The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

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Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

 

Following our list of The Best 100 Multicultural Picture Books of 2022, here is our selection of the best multicultural middle grade books of 2022! There is something for every tween out there, from biographies to fantasy novels, graphic novels, and more.

Enjoy browsing and let us know in the comments which ones are your personal favourites!


The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022






Isaiah Dunn Saves the Day
by Kelly J. Baptist

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Things are looking up for super kid Isaiah Dunn. He and his little sister, Charlie, are getting used to staying with Miz Rita, and Mama’s feeling better. Isaiah’s poetry business with Angel is taking off, and his best friend, Sneaky, always has a new hustle. Plus, Isaiah has his dad’s journals for a story or if he needs advice…. Like maybe now, because starting middle school is hard. Especially when his mentee Kobe won’t stop making trouble. Isaiah knows something is up, but to get to the bottom of Kobe’s secret, he’ll have to rely on every hero he knows–including himself! Isaiah Dunn Saves The Day is the heartfelt and humorous sequel to the award-winning novel Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero~ African – Middle School 

Related: 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys


Alliana, Girl of Dragons
by Julie Abe

Alliana was sure that someday she and her grandmother would be able to travel to the capital city to see the queen. Those dreams disappeared when her grandmother passed away. Now Alliana is forced by her wicked stepmother to clean her stepfamily’s inn until her skin burns raw and to stay up until the crack of dawn to embroider her stepsister’s ball gowns. But then she meets two beings who change her life forever—a young night dragon and Nela, a young witch. Nela needs Alliana’s help navigating the mysterious abyss, filled with dangerous beasts, a place Alliana knows by heart. Alliana sees Nela’s request as a chance for a new life—but there’s a risk. If caught, Alliana will be stuck working for her stepmother for the rest of her life. Alliana, Girl of Dragons is an enchanting fairy tale retelling of the Japanese Cinderella. ~ Asian – Middle School

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


Tumble
by Celia C. Perez

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Twelve-year-old Adela “Addie” Ramírez is feeling overwhelmed: Her stepfather has proposed adoption, her new half brother is due soon, a big school theater performance is coming up, and she finds a photo of a young man hidden away in her mother’s things. Addie’s sleuthing takes her to a New Mexico ranch where she finds the legendary Bravos: Rosie and Pancho, her paternal grandparents and former professional wrestlers; Eva and Maggie, her older identical twin cousins who love to spar in and out of the ring; Uncle Mateo, whose lucha couture and advice are unmatched; and Manny, her biological father, who’s in the midst of a career comeback. As luchadores, the Bravos’s legacy is strong. But being part of a family is so much harder—it’s about showing up, taking off your mask, and working through challenges together. Tumble is a dazzling novel about a young girl who collects the missing pieces of her origin story from her family of legendary luchadores. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022


Be Real, Macy Weaver
by Lakita Wilson

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

After her latest friendship breakup, 11-year-old Macy Weaver has spent most of her summer break on her own. So when Macy’s mother decides to go back to college three states away, Macy is keen for a fresh start. But her new home isn’t exactly what she expected. Her mother’s never around and her dad’s always working. Lonelier than ever, Macy tries to find a new best friend. When she meets Brynn, who’s smart and kind and already seems to have her whole life figured out—down to her future as a high fashion model—Macy knows she’s it. The only problem is that Brynn already has a BFF. Macy turns one small lie into a whole new life—full of fantastic fashion and haute couture— to impress Brynn but it isn’t long before everything falls apart. Be Real, Macy Weaver is a humorous and heartfelt novel about being true to yourself. ~ African – Middle School


Chester Keene Cracks the Code
by Kekla Magoon

Chester Keene takes great comfort in his routines. Afterschool Monday to Thursday is bowling, and Friday, the best of days, is laser tag! But Chester has one other very special thing—he gets secret spy messages from his dad, who must be on covert government assignments, which is why Chester has never met him. One day, Chester’s classmate, Skye, approaches him with a clue. They’ve been tasked with a complex puzzle-solving mission. Skye proves to be a useful partner, even if her free-wheeling ways are disruptive to Chester’s carefully built schedule. But cracking this code may mean finding out things are not always what they seem. Chester Keene Cracks The Code is an exciting scavenger hunt adventure that tweens will love. ~ African – Middle School


