Do you know how HARD it is to find multicultural middle grade mystery novels? Somehow, most novels that feature multicultural characters stop at the third grade reading level, and let's not talk about mysteries -- Apparently life is entirely straightforward for characters outside of the dominant culture. No mystery at all.
I KNOW these books exist, though they might be few and far in between. Readers, librarians -- I call on you: mysteries featuring multicultural characters for middle grade readers both avid and disinterested readers? Anyone??
TadMack, have you posted this question on the Child Lit list? That's a great resource. I'll be interested to see the titles! Sounds like a niche that needs filling, by the way...
I liked that Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet (and its sequels) featured multicultural characters without making a point of it. I'll keep thinking about it, too--and looking for more titles here, too. Thanks!
"Into the Ravine" by Richard Scrimger. It's not a straightforward mystery - in fact it's just as much a coming-of-age as mystery but it gets more mysterious (and thrilling) as the book progresses. It's about three friends floating a raft down the river in the center of their town and who they encounter along the way. About halfway through the book you learn that one of the boys is black - and the narrator explains that their differences have never mattered so they've never made a big deal of it. (one of the boys also seems to be ADHD).
I thought this book was very cool - I reviewed it last year (I think). Highly recommended although it works best for boys readers as all the main characters are boys.
The one novel that comes to mind is Tails from the Bronx: a Bronx Tale, by Jill Pinkwater.
I second Susan's idea. Plus, you could even ask the Kidlitosphere listserv.
Yes! Chasing Vermeer and its sequels - I agree with Anamaria. I liked how they dealt with multicultural characters.
Also, correct me if I'm wrong--I haven't read any of these--but I think Laurence Yep's books are mysteries. I'm not sure if they're MG or YA, though.
That's about all I can think of...
I simply adore the Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence. Set in Rome in the first century AD, a group of four children solve mysteries with a healthy dose of history on the side. The group reflects the reality of Rome at the time: a Roman girl, her slave from Africa (who she both purchases and frees in the first book, after which the girl is treated as a part of the family), a neighbor who is Jewish and part of the new Christian sect, and a homeless Greek boy. The author is from the UK and I believe there are now 12 or 14 titles.
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