exposes long-buried family secrets and forces him to confront the challenging history of the American South and his ability to understand and forgive choices his grandmother made.

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  • Each Tiny Spark

    by Pablo Cartaya

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    Emilia thought everything would go back to normal when her father came home from deployment. Instead, she discovers that it isn’t easy to reconnect with her dad. Things at school are also falling apart, with a new redistricting plan threatening to shatter her friendships. However, Emilia finds a way to hold everything together with a little bit of forgiveness, a spark of courage, and a lot of patience.

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