Can you guess why I love middle grade books with shy protagonists? Yes, because I was a shy kid. Shy, socially anxious, and introverted. So reading about other shy — not introverted necessarily — kids and watching them do wonderful things despite paralyzing shyness brings me a ridiculous amount of joy. It goes without saying that many of these books are my favorites ever. If you’ve got a shy kid in your life, feel free to hand them one of these books.
Amina’s Song is the sequel to Hena Khan’s Amina’s Voice. The book opens with Amina in Pakistan visiting family over the summer. She bonds with her cousin Zohra and her Thaya Jaan who had visited them in the States in Amina’s Voice. Amina falls in love with Pakistan, the culture, and of course, her people — and is sad when they have to return to the States. She promises her uncle that she’ll tell other people how wonderful Pakistan is.
Simon B Rhymin’ is the story of 11-year-old Simon Barnes (aka Notorious D.O.G.), a shy kid who loves to rap. His best friend Maria (aka Ri-Ri) is a talkative Latina who often has to stand up to Simon’s bullies. His other best friend, C.J. is mostly chill, but also supportive of Simon. Simon’s parents also support his rapping, but he still doesn’t feel confident about rapping in front of strangers.