Hey there! So this week, I felt like doing a list since it’s been a little while! After finishing the middle grade book, Ways To Grow Love by Renee Watson, I felt like my heart was just lifted and so joyous! If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that middle grade books hold such a special place in my bookish heart and I wanted to list some and even a reason or more why they had me any bit in my feelings/tugged at my heart strings (typically in a good way). You will also get your gifs too, so no worries there! These will be books that don’t have their own blog posts since those got their shine already.
Amari And The Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. What can I say about this book?! It’s filled with Black Girl Magic and mystery with Amari being on one heck of a mission to not just find her brother but also learn about herself and the intricacies of the supernatural world! I’m tooooo hyped for Book 2, Amari And The Great Game (out next year). The Magical Black Kids Book Club loved this book soooooooo much and we even had a paint party inspired by it (thanks an amazing rep from HarperCollins, Thank you, you know who you are)!
The Jumbie Series by Tracey Baptiste (The Jumbies, Rise Of The Jumbies & The Jumbie God’s Revenge). This series was my first real taste of Caribbean mythology in recent literature and it also seemed to set off my love of mythology in books! While I’ve always had a love for stories, this series seemed to ignite it in a different way, to where I am seeking out stories like the The Jumbies out more and more! It showed me that there is so much more for me to learn about my cultures and I’m so happy that Tracey (A Trini *blows airhorn*) gave us all the gift of this series! I wouldn’t be mad if there was a 4th book!
The Only Black Girls In Town by Brandy Colbert. Okay, so I have a little bit of a bias here because I adore Brandy Colbert…I know you feel the but coming and here it is…but this would’ve been a book I loved regardless because it’s 2 Black Girls searching for clues into the past of their town/home… who wouldn’t love Black Girls turning into sleuths?! I also loved the history lessons that were embedded into the story and y’all know history is my jam!
The Way To Rio Luna by Zoraida Cordova. I absolutely adored the voice of the main character, Danny, as well as his drive. This book is filled with adventures and stories/characters that I feel I would’ve been captivated by as a kid who had a very active imagination! I have been on the look out for a book two since I finished it because I’m holding on to the belief that Zoraida just wouldn’t leave us the way she did with the ending…would she?! I really hope not because I need to know what goes on with Danny! O_O
Overwatch: The Hero Of Numbani by Nicky Drayden. I am going to say that I have zero knowledge of Overwatch but I did absolutely love this book. Give me a geeky Black Girl about her business & her people any day, PUHLEASE! Efi seriously didn’t disappoint in how knowledgeable and creative she was. She also is such a problem solver, I loved the way her mind worked to figure out where the kinks, so to speak, were! I would love to see her in more books because of how driven she is! We need more characters like her in middle grade!
Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland. Okay, it’s also not secret that I love Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation duology and she didn’t disappoint with this book. While there are no zombies (or Shamblers like in DN), we do get ghosts, historical gems, mystery and a persistent Black Girl who looks to get to the bottom of it all! I loved Ophie’s voice and her interactions with the ghosts… It was like the Sixth Sense but much better and I think they need to make this into a series, an animated series would actually be cool!
The Tristan Strong Series by Kwame Mbalia (Tristan Strong Punches A Hole In The Sky & Tristan Strong Destroys The World). I really adored this series and chose both of these books (and when it’s 3rd book comes out) for the Magical Black Kids Book Club picks. Not only is it filled with mythology but it also has historical gems, adventures, cool grandparents (in my opinion) and a dope Black Boy at the helm of it all. This is such a great series and I’m too hyped for Tristan Strong Keeps Punching (out in October of this year)!
Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega. This book was hysterical and I loved Lucely & her best friend, Syd! There’s funny ghosts that just so happen to be family, hijinxs & shenanigans embedded into their adventures. While I’m allergic, Cats that grab your attention & make you chuckle are also in this book. I enjoyed how the supernatural & magical were woven into this book! I really want to see a sequel *Looks at Claribel*!
The Track Series by Jason Reynolds (Ghost, Patina, Sunny & Lu). This is a series that I ate up in a few days, not because they are relatively short books but because of each of the characters voices. They capture you from being to end and they each have their traits that connects you to them. The books are interconnected and with the way that Jason ended each book, I was quite glad I was able to binge them because I ran to grab the next when I finished the one before it. Patina was my favorite with her motherly instinct & tough exterior with Sunny in a close second with his sound filled world!
Race To The Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. This book was the catalyst to me realizing that I really needed to read more books by Indigenous authors. It is filled with Native mythology, adventures and head strong characters. I was entranced by this book from beginning to end and I really want a second book like yesterday! If it wasn’t on your radar before you, you should really change that!
The Comeback by E.L. Shen. I loved the spirit of the main character, Maxine. While I’m not a figure skater, I understood her drive to become one and prove herself. The foundation of her story, I could deeply connect to as the daughter of immigrants and someone who stuck out at times that didn’t necessary want to then. This is a great story for any kid (anyone really) who needs motivation or pick me up in spirit!
Black Panther Novel: Shuri Series by Nic Stone (Shuri & Shuri: The Vanished). I loved Shuri so much that it was the inaugural book for the MBKBC and it was truly the perfect kick off! Much like Efi from Overwatch, Shuri is super smart and creative and where Efi is about her robots specifically, Shuri is about building various types of tech to help her country as well as proving her capabilities to take on the mantle of Black Panther! I am so anxious for the 3rd book to come out in November and to discuss it with the book club members! If you haven’t read this series, you should definitely change that! If we get a TV series based upon these books, I wouldn’t be mad at all *Looks at Marvel Studios*!
The Ryan Hart Series by Renee Watson (Ways To Make Sunshine & Ways To Grow Love). The book(s) that essentially inspired this post! I loved Ryan’s voice and her outlook on life & her surroundings. She is fiercely loving of her family as well as finding ways to express herself. Ryan deals with so many different changes (some that I know well myself) but she handles them as well as any kid could, finding bright spots where others may not. She also has a bit of a mystery that she is trying to unravel too which adds a little bit of intrigue! I’m so excited for the 3rd book, which comes out next year. This series would be great for kids who are dealing with changes around them but really in general! Also, the illustrations in the book are super cute!
The Front Desk Series by Kelly Yang (Front Desk & Three Keys). Front Desk is actually a book that dropped in my lap after a friend went to Comic Con and received an ARC. She thought I would be into it and she was absolutely right! These books were hysterical and I was so happy to find out that there was a sequel and that there would be a third book! So many immigrants come to this country searching for the hypothetical “American Dream” and it was so good to read a story where this family managed to find/create their own version of it & helping others achieve it as well. It has such a great cast of characters that you really can’t help become attached to, filled with witty banter and heart bursting moments!
Hopefully in this list of books, you find one or a few that capture your interests! Honestly, I would love to see middle grades get a lot more love because they contain so many gems that anyone could gleam from regardless of age! I’ve got a few in my TBR that I can’t wait to get to! If you have some middle grade books that you absolutely love, do share them…on the real doe, let’s just make this a middle grade appreciate post!
Well y’all, I’m going to end it here so I can get back to my current read (no one is surprised by this) but you all know that y’all can find me out in these e-streets being bookish and what not! Find and Follow me on Instagram @bookishgirlmagic, Twitter @bookishgrlmagic and Clubhouse @bookishgrlmagic where you can typically find me in book centered clubs/rooms (also subscribe to this blog). As usual, I’m wishing you happy reading and sending you tonnnnnnnnns of bookish love! Until the next post, later!