5 Favorite New Middle Grade Books

If you know me, you know that the middle grade genre is my favorite. Middle grade books have an authentic heart that other books rarely capture and the themes explored are ones that I find beautiful time and time again.  I am continually blown away by the skill of writers and the books that are coming out, so I thought I’d share five of my favorite new releases. Please tell me yours!

The gifted books are indicated and the links are all affiliate, so thank you for using them or for shopping your independent bookstore.

  • Christina Soontornvat’s The Last Mapmaker
    • Thank you, Candlewick! Holy moly will I be reading all of Soontornvat’s backlist now.  This book captured me from the first pages with its absorbing world building and I eagerly followed along as the main character set sail to be the one to chart a new continent, often believed to be only a fable.  Full of adventure and suspense, thoughtful explorations of what discovery really means, and gutsy characters, this is definitely one to get lost in this summer.
  • Rebecca Balcárcel’s Shine on, Luz Veliz!
    • Thank you, Chronicle! I love the exploration of Luz’s identity both through her soccer injury and budding interest in coding and robotics and in what she learns from a big surprise that causes her to confront what family and heritage can mean. There’s a delightful, wise neighbor you’re going to absolutely adore and Balcárcel’s writing is beautiful and lyrical in a way that feels fulfilling but not forced. If you hug books, this one will get a big one
  • Alyssa Colman’s The Gilded Girl
    • All the cozy wonder of A Little Princess and magic to boot.  Absolutely the comfort read you’re looking for, plus the sequel is out now (and stars Maeve).
  • Kiah Thomas’s The Callers
    • Thank you, Chronicle! The world-building in this one immediately brought me back to the joy I first felt as an adult re-immersing myself into young adult dystopian books. It’s a quieter middle grade that still completely engages you from the first pages and plunges you into some really lovely world building.  I really hope you’ll consider picking it up and escaping.
  • Hilary McKay’s The Swallow’s Flight
    • This is a sequel to The Skylarks’ War, which is also brilliant, although you don’t need to read that one first.  Reading this brought back those warm, magical feeling of beloved children’s classics. It reminded me why multiple perspectives in a World War 2 setting can be so powerful. It managed to be sweet and hopeful, yet realistic, in dark times. You’ll meet and adore the characters you follow growing up in Germany and England and their roles in the war.  Obviously no book is for everyone, but I really believe this one is for a lot of you! It’s a special one.

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