Fifth-grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won't speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school's biggest competition. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self.
Shine on, Luz Véliz! by Rebecca Balcarcel
Have you ever been the best at something . . . only to lose it all? Luz Véliz is a soccer star-or rather, she was a soccer star. With her serious knee injury, it's unlikely she'll be back on the field anytime soon. But without soccer, who is she? When Luz discovers she has a knack for coding, it feels like a lifeline to a better self. If she can just ace the May Showcase, she'll not only skip a level in her coding courses and impress Ms. Freeman and intriguing, brilliant Trevor--she'll have her parents cheering her on from the sidelines, just the way she likes it. But something--someone--is about to enter the Vélizes' life. And when Solana arrives, nothing will be the same, ever again.
How to Find What You're Not Looking For by Veera Hiranandani
Ariel Goldberg's life changes when her big sister elopes following the 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, and she's forced to grapple with both her family's prejudice and the antisemitism she experiences, as she defines her own beliefs.
Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches. And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can't wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, Seven isn't placed in one of the five covens. She's a Spare! Spare covens are less powerful and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn't work! They're stuck as Witchlings--and will lose their magic. Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they'll gain their full powers. If they fail... Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.
The Leopard Behind the Moon by Mayonn Paasewe-Valchev
There are three important laws in Ezomo's village: Do not go to The Valley, do not go out at night, and never, ever, ever open the magical door that protects them all. But when Ezomo encounters the leopard believed to have killed his father, he and his two best friends embark on a journey that leads them past the boundaries set by their elders. But in the process, he discovers the truth about his village. And that cautionary tales exist for a reason.
Amira and Hamza: the War to Save the Worlds by Samira Ahmed
On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can't stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the defunct box and it springs to life, setting off a series of events that could shatter their world--literally.
The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams by Mindy Thompson
It's 1944 Sutton, NY, and Poppy's family owns and runs, Rhyme and Reason, a magical bookshop that caters to people from all different places and time periods. Though her world is ravaged by World War II, customers hail from the past and the future, infusing the shop with a delightful mix of ideas and experiences. Poppy dreams of someday becoming shopkeeper like her father, though her older brother, Al, is technically next in line for the job. She knows all of the rules handed down from one generation of Bookseller to the next, especially their most important one: shopkeepers must never use the magic for themselves. But then Al's best friend is killed in the war and her brother wants to use the magic of the shop to save him. Caught between her love for her brother and loyalty to her family, she knows her brother's actions could have devastating consequences that reach far beyond the bookshop as an insidious, growing Darkness looms.
New from Here by Kelly Yang
When the coronavirus hits Hong Kong, ten-year-old Knox Wei-Evans's mom makes the last-minute decision to move him and his siblings back to California, where they think they will be safe. Suddenly, Knox has two days to prepare for an international move--and for leaving his dad, who has to stay for work. At his new school in California, Knox struggles with being the new kid. His classmates think that because he's from Asia, he must have brought over the virus. At home, Mom just got fired and is panicking over the loss of health insurance, and Dad doesn't even know when he'll see them again, since the flights have been cancelled. And everyone struggles with Knox's blurting-things-out problem. As racism skyrockets during COVID-19, Knox tries to stand up to hate, while finding his place in his new country. Can you belong if you're feared; can you protect if you're new? And how do you keep a family together when you're oceans apart? Sometimes when the world is spinning out of control, the best way to get through it is to embrace our own lovable uniqueness.
Barakah Beats by Maleeha Siddiqui
Twelve-year-old Nimra Sharif has spent her whole life in Islamic school, but now it's time to go to "real school." Nimra's nervous, but as long as she has Jenna, her best friend who already goes to the public school, she figures she can take on just about anything. Unfortunately, middle school is hard and Jenna starts giving hijab-wearing Nimra the cold shoulder around the other kids. Desperate to fit in and get back in Jenna's good graces, Nimra accepts an unlikely invitation to join the school's popular 8th grade boy band, Barakah Beats. The only problem is, Nimra was taught that music isn't allowed in Islam, and she knows her parents would be disappointed if they found out. So she devises a simple plan: join the band, win Jenna back, then quietly drop out before her parents find out. But dropping out of the band proves harder than expected, and when the band signs up for a talent show to benefit refugees, Nimra's lies start to unravel. With the show only a few weeks away and Jenna's friendship hanging in the balance, Nimra has to decide whether to betray her bandmates--or herself.
The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton; Khadijah Khatib (Illustrator)
Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, like brewing Indian spice elixirs and bartering with pesky Irish pixies. Despite her excitement, Ella discovers that being the first isn't easy--some Marvellers mistrust her magic, which they deem "bad and unnatural." But eventually, she finds friends in elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur, and fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures. When a dangerous criminal known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror's aid, tensions grow in the Marvellian world and Ella becomes the target of suspicion. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family's name and track down her mentor before it's too late.
