The Best Diverse Middle Grade Fantasy Reading List

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.

The Best Diverse Middle Grade Fantasy Reading List | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (post graphic image)

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

A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

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

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

3. Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Series: None

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

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

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

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

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

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

6. The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim

Series: None

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

The Crystal Ribbon by Celeste Lim | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

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

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

8. The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Series: None

A fine mix of magic and adventure with a captivating heroine – enthralling and engrossing by turns.

– Celia Rees

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

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

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)

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

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (book cover)


Let's discuss (blog graphic)

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.

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Check out this list for the most recommended diverse middle grade fantasy books | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books

15 thoughts on “The Best Diverse Middle Grade Fantasy Reading List

  1. I love middle-grade in general, especially middle-grade fantasy. I read an ARC of The Gauntlet and loved it, I thought the representation of ADHD was amazing. As for the genre that got me into reading, there’s no specific genre as I’ve always been a reader and grew up with books.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so, SO much for taking the time to put together this amazing list! I don’t read a lot of Middle Grade books, but there are so many that seem absolutely incredible, your list make me want to try all of these out 🙂 Thank you so much for all the recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I’m so happy a librarian found this helpful! ♥️ I didn’t include two books which are my absolute favourites that I have already read as this was a TBR post – Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi and The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta – both of which I hope you end up recommending in case you get asked for mythological stories. 😍

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  3. Oooh, my favourite genre 😀 I see a few of my favourites here – Spirit Hunters, A Dash of Trouble, and I haven’t read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon yet, but I loved When the Sea Turned to Silver. Dragon Pearl and The Crystal Ribbon are also on my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s nice to know the best MG fantasy book blogger I know approves of my list. ♥️ I’m really looking forward to Dragon Pearl as I’m a huge fan of the Rick Riordan imprint. Hopefully you and I will be able to get to these soon! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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