NEW Multicultural Children’s & YA Books May 2023

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new multicultural children's & YA books May 2023


Check out our extensive list of new multicultural children’s and YA books for May 2023! There are some gems for all ages!

Our favourites this month are Good Night, Little Man (Babies & Toddlers), Malaika, Carnival Queen (Preschool), Crowned (Elementary School), Voice For Refuge (Middle School), and Transmogrify! (High School).

NEW Multicultural Children’s & YA Books May 2023

Babies & Toddlers

The Rainbow Park: Sunday Adventures Series
by Harold Green III

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

On an outing to the local community park, a family explores all the colors of the rainbow–from a favorite red slide and purple sprinkler to a yellow bench where grandparents watch and relax. The Rainbow Park is part of an exciting new board book series, featuring an intergenerational Black family over the course of a day, that teaches readers early-concepts such as colors and numbers. ~ African – Babies & Toddlers

Related: The 100 Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2022

The Numbers Store: Sunday Adventures Series
by Harold Green III

When Mom realizes there are zero eggs in the house, the entire family heads to the store to pick up more. Readers can join the counting fun as the family shops and adds more items to their basket–from three bananas to five plums–amid the backdrop of a bustling market. Publishing simultaneously with The Rainbow ParkThe Numbers Store studies numbers through the experience of an intergenerational Black family’s trip to the local grocery store. ~ African – Babies & Toddlers

Related: 250 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Girls // 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys

Good Night, Little Man
by Daniel Bernstrom

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

It’s time for bed! But Little Man can’t get to sleep without his beloved stuffed animal. Suddenly everyone’s very awake, and a house-wide search breaks out way past bedtime. Nana searches up high, Grandpa searches down low, and still no one can find the sheep! Will Little Man reunite with Sheep-Sheep before bed? Good Night. Little Man is a rhythmic, heartwarming bedtime romp featuring a persistent toddler who refuses to sleep without his sheep-sheep. ~ African – Babies & Toddlers

Related: Top 10 Multicultural Bedtime Stories for Babies & Toddlers






When You Can Swim
by Jack Wong

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

In this exploration of what it truly means to swim, expansive vignettes introduce sandpipers, tannin-soaked lakes, and the feeling of a small waterfall on sun-soaked shoulders. But what about those who are afraid of the water’s mysterious ways and resist learning to swim? Painting a compelling picture of the many joys and surprises that the water holds, When You Can Swim is an empowering, poetic story that invites children to discover their confidence within to receive the warmth and wonder of the natural world. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Fear and Courage

by Vashti Harrison

The first picture book written and illustrated by award-winning creator Vashti Harrison traces a child’s journey to self-love and shows the power of words to both hurt and heal. With spare text and exquisite illustrations, Big is a deeply moving exploration of being big in a world that prizes small and provides valuable lessons about fitting in, standing out, and the beauty of joyful acceptance. ~ African – Preschool

Related: 22 Multicultural Children’s Books About Brave Ballerinas

Every Body: A First Conversation About Bodies
by Megan Madison

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood and activism against injustice, this gorgeous picture book offers adults the opportunity to begin important conversations with young children in an informed, safe, and supported way. With stunning art and simple text, Every Body celebrates the uniqueness of all bodies, and addresses the unfair rules and ideas that currently exist about bodies. It ends with motivational action points for making the world more fair for all. Backmatter offers additional resources and ideas for extending this discussion, making it great for classroom use, too. ~ Diverse – Preschool

Related: 45 Multicultural Children’s Books About Bodies, Sex & Consent

Daddy & Me, Side by Side
by Pierce Freelon


A young son and his father trek through trees and listen to birdsong, dig for worms and go fishing, and enjoy the breeze sitting side by side, just like Pop Pop and Daddy did, years ago. Lyrical Daddy & Me, Side by Side is a heartfelt and hopeful tale that touches on grieving the loss of a loved one as a father and son recreate old memories and make new ones in a day-long hiking adventure. ~ African – Preschool

Related: 70+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Fathers

Hello, Mister Blue
by Daria Peoples

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

A young girl always creates special memories when she visits her grandfather. He lets her sip his creamy coffee, they take a stroll through the park, and they play music together. But this time, something unexpected happens: she meets Papa’s longtime friend, Mister Blue. Mister Blue lives outside, and he and his music have always brought Papa’s community together. At the end of the day, the young girl has many questions for Papa. Is Mister Blue safe? Scared? Lonely, hungry? With her curiosity and kindness, she can change things for the better, for at least one person and one night. With lyrical text and stunning illustrations, Hello, Mister Blue emphasizes the importance of history, bravery, and community. ~ African – Preschool

