Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie EscabasseWhat it's about: After losing her mother, 11-year-old Effie isn't happy about being sent to Brooklyn to live with her oddball Aunt Selimene and her partner Carlota. Still, Effie can't squash her curiosity when she discovers than her aunts are witches -- and she might be one, too.
Art alert: Exaggerated character features are just some of the quirky details you'll find in the illustrations of this graphic novel fantasy (don't miss the floor plan of the aunts' sprawling old house).
The Land of the Cranes by Aida SalazarWhat it is: A story in verse about one family's survival after they're separated by Immigration Customs Enforcement.
What happens: Nine-year-old Betita's hopes for refuge in the U.S. are destroyed when her papi is deported to Mexico, and she and her mami are forced into a grim detention camp.
Is it for you? Though Betita's story may be too painful for some readers, others will welcome its heartwrenching poetry and un-sugarcoated point-of-view, which was inspired by the author's own childhood.
Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake; illustrated by Jon KlassenIntroducing: Badger, a stuck-in-his-ways rock scientist who wants to be left alone to do Important Rock Work; and Skunk, the unexpected roommate whose love of messy cooking and chicken storytime brings joy and chaos to Badger's quiet life.
Series alert: Packed with offbeat humor, juicy vocabulary, and charming, old-timey illustrations, Skunk and Badger kicks off a series of odd-couple adventures.
For fans of: Kate DiCamillo's sweetly sophisticated animal fantasies.
Lizzie Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: Absolute Hero by Valerie TrippFeaturing: Izzy Newton, Allie Einstein, and Charlie Darwin, three friends who are hoping to start a STEM club now that they're in middle school.
What happens: When the school's air conditioning goes haywire, the girls apply their scientific know-how, but it's not until they reunite with their old friend Marie Curie that they can truly test their hypothesis.
Series alert: This smart and breezy science mystery is the 1st in a new series.
Three Keys by Kelly YangWelcome to: the Calivista Hotel, California, 1994, where 11-year-old Mia Tang and her Chinese American parents are keeping the hotel running despite money problems and the threat of a new anti-immigrant law.
Why you might like it: Although Mia faces realistically tough situations, she can depend on her family, her friends, and her growing skills as a writer.
Series alert: Fans of Front Desk will be happy to revisit Mia's world, but newcomers can also enjoy this thoughtful, heartfelt sequel.
Blended by Sharon M. DraperWhat it's about: Even though her divorced parents still love her, 11-year-old piano player Isabella feels torn between her wealthy Black dad and her working-class white mom.
Read it for: a true-to-life character dealing with relatable problems at home and at school.
Why fans of New Kid might like it: The main characters in both books face down racism (in big and small ways) while figuring out who they are apart from how other people see them.
Real Friends by Shannon Hale; illustrated by LeUyen PhamWhat it's about: Before she was a famous author, Shannon Hale was an awkward, imaginative girl looking for one good friend.
What happens: At home, Shannon's scary older sister Wendy bullies her, while at school, Shannon's maybe-best-friend Adrienne begins hanging out with mean popular girls.
Why fans of New Kid might like it: Similar to New Kid, Real Friends (and its sequel, Best Friends) offers crisp, colorful artwork and an honest yet hopeful look at belonging and being yourself.
Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg MedinaStarring: Merci Suárez, who's having a rough year: her friendships are all confusing now that she's in 6th grade, her family responsibilities don't leave time for soccer, and her grandpa, Lolo, is acting strange.
Read it for: Merci's annoying yet awesome family and her confident, funny outlook.
Why fans of New Kid might like it: Both Merci and New Kid's Jordan are made to feel out of place by the privileged kids at their private schools.
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore RaméeWhat it’s about: Smart, rule-following, Shayla doesn’t like to make waves -- just the thought of trouble makes her itchy. But when her formerly rock-solid friendships crumble and a police shooting prompts her to attend a Black Lives Matter protest, Shay begins to wonder: are some kinds of trouble worth starting?
Why fans of New Kid might like it: Blending humor and seriousness, both books look at how racism impacts an African American 7th-grader's experience of making friends and fitting in.
Stargazing by Jen WangWhat it’s about: Although they’re from the same Chinese American community, well-behaved Christine doesn’t have much in common with hot-tempered, artsy Moon. Yet when the girls become neighbors, they soon find themselves sharing secrets and K-pop videos -- until jealousy and upsetting news threaten their newfound friendship.
Art alert: warm colors and expressive illustrations add energy to this graphic novel.
Why fans of New Kid might like it: Both books star authentic characters navigating different cultures and social pressures.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!