book lists

New Kid.

Middle-Grade.

Jerry Craft, New Kid (2019).

New Kid #1.

A graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real.

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.

As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?”

Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie (2000).

Kate DiCamillo’s first published novel, like Winn-Dixie himself, immediately proved to be a keeper—a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor winner, the inspiration for a popular film, and most especially, a cherished classic that touches the hearts of readers of all ages. It’s now available in a paperback digest format certain to bring this tale’s magic to an even wider circle of fans.

The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket—and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar.

Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship—and forgiveness—can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.”

Jenny Manzer, My Life as a Diamond (2018).

Ten-year-old Caspar “Caz” Cadman loves baseball and has a great arm. He loves the sounds, the smells, the stats. When his family moves from Toronto to a suburb of Seattle, the first thing he does is try out for the local summer team, the Redburn Ravens. Even though Caz is thrilled when he makes the team, he worries because he has a big secret.

No one knows that back in Toronto, Caz used to live life as a girl named Cassandra. And it’s nobody’s business. Caz will tell his new friends when he’s ready.

But when a player on a rival team starts snooping around, Caz’s past is revealed, and Caz worries it will be Toronto all over again.

Will Caz’s teammates rally behind their star pitcher? Or will Caz be betrayed once more?

A heartwarming, funny, fast-paced story about the bravery it takes to live as your true self, no matter the cost.”

Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins, Upside-Down Magic (2015).

Upside-Down Magic #1.

From New York Times bestselling authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins comes the hilarious and heartfelt story of a group of magical misfits.

Nory Horace is nine years old. She’s resourceful, she’s brave, she likes peanut butter cookies. Also, she’s able to transform into many different animals. Unfortunately, Nory’s shape-shifting talent is a bit wonky. And when she flunks out of her own father’s magic academy, Nory’s forced to enter public school, where she meets a group of kids whose magic is, well, different.

This new, offbeat series from hit authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins chronicles the misadventures of Nory and her oddball friends, who prove that upside-down magic definitely beats right side up.” 

Lindsay Currie, The Girl in White (2022).

Sweet Molly once lived in Eastport
Sweet Molly once loved the sea
Sweet Molly lost Liam to the shadows
Now Sweet Molly is coming for ye …

Mallory hasn’t quite adapted to life in her new town of Eastport yet. Maybe it’s because everyone is obsessed with keeping the town’s reputation as one of the most haunted places to visit.

And thanks to the nightmares she’s had since arriving, Mallory is having a hard time sleeping. Combined with the unsettling sensation of being watched and losing chunks of time, she’s worried that maybe the ghost stories she’s been quick to dismiss might actually be real.

When Mallory has a terrifying encounter with the same old woman from her dreams, she’s not sure what to do. With Eastport gearing up to celebrate the anniversary of their first recorded legend Mallory is forced to investigate the one legend she’s always secretly been afraid of . . . Sweet Molly.” 

Celia C. Pérez, The First Rule of Punk (2017).

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school–you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (Maria Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She’ll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

Black and white illustrations and collage art throughout make The First Rule of Punk a perfect pick for fans of books like Roller Girl and online magazines like Rookie.”

Педро Маньяс, Анна Кадабра. Секрет Полной Луны (2022).

Анна Кадабра – ой, то есть Грин – самая обычная девочка, у которой есть большой секрет! Утром она ходит в школу, а после уроков летает на самокате, общается с привидениями и влипает в невероятные истории. А всё потому, что Анна – волшебница! И быть ею не так-то просто…

Родители Анны сошли с ума! Они бросили работу и собрались переезжать! А всё почему? Видите ли, у мамы с папой есть одна сладкая мечта – открыть кондитерскую. И где? В каком-то скучном городке под названием Мунвилль! Раз – и Анна сидит в машине с чемоданами. Два – и уже едет по крутым улочкам Мунвилля. Вот уж точно дела хуже некуда! Но что, если на самом деле в этом городе происходит что-то таинственное?”