Related: 12 Multicultural Children’s Books about the Power of Community

The Fairest in the Land
by Leslea Newman

When it comes to playing dress-up, best friends Annabelle and Benjamin both want to be the bride, the ballerina, and the princess. Can they both be the fairest in the land? In this spirited and inclusive story about expressing our true selves with pride, two friends ultimately realize that they can both be their authentic selves—and that having two princesses means twice the fun. The Fairest In the Land is a heartwarming story about self-expression and friendship. ~ Diverse – Preschool

Related: 14 Multicultural Children’s Books About Spunky Princesses

All Good in the Hood
by Dwayne Reed

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Today is June 19th, Juneteenth’s what they say and for my family, it’s a very special day. But sometimes the hood feels scary when we’re walking around. I wish I could stay home where it’s safe and sound. Where the dogs aren’t barking, and the cars aren’t honking, and the streetlights aren’t flickering. But when Big Bro tells me it will all be okay, I know the noises can’t hurt me and ruin my day. All Good In The Hood is a tribute to the sights and sounds of a city neighborhood and the special bond between brothers as they help each other overcome their fears. ~ African – Preschool

Related: 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys

Repeat After Me: Big Things to Say Every Day
by J. Simon & D. Hill

“I am worthy. I am loved. I am enough.” Every child, no matter their age, needs to know how loved they are and, more importantly, should love themselves. In this gorgeously illustrated book of affirmations, young readers are told how cherished, deserving, and gifted they are. Written by actors Jazmyn Simon and Dulé Hill, Repeat After Me is a tender picture book about the magic of self-love and standing firm, regardless of outside voices and doubt. Children will feel their confidence grow as they repeat the encouraging words on the page, take in the warm illustrations, and learn to believe in themselves! ~ African – Preschool

Related: 20 Multicultural Children’s Books To Help Build Self-Esteem

Summer Is for Cousins
by Rajani LaRocca

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Ravi can’t wait to spend summer vacation at the lake house with his family—especially his cousins! Summer vacation is for days at the beach, long hikes, paddleboarding, and—of course—ice cream. Ravi and his oldest cousin, Dhruv, had the same favorite flavor last year, but everything feels different now. Dhruv’s much taller and his voice is deeper. Ravi’s worried that Dhruv won’t be interested in spending time with him, the little cousin. The ice cream shop doesn’t even have their favorite flavor this year. But on the last night of vacation, the cousins decide to make dinner, and Ravi’s in charge of dessert. He only has one special thing in mind! Summer Is For Cousins is a sweet picture book that celebrates the bond between cousins. ~ Asian – Preschool

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers

Malaika, Carnival Queen (The Malaika Series, 4)
by Nadia L. Hohn

Malaika dreams about a man with a basket of fruit and guesses that the dream is about her father. Mummy explains that her daddy passed away long ago, and Grandma decides it’s time Malaika knew more about her father’s life. Malaika learns about her father, who came to Canada as a migrant farm worker when she was just a baby and who shared her love of carnival. The family drives to a far-off farm where they receive a warm welcome and visit the orchard where Malaika’s father picked fruit. The farm workers tell Malaika that her daddy had always dreamed of celebrating carnival there, just like back home. Will Malaika agree to be their Carnival Queen for the harvest festival? Part of the Malaika series, Malaika, Carnival Queen tells the story of a little girl who finds a way to cope with her sadness about her father through their shared love of carnival. ~ African – Preschool

More in the series: Malaika’s Costume // Malaika’s Winter Carnival // Malaika’s Surprise

Real to Me
by Le Minh

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Others tried to tell me that she wasn’t real, that she was just imaginary. But what did they know? She was real to me.
Then one morning… she was gone. What do you do when your imaginary friend goes away? Did you dream up the entire friendship? Maybe… But you miss her laugh, her comfort, and her silly mischief. It all feels so real… you couldn’t have just imagined those things, right? With lush illustrations and touching text, Real To Me is a tender picture book about the sweetness of first friendship, the sadness when it’s lost, and the beauty in discovering new friends are just around the corner. ~ African – Preschool

