2023 Starred Reviews Round-Up

2023 Starred Reviews Round-Up


Does your collection include this year’s critically acclaimed books? See what Booklist, School Library Journal, Kirkus, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and more, say about the top reviewed books of 2023 for kids and teens!

Click the tabs below to view more books in each age category.

Picture BooksMiddle Grade BooksYoung Adult BooksAdult Books Crossover

Evergreen by Matthew Cordell
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A picture book by Caldecott medal winner Matt Cordell about a timid squirrel who makes a brave journey to help a relative who is ill.

“The interior pages start out looking like a chapter book, but the text is broken with exciting spreads, graphic novel–style ­layouts, and playfully illustrated text. These design decisions make this book feel new and familiar—a classic readers will be ­talking about in the future.” School Library Journal, starred review

“The contrast between Evergreen’s own self-doubt and the way she shines under pressure is conveyed with humor and skill in this adventuresome allegory about confronting the world outside as well as one’s own very real fears.” Publishers Weeklystarred review

A spellbinding tale that will never brown or fade with time.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Drawn, shaded, and occasionally crosshatched with black Micron pen and tinted with watercolors in yellow, tan, brown, rose, and pale blue hues, the beautifully composed illustrations give this picture book a handcrafted look that suits the timeless story. —Booklist, starred review


We Go Way Back: A Book About Life on Earth and How it All Began by Idan Ben-Barak; illustrated by Philip Bunting
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From the author of kid-favorite Do Not Lick This Book comes an innovative, hilarious, and expansive picture book about the biggest question of all: What is life?


“Punchy, sign-like images take on visual complexity as the story rolls forward. An engaging, lucidly written volume.”  —Publishers Weeklystarred review

“In a concise yet pithy, playful, and deeply insightful storyline, Ben-Barak and Bunting begin by pointing out that despite diverse looks and likes, we all have one thing in common: life. And what is that? Sneakily cerebral for all its apparent simplicity.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

An impressively produced, thought-provoking, scientifically precise, and accessible explanation of the origins of life and evolution across Earth’s history.” Horn Book Magazine, starred review

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Quiet Time with My Seeya by Dinalie Dabarera
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A lush and endearing picture book about the special days a child spends with her Sinhalese grandfather, her Seeya, despite their language barrier.


A visually and textually gorgeous story about love in a multilingual family.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ “[The art is] sweetly affectionate [with] lavish colored pencil scenes whose visible grain summons a velvety dimensionality. Throughout, onomatopoeic phrases get to the root of the duo’s emotional reactions and their tenderly rendered bond, which offers an image of camaraderie and relative quiet as love’s true language.” —Publisher’s Weeklystarred review


Dream Big, Laugh Often: And More Great Advice from the Bible by Hanoch Piven and Shira Hecht-Koller; illustrated by Hanoch Piven

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This clever, informative, and artful picture book from Hanoch Piven and Shira Hecht-Koller imagines what advice 14 Biblical figures would have given.

“Every tale is a bit of earnest fancy with an incredible variety of highly detailed worlds… An amazing, joyous achievement.”—Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Hush, Little Rocket by Mo O’Hara; illustrated by Alexandra Cook

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Bedtime goes out of this world with Hush, Little Rocket, a new picture book by New York Times-bestselling author Mo O’Hara!

A stellar twist on an old lullaby. “—Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Big Tune: Rise of the Dancehall Prince by Alliah L. Agostini; illustrated by Shamar Knight-Justice
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An exuberant picture book written by Alliah L. Agostini and illustrated by Shamar Knight-Justice is about a Black boy with big dancing dreams who learns the meaning of courage and community.


“Grounded in a tightknit Jamaican American community, the story deftly incorporates visual and textual references to dance styles, food, and other cultural touchstones. The lush collages reinforce the text. Themes of joy, solidarity, and artistic expression are effortlessly woven throughout the words and images. (This book was digitally reviewed.) An exuberant celebration of community that leaps off the page.”—Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

“Portrayals of diasporic Caribbean culture and a child’s selflessness distinguish Agostini’s 1990s Brooklyn-set story celebrating connection and community…Agostini’s buoyant rhyming verse pulses with details, and Knight-Justice’s stylized illustrations layer bold patterns and textures with typewritten text, sheet music, and images of the Jamaican flag, building a joyfully immersive portrait of neighborhood gatherings where ‘Swaying hips wine fast and slow. / Brown skin shines with black light’s glow.'” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


Jumper by Jessica Lanan

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From critically acclaimed illustrator of The Lost Package comes a bold nonfiction story following a day in the life of a backyard jumping spider – meticulously researched and utterly charming.


★ “Readers will leap for this magnificent glimpse at a most marvelous arachnid.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “An immersive exploration of a common jumping spider’s abilities and physical traits.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “An exceptionally empathetic exploration of the natural world sure to inspire new arachnid allies.” —Booklist, starred review

★ “This is an accessible and thought-provoking title that connects readers to the world of a spider through engagement and education.” —School Library Journal, starred review


Pluto! by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Stevie Lewis

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Hot diggity dog! Meet Pluto! The runt of a litter of eight planets. Pluto may not be the biggest or fastest planet to revolve around the Sun, but it has a unique story to tell. From the tale of how it was found by humans to its naming as a dwarf planet, it’s Pluto’s turn to take the spotlight and properly re-introduce itself.

★ “Pluto assures readers that there are no hard feelings, however, as it proclaims itself a ‘proud, playful and popular non-planet.’ Add this, along with the other books in the series, to your very likely outdated solar system collection. Highly recommended.” —School Library Journal, starred review


The Brilliant Ms. Bangle by Cara Devins; Illustrated by K-Fai Steele

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A brilliant librarian helps students to welcome big changes in this picture book by Cara Devins with illustrations from K-Fai Steele.

★ “In a sly picture book portrait of a schoolroom power struggle, Steele’s cartoony young figures have wide googly eyes, expressive mouths, and palpable-feeling energy that aligns with their determination.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


Cape by Kevin Johnson; illustrated by Kitt Thomas

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A young child learns that even superheroes hurt too in this heartrending story about loss and love, written by debut author Kevin Johnson and illustrated by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Kitt Thomas.


★ “A resonant child’s-eye view of grief—and hope.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ “Our young Black protagonist knows the day ahead will be hard, so after getting dressed in his new suit, he makes sure to also put on his bright red cape. He’s hoping the cape will hold off any unwelcome memories…Of course, even his best efforts can’t stop the grief, and as he finally lets himself remember his father, he also remembers the love they shared.” —Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Booksstarred review

★ “This book is a very welcome and ­approachable way to discuss grief and death with young readers.” —Horn Bookstarred review


Yukie’s Island by Yukie Kimura, Kodo Kimura, and Steve Sheinkin; illustrated by Kodo Kimura

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A moving picture book autobiography about a family’s resilience and path to healing after the devastation of war.

★ “In simple text and pastoral illustrations, this book offers a look at how war affects children… An accessible and compelling book on a tough topic. Purchase for a unique perspective on World War II. ” —School Library Journalstarred review


Hidden Gem by Linda Liu

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Prepare to fall in love with this debut picture book and its irresistibly quirky story of a tiny, unassuming rock’s journey to self-confidence, perfect for fans of Eric Carle & Jon Klassen.


★ “While there are many recent children’s books that celebrate identity, make room for this one, which blends subtle humor and superb design for a profound, deftly conveyed message. ” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ “Liu has created a delightful, reflective, rhyming, and engaging book for emerging readers. Her illustrations at first glance look simple, but are unassumingly detailed with social justice, racial, and gender identity connections that allow parents and teachers to talk about inclusion, tolerance, and acceptance within the context of the story, that can easily transfer to daily life and interactions. Children will enjoy having this book read to them and reading it themselves.” —School Library Journalstarred review


Sometimes, A Tiger by Z.B. Asterplume

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A moving picture book by Z.B. Asterplume about imagination and kindness.


★ “Asterplume has a perfect grasp of the give-and-take between pictures and text. … A powerful imagination is no substitute for a good meal, but this book drops a broad hint that good spirits and a caring community can be rallied to the cause.” —School Library Journal, starred review

★ “Z.B. Asterplume’s debut picture book beautifully conveys how imagination–and “sometimes, a tiger”–can make all the difference on a belly-grumbling, “not-so-shiny day.” {W]ith its perfect balance of text and art, it is a story of food insecurity, but it’s also a story of sharing, caring, making connections, and strengthening community… Young readers should relate to Dario’s kindness being repaid in kind. Because, surely, there are times when everyone can use a tiger.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review


My Name by Supriya Kelkar; illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat

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My Name is an inspiring picture book that encourages kids to celebrate themselves and all the things that make them unique, especially their name.

The lyrical text is rhythmically pleasing and constructed to pointedly contrast the boy’s initial shame with the love, pride, and joy his name evokes. This contrast is evident in Prabhat’s bold digital illustrations as well; the artist adeptly uses a palette of blue, green, orange, and brown to capture and express the protagonist’s shifting emotions.” —School Library Journal, starred review


You and the Bowerbird by Maria Gianferrari; illustrated by Maris Wicks

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Learn about the Bowerbird in this bold, dynamic picture book by award-winning author Maria Gianferrari, and illustrated by comic star Maris Wicks.


 “Delightful, tongue in cheek, and compellingly romantic.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 “A supremely entertaining introduction to an irrepressible animal.” —Booklist, starred review

A lovely amalgam of science and play; with careful maps of the action, this makes the world of birding thrilling.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Comical cartoons and an enthusiastic documentary voice make for a splendid and informative read-aloud.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★  “Bright, digitally colored illustrations with black outlines depict the action, offering visual confirmation for the author’s textual comparisons in nature to common household items…Gianferrari puts out her own welcome mat for young naturalists.” —Horn Book, starred review

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Everybody Has a Body by Molli Jackson Ehlert; illustrated by Lorian Tu

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In this body neutral picture book, debut author Molli Jackson Ehlert and illustrator Lorian Tu show us all of the different ways bodies can look and all of the things they can do.


