Frankie & Bug by Gayle FormanThe setting: Venice Beach, California, the summer of 1987. Ten-year-old Bug doesn’t get the summer she’s hoping for, but with the help of a new friend, sets out to find a serial killer and learns about life, identity, and family along the way.
Author alert: This is Gayle Forman’s first book for kids -- her books teens and adults are known for gripping plots, memorable characters, and thought-provoking topics. This new story is no exception!
This Is Our Rainbow: 16 Stories of Her, Him, Them, and Us by Katherine Locke and Nicole Melleby, editorsIntroducing: the first anthology of queer stories for kids, featuring work from A.J. Sass, Claribel Ortega, Molly Ostertag, and others.
Art alert: Three of the stories go beyond typical storytelling -- one is in verse, and two are comics.
Featuring: witches, pirates, and marine biologists, all struggling with changing relationships, all embedded in stories that celebrate LGBTQ+ kids.
Rescue on Turtle Beach by Jen Marlin; illustrated by Izzy BurtonWhat it’s about: an abandoned magical sailboat, a new friend, and a Hawaiian adventure.
What’s inside: an attention-grabbing fantasy story about new friends on a thrilling journey, plus interesting facts about sea turtles.
Why you might like it: This easy-to-read story features illustrations in muted colors that make the book come alive.
Barakah Beats by Maleeha SiddiquiThe setup: Seventh-grader Nimra Sharif transfers from a small Islamic school to public middle school, and finds herself joining a Muslim boy band. But her family doesn’t allow her to perform music, so it’s up to Nimra to decide who she wants to be.
Read it for: a thoughtful look at faith, friendship, and family against the backdrop of a school talent show.
The Dragon Egg Princess by Ellen OhWhat it is: a Korean-inspired fantasy that takes place in a secluded land where modern technology and magic coexist.
Starring: fourteen-year-old Jiho Park, whose father’s disappearance inspires a fast-paced journey like no other.
Reviewers say: “Fans of ‘Harry Potter’ and other magical tales that are rooted in the real world will find this series starter entertaining indeed” (School Library Journal).
The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad SellWhat it is: a bright, exciting graphic novel about a group of kids who build an epic fantasy world out of cardboard, while also dealing with family problems, friendship woes, or feeling misunderstood.
Featuring: Sophie, the unruly Big Banshee; Jack, the dramatic Evil Sorceress; Vijay, the mighty Beast; Amanda, the mustached Mad Scientist; and lots more.
Series alert: Don't miss the sequel, Roar of the Beast.
Thieves of Weirdwood by William Shivering, aka Christian McKay Heidicker; illustrated by Anna EarleyThe setup: Twelve-year-olds Wally and Arthur seek out treasure in a deserted mansion and end up with a lot more than they bargained for.
What happens: Wally and Arthur find the borderline between the regular world and the world of Fae, where chilling supernatural events break through.
Read it for: sympathetic characters, a funny tone, and an escape (the 1st in a series) into a well-developed fantasy world.
Zoe in Wonderland by Brenda WoodsWelcome to: Zoe’s daydreams, the only place she’s comfortable. That, or working in her family’s exotic plant nursery. She’s a quiet middle child who dreams of being “Imaginary Zoe,” rather than just herself.
What happens: When Zoe’s life changes as a result of her only friend moving away, Zoe is tasked with finding her place and her power—in her family, in her friendships, and in the world.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!