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Friendship





Elementary School

Sejal Sinha Battles Superstorms
by Maya Prasad

Sejal Sinha is looking forward to celebrating Diwali with her family. But when a hurricane appears, Sejal and her cousin Mira learn that the house is in danger from the imminent storm. With the help of Sejal’s favorite stuffed animal, Professor Cheetah, the two girls use Cardboard Box Magic to build their own Hurricane Hunter and fly into the eye of the hurricane! They learn about a project from the 1960s called Project Stormfury, where a team actually tried to stop hurricanes. Can Sejal and Mira do what the previous Stormfury team couldn’t and battle the superstorm? Sejal Sinha Battles Superstorms is the first book in a new chapter book series about a young Indian American girl who loves science and has a big imagination! ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 50+ Multicultural STEAM Books for Children

Granny Came Here on the Empire Windrush
by Patrice Lawrence

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Ava is asked to dress up as an inspirational figure for her school assembly, but who should she choose? Granny suggests famous familiar figures such as Winifred Atwell, Mary Seacole, and Rosa Parks, but Ava’s classmates have already claimed them. When she finds a mysterious old suitcase and Granny shares her own history, and how she came to England on the Empire Windrush many years ago, Ava realizes that there is a hero very close to home—her very own brave and beloved granny. Granny Came Here On The Empire Windrush is a heartfelt story about the struggles and achievements of a generation of African Caribbeans who traveled across the Atlantic to call a new country home. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 50 Children’s Books set in the Caribbean

Shermy and Shake, the Not So Nice Neighbor
by Kirby Larson

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

When a new kid comes to stay with his grandmother at the house next door, Shermy’s plans for a quiet, relaxing summer are completely upended. That’s because Shake is nothing like Shermy. And Shermy is nothing like Shake. Shermy likes to read quietly in the shade of a tree. He knows the proper way to do a puzzle. He collects treasures in the pouch he wears around his neck, and the books on his shelves are alphabetized by author. Shake likes to play street hockey or space explorers. He gobbles up rocket ice pops and Toaster Tarts. He shows up unannounced and plays board games by his own rules. Will the boys learn how to get along? Or will it be one long countdown until Shake goes home? Shermy & Shake, the Not So Nice Neighbor is a humorous and heartfelt ode to summer and unexpected friendships. ~ Asian – Elementary School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Friendship

A Day With No Words
by Tiffany Hammonds

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

This colourful and engaging picture book shows young readers what life can look like for families who use nonverbal communication, utilizing tools to embrace their unique method of “speaking.” The story highlights the bond between mother and child and follows them on a day where they use a tablet to communicate with others. Written by an autistic mother of two autistic sons, A Day With No Words successfully normalizes communication methods outside of verbal speech and provides representation of neurodiversity and autism in a way that affirms and celebrates. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 16 Multicultural Children’s Books about Autism

The Noisy Classroom Goes to the Museum
by Angela Shanté

Ms. Johnson is a bit, well, odd. So when she announces she’s taking the class on a field trip to the natural history museum, one young girl can’t help but worry. Everyone at school already knows Ms. Johnson, but what will strangers think of her? As the day of the field trip draws nearer, the girl and her friends decide to hatch a plan for their teacher’s sake. From the award-winning team of The Noisy Classroom, The Noisy Classroom Goes to the Museum playfully combines science and humour in this new adventure of Ms. Johnson and her noisy class. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 80 Multicultural Children’s Books about School

Unstoppable: How Bayard Rustin Organized the 1963 March on Washington
by Michael G. Long

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Bayard Rustin was a troublemaker. He spent his life disrupting racism and prejudice with nonviolent direct action. He organized protests against war, nuclear weapons, racial segregation and discrimination. He was a friend and mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., and he was unapologetically gay and Black. When Bayard and his mentor, A. Philip Randolph, set out to organize the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, he was targeted by those who wished to see the movement fail. But Bayard Rustin would not be stopped. With the support of Dr. King and future congressman John Lewis, Bayard organized the largest protest in civil rights history. Unstoppable tells the incredible story of how Bayard Rustin led over 250,000 people to the doorstep of the United States government demanding change. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: NEW Black History Books For Children & Teenagers

The Night Before Freedom: A Juneteenth Story
by Glenda Armand

‘Twas the night before freedom, and all through the South, long-whispered rumors had, spread word of mouth. “It’s coming! It’s coming!” I heard people say. “Emancipation is coming our way.” 8-year-old David and his family gather at Grandma’s house in Galveston, Texas, for a cherished family tradition: Grandma’s annual retelling of the story of Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Grandma tells the story of anticipation, emancipation, and jubilation just as it was told to her many years before by her own grandmother, Mom Bess. With rhyming text and stunning illustrations, The Night Before Freedom is a moving picture book that tells the story of Juneteenth with all the care and reverence it deserves. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 20 Children’s Books celebrating Juneteenth

