Top 5 Diverse Middle Grade Books of 2023

We love to recommend diverse books for you to read all year long, but the votes are in and we want to share our list of absolute favorites of the year. Grab one of our Top 5 Diverse Middle Books of 2023 to give to one of the kids in your life before we ring in the new year.

Comment below with other books to help our readers diversify their bookshelf at home and in the classroom.

 Top 5 Diverse Middle Grade Books of 2023 


CONJURE ISLAND

Photo Description: Book Cover of EDEN ROYCE

From the award-winning author of Root Magic comes the story of a girl forced to spend the summer with a great-grandmother she’s never met–only to discover she runs a school for Southern conjure magic.

If you ask Delphinia Baker, she’d tell you she has all the family she needs. Sure, her mom passed away when she was young, her dad is often away on deployment, but even though Del has never had anyone she can call her people, she has always had her grandmother–and that’s enough. Besides, having no roots just makes it that much easier when you have to move again.

All of that changes, though, when Gramma falls ill and Del is sent to stay with her great-grandmother. Del has never even heard of Nana Rose, and she has no interest in spending the summer on an unbearably hot island off the South Carolina coast. And when Nana Rose starts talking about the school she runs dedicated to their family’s traditions–something called “conjure magic”–Del knows she’s in for a weird, awkward summer.

That is, until the magic turns out to be real.

Soon, Del is surrounded by teachers who call themselves witches, kids with strange abilities, creatures and ghosts who can speak to her. She has a hundred questions, but one more than any other: Why didn’t Gramma ever tell her about her family, the island, this magic? As Del sets out to find her place in a world she never knew existed, she also discovers a shadowy presence on the island–and comes to believe that it all might be connected.


ON AIR WITH ZOE WASHINGTON

Photo Description: Book Cover of ON AIR WITH ZOE WASHINGTON

ON AIR WITH ZOE WASHINGTON
Written by Janae Marks
Published by Katherine Tegen Books/Harper Collins


REMEMBER US

Photo Description: Book Cover of REMEMBER US

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson brings readers a powerful story that delves deeply into life’s burning questions about time and memory and what we take with us into the future.

It seems like Sage’s whole world is on fire the summer before she starts seventh grade. As house after house burns down, her Bushwick neighborhood gets referred to as “The Matchbox” in the local newspaper. And while Sage prefers to spend her time shooting hoops with the guys, she’s also still trying to figure out her place inside the circle of girls she’s known since childhood. A group that each day, feels further and further away from her. But it’s also the summer of Freddy, a new kid who truly gets Sage.

Together, they reckon with the pain of missing the things that get left behind as time moves on, savor what’s good in the present, and buoy each other up in the face of destruction. And when the future comes, it is Sage’s memories of the past that show her the way forward. Remember Us speaks to the power of both letting go . . . and holding on.

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books


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