Young Hoosier Book Awards 2023-2024: Middle Grade

The Young Hoosier Book Award Program encourages self-selected reading among elementary and middle school/junior high students. Teachers, librarians, and students from all across Indiana vote on their favorite recent books. This program is run by the Indiana Library Federation (ILF).

Check out the list of the 2023–2024 Middle Grade nominees! Recommended for ages 11–13.

Compiled by:
Jon S.

Megan E. Freeman
J Freeman

A planned lie plunges Maddie into a nightmare world where she is trapped in an abandoned town with no internet or electricity. She must hone her skills and learn to survive on her own.

Amari and the Night Brothers

B.B. Alston
J Alston
Series: Amari

When Amari’s brother, Quinton, disappears and the police do nothing, she finds out she has an invitation to the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Can they help her track down her brother?

The Boys in the Back Row

Mike Jung
J Jung

Matt and Eric plan to sneak away during their band field trip to a comics convention. Without phones, cars or permission, the boys' final adventure turns into a true bonding experience.

Candidly Cline

Kathryn Ormsbee
J Ormsbee

Kentucky country music lover Cline Alden is a talented young musician who sort-of fibs her way to a music workshop. While there, her nervous butterflies lead to self-discovery of another kind.


Christina Diaz Gonzalez
J Gonzale

Katrina (her most recent name), along with her parents, is part of the Witness Protection Program. Used to having a new sudden identity, she’s always on the move. When their location is leaked, she embarks on a rescue mission only to discover what she thought was not.

Fighting Words

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
J Bradley

Sisters Della and Suki have always had each other. Now, they must again rely on each other when life deals them some harsh blows.

The Girl of the Southern Sea

Michelle Kadarusman
J Kadarus

14-year-old aspiring writer Nia deals with life’s hardships in the Jakarta slums. When she loses her mother and discovers her father’s plan to marry her off, she must write her own future.

Go With the Flow

Karen Schneemann, Lily Williams
J-GN William Go With The Flow

Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha have finally had it with their athletic-dominated school that doesn’t listen to the girls’ health needs. They decide it's time for a menstruation revolution!

Healer of the Water Monster

Brian Young
J Young

While visiting his grandma on the Navajo reservation, Nathan crosses paths with a Holy Being from the Navajo Creation Story, a Water Monster, that needs his help.

Isaiah Dunn is My Hero

Kelly J. Baptist
J Baptist

After finding his late father’s journal, Isaiah discovers a love for poetry. This and the journal helps him cope with his family issues dealing with his father’s death.

Liars' Room

Dan Poblocki
J Poblock

Stella and Alex’s new stepbrother, Simon, is a known liar. So, how can they believe his haunting tales of their home, Wildwyck, a former school for misbehaved boys, is actually that sinister?

Living With Viola

Rosena Fung
J-GN Fung Living With Viola

Viola is Livy’s alter ego—a manifestation of her anxiety. When Livy begins to reach out to new friends and ask for help, will she find out how to live with Viola?

Lupe Wong Won't Dance

Donna Barba Higuera
J Higuera

With plans to be the first female pitcher in the MLB, Lupe has always challenged the status quo. Now she's faced with square-dancing in P.E. class? There’s no way she’s going for that!

Ophie's Ghosts

Justina Ireland
J Ireland

Ophelia discovers her ability to see and talk to ghosts after she tragically loses her father and brother. Moving with her Mom to Philadelphia in 1922, she is now faced with working in the Caruthers’ Dafffodil Manor and dealing with its ghostly past.

Red, White and Whole

Rajani LaRocca
J Larocca

The only Indian American in her school, Reha has trouble living up to her parent’s strict rules. When her Amma (mother) becomes really sick, Reha is determined to reach her goal of being a doctor and saving her mother’s life.


Lisa Fipps
J Fipps

Constantly bullied for being overweight, Ellie invents her own “fat girl rules” to cope. She soon finds that swimming pools give her a sense of confidence to finally be herself.

Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy

Anne Ursu
J Ursu

Marya Lupu is overshadowed by her brother, Luka, until she finds herself invited to a home for wayward girls and the chance to develop her magic under a powerful sorcerer.


Reem Faruqi
J Faruqi

Newly arrived from Pakistan, Nurah finds herself standing out for all the wrong things until she discovers her love for swimming, which allows her to gain attention for something great.

Violets Are Blue

Barbara Dee
J Dee

Makeup is 12-year-old Wren’s “thing”—special effects makeup most of all. When she gets chosen to be the makeup artist for the school’s production of Wicked, it helps her cope with her parent's divorce. However, when things begin to fall apart with her and her mom, can she repair the damage and start again?

Yusuf Azeem is Not a Hero

Saadia Faruqi
J Faruqi

Yusuf has been waiting all his life for his small town’s robotics championship. But when it coincides with the 20th anniversary of 9/11, his Muslim heritage becomes an obstacle to his dream.