My Dad Is a DJ
by Kathryn Erskine

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Trevor’s dad is a DJ, and he always picks the best music―tunes jivin’, beat drivin’, high fivin’!―he’s DJ Dap Daddy! But after his parents split up and Dad moves out, Trevor feels like the pitch doesn’t fit between them. Trevor has his own music now―hip-hop―and Dad can’t seem to let go of his old soul favorites. As the end-of-year dance approaches, Trevor and his father will have to find their new groove to get the party started. My Dad Is a DJ is a hip-hoppin’, beat boppin’, tunes poppin’, not stoppin’ story of a father and son’s shared love of music and each other. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 60+ Children’s Books About Legendary Black Musicians

Ty’s Travels: Camp-Out (I Can Read Comics Level 1)
by Kelly Starling Lyons

Celebrate Ty’s vivid imagination! Nonstop rain dampens the family’s plans to go camping. But with a boost from Ty, the Camp-Out comes out just fine! Rhythmic text, vibrant art, family love, and Black Boy Joy shine on every page of this camping adventure. Featuring a bold comic style and a compelling easy-to-read text Ty’s Travels: Camp Out is the perfect summertime story for beginning readers! ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys

Looking for Happy
by Ty Chapman

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Every day is different. Some days everything goes right–you’re in the groove and feeling like yourself. But some days, it’s a lot harder to find happy because everything is just blah. Sometimes everything that should be fun just feels . . . flat. A young boy is having one of those dreary days, and nothing seems to help. But after trying his grandmother’s way to shake the blues also fails, he discovers that happiness is easiest to find when you’re not looking. Looking For Happy gently reminds readers that it’s normal to have happy and sad days and normalizes speaking about emotions and seeking help. Heartfelt and hopeful, the story models emotional intelligence and self-awareness for readers of all ages. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 21 Multicultural Children’s Books About Feelings

Jackie Ormes Draws the Future: The Remarkable Life of a Pioneering Cartoonist
by Liz Montague

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Zelda Jackson—or Jackie—was born in Pittsburgh on August 1, 1911, and discovered early on that she could draw any adventure. As she grew, Jackie put her artistic talents to use, doodling and chronicling daily life for her high school yearbook. But she was already dreaming of bigger things. Jackie would go on to create bold and witty cartoon characters—Torchy Brown, Candy, Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger—who entertained readers of African American newspapers like the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender. She tackled racism, pollution, and social justice—and made the world listen. Written by Liz Montague, one of the first Black cartoonists at the New Yorker, Jackie Ormes Draws the Future is a stirring picture-book biography about the first Black female cartoonist in America, whose remarkable life and work inspire countless artists today. ~ African – Elementary School

Related: 80 Picture Book Biographies About Bold Black Women & Girls

How to Love a Pony
by Michelle Meadows

Meet Lily, a seven-year-old girl who lives with her parents, grandparents, and two brothers on their horse farm in the country. Lily has a Welsh pony that she adores, and in this charming Beginner Book, we see how Lily and her family work together to care for the pony throughout the changing seasons of the year. With vibrant illustrations and rhyming text, How To Love A Pony is the kind of story that young riders—or kids who dream of riding—will want to read over and over! ~ African – Elementary School

Related: The 20 Best Multicultural Chapter Books of 2022

CROWNED: Magical Folk and Fairy Tales from the Diaspora
by Kahran & Regis Bethencourt

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Filled with stunning photography, these magical tales of the diaspora bring to life past, present, and future visions of Black culture to create a society where all kids are created equal and feel empowered to move in the world as their true authentic self. Included in the collection: The Poisoned Apple, Asha the Little Cinder Girl, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Anasi and the Three Trials, Aku The Sun Maker, How the Zebra Got His Stripes, The Legend of Princess Yennenga, John Henry, the Steel Driving Man, The Cloud Princess, and more. Gorgeous Crowned is a joyous celebration of Black beauty and imagination that kids and parents alike will adore. ~ African – Elementary School