“Ehlert and Tu offer a primer on body neutrality…The illustrations include enough kinds of people, all shown as friendly, rounded, and smiling, that nearly all readers will be able to point at someone and say, “That’s like me!”… Honest, loving, and powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The art is engaging and showcases the wide spectrum of fellow humans with varied, lively vignettes and spreads. The energetic art engages readers and makes the point that what makes an individual is not the appearance and equipment, but what one does with it…This positive look at the differences we see and enjoy everywhere we look every day is an important viewpoint that should help children see differences that are to be celebrated in every corner of our world.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Employing digestible, body-neutral text in this necessary read, Ehlert explains many ways that bodies can look and behave as they “take us through the world.” Via sometimes abstract, sometimes fully detailed illustrations, Tu’s scribbly, thin-lined art depicts characters of various abilities, ages, body types, and skin tones.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


The Truth About Dragons by Julie Leung; illustrated by Hanna Cha

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An unforgettable lyrical picture book that celebrates biracial identity from the award-winning author of Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist.

★ “The remarkable wording infused into spreads of dynamic colors makes this enchanting story a true gift in the world of children’s literature…A must-have book to place on every library shelf where literary pathways will open up young children’s minds as they discover their own hidden truths” —School Library Journal, starred review


Doris by Sarah Jacoby

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Doris dances to her own tune in this whimsical and emotionally resonant tale about finding the courage to be yourself.

 “Inspiration to step—or dance—out of one’s comfort zone.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


More Than Words: So Many Ways to Say What We Mean by Roz MacLean

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In the tradition of All Are Welcome and The Day You Begin comes a touching picture book about the many unique ways we communicate, and how we can better listen to and respect these different modes of expression.

“MacLean’s gouache, pencil crayon, acrylic ink, and digital illustrations depict a class diverse in skin tone, ethnicity, religion, and ability. We see children who use wheelchairs, a child with a hearing impairment, a service dog, and a student who uses oxygen tubing… A warmly inclusive look at the many ways we communicate with one another.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior by Carole Lindstrom; illustrated by Bridget George

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From New York Times bestselling picture book author Carole Lindstrom and illustrator Bridget George comes Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior, an inspiring picture book biography about two Indigenous Rights Activists, Josephine Mandamin and Autumn Peltier.


Sometimes I Cry by Jess Townes; illustrated by Daniel Miyares

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From Jess Townes with illustrations by Daniel Miyares, this poignant picture book deftly tackles the wide array of emotions experienced in childhood, and especially reminding readers that there’s nothing wrong with crying.


[A] nuanced tale that normalizes crying and makes clear that it is a part of life…Townes’ honest and resonant prose grounds readers in the protagonist’s life and offers superb opportunities for discussion about social-emotional development. With stirring echoes of Ezra Jack Keats in palette and line, Miyares’ illustrations are immersive.” —Kirkusstarred review

“Childhood is full of emotional ups and downs, and in this beautifully illustrated story, readers follow a boy through a series of life events and the emotions they raise. These universal experiences and the tearful reactions they produce will resonate with readers of all ages…Highly effective for communicating the appropriateness of tearful expressions, this title will be useful in social-emotional learning experiences for starting conversations about our human ­reactions to being alive.” —School Library Journalstarred review

“For young readers just beginning to identify and grapple with complex emotions, this picture book is a cozy reassurance that it’s okay to cry and could also serve as a conversation starter for older kids, especially boys, to consider how they process their feelings.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Booksstarred review


Catside Up, Catside Down: A Book of Prepositions by Anna Hrachovec

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Filled with whimsical knitted cats, Anna Hrachovec’s debut picture book Catside Up, Catside Down blends the silliness of cats with an early introduction to prepositions.

“The humorous text includes sophisticated vocabulary, with words such as configure and astraddle. The image of a feline pair with limbs linked (for “cats akimbo”) is particularly funny, as is the cat matryoshka doll. The visuals are witty and whimsical but also spot-on in their portrayals of typical cat behavior—right through to the final, purrfect catnap.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Mole is Not Alone by Maya Tatsukawa

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In this cozy picture book about friendship, Mole anxiously decides to journey through underground tunnels to attend a party.

★ “Soft, muted artwork depicts an utterly cozy and enchanting world… Mole’s self-talk is endearing and all-too relatable. Ultimately, Tatsukawa brings this tale to satisfying conclusion that lets young introverts know they can have fun on their own terms.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “…a story about anticipatory worry that ends not with forced revelry, but with a “Maybe… next time?” and gentle camaraderie found.” —Publisher’s Weekly, starred review


Tired Town by Patricia Marx; illustrated by Roz Chast

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Goodnight Moon meets Goodnight Already! in this very funny bedtime book from New Yorker contributors Patricia Marx and Roz Chast.

★ “As in all the best bedtime reads, rhythmic language joins somniferous images in both the art and the narrative to weave an effective spell that will send listeners in Nellie Bee’s wake straight to dreamland.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Okra Stew by Natalie Daise

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This rhythmic, joyous picture book from Natalie Daise, the co-star of the hit Nickelodeon show “Gullah Gullah Island,” celebrates a special day of father-son cooking, and serves up a love letter to food, family, Gullah Geechee culture, and tradition—and includes the author’s own recipe!


★ “A loving family, a verdant garden, and Gullah Geechee traditions are key ingredients to this delightful stew of a story.'” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ “A beautiful and delicious story that celebrates family and traditions.” —School Library Journal, starred review


Not He or She, I’m Me by A. M. Wild; illustrated by Kah Yangni

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In this bright and joyous picture book readers follow a day in the life of a young gender non-binary child.


★ “How refreshing to see nonbinary joy so lovingly depicted.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “The warmth of everyday gender euphoria is burnished to brilliant radiance in this visually resplendent picture book.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Booksstarred review


A Story No One Has Ever Heard Before by Avi Steinberg

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This hilarious and imaginative debut picture book from The New Yorker cartoonist Avi Steinberg encourages kids to explore their own creativity by telling three wonderfully wild and wacky stories at the same time.

★ “A sly, silly, metafictive storytelling how-to guide. Steinberg playfully breaks the fourth wall to address a diverse cast of children depicted in digital cartoon art . . . Inspired and dynamic, this one will stir burgeoning writers to try their hand at storytelling. Kids will want to listen to this one again and again for creative inspiration.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Laolao’s Dumplings by Dane Liu; illustrated by ShinYeon Moon

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Millie loves to help LaoLao cook, especially her favorite dish. Dumplings! They gather fresh ingredients from Chinatown. Chives from Auntie Lim, shrimp from Uncle Lee, and juicy, fragrant lychees that make their days together so sweet.


★ “Moon’s highly detailed, thin-lined digital illustrations capture the bustle of Chinatown and the sensory details of creating dumplings as a grandparent’s knowledge in turn becomes a way of caring for her.” —Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

★ “Eye-catching illustrations feature expansive double-page spreads of the neighborhood shops, drawing readers in to explore each tiny detail. The pictures resonate with love, complementing the predominant theme of family closeness and the book’s casual diversity (Mom is Chinese; Dad is Black)… This book does a gentle yet superb job of showing the effects of older family members experiencing age-related issues, but from the child’s perspective—what they see and feel and how they try to help as best way they can.” —Horn Bookstarred review


Mr. Lincoln Sits for His Portrait: The Story of a Photograph That Became an American Icon by Leonard S. Marcus
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Mr. Lincoln Sits for His Portrait is a unique middle-grade depiction of America’s sixteenth president, through the story of one famous photograph, written by award-winning author Leonard S. Marcus.


“A provocative study of Abraham Lincoln as a masterly media manipulator . . . Marcus presents Lincoln as an early adopter of new technology, being one of the first public figures to understand the power of photography . . . A fresh angle offering yet another reason to regard Lincoln as our presidential G.O.A.T.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

[A] fascinating, anecdote-rich profile of the sixteenth president . . . Marcus’ latest is exceedingly well written and unfailingly interesting, bringing Lincoln into vivid focus. The book will be useful in the classroom, of course, but is even better for independent reading.” —Bookliststarred review


They Set the Fire by Daniel Kraus; illustrated by Rovina Cai
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At once darkly suspenseful and heartfelt with stunning spot art from illustrator Rovina Cai, this trilogy finale of New York Times-bestselling author Daniel Kraus’s action-packed The Teddies Saga is perfect for fans of Victoria Schwab, Katherine Arden, and Holly Black.

A fitting, heartfelt conclusion to this thought-provoking, nuanced fantasy series.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine by Katherine Marsh
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From the author of Nowhere Boy – called “a resistance novel for our times” by The New York Times – comes a brilliant middle-grade survival story that traces a harrowing family secret back to the Holodomor, a terrible famine that devastated Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s.

“A natural selection for fans of Alan Gratz and a stepping stone to the work of Ruta Sepetys, this sobering and important story will be an excellent addition to classroom and library collections.” —Booklist, starred review


Bomb (Graphic Novel): The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin; illustrated by Nick Bertozzi
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A riveting graphic novel adaptation of the award-winning nonfiction book, Bomb—the fascinating and frightening true story of the creation behind the most destructive force that birthed the arms race and the Cold War.