The Royal Trials (Last Gate of the Emperor #2)
by K. Mbalia & P. Makonnen

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Though the battle of Addis Prime is over, the spacefaring Axum Empire is still fractured. Having been missing for over a decade, they’re returning to the planet where their galaxy-spanning civilization began―Earth. But Old Earth’s atmosphere is a mess of junked shuttles and satellites, especially Debris Town, an orbital flotilla where poor spacefarers have taken to piracy to survive. Yared is set to speak at the opening of the Royal Trials, a competition of the best exo pilots in the Sol System. But on the day of his speech, the pirates launch an attack. The siege sets off a chain of events that will lead Yared into the depths of Old Earth―and the jaws of a cruel betrayal. There’s more to the pirates―and Debris Town―than anyone saw coming. Sequel to Last Gate of the EmperorThe Royal Trials a stirring Afrofuturist adventure about a mythical Ethiopian empire. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books


Wildseed Witch
by Marti Dumas

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Hasani’s post-seventh-grade summer to-do list is pretty simple: get a bigger following for her makeup YouTube channel and figure out how to get her parents back together. What she does NOT expect is that an emotional outburst will spark a latent magical ability in her that attracts the attention of witches and lands her in a fancy charm school. While the other girls have always known they were destined to be witches, Hasani is a Wildseed––a stray witch from a family of non-witches, with no background knowledge, no way to control her magic, and a lot to catch up on. Wildseed Witch is a fun contemporary fantasy novel with an all-BIPOC cast. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books


Marcus Makes It Big
by Kevin Hart

Marcus’s movie, Toothpick vs. the Doom, is a HIT! But the only thing harder than making a movie is making a SECOND one. Marcus needs to come up with another great idea fast. Too bad his film crew (aka friends) are too preoccupied with their MeTube channels to notice. An invite to The Helen Show has Marcus thinking they’ll be back on top, but will nerves, unchecked ambition, and a rivalry between friends shut down this show before it even begins? Laugh-out-loud, highly illustrated sequel to Marcus Makes a MovieMarcus Makes It Big follows a young boy who has big Hollywood dreams. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Novels of 2021


Pauli Murray: Shouting for the Rights of All People
by Deborah Nelson Linck

Pauli Murray, activist, lawyer, poet, and Episcopal priest, broke records and barriers throughout her life. Friend to Eleanor Roosevelt, colleague to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and student of Thurgood Marshall, Pauli Murray paved the way for change and elevated those around her in the process. The first , Pauli Murray: Shouting for the Rights of all People celebrates the life of the civil rights icon, including the role of gender identity in her own journey. ~ African – Middle School

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


Troublemaker
by John Cho

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

12-year-old Jordan can’t live up to his older sister’s example or his parent’s expectations. When he returns home from school one day hoping to hide his suspension, L.A. has reached a turning point. In the wake of the acquittal of the police officers filmed beating Rodney King, as well as the shooting of a young black teen by a Korean store owner, the country is at the precipice of confronting its racist past and present. As tensions escalate, his father leaves to check on the family store, spurring Jordan and his friends to embark on a dangerous journey to help him, and come to terms with the racism affecting their community. Troublemaker follows the events of the LA Riots through the eyes of a Korean American tween. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination



 

 

 

 


Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence
by Sonja Thomas

12-year-old Mira’s summer is looking pretty bleak. Her best friend Thomas moved away, her jobless dad has been super down lately, and her phone screen cracked after a home science experiment gone wrong. Mira’s beloved cat, Sir Fig Newton, has been the most stable thing in her life lately, but he’s been diagnosed with diabetes. When Mira’s parents tell her they may have to give Fig up to people who can afford his treatment, Mira insists she can earn the $2,000 needed within a month. Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence is a heartfelt middle grade novel about a determined young girl who must rely on her ingenuity and scientific know-how to save her beloved cat. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 50+ Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading


Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa
by Julian Randall

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

12-year-old Pilar Ramirez’s is intrigued by Abuela and Mami’s silence around her cousin Natasha―who vanished in the Dominican Republic fifty years ago during the Trujillo dictatorship. When Pilar discovers a folder with her cousin’s name on it, she gets sucked into the blank page within. She lands on Zafa, an island swarming with coconut-shaped demons, butterfly shapeshifters, and a sinister prison where her cousin is being held captive. Pilar has to go toe-to-toe with the fearsome Dominican boogeyman, El Cuco, in order to free Natasha and get back home. Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa is a gripping middle-grade fantasy that brings Dominican myths and legends to life. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022


New from Here
by Kelly Yang

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

When the coronavirus hits Hong Kong, 10-year-old Knox Wei-Evans’s mom makes the last-minute decision to move him and his siblings back to California. Knox has two days to prepare for an international move—and for leaving his dad, who has to stay for work. At his new school, Knox’s classmates think that because he’s from Asia, he must have brought over the virus. As anti-Asian racism skyrockets, Knox tries to stand up to hate, while finding his place in his new country. Can you belong if you’re feared; can you protect if you’re new? And how do you keep a family together when you’re oceans apart? Sometimes when the world is spinning out of control, the best way to get through it is to embrace our own lovable uniqueness. New From Here is a poignant story about courage, hope, and resilience. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination


Swim Team
by Johnnie Christmas

Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees—until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help. With Etta’s training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake. Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship? Swim Team is a splashy, contemporary middle grade graphic novel from bestselling comics creator Johnnie Christmas. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers


Cookies & Milk
by Shawn Amos

Eleven-year-old Ellis Johnson has the summertime blues. He dreamed of spending the summer of 1976 hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing his harmonica. Instead, he’ll be sleeping on a lumpy pullout in Dad’s sad little post-divorce bungalow and helping bring Dad’s latest far-fetched, sure-to-fail idea to life: opening the world’s first chocolate chip cookie store. They have six weeks to perfect their recipe, get a ramshackle A-frame on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard into tip-top shape, and bring in customers. But of course, nothing is as easy as Dad makes it sound, even with Grandma along for the ride. Along the way, Ellis discovers a family mystery he is determined to solve, the power of community, and new faith in himself. Packed with humor, heart, and fun illustrations, Cookies & Milk is a semi-autobiographical debut novel about self-discovery, unconditional love, and belonging. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Novels of 2021


The Marvellers
by Dhonielle Clayton

11-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts. But some Marvellers deem her magic “bad and unnatural.” Ella befriends her elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur, and fellow misfits Brigit and Jason. When dangerous criminal Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror’s aid, tensions grow in the Marvellian world and Ella becomes the target of suspicion. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her mentor before it’s too late. First in a new series, The Marvellers is a thrilling fantasy adventure with fantastical twists. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books


Wishing Upon the Same Stars
by Jacquetta Nammar Feldman

When twelve-year-old Yasmeen Khoury and her family move from Detroit to San Antonio, she feels more alone than ever before as she faces middle school mean girls and tries to make new friends. Eventually Yasmeen befriends her neighbour, Ayelet Cohen, a first-generation Israeli American, who understands how she feels. But then Yasmeen’s grandmother moves in after her home in Jerusalem is destroyed, Yasmeen and Ayelet must grapple with how much closer the events of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are than they’d realized. Wishing Upon The Same Stars is a poignant middle-grade novel about family, heritage, identity and friendship. ~ Asian – Middle School

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


Just Right Jillian
by Nicole D. Collier

Fifth grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won’t speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school’s biggest competition. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self. Just Right Jillian is heartfelt middle-grade debut novel about family, friendship, and finding the confidence to break free from the crowd and be who you truly are. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Novels of 2021


