Wingbearer by Marjorie Liu; illustrated by Teny Issakhanian What it's about: Living happily in the Great Tree alongside bird spirits, young human Zuli doesn't venture into the living world -- not until a threat to the tree sends her and her guardian owl, Frowly, on a quest into the unknown.
Why you might like it: This graphic novel is filled with mystery, bravery, fantasy creatures, and animation-style art.
For fans of: Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series and Tui T. Sutherland's Wings of Fire books. (Ages 8-12.)
Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. PerryA forbidden book: Ever since his parents disappeared, 12-year-old Cameron's grandma won't let him look at The Book of Chidani, which chronicles the mythical haven of their Igbo ancestors.
A magic portal: When Cameron and his friends peek at the book, they're pulled into Chidani itself, where an epic power struggle reveals Cameron's hidden destiny.
You might also like: Rena Baron's Maya and the Rising Dark series, another other exciting fantasy adventure inspired by West African legends. (Ages 8-12.)
Omar Rising by Aisha SaeedThe set up: Omar is overjoyed to win a scholarship to Ghalib Academy, one of the best boarding schools in Pakistan.
The let down: After arriving at Ghalib, Omar discovers that scholarship students can't join activities, are forced to do chores, and are expected to get perfect grades. These rules are obviously unfair. But does Omar stand a chance of changing them?
Series alert: This companion book to Amal Unbound features some of the same characters and powerful themes. (Ages 9-13.)
The Aquanaut by Dan SantatWhat it's about: Years after her marine biologist father dies at sea, California girl Sophia meets an "aquanaut" bearing a message-in-a-bottle from her departed dad.
Oh, and... the aquanaut is actually a robotic diving suit operated by hermit crab Sodapop, sea turtle Jobim, and octopuses Antonio and Carlos. They're looking not only for Sophia, but for Aqualand, the marine park where they've got urgent business.
Why you might like it: Cartoony, action-packed art drives this funny yet touching graphic novel. (Ages 8-12.)
New from Here by Kelly YangJanuary 2020: As COVID-19 begins to spread, Chinese American Knox Wei-Evans moves from Hong Kong to the U.S. with his mom and siblings while their dad stays behind for work.
The American dream? While missing his dad, adjusting to America, and facing anti-Asian racism, Knox also has to deal with his "blurting-things-out problem," which might be ADHD.
Author alert: Fans of Kelly Yang's Front Desk series won't want to miss this hopeful, realistic new book, inspired by the author's own family. (Ages 8-13.)
Maizy Chen's Last Chance by Lisa YeeWelcome to: Last Chance, Minnesota, where Los Angeles 11-year-old Maizy and her mom are spending the summer with her Oma and Opa, who run the family restaurant, The Golden Palace.
What happens there: Maizy makes new friends, solves mysteries, faces racist neighbors, and learns about the 1860s adventures of her great-great-grandfather, Lucky Chen, who immigrated to the U.S. from China.
Read it for: characters you'll love, fascinating stories in the past and present, and a recipe for wontons. (Ages 9-13.)
The Ambrose Deception by Emily EctonStarring: quiet go-getter Melissa, scheming slacker Wilf, and popular fast-talker Bondi, three middle school strangers.
What happens: Each of the kids receives three secret clues as part of a competition for a high-dollar scholarship. But when the clues reveal something much bigger, they know it's time to team up.
You might also like: classics like Blue Balliet's Chasing Vermeer or Ellen Raskin's The Westing Game, two other brain-teasing puzzle mysteries set in the Chicago area. (Ages 10-13.)
A Place to Belong by Cynthia KadohataLeaving home: After being forced into internment camps during World War II, 12-year-old Hanako and her family leave their U.S. home and move to Hiroshima, Japan, to live on her grandparents' farm.
Finding home: Though war and nuclear bombing have scarred Hiroshima, Hanako's new home offers a chance to rediscover her heritage and her grandparents' love.
Is it for you? Though Hanako's story is sad, it's also beautiful, and you'll feel like you're experiencing everything right along with her. (Ages 9-13.)
The Time Museum by Matthew LouxWhat it's about: Curious science nerd Delia stumbles into the Earth Time Museum, where portals can take you to any time or place on the planet. Fascinated, she decides to take on five other kids in an internship competition full of time-twisting trials.
Series alert: This book kicks off the offbeat, high-octane series of Time Museum graphic novels.
Try this next: Polly Shulman's Repository series, another quirky, fast-moving time travel adventure. (Ages 10-13.)
The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team by Kit Rosewater; illustrated by Sophie Escabasse What it's about: Roller derby superfans Kenzie "Kenzilla" and Shelley "Bomb Shell" have a week to recruit three other girls so that they can try out for the new junior derby league as a team. Can they get through friendship jealousy, secret crushes, and unexpected changes to dominate on the derby track?
Who it's for: With relatable characters, pulse-pounding sports scenes, and black-and-white illustrations, this series starter is sure bet for fans of Victoria Jamieson's Roller Girl. (Ages 8-13.)
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-13!
Wilbraham Public Library
25 Crane Park Drive
Wilbraham, Massachusetts 01095