The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie AndersonWhat it's about: At age 12, Marinka is already training to take over her grandmother's role as a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead through the gates to the afterlife. But Marinka longs for more: a permanent home (not just a traveling, chicken-legged house) and a real, living friend.
Try this next: For another creepy yet touching spin on Russian folk tales, try Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola.
Small Spaces by Katherine ArdenIntroducing: Ollie, a bookish sixth-grader who realizes that the scary antique book she's been reading is actually local history -- and that her entire class might be in danger unless Ollie and her new friends can save them.
Featuring: scarecrows, shapeshifters, a smiling specter, and a frightening journey through a fog-shrouded forest.
Series alert: Set during autumn in Vermont, this spooky chiller is the 1st in a seasonal 4-book series.
Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows by Ryan CalejoWhat it's about: First, Charlie Hernández's house burns down and his parents vanish. Then he grows feathers and horns (awkward!). Now, the legends he learned from his beloved abuela -- La Llorona, El Sombrerón, Justo Juez -- are coming to life.
Read it for: exciting action, a likable hero, and a winning blend of Hispanic and Latin American myths.
You might also like: J.C. Cervantes' The Storm Runner, which offers a modern take on Maya mythology.
Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda CruzWelcome to: Manila North Cemetery, home to 12-year-old Nora and her mom.
What happens: After losing her father and dropping out of school to work, Nora's no stranger to tough times. But when her mom disappears, Nora faces her toughest challenge yet: trusting in help from her neighbors.
Did you know? The cemetery shantytown in this heartbreaking but hopeful story is a real place in the Philippines.
You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex GinoFeaturing: Jilly, who's 12 years old, white, and obsessed with fantasy books; her friend and fellow fan Derek, who's black and Deaf; and her baby sister Emma, who's hearing impaired.
What happens: While trying to stick up for the people share cares about, confident Jilly begins to realize how much she doesn't know.
Why you might like it: Similar to the way in which George (author Alex Gino's first book) encourages you to be yourself, Jilly's story will inspire you to learn more about others.
I'm Ok by Patti KimStarring: Ok Lee, a sixth-grade loner who tries to help his struggling family through get-rich-quick schemes.
What happens: After his hair-braiding business causes a stir, Ok decides to roller-skate his way to the school talent contest's cash prize. Meanwhile, he worries that a deacon from their church is getting too close to his widowed mom.
About the author: Korean American author Patti Kim brings honesty, humor, and real-life experience to Ok's story.
It Wasn't Me by Dana Alison LevyWhat it's about: Who vandalized Theo's photos in the school gallery? All five suspects claim innocence, so their teacher puts them -- and Theo -- in a "justice circle" where they can get to know each other...and eventually uncover the truth.
For fans of: author Dana Alison Levy's Family Fletcher series (Jax Fletcher is one of the suspects), as well as other realistic reads that break down middle-school stereotypes.
Bluecrowne: A Greenglass House Story by Kate MilfordWhat it's about: After spending her childhood at sea, captain's daughter Lucy Bluecrowne dreads the boredom of living ashore. But she's not bored for long: shortly after they move to Nagspeake, her pyrotechnically talented half-brother Liao is kidnapped by a mysterious time traveler.
Series alert: Though it stands alone as a thrilling mashup of history, fantasy, and science fiction, this prequel to The Left-Handed Fate also includes clever connections to the author's Greenglass House and Boneshaker series.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 10-13!
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