Omar Rising
by Aisha Saeed

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Son of a servant, Omar knows his scholarship to Ghalib Academy Boarding School is a huge opportunity. He can’t wait to experience all the school has to offer, especially science club and the soccer team; but he soon learns that first-year scholarship students aren’t allowed to join clubs or teams—plus, they have to earn their keep doing menial chores. On top of that, the school requires scholarship students to get significantly higher grades than kids who can pay tuition, making it nearly impossible for kids like him to graduate. With the help of his tightknit new group of friends Omar sets out to do what seems impossible: change a rigged system. Omar Rising is the compelling companion to bestselling Amal Unbound~ Asian – Middle School

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


When the World Turned Upside Down
by K. Ibura

When their school closes due to the virus, Shayla, Liam, Ai, and Ben’s lives are turned upside down. As they each struggle to adjust to life in quarantine, they discover they are not alone: their apartment building is full of people who need their help. Working together, they begin to see that there is power in numbers. It’s a lesson they’ll need when protests explode in the streets. Soon, each friend has to decide what it means to be part of a community―and how much they’re willing to do to make this world safer for everyone. Set against the onset of COVID, When the World Turned Upside Down navigates issues of race and social justice in a heartwarming story of generosity, friendship, and the power of youth. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination



 

 

 

 


Freewater
by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp. In this society created by formerly enslaved people, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home. Deeply inspiring and loosely based on the history of maroon communities in the South, Freewater is a striking tale of survival, adventure, friendship, and courage. ~ African – Middle School

Related: NEW 2022 Black History Books for Children & Teenagers


The View from the Very Best House in Town
by Meera Trehan

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Sam and Asha have been friends forever. But when Sam is accepted into snobbish Castleton Academy as an autistic “Miracle Boy,” he leaves Asha, who is also autistic, to navigate middle school alone. Soon Sam is spending time with Prestyn, Asha’s nemesis, whose family owns Donnybrooke, the best house in town. Since a housewarming party gone wrong, Anna has been forbidden to set foot inside. Who is Asha without Sam? And who will she be when it becomes clear that Prestyn’s interest in her friend isn’t so friendly? Told from the points of view of Asha, Sam, and Donnybrooke itself, The View From The Very Best House In Town is a witty and suspenseful debut novel that explores issues of ableism and classism as it delves into the mysteries of what makes a person a friend and a house a home. ~ Asian – Middle School

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


A Comb of Wishes
by Lisa Stringfellow

Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears,” that sparkle on the Caribbean beaches of St. Rita. So when Kela and her friend Lissy stumble across an ancient-looking comb in a coral cave, with all she’s already lost, Kela can’t help but bring home her very own found treasure. Far away, deep in the cold ocean, the mermaid Ophidia can feel that her comb has been taken. And despite her hatred of all humans, her magic requires that she make a bargain: the comb in exchange for a wish. But what Kela wants most is for her mother to be alive. And a wish that big will exact an even bigger price… Set against the backdrop of Caribbean folklore, A Comb of Wishes is a spellbinding middle grade debut about a grieving girl and a vengeful mermaid. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 36 Children’s Books set in the Caribbean


Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs
by Pam Muñoz Ryan

On the brink of her Quinceañera, and her official coronation, Solimar visits the oyamel forest to sit among the monarch butterflies. The sun shines on her and sends the butterflies humming and swirling around her. After the magical frenzy, she realizes she’s been given a gift―and a burden: she can predict the near future! She has also become a protector of the young and weak butterflies. This alone would be a huge responsibility, but tragedy strikes when a neighbouring king invades while her father and brother and many others are away. The remaining villagers are taken hostage―all except Solimar. Can this princess-to-be save her family, the kingdom, and the future of the monarch butterflies from a greedy and dangerous king? Fans of Esperanza Rising will find a new Mexican heroine to love in Solimar. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: 24 Children’s Books set in Mexico


