Do you ever notice that some common tween issues are rarely mentioned in books? For me, some of those rarely mentioned challenges include stuttering, allergies, and seizure disorders. In today’s post, I’m sharing 10 great middle grade books about stuttering. These books feature protagonists (or important side characters) who stutter or have speech difficulties.
10 Best Middle Grade Books About Stuttering
Here are the best middle grade books about stuttering
Say It Out Loud
Published: August 24, 2021
Charlotte Andrews stutters and prefers to lay low to avoid being picked on. Thankfully, she has a best friend, Maggie who sticks with her. But middle school is a whole other ball game and soon after she and Maggie start attending, Maggie defends a boy who is being bullied on the school bus, effectively putting a bully target on her own back. When the bullying starts, Charlotte ditches Maggie and suddenly she can’t figure out how to fix the friendship.
As Charlotte finds a family among the theater kids, the guilt about abandoning her childhood friend begins to eat at her. She begins to write encouraging notes to other kids, slipping them into lockers. But can she fix her friendship with Maggie?
The Swag Is in the Socks
Published: November 2, 2021
Xavier Moon (who stutters) is not one to steal the show. He’s perfectly content to play his Switch and sit at his bedroom window watching the neighborhood talk outside. But for Xavier’s twelfth birthday, he receives a pair of funky socks and a challenge from his great-uncle, Frankie Bell, saying it’s time to swag out and speak up.
First on the list: get into the legendary Scepter League. Xavier’s grandfather, great-uncle, and father were all invited to join the after-school elite boys’ club that admits only the suavest and confident young men. Xavier has never had the courage to apply before, but his wild socks are getting him some big attention, so maybe it’s time to come out of the shadows and follow in his family’s footsteps. Or maybe Xavier will march down a new path altogether.
The Shape of Thunder
Published: May 11, 2021
The Shape of Thunder follows two former best friends Quinn and Cora whose lives have been altered by a tragic event. Quinn’s brother Parker killed Cora’s sister in a school shooting. Understandably, this created a rift between both girls, even though they still deeply care for each other and have been friends since kindergarten. As they approach the first anniversary of the shooting, Quinn thinks she’s found a way to undo what happened and reaches out to Cora to work with her.
The story is told from alternating points of view (Quinn — who stutters — and Cora) as both girls try to figure out time travel, while processing the grief and trauma they both hold.
The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh
Published: August 3, 2021
When life is funny, make some jokes about it. Billy Plimpton has a big dream: to become a famous comedian when he grows up. He already knows a lot of jokes but thinks he has one big problem standing in his way: his stutter. At first, Billy thinks the best way to deal with this is to . . . never say a word. That way, the kids in his new school won’t hear him stammer. But soon he finds out this is NOT the best way to deal with things. (For one thing, it’s very hard to tell a joke without getting a word out.) As Billy makes his way toward the spotlight, a lot of funny things (and some less funny things) happen to him. In the end, the whole school will know — If you think you can hold Billy Plimpton back, be warned: The joke will soon be on you!
Published: May 28, 2019
On or off the field, Matt and Ben couldn’t be more different. Ben Roberson is an all-or-nothing player: he’s big, he’s bold, and he’s brash. Ben’s swing can hit a ball right out of the park—but that’s if he can get a hit at all. Matt Baker is small, and shy, and his stutter has him avoiding the spotlight—even if he’s the best all-rounder on the team. But while Matt knows he’s got the chops, a part of him has always envied “Big Ben” and his attention-grabbing charm.
So it’s a total shock when Ben asks Matt to help him work on his swing. Because Ben can’t put the ball into play, and his showboating comes at the expense of the team. And even though Matt’s trying to help, Ben doesn’t seem to take him seriously, especially when it means toning things down. The end of the season is fast approaching—is there enough time for Ben to realize bigger isn’t always better? For Matt to understand that sometimes, being the bigger person means standing up for yourself? Or will they have to accept defeat?
Cloud and Wallfish
Published: September 2, 2016
Noah Keller has a pretty normal life, until one wild afternoon when his parents pick him up from school and head straight for the airport, telling him on the ride that his name isn’t really Noah and he didn’t really just turn eleven in March. And he can’t even ask them why — not because of his Astonishing Stutter, but because asking questions is against the newly instated rules. (Rule Number Two: Don’t talk about serious things indoors, because Rule Number One: They will always be listening).
As Noah—now “Jonah Brown”—and his parents head behind the Iron Curtain into East Berlin, the rules and secrets begin to pile up so quickly that he can hardly keep track of the questions bubbling up inside him: Who, exactly, is listening — and why? When did his mother become fluent in so many languages? And what really happened to the parents of his only friend, Cloud-Claudia, the lonely girl who lives downstairs?
Published: October 12, 2021
Melvin Robinson wants a strong, smooth, He-Man voice that lets him say what he wants, when he wants—especially to his crush Millie Takazawa, and Gary Ratliff, who constantly puts him down. But the thought of starting high school is only making his stutter worse. And Melvin’s growing awareness that racism is everywhere—not just in the South where a boy his age has been brutally killed by two white men, but also in his own hometown of Spokane—is making him realize that he can’t mutely stand by.
His new friend Lenny, a fast-talking, sax-playing Jewish boy, who lives above the town’s infamous (and segregated) Harlem Club, encourages Melvin to take some risks—to invite Millie to Homecoming and even audition for a local TV variety show. When they play music together, Melvin almost feels like he’s talking, no words required. But there are times when one needs to speak up. When his moment comes, can Melvin be as mighty on the outside as he actually is on the inside?
Pieces of Why
Published: September 8, 2015
(A side character stutters)
Tia lives with her mom in a high-risk neighborhood in New Orleans and loves singing gospel in the Rainbow Choir with Keisha, her boisterous and assertive best friend. Tia’s dream is to change the world with her voice; and by all accounts, she might be talented enough. But when a shooting happens in her neighborhood and she learns the truth about the crime that sent her father to prison years ago, Tia finds she can’t sing anymore.
The loss prompts her to start asking the people in her community hard questions–questions everyone has always been too afraid to ask. Full of humanity, Pieces of Why is a timely story that addresses grief, healing, and forgiveness told through the eyes of a gifted girl who hears rhythm and song everywhere in her life.
Published: May 14, 2013
An 11-year-old boy living in Memphis in 1959 throws the meanest fastball in town, but talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering, not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend’s paper route for the month of July, he knows he’ll be forced to communicate with the different customers, including a housewife who drinks too much and a retired merchant marine who seems to know just about everything.
The paper route poses challenges, but it’s a run-in with the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, that stirs up real trouble–and puts the boy’s life, as well as that of his family’s devoted housekeeper, in danger.
Published: March 21, 2016
With her irresistible urge to tell a joke in every situation–even when she really, really shouldn’t–twelve-year-old Jacky Ha-Ha loves to make people laugh. And cracking wise helps distract her from thinking about not-so-funny things in her life, like her mom serving in a dangerous, faraway war, and a dad who’s hardly ever home. But no matter how much fun Jacky has, she can’t seem to escape her worries.
So one starlit night, she makes a promise to keep her family together…even if she has to give up the one thing that makes her happy. But can she stop being Jacky Ha-Ha, if that’s who she really is?
Pin This Post: 10 Best Middle Grade Books About Stuttering
There they are: 10 of the best middle grade books about stuttering. Which of these books have you read and loved? Which ones did I miss?
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