Middle School

by Aisha Saeed et al

When a thunderstorm grounds all flights following a huge Muslim convention, four unlikely kids are thrown together. Feek is stuck babysitting his younger sister, but he’d rather be writing a poem that’s good enough for his dad, a famous poet and rapper. Hanna is intent on finding a lost cat in the airport—and also on avoiding a conversation with her dad about him possibly remarrying. Sami is struggling with his anxiety and worried that he’ll miss the karate tournament that he’s trained so hard for. And Nora has to deal with the pressure of being the daughter of a prominent congresswoman, when all she really wants to do is make fun NokNok videos. These kids don’t seem to have much in common—yet. Told in alternating points of view, Grounded tells the story of one unexpected night that will change these kids forever.  ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s & YA Books with Muslim Characters

There Flies the Witch
by Mayonn Paasewe-Valchev

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Red doesn’t remember who she is or where she came from. In fact, her only memory is a terrifying, repeating dream of a threatening shadow and a foggy field. Red does know that she now belongs with Yakaka, the witch who rescued Red when she was a little girl. Full of power and magic, Yakaka travels the world, healing the planet and carrying Red between the wings on her back, teaching her the skills of witchcraft, storytelling, and healing—skills Red can never seem to master. After a dangerous mission leads to Yakaka and Red’s falling from a great height and into the stormy ocean, Red wakes up alone on a seemingly deserted island. Days later, a young boy and his mother find Red and help her recover. For the first time, Red has a friend her own age to play with, and a chance to live a different kind of life. But what happened to Yakaka? There Flies The Witch is an extraordinary coming-of-age story that explores themes of family, identity, belonging, and resilience. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books

Ellie Engle Saves Herself
by Leah Johnson

Ellie Engle doesn’t stand out. Not at home, where she’s alone with her pet fish since her dad moved away and her mom has to work around the clock . Not at the bakery, where she helps out old Mr. Walker on the weekends. And definitely not at school, where her best friend Abby—the coolest, boldest, most talented girl in the world—drags Ellie along on her never-ending quest to “make her mark.” To someone else, a life in the shadows might seem boring, or lonely. But not to Ellie. As long as she has Abby by her side and a comic book in her hand, she’s quite content. But when an earthquake hits her small town, Ellie wakes up with fantastical powers that allow her to bring anything back to life with just her touch. And when a video of her using her powers goes viral, Ellie’s life goes straight into the spotlight. Ellie Engle Saves Herself is a magical laugh-until-you-cry, cry-until-you-laugh story about an ordinary girl whose life is turned upside down by some extraordinary powers. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Onyeka and the Rise of the Rebels
by Tola Okogwu

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Onyeka and her superhero friends are on the run. Having exposed head teacher Dr. Dòyìnbó’s hidden agenda behind the Academy of the Sun, they’re living as fugitives, laying low as they try to figure out their next move. Despite their best efforts, Onyeka’s parents are still missing, and students at the Academy are still in danger. But when their safe house is discovered, Onyeka must turn to the only allies they have left: a group of rebels called the rogues. Joining forces, will the groups defeat their shared nemesis, or is there a new danger on the horizon? Onyeka and The Rise of The Rebels is the breathtaking next installment in the Onyeka middle grade series, perfect for fans of Rick Riordan, The Marvellers, and X-Men. ~ African – Middle School

Also available: Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun

Charmed Life (Wildseed Witch Book 2)
by Marti Dumas

After a summer of being the worst witch at a fancy witch school, Hasani is happy to be back to the normalcy of Riverbend Middle where she knows all the rules and is destined to be captain of the Mathletes. That is until her former friend (and fellow witch) LaToya shows up and starts trying to take her friends. To make matters worse, strange things begin happening around the school and Hasani is so sure that LaToya is to blame. But in all her focus on proving she’s right, is Hasani losing sight of the people and things most important to her? Charmed Life is the second book in a fun middle-grade contemporary fantasy series, about a social-media-loving witch! ~ African – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books

It’s Not Bragging If It’s True

by Zaila Avant-Garde

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

When Zaila Avant-garde became the first Black student to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2021, she turned into an overnight sensation. People wanted to know who she was and how she’d achieved so much while so young. In It’s Not Bragging If It’s True, Zaila shares personal anecdotes about her family, her accomplishments, her experience of being homeschooled, and extends advice to readers on living authentically. While Zaila is an exceptional and inspiring young woman, she has fears and anxieties just like everyone else; what makes her remarkable is the way she chooses to move through the obstacles in front of her. Kids will be inspired to embrace their inner weirdness and persevere through obstacles after reading this empowering collection of true stories. Includes 8 pages of never-before-seen photos. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Novels of 2021