Dream, Annie, Dream
by Waka T. Brown

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

As the daughter of immigrants who came to America for a better life, Annie Inoue was raised to dream big. So when she lands an impressive role in the production of The King and I, she’s thrilled . . . until she starts to hear grumbles from her mostly white classmates that she only got the part because it’s an Asian play with Asian characters. Is this all people see when they see her? Is this the only kind of success they’ll let her have—one that they can tear down or use race to belittle? Disheartened but determined, Annie channels her hurt into a new dream: showing everyone what she’s made of. Dream, Annie, Dream is an empowering deconstruction of the so-called American Dream, as a Japanese American girl grapples with, and ultimately rises above, the racism and trials of middle school she experiences while chasing her dreams. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination


Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms
by Jamar J. Perry

Cameron Battle grew up reading The Book of Chidani, cherishing stories about the fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger. Passed down over generations, the Book is Cameron’s only connection to his parents who disappeared one fateful night, two years ago. Ever since, his grandmother has kept the Book locked away, but it calls to Cameron. When he and his best friends Zion and Aliyah decide to open it again, they are magically transported to Chidani. But instead of a land of beauty and wonder, they find a kingdom in extreme danger, as the Queen’s sister seeks to destroy the barrier between worlds. The people of Chidani have been waiting for the last Descendant to return and save them . . . is Cameron ready to be the hero they need? Inspired by West African and Igbo history and mythology, Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms is a gripping fantasy novel that celebrates one boy’s journey to greatness. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 50+ Multicultural Middle Grade Novels for Summer Reading


Let the Monster Out
by Chad Lucas

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

One of the few Black kids in Langille, Bones Malone feels like he doesn’t fit in. And now his baseball team (the one place where he really feels like he shines) just lost their first game. To make matters worse, things in town are getting weird. His mom is totally spaced out, almost like a zombie, and he and his brothers have the same scary dream. Kyle Specks thinks he might be neurodivergent, but he hasn’t gotten an official diagnosis yet. His parents try to protect him, but Kyle knows they can’t do that forever, especially as things in Langille are getting stranger and stranger. When Kyle and Bones find a mysterious scientist’s journal that might hold answers about what’s going on, they are faced with seemingly impossible situations, a shady corporation, and their own worst nightmares. Let The Monsters Out is an equal parts heart-pounding and heartfelt middle-grade mystery about facing –and accepting– your fears. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 150 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys


Caprice
by Coe Booth

This should be an exciting time for Caprice. She has been offered a place at the school of her dreams, where she’s just had a fantastic summer. But this great opportunity coincides with a lot of internal doubt and the disturbing news that her long-estranged grandmother has fallen ill and may be near death. As Caprice tries to figure out her future, she is pulled back toward her past, and the abuse she endured from her uncle when she was little — an abuse she’s never told anyone about. With extreme sensitivity and honesty, Caprice has written a painful but ultimately healing novel about finding support from your parents and friends, articulating your truth, and choosing your own path. ~ African – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2020


Twin Cities: (A Graphic Novel)
by Jose Pimienta

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Luis Fernando and Luisa Teresa are twins, and they finally have the chance to stand on their own. Fernando is staying local in Mexicali, Mexico, and Teresa is planning to cross the border every day so she can go to a private school in Calexico, California. Desperate to not be alone in middle school, Luis finds himself making friends with the first kid who’s willing to give him a chance . . . only this new friend says and does a lot of things that Fernando isn’t too sure about. Teresa soon finds herself failing under the pressure of crossing the US/Mexico border every day. She no longer has to worry about being compared to her brother — but now she doesn’t have his support when she could really use it. At home, both twins have a chance to reconnect. But instead, they find themselves pushing each other away. After all, being on their own is what they always wanted . . . right? Twin Cities explores the importance of family, belonging and staying true to yourself. ~ Hispanic – Middle School


Thirst
by Varsha Bajaj

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Minni lives in the poorest part of Mumbai, where access to water is limited and the communal taps have long lines. Lately, even that access is threatened by severe water shortages and thieves who are stealing this precious commodity. Meanwhile, in the high-rise building where she just started to work, she discovers that water streams out of every faucet and there’s even a rooftop swimming pool. What Minni also discovers there is one of the water mafia bosses. Now she must decide whether to expose him and risk her job and maybe her life. How did something as simple as access to water get so complicated? Thirst is the riveting story of a heroic girl who fights for her belief that water should be for everyone. ~ Asian – Middle School