“Sheinkin and Bertozzi take the story of one of the most significant events in recent world history and make it accessible to all readers, regardless of background knowledge. Recommended for purchase in all libraries where graphic works are popular.School Library Journalstarred review

Sheinkin’s work of award-winning narrative nonfiction is here sharpened by the author’s own graphic adaptation—and portrayed through Bertozzi’s skillful cartooning.”Horn Bookstarred review

“[T]he author expertly juggles multiple plotlines to tell a coherent tale at breakneck speed… A heady whirl of science and spycraft made even more immediate (and frightening) by strong visuals.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

In this haunting, dramatic graphic novel, the original Sheinkin book about the Manhattan Project is seamlessly transformed into a new format.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Booksstarred review


The Talent Thief by Mike Thayer
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A girl with the ability to borrow other people’s talents must use her powers to find her own spotlight in The Talent Thief, a wish-fulfilling middle-grade novel from Mike Thayer, the author of The Double Life of Danny Day.


Readers will laugh out loud and be moved to tears as Tiffany proves to be the Shining Star Mimi always said she was. A fresh, heartwarming take on self-acceptance and true friends. Huzzah!” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Vividly wrought characters—especially Tiffany’s gaming counterparts and her nonagenarian pals at Sunny Vistas Assisted Living—and the protagonist’s dryly comic voice contribute to this charming novel’s exploration of gifts and friendships.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


A First Time for Everything by Dan Santat
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A middle grade graphic memoir based on bestselling author and Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s awkward middle school years and the trip to Europe that changed his life.


A thoughtful memoir with lots of humor and heart. Hand this to fans of Real Friends and the “Berrybrook Middle School” series. Recommended for all.” —School Library Journalstarred review

[A] relatable story of self-discovery… the perfect balance of humor and poignancy.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

“[Santat] unpacks his transformational experience with vulnerability and raw honesty—the sincerity is heartening and the outcome inspiring.” —Shelf Awarenessstarred review

[A] great read among a crowded field, especially for sensitive middle-grade boys.” —Bookliststarred review

[E]motionally perceptive.” —Publisher’s Weeklystarred review


We Need to Talk About Vaginas: An IMPORTANT Book About Vulvas, Periods, Puberty, and Sex! by Dr. Allison K. Rodgers; illustrated by Annika Le Large
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Do you know the difference between a vagina and a vulva? If you’re not sure, We Need to Talk About Vaginas by TikToker Dr. Allison K. Rodgers could be for you!


“An educational and empowering book that normalizes change and difference. With inviting sections that reflect genuine questions… Rodgers’ body-positive tone and Le Large’s inclusive illustrations make for a fun, accessible book that offers readers from any gender an entry point to understanding vaginas, their function, and their care… visual inclusivity underscores Rodgers’ resounding message: Everyone is different, and we can be proud of our unique selves.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

An approachable, empowering resource for readers undergoing puberty and approaching adolescence… Rodgers endeavors to provide readers with necessary tools to make informed decisions about the care and keeping of their own bodies. Le Large’s highly stylized and casual illustrations… [strike] a successful balance between easily absorbed content and sobering health education.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An inviting, conversational style puts readers at ease. A wealth of helpful illustrations… makes this guide highly recommended. Not only does the art feature female bodies in a range of sizes and skin colors, it also includes a variety of abilities and identities. An important puberty resource that will leave readers educated, empowered, and feeling included.” —Booklist, starred review


Outdoor School: Tree, Wildflower, and Mushroom Spotting by Mary Kay Carson; illustrated by John D. Dawson

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Nature is in session! With 448 full-color, highly-illustrated pages, Outdoor School is your indispensable tool for the outdoors.

“An illustrated identification guide concludes each part with space for readers to note what they saw, as well as when, where, and any further information. Another plus: Color-coding makes quick reference easier. While other nature guides give information, the Outdoor School is notable for encouraging readers to directly participate. Another stunning addition to this stellar series.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Total Garbage: A Messy Dive into Trash, Waste, and Our World by Rebecca Donnelly; illustrated by John Hendrix

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Total Garbage by Rebecca Donnelly dives into the messy truth about trash, garbage, waste, and our world—it’s a fact-filled and fascinating illustrated middle grade environmental read!


Whimsical, informative, detailed teal-tone line drawings add to a captivating and important book. A fact-filled and fascinating dumpster dive of a book.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

In this accessible overview of garbage, Donnelly’s trash talk supports an appealing conversational narrative. This thorough and thoughtful treatment allows readers to understand the many complicated issues and possibly generate their own individual solutions. Here, Donnelly has turned trash into treasure.” —Horn Book, starred review


Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements: Understanding the Building Blocks of Everything by Jon Chad
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Step out of your element with Science Comics: The Periodic Table of Elements, the latest volume of First Second’s nonfiction graphic novel series! 

Solid gold.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Bea Wolf by Zach Weinersmith; illustrated by Boulet
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A modern middle-grade graphic novel retelling of Beowulf, featuring a gang of troublemaking kids who must defend their tree house from a fun-hating adult who can instantly turn children into grown-ups.


Readers will wish they could pledge their plastic swords to defending Treeheart and the sanctity of wild childhoods everywhere.”School Library Journalstarred review

“Weinersmith’s richly evocative turns of phrase run the gamut from hilarious to heart-rending and maintain the flavor of the original without bogging the pace down amid the kennings. Boulet’s illustrations imbue the shenanigans with gleeful energy and a touch of dark absurdity that children, seeing their own fears and triumphs reflected, will delight in.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

This is true bardic glory, a wild embrace of absurdity and wit with exaggerated language used for maximum impact…Boulet’s illustrations are no less epic than the story, and the finely lined black and white drawings invite careful examination, with the payoff being clever visual side jokes.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Booksstarred review

“It’s a madcap adventure that’s a sheer delight to read out loud…” —Bookliststarred review

“[Bea Wolf is] a truly fresh, inventive remix that privileges childhood’s insular sensibilities alongside an unsettling truth: ‘Time lingers for no kid.'” —Publishers Weeklystarred review


Wild Bird by Diane Zahler

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Get lost in a sweeping middle-grade adventure following Rype, an abandoned girl in fourteenth-century Europe, as she walks from Norway to England looking for safety from the plague.


“Rype and Owen’s affection for each other is an underlying current and could provide enough tension to keep a reluctant reader invested. Furthermore, personal connections with recent COVID-19 experiences might allow for interesting discussion in a group setting. A great addition to any middle grade historical fiction collection.” —School Library Journalstarred review

Zahler unflinchingly depicts a world in chaos due to disease, drawing contemporary parallels and thoughtfully highlighting issues of power structures, collective trauma, and remembrance. While deep bonds are formed throughout the telling, Rype’s processing her grief and finding her purpose form the character-forward story’s core, making for a novel of strength and vulnerability that will appeal particularly to readers of The Book of Boy and Northwind. —Publishers Weeklystarred review


Doggo and Pupper Search for Cozy by Katherine Applegate; illustrated by Charlie Alder

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In Doggo and Pupper Search for Cozy — the conclusion to the Doggo and Pupper early readers trilogy by New York Times-bestselling author Katherine Applegate with a brightly colored palette from Charlie Alder — the canines help Cat adjust to a big change: A new bed!

“Sentences are simple with easy and repeating word choice, so Applegate’s ability to make this piece so funny is all the more impressive. A winner and a first purchase.” —School Library Journal, starred review


Ghosts, Toast, and Other Hazards by Susan Tan

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From APALA Honor award-winning author Susan Tan, a middle-grade novel about a girl who must overcome her worries to find the truth behind her town’s urban legend.


★ “A realistic and deeply moving portrayal of a family’s journey through a challenging life transition.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ “Tan’s detailed narrative employs rich sensory details that immediately hook readers and don’t let go until the very last sentence.” —Horn Book, starred review

★ “Mo’s sincere first-person narrative portrays the way that finding emotional safety—via attending therapy, and bonding with Uncle Ray over music—gives way to a feeling of peace.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review

★ “Tan’s prose captures Mo’s preteen mindset perfectly, wavering between profound anxiety and bravery, and bordering on carelessness. The elephant-ghost exorcism Mo and Nathaniel undertake illuminates their interior experiences of complex grief, and the culmination of their quest weaves the threads of the multi-pronged narrative into a hard, hopeful conclusion. A poignant, deeply personal adventure for thoughtful readers.” —School Library Journalstarred review


Squire & Knight by Scott Chantler

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A young squire tackles mysteries, monsters and magic, but the inept knight he serves takes the credit. Every time.

★ “A timeless, smart take on a classic story.”—Booklist, starred review


Second Chance Summer by Sarah Kapit

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Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it’s with your best friend. Can these two ex-besties survive summer camp together?

★ “Readers who enjoy nuanced character studies will be entranced, and those who think friendship is always a simple thing will be left with much to ponder.” —Booklist, starred review


Tegan and Sara: Junior High by Tegan and Sara Quin; illustrated by Tillie Walden

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From indie-pop twin-sister duo Tegan and Sara comes a contemporary middle grade graphic novel that explores growing up, coming out, and finding yourself through music and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters.

★ “A heartfelt, visually stunning coming-of-age story…Walden’s art, paired with the authors’ ­lyrical words, create an emotionally resonant reading experience that is sure to mesh with adolescents’ big feelings . . . Highly recommended for fans of ­Svetlana Chmakova and Molly Knox ­Ostertag.” —School Library Journalstarred review


Skating on Mars by Caroline Huntoon

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A heartwarming debut from author Caroline Huntoon about a young figure skater discovering who they are on and off the ice.

★ “Huntoon…writes beautifully with authority and insight, creating in Mars a fully realized, memorable character; this first novel is an important contribution to the slender body of nonbinary literature, which belongs in every library.” Booklist, starred review


Spare Parts (Young Readers’ Edition) by Joshua Davis; adapted by Reyna Grande

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A riveting true story about dreams, dedication, and an amazing robot named Stinky, based on Joshua Davis’ New York Times bestseller and now adapted for young readers by bestselling Mexican American author Reyna Grande.

