What to Read: Upper Elementary Girls Struggling with Confidence

I get asked for book recommendations all the time, and I truly enjoy being able to match kids in specific situations with books that could help them. A few days ago, I got a message from a former student who’s working with 3rd-5th grade girls, mostly Hispanic and African American, who are struggling with confidence.

Here’s the list I shared with her:president-of-the-whole-fifth-grade

President of the Whole Fifth Grade by Sherri Winston, which features an African American female main character who makes it her mission to win the class presidency as a step toward her big dream: building her own cupcake empire. It’s not an easy feat, but she perseveres and succeeds with honor and integrity.



Allie, First at Last by Angela Cervantes, which features a Hispanic American female main character in fifth grade who is surrounded by a family of over achievers. She feels like she just can’t win at anything, but then she finds a contest that changes everything for her.



Smile by Raina Telgemeier, which is a graphic novel that tells the story of a part of the author’s life when she suffered a dental injury as a sixth grader. She has to go through all kinds of dental work and has to deal with all kinds of physical and emotional struggles as she recovers. This book is written for middle grades, but kids in 3rd grade and up love it. I’ve purchased several copies for the library and I just can’t keep them on the shelves.



Gabriela (American Girl Doll of the Year 2017, Book 1) by Teresa E. Harris, which tells the story of Gabriela, an African American girl who loves dancing and poetry but struggles with a stutter. She overcomes her fears and brings people together to save their community arts center.

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