Middle grade books about being the new kid in school hit hard because many of us have been there: new, unsure where to sit or who to approach. It can be harder for kids who’ve moved cities or immigrated from different countries, but it’s rarely a seamless process. The books on this list are mostly stories where the main character is a new kid at school. There are others where the main character has strong connections with the new kid as well. I hope these books help you/your kids build empathy for the new kid and feel less alone if they’re the new kid.
Made in Korea is Sarah Suk’s debut YA novel. Valerie Kwon is a business-savvy Korean-American teen who runs V&C K-Beauty with her cousin, Charlie, out of her high school locker. She’s saving up so that she can take her halmeoni to Paris on a memorable vacation. Valerie is also misunderstood by her mother because she’s not as dutiful, math/science smart or organized as her older sister. Valerie’s dreams face a huge obstacle when a new, good looking Korean-American student Wes Jung unwittingly starts his own competing K-beauty business in their school.