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



 

 

 

 


Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, The Graphic Novel
by Kwame Mbalia

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Tristan Strong is devastated that he failed to save his best friend. All he has left of Eddie is his journal. Tristan is sent to his grandparents’ farm in Alabama to heal from the tragedy. On his first night there, a sticky creature steals Eddie’s notebook and a tug-of-war ensues underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the volatile MidPass. He finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left two Black American folk heroes exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and his new allies need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi comes at a price. Tristan Strong Punches A Hole In The Sky is a stunning graphic novel adaptation of the best-selling book. ~ African – Middle School 

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers


Gaby’s Latin American Kitchen: 70 Kid-Tested and Kid-Approved Recipes for Young Chefs
by Gaby Melian

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

¡En sus marcas, listos… fuera! Ready, set, cook! Travel the world of Latin America with 70 kid-approved recipes developed and written by celebrity chef Gaby Melian. Kids can cook from desayuno (breakfast) to cena (dinner), merienda (snacks) and postre (dessert). A Spanish glossary, fun personal stories, and a peek into Gaby’s own kitchen make Gaby’s Latin American Kitchen a delicious book for all young chefs and their families. ~Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022


Children of Stardust
by Edudzi Adodo

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Zero Adedji dreams of joining one of the Saba guilds―groups of intergalactic travelers who explore space, retrieve lost treasures, and hunt down criminals. Instead, he must scrape by as a guide to travelers stranded on his home planet of Anansi 12. Then he meets Wanderblatch, a strange creature with an even stranger object: a golden pyramid that houses a legendary Kobasticker called the Jupiter. When the Jupiter chooses Zero as its next host, he is recruited by a top Saba guild so he can harness his newfound powers. But the stakes are rising, and Zero and his friends Camih and Ladi are tasked with recovering an artifact known as the Mask of the Shaman King, which can grant wishes at a terrible price. And they’re not the only ones on the hunt―Space Mafia head Rozan Leombre is desperate to use the Mask to break his family’s curse. The trio must use their wits, courage, and friendship to achieve their quest and protect the galaxy. Action-packed, wildly imaginative, and laugh-out-loud funny, Children of Stardust rockets through space on an epic quest to protect the galaxy. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books


Undercover Latina (The Factory)
by Aya de Leon

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

14-year-old Andréa Hernández-Baldoquín hails from a family of spies working for the Factory, an international organization dedicated to protecting people of color. For her first solo mission, Andréa straightens her hair and goes undercover as Andrea Burke, a white girl, to befriend the estranged son of a dangerous white supremacist. In addition to her Factory training, the assignment calls for a deep dive into the son’s interests—comic books and gaming—all while taking care not to speak Spanish and blow her family’s cover. But it’s hard to hide who you really are, especially when you develop a crush on your target’s Latino best friend. Can Andréa keep her head, her geek cred, and her code-switching on track to trap a terrorist? Undercover Latina is a smart, entertaining, and politically astute upper-middle-grade novel. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Novels of 2021


The Antiracist Kid: A Book About Identity, Justice, and Activism
by Tiffany Jewell

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

What is racism? What is antiracism? Why are both important to learn about? The Antiracist Kid explains systemic racism and gives the antiracist tools to fight it to young readers. This must-have guide explains what identity is and how it applies to you, what justice is, what racism has to do with it, and how to address injustice. It teaches young children the words, language, and methods to recognize racism and injustice–and what to do when they encounter it at home, at school, and in the media they watch, play, and read. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination


