Must Reads for 2023
The Best Middle Grade & Chapter Books of 2023
Alex Wise vs. the end of the world
Benton-Walker, Terry J., author.
Twelve-year-old Alex leads the charge against the forces of evil as he tries to stop the Four Horsemen from taking over the world.
The eyes & the impossible
Eggers, Dave, author, illustrator.
Free dog Johannes' job is to observe everything that happens in his urban park and report back to the park's three bison elders, but changes are afoot, including more humans, a new building, a boatload of goats, and a shocking revelation that changes his view of the world.
The human kaboom
Rubin, Adam, 1983- author
Here are six thrilling stories -- ranging from sci-fi to fantasy to adventure -- set in six different worlds, featuring artwork from six different illustrators.
The last comics on earth
Brallier, Max, author
"Jack, Quint, June, and Dirk are about to face a challenge unlike any they’ve faced before . . . At their local comic book store, the kids make a startling discovery: they’ve read every last issue of their favorite comic, Z-Man, and no new issues are coming...ever! (Thanks a lot, apocalypse.). Nooo! Our heroes have but one choice: continue Z-Man’s legacy by writing and illustrating THEIR OWN COMIC BOOK! Step one? Knock off their beloved Z-Man and cast themselves as super rad, super goofy, superhero protectors of the mysterious city of Apocalyptia. What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything! Fans are sure to love this hilarious, action-packed, four-color graphic novel series by the creators of The last Kids on Earth."-- Provided by publisher.
Meesh the bad demon. 1
Lam, Michelle, author, illustrator
"Meesh is a bad demon. 'Bad' in that she always sees the good in those around her--which isn't how a demon is meant to feel or act. Bullied by the other demons, twelve-year-old Meesh is more likely to be found reading magazines from Plumeria City--the fairy realm--and fangirling about the fairy princesses. But when disaster strikes and all of demon-kind is threatened, Meesh must journey to other worlds in search of help. As luck would have it, she meets a fairy princess right away. Things in the fairy realm aren't so perfect either, though. As Meesh makes surprising new friends and unites a band of outcasts, she learns there's much more to being a demon than she ever realized. And learning to love herself might just uncover the secret to saving her home."-- Provided by publisher.
Mexikid : a graphic memoir
Martin, Pedro, 1967- author, illustrator.
"Pedro Martin's grown up in the U.S. hearing stories about his legendary abuelito, but during a family road trip to Mexico, he connects with his grandfather and learns more about his own Mexican identity in this moving and hilarious graphic memoir"-- Provided by publisher.
Momo Arashima steals the sword of the wind
Sugiura, Misa, author
All Momo wants for her twelfth birthay is an ordinary life, but instead she finds out she is half human, half goddess and must unlock her divine powers to save her mother's life and keep countless evil spirits from escaping Yomi, the land of the dead
O'Neill, Kay (Cartoonist), author, illustrator
Kit is excited to prove her worth as a Moth-Keeper, a protector of the lunar moths that allow the Night-Lily flower to bloom once a year, but she quickly finds that life as a Moth-Keeper is not what she imagined it would be.
"The summer before seventh grade, as the constant threat of housefires looms over her Brooklyn neighborhood, basketball-loving Sage is trying to figure out her place in her circle of friends, when a new kid named Freddy moves in"-- Provided by publisher.
The rhythm of time
"After accidentally traveling back in time and rewriting the future, twelve-year-old best friends Rahim and Kasia must work together to restore their timeline."-- Provided by publisher.
Something like home
Arango, Andrea Beatriz, author
When a lost dog helps Laura find a way home to her family, they discover family in each other along the way.
Super pancake. 1
Lloyd, Megan Wagner, author
"It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a ... pancake? Here is a delightfully clever and endearingly funny graphic novel about a pancake named Peggy, who accidentally develops superhero abilities and must defend her home of Breakfast Town"--Provided by publisher.
Sweet Valley twins. 2, Teacher's pet : the graphic novel
Andelfinger, Nicole, adapter
Jessica knows she’s the better dancer – but their teacher only seems to have eyes for her sister Elizabeth! No matter how hard or perfectly she dances she’s not getting recognized – which becomes a huge problem when it becomes clear that her sister is going to get the main role of Swanilda instead of her. Even worse, Elizabeth refuses to believe that their teacher is favoring her! With Jessica’s attitude rapidly souring and Elizabeth slowly realizing that Jessica might actually be right, will they be able to find a way to get Jessica her leading role?
The swifts : a dictionary of scoundrels
Lincoln, Beth, author
"On the day they are born, every Swift child is brought before the sacred Family Dictionary. They are given a name, and a definition. A definition it is assumed they will grow up to match. Meet Shenanigan Swift: Little sister. Risk-taker. Mischief-maker. Shenanigan is getting ready for the big Swift Family Reunion and plotting her next great scheme: hunting for Grand-Uncle Vile's long-lost treasure. She's excited to finally meet her arriving relatives--until one of them gives Arch-Aunt Schadenfreude a deadly shove down the stairs. So what if everyone thinks she'll never be more than a troublemaker, just because of her name? Shenanigan knows she can become whatever she wants, even a detective. And she's determined to follow the twisty clues and catch the killer. Deliciously suspenseful and delightfully clever, The Swifts is a remarkable debut that is both brilliantly contemporary and instantly classic. A celebration of words and individuality, it's packed with games, wordplay, and lots and lots of mischief as Shenanigan sets out to save her family and define herself in a world where definitions are so important." -- Publisher marketing.
Lim, Rebecca, author
Wen Zhou is a first-generation daughter of Chinese migrant parents. She has high expectations from her parents to succeed in school, especially her father whose strict rules leave her feeling trapped. She dreams of creating a future for herself more satisfying than the one her parents expect her to lead. Then she befriends a boy named Henry who is also a first generation immigrant. He is the smartest boy at school despite struggling with his English and understands her in a way nobody has lately. Both of them dream of escaping and together they come up with a plan to take an entrance exam for a selective school far from home. But when tragedy strikes, it will take all of Wen's resilience and tiger strength to get herself and Henry through the storm that follows.
Turtles of the midnight moon
Fitzgerald, María José, author
Twelve-year-olds Barana and Abby come together to solve a sea turtle egg poaching mystery plaguing Barana's Honduran coastal village, and learn the true meaning of friendship, courage, and community along the way.
Hiaasen, Carl, author
"Valdez Jones VIII calls himself Wrecker because his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather salvaged shipwrecks for a living. So is it destiny, irony, or just bad luck when Wrecker comes across a speedboat that has run hard aground on a sand flat? The men in the boat don't want Wrecker to call for help--in fact, they'll pay him to forget he ever saw them. Wrecker would be happy to forget, but he keeps seeing these men all over Key West--at the marina, in the cemetery, even right outside his own door. And now they want more than his silence--they want a lookout. He'll have to dive deep into their shady dealings to figure out a way to escape this tangled net. . . ." -- Publisher's description.