10 Books Like Out Of My Mind For Middle Grade

Children Realistic Fiction Books

Dive into the heart and soul of stories that resonate deeply with the spirit of “Out of My Mind,” Sharon M. Draper’s unforgettable journey into the life of a young girl with cerebral palsy. If Melody Brooks’s story captured your heart, opened your eyes, and left you yearning for more tales that blend challenges, triumphs, and the indomitable strength of the human spirit, then you’re in the right place.

This post is dedicated to books that echo these themes—stories that give voice to characters left on the sidelines, showcasing their journeys, struggles, and victories. From tales of young protagonists overcoming the odds to narratives that challenge societal perceptions of disability, each book offers a unique window into lives filled with courage, love, and the quest for self-expression. So, prepare to be inspired, moved, and uplifted as we explore more stories like “Out of My Mind.”

10 Books Like Out Of My Mind (Realistic Fiction Books)

“Out of My Mind” and similar books feature protagonists with disabilities, providing representation and visibility for individuals who feel marginalized or underrepresented in mainstream literature. These stories challenge stereotypes and promote understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities, fostering empathy and compassion among readers.

Here are ten books that inspire you to advocate for disability rights and inclusion, prompting discussions about how society can better support and empower individuals with disabilities. Also, these stories encourage us to take action to create a more equitable and inclusive world for people of all abilities. Let’s go!

NameKey FocusRating (Goodreads)
Rules by Cynthia LordA sibling relationship with helping each other and self-discovering.3.9
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly HuntA girl is struggling with dyslexia with friends, teachers, and family.4.2
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg SloanA girl is dealing with family problems and learning to socialize and is challenge with difficulties.4.1
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate A gorilla shows his life condition in a zoo and describes his mental situation.4.2
Wonder by PalacioA brilliant kid experiences his new life, school, and difficulties.4.3
Smile by Raina TelgemeierA girl is dealing with her looks and self-esteem with many issues.4.2
Restart by Gordon KormanA bad boy is going through a healing process and making a new identity in his life.4.2
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz RyanA rich girl is searching for ordinary life and freedom.4.0
A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy MassA girl is going through self-discovery and overcoming her disability.4.2
11 Birthdays by Wendy MassA cute friendship faces difficulties, and both characters try to fix it.4.1
Books Like Out Of My Mind List

1. Rules

This book tells the story of a 12-year-old girl named Catherine who has a younger brother with autism, and his name is David. Catherine finds a way to help David fit into society by giving him a book in which she writes down basic rules. David has a hard time understanding. So, she helps them by writing down the rules for him to know what to do or not to do when he’s around people.

The book itself is so endearing and heartwarming, and you get to see it from the perspective of the sister, the kid with autism. You also get to know how everybody feels about autism and sees it. So it’s cool because it’s such a real view of what a family that deals with autism daily struggles with.

Like Out Of My Mind, the author does an incredible job of communicating how everybody in the family feels regarding the person with autism. I would describe this book as coexisting with autism, frustration, acceptance, heartwarming, and innocence.


Author: Cynthia Lord
Publisher: Scholastic Press (First Edition, 4th printing)
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Tropes: Neurodiversity, Psychology
Number Of Pages: 208
Item Weight: 12.8 ounces
Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.75 inches
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

2. Fish in a Tree

The story is about a girl named Ally. The book opens with a baby shower for her teacher, and she has picked out a card. The teacher opened presents and cards in front of the room. She opens a card from Ally. Her face falls when she opens the card, and she immediately sends Ally to the principal’s office. When Ally gets to the principal’s office, the principal wants to know why he has given this card to her teacher because it is a sympathy card.

But Ally doesn’t know this because she can’t read. So she’s been harboring the secret for a long time and can cover it up. Fortunately, as her teacher is out, an excellent substitute teacher comes in, discovers that Ally has dyslexia, and puts her on the road to recovery she can. She’s brilliant, and she does learn how to read. The characters were stereotypical and not well-developed, but the story is interesting. Fish in a Tree is a good choice after Out Of My Mind if you’re looking for a great, realistic fiction book.

Read similar: 5 Books Like Fish In A Tree

Fish in a Tree

Author: Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Tropes: Friendship, Bullying, Anger
Number Of Pages: 320
Grade level: 5 – 9
Reading age: 9 – 11 years
Item Weight: 9 ounces
Dimensions: 0.88 x 5.06 x 7.75 inches
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

3. Counting by 7s

We follow a young girl named Willow, who is extremely intellectual. She’s a student by nature and likes to study. Also, Willow has a habit of counting by 7s everywhere she goes, which is a little socially awkward. At the beginning of the book, she doesn’t quite understand the value of socializing and struggles with it. Her adoptive parents get in an accident. So, Willow is adopted, which is somewhat of an obstacle for her, especially socially. She grew up in an affluent household with two nonbiological parents.

