I was asked recently to put together a list of titles for use in a 5th grade class in discussing the search for identity. Since that is pretty much the definition of middle grade fiction, I decided to narrow it down to realistic fiction. Fantasy, science fiction, mystery and adventure, while containing plenty of the elements of searching for identity, might be a little distracting. A few of these titles are slightly fantasy, and a few mysteries, but the focus on identity is clear enough that I included them in the list.
These 58 titles are very diverse in every way possible: ethnic, racial, gender, socio-economic status, physical and mental ability/disability. A multitude of issues are covered: divorce, separation, death, illness, neglect, homelessness, incarceration, moving, immigrating, foster homes, adoption, abandonment, gender identity, dysfunctional families, and functional families, war, tragedy, popularity, bullies. And because this is middle grade fiction the characters always rise above their situations either finding a satisfying resolution or finding a way to live with them.
For more complete descriptions to these books go to http://rabbitreaders.com/identity-in-middle-grade-fiction.html