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.
New York Times bestselling author Jerry Craft is back with the newest adventures of Jordan, Drew, Liam, and all the characters that fans first met in New Kid, winner of the Newbery Award and the Coretta Scott King Author Award! In this full-color contemporary graphic novel, the gang from Riverdale Academy Day is heading to Paris, for an international education like you’ve never seen before…
Jordan, Drew, Liam, Maury, and their friends from Riverdale Academy Day School are heading out on a school trip to Paris. As an aspiring artist himself, Jordan can’t wait to see all the amazing art in the famous City of Lights.
But when their trusted faculty guides are replaced at the last minute, the school trip takes an unexpected–and hilarious–turn. Especially when trying to find their way around a foreign city ends up being almost as tricky as navigating the same friendships, fears, and differences that they struggle with at home.
Will Jordan and his friends embrace being exposed to a new language, unfamiliar food, and a different culture? Or will they all end up feeling like the “new kid”?
Don’t miss the two hilarious and powerful companion novels by Jerry Craft, New Kidand Class Act!
Written and Illustrated by Jerry Craft
Published by Quilltree Books/Harper Collins
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.
An empowering and big-hearted sequel to the bestselling and critically acclaimed From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks!
Two years ago, Zoe Washington helped clear Marcus’ name for a crime he didn’t commit. Now her birth father has finally been released from prison and to an outpouring of community support, so everything should be perfect.
When Marcus reveals his dream of opening his own restaurant, Zoe becomes determined to help him achieve it–with her as his pastry chef of course. However, starting a new place is much more difficult than it looks, and Marcus is having a harder time re-entering society than anyone expected.
Set on finding a solution, Zoe starts a podcast to bring light to the exonerees’ experiences and fundraise for their restaurant. After all, Zoe knows full well the power of using her voice. But with waning public interest in their story, will anyone still be listening?
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.
When poachers threaten the island they love, two girls team up to save the turtles–andeach other. An eco-mystery with an unforgettable friendship story at its heart from a fresh new voice in middle grade.
Twelve-year-old Barana lives in a coastal village in Honduras, where she spends every spare minute visiting the sea turtles that nest on the beach.
Abby is feeling adrift in sixth grade, trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs after her best friend moved away from New Jersey.
When Abby’s papi plans a work trip to Honduras, she is finally given the opportunity to see his homeland–with Barana as her tour guide. But Barana has other plans: someone has been poaching turtle eggs, and she’s determined to catch them! Before long, Abby and Barana are both consumed by the mystery, chasing down suspects, gathering clues, and staking out the beach in the dead of night. . . . Will they find a way to stop the poachers before it’s too late?
A heart-pounding mystery with a hint of magic, María José Fitzgerald’s debut novel explores the power of friendship, community, and compassion to unite all living creatures.
Bethany Edwards is an elementary educator as well as a reading and literacy
specialist. On Biracial Bookworms, she focuses on multiracial and multicultural resources for teaching literacy skills using reading, travel, and learning multiple languages. Additionally, she offers online and self-paced courses for parents and caregivers on Biracial Bookworms Academy.
🎂✨Today would have been Congressman John Lewis’ 84th birthday! Honor the memory of this great American by watching The BIG Picture with @andreadavispinkney & her guest @iamtheleopard , illustrator of BECAUSE OF YOU, JOHN LEWIS with young readers. Just click the link in our bio and feel free to share it with teachers & librarians you love! ❤️