A Small Zombie Problem by K.G. CampbellStarring: lonely August DuPont, who's never been allowed outside his family’s ramshackle mansion until he receives an invitation from an aunt he didn’t know he had.
What happens: August gets a crash course in eerie family history, as well as a new companion: Claudette, the undead relative who follows him home.
Series alert: This goofy and ghoulish illustrated book is the 1st in the Zombie Problems series.
Sea Sirens by Amy Chu and Janet K. LeeWhat it’s about: Wiping out on a huge wave plunges surfer Trot and her one-eyed cat Cap’n Bill deep into the undersea realm of the mermaid-like Sea Sirens, where war with the Sea Serpents is looming -- and Trot’s beloved grandfather might be caught in the middle.
Read it for: a fast-paced fantasy filled with eye-catching art and dreamy details.
Try this next: Katie O’Neill’s Aquicorn Cove, another colorful graphic novel about imaginary sea creatures.
A Tale Magnolious by Suzanne NelsonWhat it’s about: After orphan Nitty steals a bag of glowing green seeds and rescues a circus elephant named Magnolious, both girl and elephant flee to Fortune’s Bluff, a tiny town troubled by dreadful dust storms and a mean mayor.
Why you might like it: Set during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, this heartfelt story blends history, magic, and mystery.
For fans of: Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan or Kate DiCamillo’s The Magician’s Elephant.
The Oddmire, Book One: Changeling by William RitterWhat it’s about: Troublemakers Tinn and Cole have been raised as human twins, but one of them is actually a goblin changeling -- and neither of them knows which one.
What happens: When they learn that the goblin must return to the horde or else the Wild Wood’s magic will die, Tinn and Cole set out on a hazardous quest for answers about who they are.
Who it’s for: This series starter will grab readers who prefer dark, mischievous fantasy.
My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. VillanuevaWhat it’s about: A black butterfly is a death omen, so after one lands on superstitious almost-11-year-old Filipina Sab, she decides to spend her final week discovering the truth about why her sister won’t talk to their dad anymore.
Read it for: a funny pet duck, an honest look at a tough family situation, and you-are-there descriptions of Manila (including snippets of Tagalog).
Further reading: For a very different taste of Manila, try Marie Miranda Cruz’s Everlasting Nora.
The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer BellWelcome to: the secret underground city of Ludinor, where “uncommon” objects are more than they seem: belts make people fly, bicycle bells talk, and toilet brushes are weapons.
What happens: After a suitcase portal transports them to Ludinor, 11-year-old Ivy and her brother Seb are targeted by a sinister group searching for a valuable uncommon treasure.
Series alert: If you enjoy the imaginative setting and charming wordplay in this 1st Uncommoners book, don’t miss the sequel, The Shadows of Doom.
The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla BenkoIntroducing: sisters Claire and Sophie, who’ve just moved into Windermere Manor, where a ladder in the fireplace leads to Arden, a magical land on the brink of war.
What happens: When Sophie goes missing -- along with a powerful artifact of Arden’s long-lost unicorns -- timid Claire sets out on a dangerous mission to find them both.
Heads up: This vivid, suspenseful fantasy ends on a cliffhanger, so be ready to jump right into the sequel, Secret in the Stone.
Dragon's Green by Scarlett ThomasWhat it’s about: Determined to carry out her dying grandfather’s final wish -- “find Dragon’s Green” -- Effie Truelove discovers that Dragon’s Green is a book that transports readers to the Otherworld, where Effie comes into her own as a True Hero.
Featuring: a fascinating fantasy world and a likable crew of misfits
Who it’s for: Anyone who believes that books are magic will be enchanted by this intriguing 1st book in the Worldquake series.
Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma TrevayneWhat it’s about: In Victorian London, ten-year-old Jack follows magician Lorcan Havelock through a door into smoggy Londinium, a parallel world filled with clockwork creatures and ruled by the fearsome Lady, who’s decided she wants to keep Jack as her son.
Why you might like it: With touches of history, science fiction, and fantasy, as well as a thrilling plot, this unusual tale will keep you turning pages.
Behind the Canvas by Alexander VanceWhat it’s about: On a class trip to the local art museum, sixth-grade loner Claudia spots a blue-eyed boy who seems to be trapped inside the museum’s paintings. Who is he, and how can she get inside the paintings to rescue him?
Read it for: a smart heroine, an exciting adventure, and plenty of clever, comical footnotes about art history.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!