Whenever they get in an accident, she’s put in a situation where she has to figure out what friendship and family are. Also, she forges these bonds with some of the least expected people, a taxi driver, challenging students who get into trouble where Willow never did. She gets into many shenanigans with them but also creates heartwarming family bonds.

There’s nothing that is super straightforward or expected in this book. As realistic fiction, it starts as a sad story. It pulled in my heartstrings and got me emotional. Anyone will appreciate this book like Out Of My Mind. Another thing I love about this book is the number of diverse characters here. We have all of the diverse circumstances present in this book’s characters. The heartwarming plot and writing are pretty good, but I’m not convinced at the end of the book.

Counting by 7s

Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Publisher: Rocky Pond Books (Reprint edition)
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Tropes: Orphans & Foster Homes, Survival, Arc
Number Of Pages: 416
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

4. The One and Only Ivan

This book is an award-winning middle grade that is based on truth. Ivan is a gorilla who lives at the mall and is a spectacle. Not only do people come to stare at him, but they also fork over cash for his drawings. Ivan, who narrates this book, doesn’t call himself exploited. That would be too on-the-nose for the lyrical story about what it means to be a living, feeling being with a need for connection, even purpose. But any animal-loving reader will recognize the cruelty of Ivan’s situation and await his liberation.

The fact that this liberation comes as Ivan reaches outside himself to help another brings welcome humanity to this animal tale. Though we can never know what goes on inside an animal’s head, the book made me believe in Ivan and his thoughts and feelings.

More significantly, it reminded me of the preciousness of every aspect of creation. You don’t have to commit to reading for 15 minutes. Sometimes, chapters can be long, and reading an entire chapter aloud takes half an hour.

The One and Only Ivan

Author: Katherine Applegate, Patricia Castelao
Narrator: Adam Grupper
Publisher: HarperAudio
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Tropes: Ape & Monkey, Humor
Number Of Pages: 307
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

5. Wonder

Wonder is an incredibly popular middle-grade novel about a fifth-grader named August Pullman. He has Treacher Collins Syndrome, which causes severe facial deformities. Consequently, his parents have chosen to homeschool him all his life. But he’s progressing from elementary to middle school, and his parents suggest he go to a school with other children.

It isn’t a concern academically because August is a brilliant kid. But regarding social interaction, they’re very scared of how the other children will treat him and how well he will adjust. So everyone’s a little bit worried. The story follows August as he experiences his new life at this new school, similar to Out Of My Mind. You see him encounter all the different things you find at school, including the bullies that make fun of him or his friends.

So you see how he’s going to school and other things in everyone’s lives shape their family dynamic. August’s our main character, so we spend much time in his head. But we also read from other characters’ perspectives, including August’s older sister and new friends at his new school. Every character is layered and well-developed. As for the movie adaptation, it was good because the source material was good. Everyone at any age can enjoy it, so I recommend it.


Author: R. J. Palacio
Narrator: Kaya McLean, Lila Sage Bromley
Publisher: Listening Library
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Tropes: Self-Esteem, Emotions, Realistic-fiction (Best Seller)
Number Of Pages: 315
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

6. Smile

This book is based on a true story like Out Of My Mind. When the story begins, Raina is in 6th grade and is 11 years old. Raina has an overbite, so she needs braces, and if she doesn`t get it fixed, it could cause problems later in her life. She was dropped off at her house one night after a Girl Scout meeting. They were racing her to her house, and something terrible happened!

Raina trips and falls on the pavement, causing her two front teeth to come out. Unfortunately for her, they were her permanent teeth. It causes more frustration now with on and off again braces. When Raina thought things could not get worse, they did. Raina got a retainer with fake teeth and headgear.

To make matters worse, there’s still more Raina has to deal with a major earthquake, boy problems, and friends who aren’t good. You must get it if you want to know how the book ends. The hardcover quality is poor, but the paperback is satisfying in color, font style, and page quality.


Author: Raina Telgemeier
Publisher: Graphix
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Tropes: Biography Comics, Diseases & Physical Illness
Number Of Pages: 224
Reading age: 9 – 12 years
Item Weight: 12.8 ounces
Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.75 x 8 inches
Available: Paperback | Kindle

7. Restart

Restart is a great book to discuss bullying, starting over, and getting second chances. In this story, the main character (Chase) falls off a roof at the beginning of the story. He is OC but has amnesia and doesn’t remember who he is. Throughout the story, through his interactions with the other characters, he begins to learn about the person he was before and wonders if he’s still that same person or has changed.

