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Tween

Middle Grade Reads on the Power of Patience

by Devon A. Corneal

middle-grade-books-patience
Photo credit: Ariel Skelley, DigitalVision/Getty Images

Oh, if only I were a patient person! I could wait for cookies to cool and avoid burning my tongue, I would always drive the speed limit, and I would never, ever lose my temper. Despite my best intentions, those things rarely happen. Just ask my seventh grader. But, as I remind him, he’s not very patient either. This is why we like reading together — especially when the stories we’re reading teach us how to be calmer, less impulsive, and more easy-going. So, if you or your preteen find yourselves more irritable than usual, maybe one or two of the books on this list will help you find your inner Zen and keep frustration at bay.

  • Starfish

    by Lisa Fipps

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    Changing yourself, or perhaps more accurately, learning to accept yourself as you are so you don’t have to change, is a slow, sometimes painful process that requires a great deal of patience. Ellie learns this lesson the hard way, grappling with the cruelty of people around her and societal expectations of thinness as she works toward the confidence to love herself just the way she is.

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  • Echo Mountain

    by Lauren Wolk

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    When Ellie’s father suffers a terrible accident that puts him in a coma, Ellie leaves her home to traverse a mountain in search of a cure. Along the way, she learns that bodies heal slowly, and sometimes our hearts do too.

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  • Tornado Brain

    by Cat Patrick

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    It’s hard to be patient under the best of circumstances and even harder when you’re a neurotypical 13-year-old who experiences the world differently than your friends. But as Frankie discovers, when the stakes are high enough, we can find strengths and skills in ourselves that we never knew we had.

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  • The Line Tender

    by Kate Allen

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    Fishing requires a unique sort of calm — an ability to sit quietly and do nothing for long periods of time, waiting for a tug on a line and the appearance of a previously hidden creature. In The Line Tender, a young girl named Lucy will need the patience of a fisherman as she tries to finish her mother’s research and mend her broken family.

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  • The Elephant in the Room

    by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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    Sia has been separated from her mother for almost a year, kept apart by immigration laws and thousands of miles. Just when Sia thinks she can’t bear being away from her mother for another day, she finds hope in an unexpected friendship with an elderly lottery winner, a young boy, and a circus elephant named Velda.

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  • Dress Coded

    by Carrie Firestone

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    Fighting a fight that matters requires courage, a bit of anger, and a lot of patience. As Molly and her friends are about to find out, changing the world (or your school’s dress code) doesn’t happen overnight.

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  • Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Endless Waiting

    by Matthew Swanson, illustrated by Robbi Behr

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    When Ben’s fortune cookie tells him that “Good things come to those who wait,” he figures he doesn’t have any choice but to listen. I mean, do you want to mess with a fortune cookie? Unfortunately, waiting is hard, even when you believe that good things will happen.

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  • Clean Getaway

    by Nic Stone

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    An unplanned road trip with his grandmother is the perfect opportunity for 11-year-old Scoob to escape home for a while. But what Scoob thinks is a simple drive through Alabama soon leaves him wondering what secrets his grandmother is hiding and how her life connects to the civil rights movement and the challenging history of the American South.

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  • Nessie Quest

    by Melissa Savage

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    Ada Ru and Hammy Bean are about to join a century’s worth of sleuths as they try to discover, once and for all, if the Loch Ness Monster is real or just a figment of history’s imagination.

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  • The Third Mushroom

    by Jennifer L. Holm

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    Science is all about patience. It requires constant attention, failure, resilience, and faith that you will find the answers to your questions if you just keep trying. But as Ellie and her grandfather, Melvin, are about to find out, sometimes experiments lead to unexpected results.

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  • A Monster Calls

    by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay

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    Conor’s mother is dying, and to make things even harder, he is now being visited each night by an arboreal monster. On the first night, the beast informs Connor that he will tell him three stories, but on the fourth night, Conor must tell the monster his own tale. Unraveling the meaning of his nightly visitor’s stories tests the limits of Conor’s patience as well as his ability to face the truths awaiting him. A timeless work of fiction for older middle grade readers.

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