Voice for Refuge (Our Stories Carried us Here)
by Zaynab Abdi

Zaynab was born in Somalia and raised by her grandmother in Yemen, where they experienced a simple but beautiful life before unrest came to the country. Told in both English and Arabic, Voice For Refuge follows Zaynab as she flees to Egypt with her sister, joins her mother and two sisters she has never met in the U.S., and takes on the leadership opportunities within high school and university. Upon meeting Malala Yousafzai, and speaking at the United Nations, she becomes a voice for refuge. This graphic memoir is a powerful addition to classrooms and school libraries, expanding their collections to include the voice of Black, Muslim, Middle Eastern immigrant girls and women. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s & YA Books with Muslim Characters

Epic Ellisons: Cosmos Camp
by Lamar Giles

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

School’s out, and Wiki and Leen Ellison are facing a new challenge… their first summer apart! Genius inventor Leen has been accepted to Petey Thunkle’s world-famous summer training program for STEM prodigies. Meanwhile, Wiki is looking forward to her first summer on her own, running the family corn stand. But the night before Leen’s departure, the twins find out that Wiki has also been accepted into the same camp (even though she didn’t apply). And they are… not thrilled. This summer was never supposed to be a Twin Thing! The situation soon goes from bad to worse—because the Ellisons haven’t been invited just to participate in the program. They’re there to solve a mystery. Someone (or something) has been tampering with the company’s upcoming big-deal rocket launch. Now, the sisters are undercover, dealing with hyper-competitive campers by day and trying to stop the mysterious saboteur by night. Epic Ellisons: Cosmos Camp is a fast-paced middle grade adventure starring the Epic Ellison twins as they race to solve the mystery of Cosmos Camp. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books Of 2020

The Golden Frog Games (Witchlings 2)
by Claribel A. Ortega

Every four years, the Twelve Towns gather for a legendary magical tournament–the Golden Frog Games. With Ravenskill hosting this year’s games, all eyes are on Seven Salazar, Valley Pepperhorn and Thorn Laroux: the most famous Spares in the Twelve Towns. Thorn is ready to compete as a fashion champion, but when a forbidden hex is used to turn her fellow champions to stone, suspicion lands on the Witchlings. As the Witchlings attempt to unravel the mystery of the stonifications, future Uncle Seven is harboring a dangerous secret: While she’s supposed to be able to communicate with animals, the voices she hears most clearly belong to monstruos, and one spine-chilling voice is the loudest of all. Can Seven fix her broken magic and find out who is stonifying the champions . . . before Thorn becomes the next victim? The Frog Games is the sequel to Witchlings, full of magic, mayhem and monstruos. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books





High School

Charisma’s Turn: A Graphic Novel
by Monique Couvson

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Charisma, a Black high school student, is grappling with mounting pressures from home and school. When frustrations with her family intersect with a conflict at school, she reaches a crossroads, facing a choice that could change her future. Featuring vibrantly illustrated art from Amanda Jones and a foreword by poet, artist, and arts educator Susan Arauz Barnes, this book will appeal to teens, parents, educators, librarians, and more. Charisma’s Turn exemplifies how Black girls can be truly empowered to reach their full potential when they have supportive educators and community members in their corner. ~ African – High School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers

From the World of Percy Jackson: The Sun and the Star
by R. Riordan & M. Oshiro

As the son of Hades, Nico di Angelo has been through so much, from the premature deaths of his mother and sister, to being outed against his will, to losing his friend Jason. But there is a ray of sunshine in his life—literally: his boyfriend, Will Solace, the son of Apollo. Together the two demigods can overcome any obstacle or foe–so far. Now Nico is being plagued by a voice calling out to him from Tartarus, the lowest part of the Underworld. He thinks he knows who it is: a reformed Titan named Bob whom Percy and Annabeth had to leave behind when they escaped Hades’s realm. Nico’s dreams and Rachel Dare’s latest prophecy leave little doubt in Nico’s mind that Bob is in some kind of trouble. Nico has to go on this quest, whether Mr. D and Chiron like it or not. And of course Will insists on coming with. But can a being made of light survive in the darkest part of the world? and what does the prophecy mean that Nico will have to “leave something of equal value behind?” The Sun and The Star is a thrilling standalone adventure featuring two of the most popular characters in the Percy Jackson saga. ~ Diverse – High School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books