★ “This adaptation of Davis’ adult book of the same name shifts focus among the four boys and offers explicit statements of what each gains from these experiences, making for an accessible and relatable read for the young target audience…An afterword provides bittersweet where-are-they-now updates, where engineering careers were not guaranteed, immigration woes continue, and COVID leaves its mark, but the boys have grown into mature adults.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Booksstarred review

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Greenwild by Pari Thomson

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The Secret Garden meets A Wrinkle in Time in Greenwild: The World Behind the Door, the first book in the most extraordinary new fantasy series.

Open the door to a spellbinding world where the wilderness is alive and a deep magic rises from the earth itself


“The start of a dazzling series about a girl’s determination to find her mother, Thomson’s debut blooms with gorgeous wildlife descriptions that shape Greenwild’s world-building and its diverse inhabitants… aspiring young explorers will happily spend time in this emotionally gripping adventure.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

A superbly written, exciting debut that will leave fantasy lovers wanting more…With its clever worldbuilding, high-stakes plot, and well-developed characters, this first novel in the Greenwild series is a must-purchase.” —School Library Journalstarred review


How to Stay Invisible by Maggie C. Rudd

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My Side of the Mountain meets How to Steal a Dog in this high-stakes and heartfelt middle-grade story of a young boy and his dog surviving on their own in the woods.


A worthy match for My Side of the Mountain and Hatchet.” —Horn Bookstarred review

“Rudd weaves an uplifting tale of connection and found family.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review

The Outsiders meets Hatchet in this story that follows Raymond’s ordeal to both survive in the winter woods of North Carolina and attend middle school without anyone finding out how he lives…Completely devoid of cheap drama, this tightly written, understated narrative tells its story through finely drawn characters, intensely realistic atmosphere and setting, and a protagonist who will capture readers’ hearts with both his courage and his creative survival skills.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


Eerie Tales from the School of Screams by Graham Annable

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From the director of the Oscar-nominated movie Boxtrolls comes a middle grade horror anthology that will leave you holding onto your blankets for dear life! Perfect for fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Goosebumps!

“Via simple yet effective paneling, Annable balances terrifying visuals and taut storytelling with finesse and expert timing to deliver a horror-filled collection that is sure to scare and delight.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


Ghost Book by Remy Lai

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Perfect for fans of Spirited AwayCoco, and Ghosts comes a spooky fantasy graphic novel about the friendship between a girl who can see ghosts and a boy who is stuck between the worlds of the living and the dead.


An entertaining, engaging read with echoes of Miyazaki’s film Spirited Away.” —Horn Bookstarred review

“Lai navigates profound questions of fate and friendship via Chinese mythology in this playful graphic novel ghost story [with a] richly imagined underworld.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review

“Lai is a master of middle-grade sensibilities… An unforgettable adventure full of surprises, laughs, ghosts, and dumplings.” —Booklist, starred review

For kids who eat up graphic novels like Anya’s GhostPilu of the Woods, and GhostsGhost Book will make a perfect addition to their shelves.” —BookPage, starred review

Ghost Book expertly balances eerie ghoulishness with lighthearted fun for a memorable middle-grade adventure.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

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Hope in the Valley by Mitali Perkins
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Hope in the Valley, from National Book Award Nominee Mitali Perkins, is a middle-grade novel exploring grief, friendship, family, and growing up in a community facing a housing crisis.


“Grief, memories, and the difficulty of letting go permeate this powerful story about family, friendship, and finding your voice… deeply compelling… A riveting, courage-filled story.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ “Though the novel is set in the 1980s, issues surrounding housing inequity and financial precarity deeply resonate with present-day challenges. Employing Pandu’s lilting voice and quiet bravery, Perkins crafts an introspective novel about moving on from loss and finding the courage to fight for what one believes in.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review

“The story is set in the summer of 1980 in Silicon Valley, California, before the tech boom. It is a place on the cusp, much like the story’s protagonist, who finds herself compelled by memories of her past; the complex and fascinating history she uncovers; and possibilities for the future of her town, her family, and herself.” —Horn Bookstarred review

Many books advocate for listening carefully to people of opposing views while following one’s own beliefs, but few do it better than Perkins’ exceptional Hope in the Valley.” BookPagestarred review

“Perkins explores topics that were relevant both then and now, including racism, housing inequity, and activism on a level that young readers will be able to comprehend and learn from…Perkins explores matters of grief, growing up, and multigenerational relationships in a moving novel that will resonate and linger with readers long after the last beautiful page.” —School Library Journalstarred review

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The Nightmare House by Sarah Allen

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In this spooky middle grade novel perfect for fans of Small SpacesDoll Bones, and V. E. Schwab, a young girl’s deepest fears take on terrifying new life when she confronts a supernatural foe who can manipulate her nightmares.

“[Penny’s] poems weave their way through the narrative, fortifying Allen’s own lyrical writing and adding to the overall message that strength can be found in words and creativity… Fans of Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Gardener (2014) will find the Fear Maker alluring but may suffer some nightmares of their own after following Penny to his door. Allen deals in both beauty and terror, rendering this a sophisticated choice for horror readers.” —Bookliststarred review


No Place Like Home by James Bird

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A middle-grade novel by James Bird about homelessness and hope.


“Author Bird crafts this deeply felt ode to familial love with authoritative prose…. Opin’s palpable fears, joys, and unrelenting hope buoy this tale of resilience.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“James Bird, who has been homeless and is of Ojibwe descent, writes with rare authority, insight, and compassion that invites deep empathy from readers. He has done a beautiful job of creating an unforgettable family, who, as Inde says, “may be broke, but we’re not broken.” —Booklist, starred review


Learning To Be Wild (A Young Readers’ Adaptation) by Carl Safina; photographs by Carl Safina

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From New York Times-bestselling author Carl Safina comes Learning to Be Wild, a young readers adaptation of the notable book Becoming Wild that explores community, culture, and belonging through the lives of chimpanzees, macaws, and sperm whales.

★ “A well-crafted adaptation offering an extraordinary look at animal worlds.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


More Than A Dream: The Radical March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom by Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long

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Hailed as “an essential reeducation on one of the most consequential events in US history” by Ibram X. Kendi, this gripping middle-grade account offers a fresh look at the groundbreaking 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom by spotlighting the protest’s radical roots and the underappreciated role of Black women—includes a wealth of contemporary black-and-white photos throughout.


“A frank and perspicuous study of the watershed 1963 event in the Civil Rights Movement . . . Rather than build their thoroughly researched account around Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Williams and Long focus on what went on behind the scenes to organize the one-day March on Washington . . . Numerous photos and news clippings add immediacy to events, and though the main story closes with the dispersal of the crowd at the historic day’s end, rich troves of additional facts and questions posed to readers spur further research and reflection. Coherent, compellingly passionate, rich in sometimes-startling and consistently well-founded insights.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

“The authors have relied heavily on contemporary newspaper stories, a number of which are reproduced here along with a generous collection of black-and-white photos. Important appended material evidences the authors’ deep research (18 pages of notes) and a collection of discussion questions. This is, in short, an indispensable work that belongs in every library.” —Bookliststarred review

“A detailed account… A remarkable blend of primary resources, firsthand accounts, and thought-provoking questions, readers will learn about the many important people of the Civil Rights Movement and the intricacies of executing such an event… Highly recommended.” —School Library Journal, starred review


Things in the Basement by Ben Hatke

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From New York Times bestselling author Ben Hatke comes Things in the Basement, a young readers graphic novel about Milo, a young boy who discovers a portal to a secret world in his basement.


“Hatke gently blends both whimsical and terrifying imagery to create a fantastical, dreamily atmospheric katabasis…” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Ben Hatke’s inspired plot is visually driven, creative, and multilayered…Things in the Basement is a gorgeous, maze-like graphic novel for young readers…” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

“Hatke is at his best in this book that blends fantasy with reality, deftly ­harmonizing murky greens and browns with cool blues and purples to create an eerie and wonderful atmosphere.” —School Library Journal, starred review

” On this grand premise, Hatke hangs a tale of remarkable visual bounty… Generous in structure, as well, just when the tale could come to a satisfying conclusion, it opens wider, its most heart-pounding moments still ahead. Hatke creates a catchy internal mythology for this subterranean world, too, and offers heroic examples of perseverance, commitment, friendship, and teamwork.” —Booklist, starred review

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Saving Sunshine by Saadia Faruqi; illustrated by Shazleen Khan

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From Saadia Faruqi and Shazleen Khan comes a relatable, funny, and heart-wrenchingly honest graphic novel about Muslim American siblings who must learn how to stop fighting and support each other in a world that is often unkind.


A beautiful, realistic, and important story focusing on family and sibling bonds.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

[A] stirring and uplifting story of family and identity.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

The art style moreover captures a variety of nuanced expressions with an approachably cute quality, offering emotional depth as well as humor and sweetness.” —Bulletin of the Center For Children’s Books, starred review


Eagle Drums by Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson

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A magical realistic middle grade debut about the origin story of the Iñupiaq Messenger Feast, a Native Alaskan tradition.


★ “Eagle Drums marks the impressive debut of a gifted writer. Rainey gives readers an engrossing, exciting look into Iñupiaq culture while offering invaluable lessons about the power of community, kinship and celebrations.” —BookPage, starred review

★ “Iñupiaq author and illustrator Hopson enhances the story with full-page color illustrations that visually connect readers with Piŋa’s journey and emphasize the importance of connections to nature, spiritual beings, and human relatives.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Dogtown by Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko; illustrated by Wallace West

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From beloved authors Katherine Applegate and Gennifer Choldenko and with illustrations from Wallace West, Dogtown is at once an uplifting story and a page-turning adventure, sure to find a forever home in readers’ hearts.

