Buyer's Guide Winter 2023: Middle Grade

Staff Pick Badge
Alebrijes By Donna Barba Higuera Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781646142637
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Levine Querido - October 3rd, 2023

Higuera is quickly making a name for herself in the middle-grade sci-fi world, and her books are meaningful, gripping, and full of depth. Leandro’s heart is so big, the reader can’t help but rally behind him. His determination and courage allows his small frame to make a big impact on everyone he encounters. Alebrijes will inspire young readers to fight for a better world, no matter how small they may feel. 

Anna


Staff Pick Badge
Mascot By Charles Waters, Traci Sorell Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781623543808
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Charlesbridge - September 5th, 2023

This beautifully crafted novel-in-verse tells the story of six classmates from very different cultures debating one topic: changing their school’s mascot. It’s a timely topic that can be used in real life. Waters and Sorell created a novel that will get kids thinking and be able to see views from all different backgrounds. Middle school teachers, make sure to put this one on your list!

Jess


Staff Pick Badge
The Dark Lord's Daughter By Patricia C. Wrede Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553536201
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - September 5th, 2023

As someone who grew up reading her earlier series, I was super excited to see Wrede’s name come into the store in the form of The Dark Lord’s Daughter. It is full of the same conversational wit and divergence from “normal” tropes that we’ve come to love from Wrede’s work. When Kayla discovers she’s the heir to the dark throne, her whole family gets transported to another world. Magic and chaos ensue, so buckle up.

Anna


Staff Pick Badge
Alex Wise vs. the End of the World By Terry J. Benton-Walker Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780593564295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Labyrinth Road - September 26th, 2023

What would you do if your little sister became possessed by the ancient spirit of Death from another realm who causes the apocalypse, aka the end of the world as we know it? Oh, and you have to deal with your dad and his “new” family AND you just came out to your friend/crush who proceeds to ghost you? Creepy, funny, fast-paced, yet so endearing and wholesome. Percy Jackson fans, this one is for you.

Beth


Staff Pick Badge
Nell of Gumbling: My Extremely Normal Fairy-Tale Life By Emma Steinkellner Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9780593570692
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Labyrinth Road - September 26th, 2023

Steinkellner, author of The Okay Witch series, has done it again. Between the engaging format and all the loveable characters, this was the most fun I’ve had reading a book all year! Welcome to Gumbling, a little town with quite a little bit of magic; but when real estate developers attempt to buy everyone out, Nell and her peers embark on a wild adventure to save their home, all while dealing with their not-so dreamy apprenticeships. A hilarious tale of friendship, family, and appreciating what you have.

Beth


Staff Pick Badge
Mabuhay!: A Graphic Novel By Zachary Sterling, Zachary Sterling (Illustrator) Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781338738605
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Graphix - October 17th, 2023

JJ and Althea are stuck working their parent’s food truck and listening to their mom’s Filipino folktales during their after school time. Butwhat happens when the folklore becomes a little too real and they find out that they might have to be the ones to save their own family? Will they be up for the challenge? Read on to find out! For fans of Wizards of Waverly Place and Halloweentown.

Jess


Staff Pick Badge
Ink Girls By Marieke Nijkamp, Sylvia Bi (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Marieke Nijkamp, Sylvia Bi (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780063027107
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Greenwillow Books - November 21st, 2023

In an Italian rennaissance inspired city full of stories—and secrets—Cinzia is taken in as an apprentice by the local printer, Mestra Aronne. When word spreads of the ruling family’s lies, the Lord Magistrate does everything he can to stop them. Yet with ink, paper, and a ton of courage, Cinzia and her newfound friends speak up and demand to be heard, reminding us that even though it’s scary to tell the truth, it makes our communities stronger. In a world of book banning, this is an excellent conversation starter on censorship. Bonus points for the neurodivergence and disability representation!

Beth