Nigeria Jones: A Novel
by Ibi Zoboi

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Warrior Princess. That’s what Nigeria Jones’s father calls her. He has raised her as part of the Movement, a Black separatist group based in Philadelphia. Nigeria is homeschooled and vegan and participates in traditional rituals to connect her and other kids from the group to their ancestors. But when her mother—the perfect matriarch of their Movement—disappears, Nigeria’s world is upended. She finds herself taking care of her baby brother and stepping into a role she doesn’t want. Nigeria’s mother had secrets. She wished for a different life for her children, which includes sending her daughter to a private Quaker school outside of their strict group. Despite her father’s disapproval, Nigeria attends the school with her cousin, Kamau, and Sage, who used to be a friend. ­There, she begins to flourish and expand her universe. As Nigeria searches for her mother, she starts to uncover a shocking truth. One that will lead her to question everything she thought she knew about her life and her family. From the award-winning author of American Street and co-author of Punching the Air, comes Nigera Jones, a powerful story about discovering who you are in the world—and fighting for that person—by having the courage to be your own revolution. ~ African – High School

Related: 250 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Girls

Her Good Side
by Rebekah Weatherspoon

16-year-old Bethany Greene is what they call a late-bloomer. She’s never had a boyfriend, date, or first kiss. She’s determined to change that but after her crush turns her down cold for Homecoming and all her back-up ideas fall through, she cautiously agrees to go with her best friend’s boyfriend Jacob Yeun. A platonic date is better than no date, right? Until Saylor breaks up with said boyfriend. Dumped twice in just two months, Jacob wonders if he’s the problem. After years hiding behind his camera, he wasn’t quite ready for all the attention or to be someone’s boyfriend. Bethany and Jacob decide to fake date for practice, building their confidence in matters of the heart. And it works—guys are finally noticing Bethany. But things get complicated as their kissing sessions—for research of course!—start to feel real. This arrangement was supposed to help them in dating other people, but what if their perfect match is right in front of them? Her Good Side is a swoony, heart-melting YA romance about two awkward teens who decide to practice dating in order to be good at the real thing. ~ Diverse – High School 

We Don’t Swim Here
by Vincent Tirado

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Bronwyn is only supposed to be in rural Hillwoods for a year. Her grandmother is in hospice, and her father needs to get her affairs in order. And they’re all meant to make some final memories together. Except Bronwyn is miserable. Her grandmother is dying, everyone is standoffish, and she can’t even go swimming. All she hears are warnings about going in the water, despite a gorgeous lake. And a pool at the abandoned rec center. And another in the high school basement. Anais tries her hardest to protect Bronwyn from the shadows of Hillwoods. She follows her own rituals to avoid any unnecessary attention―and if she can just get Bronwyn to stop asking questions, she can protect her too. The less Bronwyn pays attention to Hillwoods, the less Hillwoods will pay attention to Bronwyn. She doesn’t get that the lore is, well, truth. History. Pain. The living aren’t the only ones who seek retribution when they’re wronged. But when Bronwyn does more exploring than she should, they are both in for danger they couldn’t expect. She is the reason no one goes in the water. And she will make them pay. We Don’t Swim Here is a chilling new novel from Afro-Latinx Bronx Native Vincent Tirado, Pura Belpré Award-winning author of Burn Down, Rise Up. ~ African, Hispanic – High School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022

I’m Not Supposed to Be in the Dark
by Riss M. Neilson

17-year-old Aria Cayetano dreams of ghosts. She used to see them too, but thanks to a special tea brewed by her grandfather, Aria’s connection to the spirit world has been severed. Until a decades old rosebush suddenly dies across the street, convincing Aria that something supernatural is happening in her neighbourhood. She aches to investigate it, but the rosebush sits on her ex-best friend Derek Johnson’s front lawn. Aria doesn’t know what drove them apart years ago, but she does know Derek’s been acting strange for weeks, sneaking out in the dead of night to who knows where. Then, days after the rosebush dies, Derek begins speaking to her again. At least Aria thinks it’s him. Until she discovers there’s a ghost inside of Derek that will take his life if it doesn’t find what it’s searching for. As Aria and Derek race to uncover the mystery, another kind of magic takes them by surprise: love. But Aria has to decide how far she’s willing to go to save Derek, especially when helping the ghost means tapping into whatever the tea has buried inside of her. Bone-chilling and spellbinding, I’m Not Supposed to Be in the Dark is an alluring ghost story that’s about exorcising the past to find a future to believe in. ~ African – High School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Young Adult Books of 2022