★ “Animosity gradually evolves into understanding, then friendship… Super short chapters, perhaps suggesting a dog’s alleged limited attention span, keep the novel’s pace moving briskly toward a climax sure to please animal lovers despite a few sad moments along the way. Chance captivates with insights that are hilarious and wise beyond her age in dog years: “Your heart is a muscle…It grows stronger the more you use it.” Thoughtful back matter suggests how children can help shelter dogs. West’s grayscale art perfectly captures canine emotion and unbridled energy. ” —School Library Journal, starred review


Match Point! by Maddie Gallegos

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A debut middle grade graphic novel by Maddie Gallegos about two girls: one who hates racquetball and another who loves it—and the strong friendship that blossoms through, and often despite, the sport.

“Visually unique and intersectionally diverse characters populate this warmhearted jaunt, rendered in eye-catching full color and teeming with onomatopoeia depicted in bouncy, kinetic text bubbles.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


A Sky of Paper Stars by Susie Yi

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A Sky of Paper Stars is a heartrending middle-grade graphic novel by Susie Yi about a girl’s ill-fated wish to fit in, perfect for readers of Stargazing and Pashmina.

“This is a quiet and deeply moving story of intergenerational love and sacrifice… An affirming exploration of belonging and a testament to the power of family stories.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


The Memory Thieves by Dhonielle Clayton

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The fantasy adventure sequel to the instant New York Times and #1 Indie Bestseller, The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton! Return for Year Two at the global magic school in the sky in The Memory Thieves.

“Clayton continues building a world that is intricate, captivating, and sure to satisfy. A wonderfully well-developed sequel.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

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Gone Wolf by Amber McBride

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In middle-grade debut, Gone Wolf, award-winning author Amber McBride lays bare the fears of being young and Black in America.


“In this weighty read, which explores the consequences of loss, quarantine, and racism on Black youth, the author employs brilliantly inventive storytelling as a tool through which the protagonists process their grief and find their people.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“National Book Award finalist McBride…is a master at crafting characters that are unapologetically flawed, a pattern that continues in this, her middle-grade debut. Imogen’s character perfectly personifies the continuous shroud of grief that Black Americans have to live with in a post-pandemic, post-2016 election world. But even with the integration of the theme of grief throughout the novel, there is still the insistence of hope. McBride examines the beauty in Black resilience and the importance of building community. This novel is an integral addition to the children’s literary canon.” —Booklist, starred review

“McBride’s multidimensional genius shines through, artfully exposing the reality that Black Americans have lived lifetimes of dystopias. She scrupulously guides the complicated storyline and hard histories with context, definitions, and word choices. Raw, incisive, and authentic.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A strong voice in the sci-fi genre, McBride presents a fascinating discussion of the inextricable bond between Black (Americans) and the blues.”—Horn Book, starred review

“Unlike her previous two young adult novels in verse—Me (Moth) and We Are All So Good at Smiling—National Book Award finalist Amber McBride has written her middle grade debut in prose. Her syntax shines with beautiful symbolism…Gone Wolf examines the ways in which both the COVID-19 pandemic and slavery’s ongoing legacy impact Black youth while also celebrating storytelling’s ability to heal and bring us together. There is nothing quite like it.” —BookPage, starred review


Just a Pinch of Magic by Alechia Dow

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Just a Pinch of Magic, Alechia Dow’s middle-grade debut, is as warm and sweet as a cinnamon bun, bursting with magic and sure to please the pickiest readers.


Brimming with magic—and enticing recipes for readers to try… Superb worldbuilding and the authentic dialogue between the quirky, beguiling characters will draw readers in, while the heart-pounding tension and strong pacing will lead them to the satisfying conclusion… An enchanting tale of love.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

“Dow delivers a magical story about family, friendship, and love that is both beguiling and surprising. An unforgettably rendered magical world paired with delicious descriptions of impeccable baked goods will leave readers wanting more.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review


Look on the Bright Side by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann

On Sale Now!

The creators of Eisner-nominated Go With the Flow Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann are back with a funny and heartwarming story following four best friends Brit, Abby, Christine, and Sasha in the graphic novel, Look on the Bright Side. Perfect for fans of Maria Scrivan’s NAT ENOUGH series!


★ “Williams and Schneemann’s warm and engaging graphic novel is a welcome return to this world, with vibrant art; short, episodic chapters; fast pacing; and the right blend of tension and sweetness.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “The art is colorful, bright, and eye-catching; characters reflect a variety of racial and body diversity. As with the first book, this is an engaging, realistic, positive, and inclusive slice-of-life story about navigating high school, friendship, and crushes. A standout graphic novel that should be in every library.” —School Library Journal, starred review


The Last Unexplored Place on Earth: Investigating the Ocean Floor with Alvin the Submersible by Aly Brown

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Dive into the world of Alvin the Submersible, as award winning journalist Aly Brown shares the stories of what lies beneath the waves, including lost hydrogen bombs, underwater volcanoes, storied shipwrecks, and hundreds of new species.


“This fascinating book gives the history of the Alvin sub and how its invention and upgrades have now made it possible to explore up to 99 percent of the ocean. It has been around for 50 years and is still making amazing discoveries. This book is not just about the sub, but about the scientists who have been lucky enough to ride in it and the discoveries they’ve made.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Brown retraces Alvin’s storied career with frequent references to oral histories and interviews with many pilots and passengers… she offers vivid impressions of the exhilarating rewards: the excitement of plunging into the deep’s unexplored reaches, where any moment could bring some fresh new biological or geophysical discovery… “Pretty neat!” as the author puts it. Readers will agree.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Jawbreaker by Christina Wyman

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Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, a refreshingly honest middle-grade debut novel about toxic sibling rivalry, socioeconomic disparity, and dental drama.


“Inspired by her own life experiences, in her debut, Wyman explores typical junior high stresses such as navigating friendships while deftly exploring serious topics like toxic family dynamics, substance abuse, and the psychological toll of bullying. Interwoven with the weight of heavy topics is a message of hope, perseverance, and self-acceptance presented in a humorous and relatable way. It’s this accessible, balanced approach to painful and emotionally charged situations that makes this book so wildly successful . . . A hugely relatable must-read: witty, intensely emotional, and full of heart.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

Smile meets Wonder in Wyman’s affirming debut… Portraying complex social concepts with nuance, Max’s candid, accessible first-person narration propels her growing pains and journey toward empowerment, leading to a hopeful conclusion emphasizing the idea that ‘no one should have to look perfect just to be treated well.’” —Publishers Weeklystarred review

“Wyman demonstrates an impressive ability to conjure up both the pain and delight of middle school with immediacy and empathy.” —BookPagestarred review


Science Comics: Frogs by Liz Prince

On Sale Now!

Hop to it with Science Comics: Frogs, a new volume of First Second’s fan-favorite nonfiction graphic novel series!

With their signature sounds, athletic tongues, and bulging eyes, there’s a lot to love about frogs! But did you know that they soak up air and even liquid through their skin? Or that they use their eyes to swallow food? From tiny tadpoles in water to boisterous bullfrogs on land, the life cycle of these amphibious acrobats is one of the coolest examples of metamorphosis around. So pull up a lily pad and dive in, because the frog facts in this book will truly give you something to croak about!

“Prince’s devoted investigation of frogs and toads offers effortless education for readers of all ages and levels of interest, poised to make an Anura aficionado of every reader.” —School Library Journalstarred review


Juniper’s Christmas by Eoin Colfer

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From the acclaimed, mega-bestselling Eoin Colfer comes a heartwarming, adventurous Christmas classic-in-the-making: the perfect gift for readers of all ages who believe in the power of hope, kindness, and holiday magic.


“Colfer weaves a love story with numerous characters . . . [centered] on the determined efforts of his perceptive and big-hearted young protagonist. A soaring flight fueled by joys, sorrows, and deeds both ill and good.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A warmhearted Christmas novel… [with] a fresh spin on familiar holiday themes, including forgiveness, healing, and hope.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

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Balto and Togo: Hero Dogs of Alaska by Helen Moss; illustrated by Solomon Hughes

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It’s the winter of 1924 and a diptheria outbreak is threatening the population of Nome, Alaska. The only way to stop the deadly illness from causing a full blown epidemic is to immediately deliver one million units of the diptheria antitoxin to the affected communities ––a task that seems impossible given that the only way to reach any place in Alaska at this time of year is by dog sled. The stakes are high, and the snow is piling higher. Will the antitoxin make it in time? Or will the infection spread faster than they can treat it…

Follow along as Balto and Togo lead the way in this race against time to get the antitoxin and save lives.

“This account of the brave men and resilient, expertly trained dogsled teams that successfully conveyed the desperately needed diphtheria serum across nearly 700 miles of Alaskan wilderness in the 1920s is engaging and exciting. Kids will relate to these heroes, both human and canine, and come away with new understandings about weather, geography, and history.” —Booklist, starred review


We Are All So Good at Smiling by Amber McBride
On Sale Now!

They Both Die at the End meets The Bell Jar in this haunting, beautiful young adult novel-in-verse about clinical depression and healing from trauma, from National Book Award Finalist Amber McBride.


