Middle grade fantasy is what got me into reading and I find that no matter how old I become, I still have a soft spot for this genre. When I was a little girl, the narratives had very little diversity but the landscape has changed since then. However, I’ve been reading significantly lesser middle grade books these days and leaning more towards young adult and adult stories. I want to consciously add more diverse MG books to my TBR, so I did some research and came up with a list of 10 books that were highly praised and recommended. I’m sharing that with you in today’s post in the hopes that you can find an interesting book or two to pick up for yourself, your children if you are a parent or your class in case you’re an educator.
1. A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano
Series: Love Sugar Magic trilogy – ongoing
A charming and delectably sweet debut. Mischief, friendship, and a whole lot of heart – Love Sugar Magic has it all.
– Zoraida Córdova
2. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Akata Witch duology – completed
Highly original stuff, episode after amazing episode, full of color, life, and death. Nnedi Okorafor’s work is wonderful!
– Diana Wynne Jones
3. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
The story is multi-layered, the world construction is impeccable – with an awesome intersection of tech and culture -and it is totally compelling to read. Min’s nuanced feelings about her magic, her family, and her fox heritage are marvelously complicated.
– E. K. Johnston
4. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Series: None (1 companion book)
Tahereh Mafi is a maestro of words, and Furthermore the most magical painting that ever existed, bursting with color and heart and humanity. I wanted to stay inside this masterpiece forever.
– Marie Lu
5. Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
Series: Spirit Hunters – completed
Balancing fear and humor and heartache, Spirit Hunters is a page-turning, spine tingling delight. I absolutely loved it.
– Kelly Barnhill
6. The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim
This quiet, unhurried gem of a coming-of-age story is an impressive outing from debut author Lim. Historical fiction fans will appreciate the unusual setting.
– Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
7. The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
Series: The Gauntlet – ongoing
Riazi combines such tropes as a magic map with the winningly original lizard Resistance corps, offering just the right mix of familiarity and newness. A solid middle-grade fantasy and an auspicious debut.
– Kirkus Reviews
8. The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
A fine mix of magic and adventure with a captivating heroine – enthralling and engrossing by turns.
– Celia Rees
9. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Series: The School for Good and Evil series – ongoing
From the very first sentence, you know you’re entering a thrilling world of strange fantasy – a wild and dangerous fairy tale ride.
– R. L. Stine
10. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Series: None (2 companion books)
The author’s writing is elegant, and her full-color illustrations are stunning. Minli’s determination to help her family, as well as the grief her parents feel at her absence, is compelling and thoroughly human.
– School Library Journal
Do you read middle grade fantasy books? Are these books also on your TBR? Do you remember what genre got you into reading? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.