Miles Morales Suspended: A Spider-Man Novel
by Jason Reynolds

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Miles Morales is still just your average teenager. He has unexpectedly become totally obsessed with poetry and can never seem to do much more than babble around his crush. Nothing too weird. Oh! Except, just yesterday, he used his spidey superpowers to save the world (no biggie) from an evil mastermind called The Warden. And the grand prize Miles gets for that is… Suspension. But what begins as a long boring day of in-school suspension is interrupted by a little bzzz in his mind. His spidey-sense is telling him there’s something not quite right here, and soon he finds himself in a fierce battle with an insidious…termite?! His unexpected foe is hiding a secret, one that could lead to the destruction of the world’s history—especially Black and Brown history—and only Miles can stop him. Miles Morales Suspended is the latest adventure of the unassuming, everyday kid who just so happens to be Spider-Man. ~ African – High School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers

Transmogrify!: 14 Fantastical Tales of Trans Magic
by g. haron davis

Transness is as varied and colorful as magic can be. In Transmogrify!, young readers embark on fourteen different adventures alongside unforgettable characters who embody many different genders and expressions and experiences—because magic is for everyone, and that is cause for celebration. Perfect for fans of All Out and Cemetery Boys, this anthology claims a seat at the table of fantasy literature for trans and gender nonconforming stories. ~ Diverse – High School

Related: 90 Multicultural LGBTQIA Books for Children & Teenagers

As Long As We’re Together
by Brianna Peppins

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

16-year-old Novah’s friends never invite her anywhere because they assume Novah will be too busy overseeing her five younger siblings’ dinner, baths, and homework — tasks that fall to her when her parents are at work. She wouldn’t mind it so much if her “perfect” older sister, Ariana, wasn’t always excused from helping out. She’s the star of the volleyball team, and their parents don’t want anything to jeopardize the scholarships she’ll need to become the first member of their family to attend college. Then one terrible night, a car accident takes their parents lives and leaves seven heartbroken kids on their own. The Wilkinson siblings have no grandparents, no aunts or uncles. Since Ariana has just turned eighteen, she manages to convince the judge to give her temporary custody. If she can keep her family running smoothly, they’ll get to stay in their home. If not, they’ll be placed into foster care. Novah will do whatever it takes to keep her family together but finds herself in a constant power struggle when Ariana refuses to take her advice. Will Novah find her voice and summon the strength to do the impossible? Or will she be forced to say the hardest goodbyes of all? As Long As We’re Together is a heartstring-tugging, uplifting, modern spin on Party of Five — a love letter to family, hope, and finding strength in unexpected places. ~ African – High School

Rhythm & Muse
by India Hill Brown

Darren Johnson lives in his head. There, he can pine for his crush—total dream girl, Delia Dawson—in peace, away from the unsolicited opinions of his talkative family and showboat friends. When Delia announces a theme song contest for her popular podcast, Dillie D in the Place to Be, Darren’s friends—convinced he’ll never make a move—submit one of his secret side projects for consideration. After the anonymous romantic verse catches Dillie’s ear, she sets out to uncover the mystery singer behind the track. Now Darren must decide: Is he ready to step out of the shadows and take the lead in his own life? Cinderella meets Cyrano in Rhythm & Muse, a pitch-perfect YA rom-com that is a celebration of Black joy, first crushes, and putting your heart on the line for love. ~ African – High School

The Melancholy of Summer
by Louisa Onomé

NEW Multicultural Children's & YA Books May 2023

Summer Uzoma is fine. Sure, her parents went on the run after they were accused of committing a crime, leaving her behind. Sure, she’s been alternating stays with her friends’ families. Sure, she sometimes still secretly visits her old home. And sure, she has trouble talking about any of this. But she’s fine. She has her skateboard and her bus pass. She just has to turn eighteen in a few weeks and then she’ll really and truly be free. So it’s extra annoying when a nosy social worker gets involved. Summer doesn’t expect any relative to be able to take her in, so she’s very surprised to hear that she’ll now be living with her cousin Olu―someone she hasn’t seen in years, who’s a famous singer in Japan last she heard, and who’s not much older than Summer. Life with Olu is awkward for many reasons―not least of all because Olu has her own drama to deal with. But with her cousin and friends’ efforts, maybe Summer can learn to trust people enough to let them in again? The Melancholy of Summer is a touching and lyrical contemporary coming-of-age story teenagers will love. ~ African – High School

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