“The choice of verse to tell this absorbing story is a strong one; readers are drawn along by the intense and vivid imagery, and the depictions of clinical depression, guilt, and grief are visceral. McBride explores the impact of the intersection between Blackness and mental illness … and the difficulties of two unusual young people finding refuge through friendship from the pressures the world exerts on them. Whimsy’s practice of Hoodoo and the empowerment she receives from the magic inside and around her help her contend with her depression and unravel her grief without negating a brutal, yet ultimately hopeful, reality. ..Important messages uniquely delivered.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

McBride makes exceptional use of the verse novel format, with some poems reading almost as detailed and descriptive prose, while other entries are just a few judiciously chosen lines that make readers slow down and work a bit to parse out full meaning.” —Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Booksstarred review

This phenomenal novel-in-verse transports readers into an impassioned tale of heartache and hope that belongs on every bookshelf serving teens.” —School Library Journalstarred review

“Readers will revel in the depth of Whimsy and Faerry’s relationship, all the while finding solace and relief in the calculated messiness of their search for wholeness. This is a spitfire sophomore offering from McBride, one that refuses to be rushed, mishandled, or misinterpreted.” —Bookliststarred review

Raw and poignant and promising hope, even when it seems there is no way out.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review


The Minus-One Club by Kekla Magoon

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From the Coretta Scott King and Printz Honor-winning author of How It Went DownLight It Up, and Revolution In Our Time comes a moving contemporary YA novel about the bonds between a group of teens whose lives have been upended by tragedy.


This timely and thoughtful novel makes room for the increasing depth and complexity of navigating adolescence alongside grief, religious dissent, and healing.” —Booklist, starred review

★ “Magoon thoughtfully includes themes relating to depression, suicide, identity and religious expression as she compassionately builds Kermit’s complicated, sensitive inner life and depicts the various ways people might respond to the loss of a loved one.” Shelf Awareness, starred review


The Buried and the Bound by Rochelle Hassan
On Sale January 24th, 2023

A contemporary fantasy YA debut from Rochelle Hassan about monsters, magic, and wicked fae, perfect for fans of The Darkest Part of the Forest and The Hazel Wood.

“With gorgeous prose and rich worldbuilding, this gripping dark fantasy slowly unfolds its tale of broken hearts, family secrets, and self-empowerment as it follows its three appealing, well-rounded narrators and a variety of interesting secondary characters. This is one for fans of Holly Black, Anna-Marie McLemore, and romantic fantasy that has a bittersweet bite. A wonderful start to a new trilogy.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Doomed: Sacco, Vanzetti & the End of the American Dream by John Florio & Ouisie Shapiro

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From John Florio and Emmy Award-winning writer Ouisie Shapiro comes a monumental YA nonfiction book about the heartbreaking case of Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants who were wrongfully executed for murder.

★ “A masterpiece…highly recommended.” —School Library Journal, starred review

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Promise Boys by Nick Brooks
On Sale Now!

The Hate U Give meets One of Us Is Lying in Nick Brooks’s Promise Boys, a trailblazing, blockbuster YA mystery about three teen boys of color who must investigate their principal’s murder to clear their own names—for fans of Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, and Karen McManus.


Breathtakingly complex and intriguing.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“But make no mistake, this story is also a top-notch page-turner and deep character study. The three protagonists and slow convergence of their investigations will grip readers, who won’t want to stop reading until the culprit is revealed.” —Booklist, starred review

“Brooks excels in creating protagonists worthy of applause and truly foul villains, whose presences linger long after this atmospheric read ends.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The whodunit untangles in a dynamic format with short chapters that feature frequent temporal shifts, and it splices the three boys’ perspectives among other media such as anonymous e-mails and news stories. Because each boy is seen–and judged–by his fellow suspects, readers engage in a layered process of evaluating assumptions and biases throughout the community. This cinematic thriller deftly entertains readers while leveling a sharp indictment of society’s mistreatment of Black and Latinx teenage boys…This is a tense and urgent mystery that can help break the cycle it condemns.” —Shelf Awareness , starred review


Dream to Me by Megan Paasch

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From debut author Megan Paasch comes Dream to Me, a YA contemporary fantasy about generational magic, grief, and what it takes to forgive ourselves.

★ “Paasch’s debut is a well-developed stand-alone novel with a compelling female protagonist and intricate plot. The supporting characters help weave a solid narrative that explores themes of grief, anger, regret, reputation, and familial legacy within a supernatural framework… A thrilling and mysterious page-turner.” School Library Journal, starred review


And Other Mistakes by Erika Turner
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A teenage girl deals with insecurities, a stressful family life, tension with friends, and being on the cross-country team, in And Other Mistakes—a debut Young Adult coming-of-age novel by Erika Turner about accepting one’s self


“…standout novel…By employing impeccable emotional tension that superbly renders themes of abuse, friendship, and identity, Turner delivers a genuine and honest read.” —Publisher’s Weeklystarred review

Turner’s characters are the life of this novel, each feeling real even when they have minor roles… [Aaliyah’s] story is an ode to the messiness of young queer teenagedom on par with Malinda Lo’s A Scatter of Light…The intentional discrepancy between Aaliyah’s interpretation of her mistakes and the reader’s view of them is impeccable, making her an incredibly sympathetic character with realistic flaws. Give this book to the teen who needs to be told that imperfection is okay.” —Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Booksstarred review


In Limbo by Deb JJ Lee

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A debut YA graphic memoir about a Korean-American girl’s coming-of-age story—and a coming home story—set between a New Jersey suburb and Seoul, South Korea.


★ “[B]reathtakingly meticulous panels in grayish blues and white [elevate this] work to masterpiece status.” —Bookliststarred review

★ “Readers seeking realistic depictions of lived teen mental health experiences will find this beautiful work rewarding.” —School Library Journal, starred review


Belle of the Ball by Mari Costa

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A young adult graphic novel about high school wallflower Belle Hawkins, who ends up in a love triangle after tutoring the girlfriend of her crush.

★ “Thin B&W lines coupled with vividly saturated pink hues imbue this energetic graphic novel rom-com with a cotton-candy atmosphere that expertly conveys the trials and tribulations of first love. Costa (Life of Melody) smartly employs classic shojo manga aesthetics, well-timed comedic beats, and winningly characterized protagonists to deliver a refreshing spin on the love triangle trope that meditatively interrogates identity.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


Saints of the Household by Ari Tison
On Sale Now!

Saints of the Household is a haunting contemporary YA about an act of violence in a small-town–beautifully told by a debut Indigenous Costa Rican-American writer–that will take your breath away.


“The author peels apart each brother’s bruised psyche by ingeniously rotating among Jay’s tense vignettes, Max’s wistful verses, and Bribri cultural elements to underscore their anguished journey to reconciliation. Remarkably compelling.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Tison’s writing is staggering…Structurally and substantively, this book is an elegiac triumph that puts the human heart in the reader’s hands.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

A heartrending, contemporary debut novel about the repercussions of trauma and the healing power of family and art… Violence can be inherited but so can love and forgiveness. This vulnerable and magnetic tale of brotherhood belongs on every shelf.” —School Library Journal, starred review


Strictly No Heroics by B.L. Radley

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In Strictly No Heroics, a normal teen girl must navigate crushing on her best friend, starting a new summer job, and not being squashed during the next supervillain showdown in B.L. Radley’s young adult debut filled with humor and heart.

“In this insightful, multilayered debut…Radley subverts classic comic book tropes to craft an imaginative futuristic setting grounded in realistic interpersonal challenges.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


Alondra by Gina Femia

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A contemporary YA debut from award-winning playwright Gina Femia, Alondra is a coming-of-age story of friendship and romance, about a bisexual teen girl and her friends wrestling their way through the summer–sometimes on the playgrounds of Coney Island, sometimes with their feelings and at home.

“There’s much to praise in this fast-paced and engaging debut, from the sense of found family that is part of Alondra’s life in multiple ways to the commentary on the impact of gentrification…A satisfying and joyful read.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Hungry Ghost by Victoria Ying

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A beautiful and heart-wrenching young adult graphic novel takes a look at eating disorders, family dynamics, and ultimately, a journey to self-love.

A gorgeously wrought, therapeutic story filled with tenderness and honesty.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

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#1 New York Times bestselling author of Firekeeper’s Daughter Angeline Boulley takes us back to Sugar Island in this high-stakes thriller about the power of discovering your stolen history.


This novel is many things at once: a coming-of-age story of twins who are each struggling to find their places, a murder mystery, a culturally driven exploration of home and belonging, and the same thoughtful, expansive, and careful examination of what it means to be Anishinaabe as Boulley offered in the previous novel.” Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, starred review

“Heightened tension, dynamic action scenes, a complicated heist and plenty of revelations [make] Warrior Girl Unearthed an edifying and deeply moving read.—BookPage, starred review

A compelling narrative about one teen’s attempt to undo some of the injustices her community and people have faced.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Another powerful, suspenseful page-turner from Boulley.—The Horn Book, starred review

 A thrilling and empowering read.—Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

A page-turning heist grounded in a nuanced exploration of critical issues of cultural integrity.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


You Don’t Have a Shot by Racquel Marie

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A queer YA romance about rival soccer players from author Racquel Marie, perfect for fans of She Drives Me Crazy.

★ “Via Vale’s witty and acerbic first-person narration and her palpable passion for soccer, Marie delivers a textured sapphic romp that spins an earned enemies–to–lovers romance amid empathetic depictions of one teenager coming to terms with the effects of her treatment of others, as well as her treatment of herself.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


I’m Not Supposed to Be in the Dark by Riss M. Neilson

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From the author of Deep in Providence comes a paranormal young adult romance that follows a teen convinced that her best friend–turned-enemy is possessed by a ghost, perfect for fans of White Smoke and Twilight.

★ “The love story that blossoms. . .is one that lights a fire on the page and will keep readers wanting a happy ending for all. Aria is of Cape Verdean and Filipino heritage. A gorgeously written, supernatural fantasy that deserves a place in secondary libraries where romance, feelings, and magic are appreciated by teens.” —School Library Journalstarred review


Painted Devils by Margaret Owen

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A scrappy former maid and jewel thief must outwit gods, injustice, and her own past in this sequel to the Indie Next Pick, Little Thieves by Margaret Owen.


