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Must-Read Middle Grade Books

This collection of buzzy Middle Grade books has a little something for everyone - we’re talking about graphic novels, nonfiction, fantasy and any other genre you can think of. These books are some of the best new releases this year, and you’re sure to find the perfect one for your middle grade reader.

This has been a great year for new middle grade books, and its only getting better! This collection of recommendations includes books that have already been published this year, and ones that will be published soon.

For a complete list of 2023 must-read middle grade books, visit our Bookshop. You can read some of the publisher summaries below.

We Still Belong

Author: Christine Day | Publisher: Heartdrum

A thoughtful and heartfelt middle grade novel by American Indian Youth Literature Honor–winning author Christine Day (Upper Skagit), about a girl whose hopeful plans for Indigenous Peoples’ Day (and plans to ask her crush to the school dance) go all wrong—until she finds herself surrounded by the love of her Indigenous family and community at an intertribal powwow.

The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet

Author: Jake Maia Arlow | Publisher: Rocky Pond Books

A hilariously honest book about surviving middle school while navigating a chronic illness from the Stonewall Honor-winning author of Almost Flying.

The Do More Club

Author: Dana Kramaroff | Publisher: Rocky Pond Books

A Jewish boy’s bravery and kindness are tested after an antisemitic attack on his middle school in this rousing novel-in-verse.

Pre-order this one today!

The Probability of Everything

Author: Sarah Everett | Publisher: Clarion Books

A heart-wrenching middle grade debut about Kemi, an aspiring scientist who loves statistics and facts, as she navigates grief and loss at a moment when life as she knows it changes forever.

The Many Masks of Andy Zhou

Author: Jack Cheng | Publisher: Dial Books

Creative and brave sixth grader Andy Zhou faces big changes at school and at home in this new novel by the award-winning author of See You in the Cosmos, for fans of When You Trap a Tiger and The Stars Beneath Our Feet.

Hope in the Valley

Author: Mitali Perkins | Publisher: Farrer, Strauss, and Giroux

National Book Award Nominee Mitali Perkins explores change, friendship, family, and growing up in a community facing a housing crisis.

The Labors of Hercules Beal

Author: Gary D. Schmidt | Publisher: Clarion Books

From award-winning author Gary D. Schmidt, a warm and witty novel in the tradition of The Wednesday Wars,in which a seventh grader has to figure out how to fulfill an assignment to perform the Twelve Labors of Hercules in real life—and makes discoveries about friendship, community, and himself along the way.

Jude Saves the World

Author: Ronnie Riley | Publisher: Scholastic Press

Perfect for fans of Alex Gino, A. J. Sass, and Kyle Lukoff, this is the joyful and heartwarming story of Jude, a nonbinary kid who knows exactly who they are and decides to create a safe space in their community.

Enlighten Me

Author: Minh Le | Publisher: Little, Brown Ink

Award-winning author Minh Lê and New York Times bestselling illustrator Chan Chau team up for a fun and enlightening graphic novel about one kid’s journey to finding inner peace and belonging. Perfect for fans of Measuring Up and New Kid.

Elf Dog & Owl Head Author: Junyi Wu | Publisher: Little, Brown Ink

From the singular imagination of National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson comes a magical adventure about a boy and his dog—or a dog and her boy—and a forest of wonders hidden in plain sight.

Hidden Truths Author: Elly Swartz | Publisher: Delacorte Press

How far would you go to keep a promise? Told from alternating points of view, Hidden Truths is a story of changing friendships, the lies we tell, the secrets we keep, and the healing power of forgiveness.

Half Moon Summer Author: Elaine Vickers | Publisher: Peachtree

Two seventh graders discover it takes more than grit and a good pair of shoes to run 13.1 miles. You’ve got to have a partner who refuses to let you quit.

Grace Needs Space Author: Benajamin A. Wilgus & Rii Abrego | Publisher: Peachtree

To the moon and back! A sci-fi middle-grade graphic novel about a young girl's long-awaited summer trip across space with one of her moms. But when her relationship with her mom goes sideways, so does her trip. Will Grace be able to save her summer vacation before it ends?

Curlfriends New In Town Author: Sharee Miller | Publisher: Peachtree

New Kid meets The Baby-sitters Club in this graphic novel series opener about the Curlfriends, four inseparable Black girls who show us the meaning of true friendship—and being your true self.


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