Map of Flames (the Forgotten Five, Book 1) by Lisa McMann
Fifteen years ago, eight supernatural criminals fled Estero City to make a new life in an isolated tropical hideout. Over time, seven of them disappeared without a trace and now, the remaining one has died. Left behind to fend for themselves are the criminals' five children, each with superpowers of their own. Then one day Birdie finds a map among her father's things that leads to a secret stash. There is also a note- Go to Estero, find your mother, and give her the map. The five have lived their entire lives in isolation. What would it mean to follow the map to a strange world full of things they've only heard about, like cell phones, cars, and electricity? A world where, thanks to their parents, being supernatural is a crime?
Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao
Zachary Ying never had many opportunities to learn about his Chinese heritage. His single mom was busy enough making sure they got by, and his schools never taught anything except Western history and myths. So Zack is woefully unprepared when he discovers he was born to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission: sealing the leaking portal to the Chinese underworld before the upcoming Ghost Month blows it wide open.
Maizy Chen's Last Chance by Lisa Yee
Maizy has never been to Last Chance, Minnesota . . . until now. Her mom's plan is just to stay for a couple weeks, until her grandfather gets better. But plans change, and as Maizy spends more time in Last Chance (where she and her family are the only Asian Americans) and at the Golden Palace - the restaurant that's been in her family for generations - she makes some discoveries. For instance - people can surprise you. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in disappointing ways, and the Golden Palace has secrets. But the more Maizy discovers, the more questions she has. And when she discovers that a beloved family treasure has gone missing-and someone has left a racist note - Maizy decides it's time to find the answers.
A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser
Told from the perspective of biracial sixth-graders June and Tyrell, this is the story of two children living in a homeless shelter. As their friendship grows over a shared love of classical music, June and Tyrell confront a new housing policy that puts homeless families in danger. It's June's first day at Huey House, and as if losing her home weren't enough, she also can't bring her cherished viola inside. Before the accident last year, her dad saved tip money for a year to buy her viola, and she's not about to give it up now. Tyrell has been at Huey House for three years and gives June a glimpse of the good things about living there: friendship, hot meals, and a classical musician next door. Can he and June work together to oppose the government, or will families be forced out of Huey House before they are ready?
The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat
As assistant to Mangkon's most celebrated mapmaker, twelve-year-old Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future. In reality, her father is a conman--and in a kingdom where the status of one's ancestors dictates their social position, the truth could ruin her. Sai seizes the chance to join an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn't the only one aboard with secrets.
Fast Pitch by Nic Stone
Shenice Lockwood, captain of the Fulton Firebirds, is hyper-focused when she steps up to the plate. Nothing can stop her from leading her team to the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship. But life has thrown some curveballs her way and Shenice's teammates are beginning to wonder if she's captain-qualified. And it is up to Shenice to tackle some pretty big challenges before the Firebirds are out of the game forever.
Winnie Zeng Unleashes a Legend by Katie Zhao
Winnie Zeng has two goals: survive her first year of middle school and outdo her stuck-up archnemesis, David Zuo. But when she awakens the stuff of legends from an old family recipe, she must embrace her extraordinary heritage to save the world. Armed with a magic cookbook and a talking white rabbit, she must embrace her new powers and legacy of her ancestors. Because if she doesn't, her town--and rest of the world--may fall to chaos forever.
The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo; Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all--for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why. And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories--powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves--ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead. But Beatryce knows that, should she lose her way, those who love her will never give up searching for her, and to know this is to know everything.
A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks
Joy Taylor has always believed home is the house she lived in her entire life. But then her dad lost his job, and suddenly home becomes a tiny apartment with thin walls, shared bedrooms, and a place for tense arguments between Mom and Dad. Hardest of all, Joy doesn't have her music to escape through anymore. Without enough funds, her dreams of becoming a great pianist--and one day, a film score composer--have been put on hold. A friendly new neighbor her age lets Joy in on the complex's best-kept secret: the Hideout, a cozy refuge that only the kids know about. And it's in this little hideaway that Joy starts exchanging secret messages with another kid in the building who also seems to be struggling, until--abruptly, they stop writing back. What if they're in trouble? Joy is determined to find out who this mystery writer is, fast, but between trying to raise funds for her music lessons, keeping on a brave face for her little sister, and worrying about her parents' marriage, Joy isn't sure how to keep her own head above water.
Kazu knows something odd is going on when he sees a girl in a white kimono sneak out of his house in the middle of the night--was he dreaming? Did he see a ghost? Things get even stranger when he shows up to school the next day to see the very same figure sitting in his classroom. No one else thinks it's weird, and, even though Kazu doesn't remember ever seeing her before, they all seem convinced that the ghost-girl Akari has been their friend for years! When Kazu's summer project to learn about Kimyo Temple draws the meddling attention of his mysterious neighbor Ms. Minakami and his secretive new classmate Akari, Kazu soon learns that not everything is as it seems in his hometown.
Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac
Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation. She's there for a visit when, suddenly, all travel shuts down. There's a new virus making people sick, and Malian will have to stay with her grandparents for the duration. Everyone is worried about the pandemic, but Malian knows how to keep her family and community safe- She protects her grandparents, and they protect her. She doesn't go outside to play with friends, she helps her grandparents use video chat, and she listens to and learns from their stories. And when Malsum, one of the dogs living on the rez, shows up at their door, Malian's family knows that he'll protect them too.
Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis
The Otherworld is at war. The Academy for the Unbreakable Arts trains warriors. And Kelcie Murphy--a foster child raised in the human world--is dying to attend. A place at AUA means meeting Scáthach, the legendary trainer of Celtic heroes. It means learning to fight with a sword. It means harnessing her hidden powers and--most importantly--finding out who her parents are, and why they abandoned her in Boston Harbor eight years ago. When Kelcie tests into the school, she learns that she's a Saiga, one of the most ancient beings in the Otherworld. Secretive, shunned, and possessed of imposing elemental powers, the Saiga are also kin to the Otherworld's most infamous traitor. But Kelcie is a survivor, and she'll do whatever it takes to find her parents and her place in their world. Even if that means making a few enemies.
Dog Squad by Chris Grabenstein
When trouble calls . . . it's DOG SQUAD to the rescue! Duke is not your average dog. Along with his crew, he fights crime and goes on claw-biting adventures helping dogs in peril in the hit streaming sensation--DOG SQUAD! Fred is a pretty average dog. He's scrappy. He's loveable. But he's not brave like his heroes on Dog Squad. Fred looks an awful lot like Duke from Dog Squad though. In fact, when Duke needs a stand-in, Fred's the perfect choice. But the Dog Squad action doesn't always stop on screen! When there's danger in real life, can Fred find the courage to step up and save the day?!
Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall
Twelve-year-old Pilar Violeta "Purp" Ramirez's world is changing, and she doesn't care for it one bit. Her Chicago neighborhood is gentrifying and her chores have doubled since her sister, Lorena, left for college. The only constant is Abuela and Mami's code of silence around her cousin Natasha--who vanished in the Dominican Republic fifty years ago during the Trujillo dictatorship. When Pilar hears that Lorena's professor studies such disappearances, she hops on the next train to dig deeper into her family's mystery. After snooping around the professor's empty office, she discovers a folder with her cousin's name on it . . . and gets sucked into the blank page within. She lands on Zafa, an island swarming with coconut-shaped demons, butterfly shapeshifters, and a sinister magical prison where her cousin is being held captive. Pilar will have to go toe-to-toe with the fearsome Dominican boogeyman, El Cuco, if she has any hope of freeing Natasha and getting back home.
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll
Ever since Ms. Murphy told us about the witch trials that happened centuries ago right here in Juniper, I can't stop thinking about them. Those people weren't magic. They were like me. Different like me. I'm autistic. I see things that others do not. I hear sounds that they can ignore. And sometimes I feel things all at once. I think about the witches, with no one to speak for them. Not everyone in our small town understands. But if I keep trying, maybe someone will. I won't let the witches be forgotten. Because there is more to their story. Just like there is more to mine.
Operation Sisterhood by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Bo and her mom always had their own rhythm. But ever since they moved to Harlem, Bo's world has fallen out of sync. She and Mum are now living with Mum's boyfriend Bill, his daughter Sunday, the twins, Lili and Lee, the twins' parents...along with a dog, two cats, a bearded dragon, a turtle, and chickens. All in one brownstone! With so many people squished together, Bo isn't so sure there is room for her.
Sisters of the Neversea by Cynthia L. Smith
Lily and Wendy have been best friends since they became stepsisters. But with their feuding parents planning to spend the summer apart, what will become of their family--and their friendship Little do they know that a mysterious boy has been watching them from the oak tree outside their window. A boy who intends to take them away from home for good, to an island of wild animals, Merfolk, Fairies, and kidnapped children, pirates, and a giant crocodile. A boy who calls himself Peter Pan.
Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom by Sangu Mandanna
Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mom is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki's sketchbook is full of fanciful doodles of the rich Indian myths and legends her mother has told her over the years. One day, her sketchbook's calming effect is broken when her mythological characters begin springing to life right out of its pages. Kiki ends up falling into the mystical world she drew, which includes a lot of wonderful discoveries and not-so-great ones like the ancient deity bent on total destruction. As the one responsible for creating the evil god, Kiki must save both worlds--the real and the imagined--from his wrath. But how can a girl armed with only a pencil defeat something so powerful?
The Ice Cream Machine by Adam Rubin
Six stories, set in six distinct worlds, written by six different authors, all on the topic of ice cream.