★ “[M]asterful storytelling. . .Another winding tale of intrigue and adventures that leans heavily on the heart.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ “Owen writes [Vanja’s] story with the compassion and wit that will leave readers holding her close.” —Bookliststarred review

★ “Owen delivers another fresh, high-stakes adventure about the power of stories—particularly the ones we tell ourselves . . . Owen writes at the top of her game, with this installment even stronger than Little Thieves. This series is a must-have for ­library collections.” —School Library Journalstarred review


Court of the Undying Seasons by A.M. Strickland

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Sarah J. Maas meets A Deadly Education in A.M. Strickland’s lush, queer YA dark fantasy novel.

★ “Pays homage to classics and plays with boarding school and murder-mystery tropes in an original, inventive way. Fin’s own journey into power along with the medieval-esque setting, heart-stirring romance, well-rounded secondary characters, and found family make it a delectable read indeedAbso-bloody-lutely brilliant. ” Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Venom & Vow by Anne-Marie and Elliott McLemore

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Two enemy kingdoms are forced to work together to break a curse in this lush YA fantasy, featuring a transgender prince and a bigender dama/assassin in the lead roles.

★ “Enemies-to-lovers romances rarely offer this much emotional depth, and fans of the trope will find a lot to love about this coauthored romantic YA fantasy.” —Booklist, starred review

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Forever is Now by Mariama J. Lockington

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A poignant and lyrical young adult novel-in-verse about a Black teen coming of age in an anxiety-inducing world, from the author of For Black Girls Like Me and In the Key of Us.


★ “An outstanding novel in-verse that tells the story of a teenager’s struggles to better both her mental health and her community. Lockington’s approachable poetry covers heavy topics readers may find emotionally demanding—mental health, family dynamics, anti-Blackness, social activism, sexuality, social media, romance. The author elegantly and compassionately portrays Sadie’s complicated, sensitive struggle with agoraphobia and depicts various realistic ways people might respond to the mental health of their loved ones.” —Shelf Awarenessstarred review

★ “Nuanced depictions of intercommunity tensions—between Sadie’s empathetic dad and her brusque mom, between her bold, activist, nonbinary best friend and her tentative, Black transracial adoptee new crush—help propel the narrative. Lockington’s real achievement here, though, is the tenderness with which she captures the utter vulnerability, strength, and beauty of a ‘sad, anxious Black girl.’ Intimately and immensely powerful.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ “Black queer teen Sadie Dixon confronts police brutality while contending with her own mental health challenges in this lyrically written verse novel . . . Lockington steadily builds momentum via Sadie’s sharply rendered and visceral voice, making for a devastating portrayal of—and compassionate look into—one teenager’s struggles to better her mental health situation and her community.” —Publishers Weeklystarred review

★ “This novel-in-verse depicts a range of relevant struggles for Black girls: Sadie is painfully aware of a world that is both physically dying and politically corrupt, and she’s furious that her generation is expected to save it even as the threat of racial violence means she could be the next person whose name gets chanted at protests. Notably, Lockington equally emphasizes Sadie’s cherishing of sources of Black joy . . . Sadie is a character readers will root for as she overcomes her first heartbreak, advances with her therapy enough to attend the protest march, and finds her voice: ‘I am a sad, anxious Black girl./ And all I have are these fists,/ telling a fury tale.'” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Booksstarred review


Ode to My First Car by Robin Gow

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By the critically praised author of A Million Quiet Revolutions, this YA contemporary sapphic romance told in verse is about a bisexual teen girl who falls in and out of love over the course of one fateful summer.

★ “Gow (who is bisexual, queer, and trans), writes with authority, insight, and considerable poetic skill…The result is a highly readable, character driven exercise in literary fiction that is highly recommended.” —Booklist, starred review


Garden of the Cursed by Katy Rose Pool

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In this enemies-to-lovers romantasy mystery, cursebreaker Marlow Briggs reluctantly pretends to be in love with a powerful noble to gain entry into an illustrious—and deadly—society that holds clues to her mother’s disappearance.

High-stakes action and bureaucratic intrigue abound, but it’s Marlow and Adrius’s charged relationship that keep tensions elevated. Sumptuous worldbuilding and fully realized, intersectionally diverse characters further enhance this enticing tale.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam by Thien Pham

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A moving young adult graphic memoir about a Vietnamese immigrant boy’s search for belonging in America, perfect for fans of American Born Chinese and The Best We Could Do!


Pham’s extraordinary memoir just might be the toothsome gift we didn’t know we needed.“—Booklist, starred review

“Pham reflects the push-pull conflict of assimilation and cultural loss as explored through food in digitally illustrated panels portraying visual feasts and expressive emotion, making for a vivid and insightful telling that offers joy and hope amid the terror.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

A delicious series of memories full of hope and human connections despite the hardships of immigrating to a new home.”—School Library Journal, starred review

…a moving, insightful graphic novel memoir that shares the Vietnamese refugee experience through food.”—Shelf Awareness, starred review

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Monstrous: A Transracial Adoption Story by Sarah Myer

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Monstrous is a poignant young adult graphic memoir about a Korean-American girl who uses fandom and art-making to overcome racist bullying. Perfect for fans of Almost American Girl!


“For fans of Jarrett Krosoczka’s Hey, Kiddo and Robin Ha’s Almost American Girl, this coming-of-age memoir will appeal to youth who are struggling with their identity.” —School Library Journalstarred review

“Immersive and engrossing: a beautifully depicted emotional journey.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Her powerful memoir is an empathic gift, presented in full technicolor with never-static panels, showcasing raw energy.” —Booklist, starred review

This is a fierce graphic memoir with grit and honesty.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

Myer uses color, shading, and line effectively, and varies panel size with excellent results. Those who stick with the unflinching depictions of the bullying Myer endured will be rewarded with an engaging—and ultimately hopeful—narrative of a young artist developing their own true identity.” —Horn Book, starred review


I’d Rather Burn than Bloom by Shannon C.F. Rogers

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Packed with voice, Shannon C.F. Rogers’ I’d Rather Burn than Bloom is a powerful YA novel about a Filipina-American teen who tries to figure out who she really is in the wake of her mother’s death.


“Readers who relish deep character development will appreciate Marisol’s messy evolution toward self-forgiveness…Heart-wrenching and heart-filled.—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Rogers crafts a fast-paced narrative through Marisol’s powerful and poignant voice. Insights into family dynamics, changing friendships, and biracial identity make for realistically messy and enjoyable character growth that one can’t help but empathize with.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


A Guide to the Dark by Miriam Metoui

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The Haunting of Hill House meets Nina LaCour in this paranormal mystery YA about the ghosts we carry with us.

“Metoui’s use of the nuances of Mira and Layla’s Muslim American family dynamics to explore the coming out experience is skillful and compassionate. Black-and-white photographs taken by the author and asides from the perspective of the darkness break up a compelling narrative, and readers will have trouble putting this one down even for a minute. A first purchase for any teen collection.” —School Library Journal, starred review


A Little Like Waking by Adam Rex

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You’ve Reached Sam meets The Good Place in this deeply-felt, surreal and fully illustrated love story about a girl, a boy, a dreamer, and a dream from best-selling and award-winning author Adam Rex.

 “A charming, funny, highly imaginative story that invites long thoughts about the nature of reality and the enduring importance of romance.”  —Booklist, starred review


Disappearing Act by Jiordan Castle

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Moving and evocative, Disappearing Act is a YA memoir-in-verse following author Jiordan Castle’s coming of age as her family reckons with the aftershocks of her father’s imprisonment.

“Compelling and accessible verse… In an author’s note, Castle describes her motivation for writing the book being in part about offering representation and reflection for the many children of incarcerated parents. In this, she’s a success, offering enough detail to be true to her story while still presenting the view of a child who does not know or understand the specifics of her parent’s crimes… Fans of Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died (2022) will also appreciate this candid memoir of a parent-child relationship.” —Bookliststarred review


Messenger: The Legend of Muhammad Ali by Marc Bernardin; illustrated by Ron Salas

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“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Muhammad Ali, one of the most revered—and controversial—figures of the twentieth century, immortalized those words with the beauty, strength, and originality of his boxing style. Now, his epic story is retold in this gorgeous, striking graphic novel Messenger that showcases exactly why he became celebrated worldwide as “The Greatest.”

Bernardin’s prose effectively captures Ali’s larger-than-life aura, seamlessly incorporating the boxer’s poetic catchphrases and electrifying speeches. Salas’ emotive grayscale illustrations complement the narrative, evoking the unspoken fears, worries, and doubts hiding beneath Ali’s bravado. This work does a stellar job of presenting Ali’s life in an accessible way without minimizing the impact of his legacy and the expansiveness of his life. A moving ode to a mighty icon whose cultural contributions are as powerful as his victories in the ring.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Accountable by Dashka Slater

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From the New York Times-bestselling author of The 57 Bus comes Accountable, a propulsive and thought-provoking true story about the revelation of a racist social media account that changes everything for a group of high school students and begs the question: What does it mean to be held accountable for harm that takes place behind a screen?