Chase meets people who like him and think he’s fantastic. Then, the people he meets are terrified of him because he’s a bully. Since he hit his head on the floor and lost all this memory, it’s a restart for him to become a better person.

Though the book is boring and slow, it would lead to amazing conversations with your students in your classroom. I highly recommend reading this with your upper, elementary, or even middle school students. Many good things can come from the book, so you read it or put it in your classroom library for your students to grab. The book’s theme and characters relate to Out Of My Mind.

Read similar: 5 Books Like Restart


Author: Gordon Korman
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Average Rating: (4.7 /5)
Tropes: Action, Adventure, Friendship, Bullying (Best Selling)
Number Of Pages: 256
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

8. Esperanza Rising

This is a historical fiction novel and the winner of the Pura Belpre Award. The story is about Esperanza growing up in 1930 in Mexico. She’s wealthy, and her family owns a large and successful ranch, but they’re not pretentious rich people. Esperanza doesn’t necessarily think of herself as better than everybody else but takes what she has for granted.

So when her father dies unexpectedly, and they are suddenly left homeless, they have to move to America and work. It contrasts with your typical Cinderella story, where Esperanza learns to appreciate what she does not take for granted and be a little more humble. I fell in love with Esperanza’s transformation, and I hope you will, too. If you like Out Of My Mind, you must read it.

Read similar: 5 Books Like Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising

Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan
Publisher: Scholastic
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Tropes: Homelessness & Poverty, Historical, Culture
Number Of Pages: 262
Grade level: 6 – 7
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

9. A Mango Shaped Space

This is a middle-grade contemporary novel about a young girl with synesthesia. Mia was different her entire life. She knows that not everyone associates colors and textures with numbers and letters the way she does. But she’s never told anyone because she’s afraid of being labeled as different or abnormal in some way. Eventually, it does come out, and she winds up on a journey of self-discovery throughout this book.

I reread it in New Year for the book to preview the fun. It was for the prompt of something that would make you cry. The pace in this book feels like everything happens way too quickly, as in Out Of My Mind. It’s hard to connect when everything flies past you as a reader. Even with the sentences done poorly, it’s worthwhile regarding the family and friendship dynamics.

A Mango Shaped Space

Author: Wendy Mass
Publisher: Little (Reprint edition)
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Tropes: Loners & Outcasts, Disability
Number Of Pages: 221
Grade level: 3 – 7
Item Weight: 8 ounces
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Library Binding | Kindle | Audio CD

10. Eleven Birthdays

Our main characters are Amanda and Leo. They were both born on the same day at the same time. When their parents are in the hospital, walking down the hall, they meet a woman named Angelina. Angelina is different, magical, mysterious, and has a duck birthmark on her cheek. So whenever she talks, people get distracted and keep looking at the duck that wiggles up and down.

After that, Angelina introduced herself to Amanda’s and Leo’s parents. She asks, Are you going to celebrate your kid’s birthdays together every year? Their parents shook their heads, saying yes and sure. But at that moment, everybody knew that wasn’t true, and they never thought they’d meet each other again. But a year later, they met again at Amanda’s and Leo’s first birthday party because they booked their kids’ birthday parties simultaneously.

After that, they reunited again, and parents celebrated their kids’ birthdays every year until their 10th birthday. On their 10th birthday, they got into a huge fight that greatly affected Amanda’s feelings. Because of that, they didn’t celebrate their 11th birthday together. If you want to find out what the big fight was about, read 11 birthdays. The only problem with this book is that it is very repetitive but fun to read.

Eleven Birthdays

Author: Wendy Mass
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Tropes: Time travel, Magical Realism, Mystery
Number Of Pages: 272
Item Weight: 6.6 ounces
Dimensions: 5.31 x 0.66 x 7.62 inches
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Library Binding | Kindle | Audio CD

The stories we’ve shared are more than just tales of overcoming adversity; they’re beacons of hope, understanding, and empathy. They remind us of the power of resilience, the importance of giving everyone a voice, and the beauty of seeing the world through diverse lenses.

Whether you found a new favorite among these recommendations or felt inspired to seek out further reads that challenge and celebrate the human spirit, we hope this collection has enriched your literary world. May these stories inspire you to listen, learn, and look beyond the surface, embracing the rich tapestry of experiences that define us all. Until our next literary adventure, happy reading, and may you continue to find stories that move your mind and touch your heart.

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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