Award-winning journalist Dashka Slater (The 57 Bus) brilliantly dissects a true-crime story, exhibiting its different parts for readers and presenting a balanced narrative that illustrates the nuances inherent in all interpersonal interactions, whether in person or online… While readers’ instinctive response may be to say Charles deserves what he gets, Slater’s meticulous research from multiple perspectives highlights the difficulties of attempting to define absolute right and absolute wrong… Slater does not solve problems or answer the questions; instead, she scrupulously illustrates the complexity of this case, and reminds the audience that there are no quick fixes.” —Shelf Awarenessstarred review

“This meticulous retelling from Slater, author of the best-selling, Stonewall-winning The 57 Bus (2017), documents the ensuing events: shock, outrage, accusations, protests, threats, firings, lawsuits, and the aftermath… This is a compelling and contemporary cautionary tale that should be required reading for any teen before they create, comment, or even like a media post.” —Bookliststarred review

“Journalist and author Slater once again achieves another level of introspection about society through the lens of teen behavior… The shocking reality that Albany could be any town is what sustains the rabid interest in seeing how the story plays out since it touches on many aspects of contemporary culture.. This is a well-timed page-turner due to Slater’s investigative reporting and must be read, shared, and discussed. Make this a priority purchase.” —School Library Journalstarred review

“In this gripping true story, Slater draws on her journalistic skills, utilizing interviews, court documents, social media and other sources to pull together a compelling full picture of an event that ripped apart a community and deeply impacted the lives of everyone involved. Short chapters keep the pace at a clip, as Slater’s reporting, direct quotes, and first-person poems document the emotional devastation and real world consequences over the following years of pain, flailing school administrators, protests, and lawsuits. No teen is absolved of their conduct, but everyone is understood and fully humanized… Perhaps Slater’s greatest feat is how successfully this nonfiction narrative informs about social media, racism, white supremacy, and restorative justice without veering into preachiness. She is able to cut to the core of the situation, searingly capturing raw pain and empathy for the harmed teens, providing enough distance to understand the complexity of the Instagram followers, and demonstrating what holding someone accountable looks like.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Booksstarred review


Teach the Torches to Burn: A Romeo & Juliet Remix by Caleb Roehrig

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In the Remixed Classics series, authors from marginalized backgrounds reinterpret classic works through their own cultural lens to subvert the overwhelming cishet, white, and male canon. Queer star-crossed love amid a centuries-old feud takes center stage in this Romeo & Juliet remix that knows sometimes, the best way is to make it gay.

“Roehrig has done a splendid job of imaginatively revising Shakespeare’s perhaps most frequently retold text, creating an often-suspenseful story populated by vividly realized characters. Best of all, however, is his beautiful dramatization of Romeo and Valentine’s love for each other.” —Booklist, starred review


Impossible Escape: A True Story of Survival and Heroism in Nazi Europe by Steve Sheinkin

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From three-time National Book Award finalist and Newbery Honor author Steve Sheinkin, a true story of two Jewish teenagers racing against time during the Holocaust—one in hiding in Hungary, and the other in Auschwitz, plotting escape.

★ “Passionate, absorbing, and, unfortunately, more than a little relevant to current events.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review

★ “[A]n important, highly readable addition to the library of Holocaust literature for young people.” —Publisher’s Weeklystarred review

★ “Sheinkin has penned another must-read with this powerful and harrowing account.” —School Library Journalstarred review

★ “Sheinkin’s meticulous research, memorable subjects, and haunting atmosphere contribute to an exceptional, soul-stirring narrative… nonfiction at its best.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

★ National Book Award finalist, Newbery Honoree, and Sibert Medalist Sheinkin is a tried-and-true nonfiction expert whose books make big events, like WWII, accessible for younger readers. This latest, which draws on his own family history, is no exception.” —Bookliststarred review

★ “In his latest masterful work of narrative nonfiction, Sheinkin’s tale of suspense is tinged with the physical and psychological horror of the Holocaust.” —Horn Book Magazine, starred review


Into the Bright Open: A Secret Garden Remix by Cherie Dimaline

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In the Remixed Classics series, authors from marginalized backgrounds reinterpret classic works through their own cultural lens to subvert the overwhelming cishet, white, and male canon. This queer YA reimagining of The Secret Garden subverts the cishet and white status quo of the original in a tale of family secrets wonderful and horrifying.

★ “Racism, colonization, and a love of nature are central themes gracefully woven into the story. An aching and emotionally immersive queer romance, unhampered by homophobia, unfolds through lush imagery blended with poignant and elegant prose. A rich and verdant revival of a classic.” —Kirkus Reviewsstarred review


This Dark Descent by Kalyn Josephson

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The Shadows Between Us meets Six of Crows in this spellbinding new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, and pulse-pounding action, where the eldest daughter of a renowned family on the verge of ruin joins forces with a rogue enchanter and an ambitious heir to win a deadly race.

★ “An uncommonly arresting fantasy that questions the price of goodness, the cost of magic, and the depths of humanity.” —Booklist, starred review


Mermaids Never Drown by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker

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14 Young Adult short stories from bestselling and award-winning authors make a splash in Mermaids Never Drown – the second collection in the Untold Legends series edited by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker – exploring mermaids like we’ve never seen them before!

“In this collection of gripping YA short stories, fifteen fantasy authors lure readers in with their siren songs featuring mermaids and other creatures of the deep… What Cordova and Parker have put together is the best of what short story compilations have to offer: engaging stories that leave readers wishing each one were its own complete novel. ” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review


Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy by Faith Erin Hicks

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New York Times bestseller Faith Erin Hicks is back with Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy, a young adult graphic novel romance about a hotheaded hockey player who asks for temper management lessons from the cool, calm boy in drama club.

“With a keen eye, Hicks (Ride On) delivers a heartfelt graphic novel that is both a perceptive subversion of gender roles and a remarkable tale of unexpected friendship, personal growth, and the transformative power of embracing one’s true self.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review


The Night Hunt by Alexandra Christo

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From Alexandra Christo, the author of To Kill a Kingdom, comes The Night Hunt, a dark fantasy romance about a monstrous girl who feeds on fear and the Gods-cursed boy who falls in love with her.

Christo expertly volleys between snarky banter and gory horror while spinning a memorable enemies-to-lovers romance set amid a page-turning adventure.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


Layers: A Memoir by Pénélope Bagieu; translated by Montana Kane

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Following the Eisner-award winning Brazen, Pénélope Bagieu pens her first autobiographical work in this hilarious and bitter sweet graphic memoir.

“Eisner-winning French creator Bagieu (Brazen, 2018) mines her own youthful journals for a delectable 16-story memoir with plenty of bite… Rife with intimate charm, Bagieu nimbly transforms the memories of ‘that weird, awkward girl, filled with complexes and insecurities’ into proof she’s grown up to be ‘so, so brave.’” —Bookliststarred review


At the End of the World by Nadia Mikail

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When the world is ending, what matters most to you?

Haunting is the perfect word for this novel. Bereft of fantastic schemes to avert the coming disaster or overwrought melodrama, this story instead opts for an elegiac, personal story that extols familial and community relationships and highlights how pivotal memory and storytelling are to the human endeavor. Key to the success of this approach is Mikhail’s sparse prose that somehow conveys the weightiest emotions with the most delicate of touches. An incredible, soulful debut.” —Bookliststarred review

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Gorgeous Gruesome Faces by Linda Cheng

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Yellowjackets meets She Is a Haunting in this spine-tingling sapphic thriller that follows a disgraced teen idol who comes face-to-face with the demons of her past in a glittering, cutthroat K-pop competition.

 “Haunting and magnetic . . . an example of masterfully executed psychological horror that readers will find difficult to put down.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Now Let Me Fly: A Portrait of Eugene Bullard by Ronald Wimberly; illustrated by Brahm Revel
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From author Ronald Wimberly, creator of the viral comic Lighten Up, comes a soaring graphic biography that casts new light on the first African-American fighter pilot.

“Wimberly’s script navigates haunting scenes of racism and ultimate optimism and triumph. Revel (Guerillas) draws emotive faces and propulsive action, as fluidly rendering a boxing ring as a battlefield… [Now Let Me Fly] carries off the lift of a pulp adventure, while memorializing Bullard’s warrior spirit.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review


Reynard’s Tale: A Story of Love and Mischief by Ben Hatke

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In this atmospheric tribute to the medieval folklore tradition of trickster tales starring Reynard the fox, beloved children’s cartoonist Ben Hatke turns his pen to a very special project for adult readers.

Hatke takes a deft hand to his contribution to the stories of Reynard the Fox, the trickster at the center of a trove of medieval tales, bringing in familiars from the original sources and adding his own creations and sardonic edge.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review


The He-Man Effect: How American Toymakers Sold You Your Childhood by Brian “Box” Brown

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Brian “Box” Brown brings history and culture to life through his comics. In his new graphic novel, he unravels how marketing that targeted children in the 1980s has shaped adults in the present.


Brown’s trademark crisp, simplified cartooning style is a great fit, and he masterfully balances the joy readers may find in nostalgia with the discomfort of the psychology of marketing.” —Booklist, starred review

“Brown returns with another clever, sharp, and well-researched graphic novel that explores a pop culture non-fiction topic in close detail.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

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A Guest in the House by Emily Carroll

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In Emily Carroll’s haunting adult graphic novel horror story A Guest in the House, a young woman marries a kind dentist only to realize that there’s a dark mystery surrounding his former wife’s death.

Carroll brings her deliciously disquieting style to this gothic tale of a new marriage and the sinister secrets lurking beneath the veneer of cozy domesticity.” —Booklist, starred review


Ruined by Sarah Vaughn; illustrated by Sarah Winifred Searle and Niki Smith

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For fans of Bridgerton comes a Regency-era romance graphic novel about the unexpected passion that blooms from a marriage of convenience.

“Fans of Sarah Winifred Searle will recognize some of the hallmarks of their work: limited shading; a dreamy, muted palette in purposely romantic shades of mauve, purple, and pink; and expressive eyes and less-defined mouths and noses. Niki Smith’s stamp is evident as well, with defined inks that highlight the historical backgrounds while keeping the characters at the fore. Ruined also features a diverse secondary cast, thoughtfully developed character arcs, and a lovingly rendered Regency setting. Readers looking for a quieter Bridgerton or a more diverse, steamier Austen novel will love this graphic novel.Kirkus Reviews, starred review