Anisa’s International Day
by Reem Faruqi

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Pakistani American Anisa is super-excited about International Day and can’t wait to share her mother’s samosas with her class. But when someone else has the exact same idea, Anisa is crushed. Going to her aunt’s dholki party gives her an idea for the perfect activity instead—mehndi! There’s only one problem: Anisa’s best friend doesn’t seem to like the idea. She doesn’t even seem to like Anisa anymore. Will Anisa ever get to enjoy International Day? Filled with fun illustrations, recipes, and activities in the back matter, Anisa’s International Day is an irresistible younger middle grade novel. ~ Asian – Middle School

Related: 15 Children’s Books set in Pakistan


Iveliz Explains It All
by Andrea Beatriz Arango

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Seventh grade is going to be Iveliz’s year. She’s going to make a new friend, help her abuela Mimi get settled after moving from Puerto Rico, and she is not going to get into any more trouble at school. . . . Except is that what happens? Of course not. Because no matter how hard Iveliz tries, sometimes people say things that just make her so mad. And worse, Mimi keeps saying Iveliz’s medicine is unnecessary—even though it helps Iveliz feel less sad. But how do you explain your feelings to others when you’re not even sure what’s going on yourself? Powerful and compassionate, Iveliz Explains It All navigates mental health, finding your voice, and discovering that those who really love you will stay by your side. ~ Hispanic – Middle School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022


Moonflower
by Kacen Callender

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Moon’s depression is overwhelming. Therapy doesn’t help, and Moon is afraid that their mom hates them because they’re sad. Moon’s only escape is traveling to the spirit realms every night, where they hope they’ll never return to the world of the living again. The spirit realm is where they have their one and only friend, Wolf, and where they’re excited to experience an infinite number of adventures. But when the realm is threatened, it’s up to Moon to save the spirit world. With the help of celestial beings and guard­ians, Moon battles monsters and shadows, and through their journey, they begin to learn that a magical adventure of love and acceptance awaits them in the world of the living, too. Moonflower is a stunning novel about a child’s struggles with mental health, and their journey to wholeness. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 5 Multicultural Picture Books about Mental Illness


We Were the Fire: Birmingham 1963
by Shelia P. Moses

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Rufus Jackson Jones is from Birmingham, a place that in 1963 is full of civil rights activists including Dr. King. The adults are trying to get more attention to their cause–to show that separate is not equal. Rufus’s dad works at the local steel factory, and his mom is a cook at the mill. If they participate in marches, their bosses will fire them. So the kids decide to come in since nobody can fire them. Rufus and his buddies join thousands of other students to peacefully protest in a local park where they are met with policemen and firemen who turn their powerful hoses on them. That’s when Rufus realizes that they are the fire. And they will not be put out. We Were The Fire is a deeply personal account of what came to be known as the Birmingham Children’s Crusade, a key turning point in the civil rights movement. ~ African – Middle School

Related: NEW 2022 Black History Books for Children & Teenagers


Eden’s Everdark
by Karen Strong

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

Grieving the loss of her mother, Eden visits Safina Island, her ancestral home, as a healing balm. But when she discovers an old sketchbook that belonged to her mother, she’s haunted by the images she sees drawn there. Days later, exploring the island alone, Eden follows a black cat through a rift in the bright day. She stumbles into Everdark, a parallel world where the sun never rises, where spirits linger between death and the afterlife, and where everything from her mother’s drawings is all too real—especially the Witch of Everdark, who wants to make Eden her eternal daughter. Can Eden find a way to defeat the witch’s magic? Or will she remain trapped in Everdark forever? Eden’s Everdark is a haunting and ultimately uplifting middle grade novel about grief, family, and decades-old magic. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books



 

 

 

 


Evicted!: The Struggle for the Right to Vote
by Alice Faye Duncan

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

In 1950s Fayette County, Tennessee, Black hands were free to work as sharecroppers, but they were barred from casting ballots in public elections. If they dared to vote, they faced threats of violence by the local Ku Klux Klan or white citizens. When Black landowners organized registration drives to help Black citizens vote, white farmers violently evicted Black sharecroppers off their land, forcing them to live in tents. White shopkeepers refused to sell them groceries, clothes, and other necessities. But the voiceless did finally speak, culminating in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Told through the eyes of a child, Evicted! combines poetry, prose, and stunning illustrations to shine light Tennessee’s Fayette County Tent City Movement. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books About Voting & Elections


Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler
by Ibi Zoboi

Told in poems and prose, Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler illuminates the life of the visionary storyteller Octavia E. Butler, author of Parable of the Sower and Kindred. Born into the Space Race, the Red Scare, and the dawning Civil Rights Movement, Butler experienced an American childhood that shaped her into the groundbreaking science-fiction storyteller whose novels continue to challenge and delight readers fifteen years after her death. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 40 Multicultural Children’s Books About Fabulous Female Artists


Black Panther: Uprising (The Young Prince)
by Ronald L. Smith

Back in Wakanda, 13-year-old T’Challa misses his friends and is thrilled when Sheila and Zeke come for a surprise visit. But their introduction to the wonders of Wakanda takes a dark turn when the terrifying Originators are unleashed from the kingdom’s past. The elders of Wakanda, including T’Challa’s parents, are banished to a place beyond space and time. To save his nation, T’Challa will need the help of all his friends, including M’Baku and his sister, Shuri. It’s a supernatural showdown between Wakanda’s past and its future, and it will challenge all that T’Challa thinks he knows about his home. The third book in the Young Prince trilogy, Black Panther: Uprising brings the series to an epic conclusion. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books


Shot Clock (Shot Clock, 1)
by C. Butler & J. Reynolds

Tony loves basketball. But the game changed recently when his best friend, Dante, a hoops phenom, was killed by a police officer. Tony hopes he can carry on Dante’s legacy by making the Sabres, the AAU basketball team Dante took to two national championships. Tony doesn’t make the team, but Coach James likes what he sees from Tony at tryouts and offers him another chance: join the team as the statistician. With his community reeling and the team just finding its footing on the court, can Tony find a path to healing while helping to bring the Sabres a championship? Written by former NBA All-Star Caron Butler and acclaimed author Justin A. Reynolds, Shot Clock is the first book in a new middle grade series. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 44 Children’s Books About Extraordinary Black Athletes


Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution
by Sherri Winston

Lotus Bloom just wants to express herself–with her violin, her retro style, and her peaceful vibe, not to mention her fabulous hair. This school year, she is taking her talent to the seventh grade at a new school of the arts. But Lotus’s best friend, Rebel, thinks Lotus should stay at their school. Why should this fancy new school get all the funding and pull the brightest kids out? Rebel wants Lotus to help her protest, but Lotus isn’t sure. But then she finds herself in trouble for a dress code violation and must choose to stay quiet and risk her beloved hair, or to risk everything to fight back. Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution is an inspiring story about a Black girl who summons the courage to fight against a discriminatory dress code. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 60+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Hair & Skin


Maya and the Lord of Shadows (Maya and the Rising Dark)
by Rena Barron

Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2022

War is coming. Despite everything Maya and her father have done, the veil that protects the human world is failing. The Lord of Shadows has raised an army powerful enough to challenge the orishas. And it’s only a matter of time before he breaks through the veil and destroys Maya’s neighborhood and the rest of the world. Maya and her friends aren’t going down without a fight. She’s honing her guardian powers, with the help of two new allies—her long lost guardian sister and a mysterious darkbringer (who might be a double agent). But when an attack hits close to home, Maya doesn’t have any more time to prepare. Will she succeed or will Darkness prevail, once and for all? Maya and the Lord of Shadows is the final book in the acclaimed Maya and the Rising Dark trilogy. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 52 Multicultural Middle Grade & Young Adult Fantasy Books


Frizzy
by Claribel Ortega

Marlene loves three things: books, her cool Tía Ruby and hanging out with her best friend Camila. But according to her mother, Paola, the only thing she needs to focus on is school and “growing up.” That means straightening her hair every weekend so she could have “presentable”, “good hair”. But Marlene hates being in the salon and doesn’t understand why her curls are not considered pretty by those around her. With a few hiccups, a dash of embarrassment, and the much-needed help of Camila and Tia Ruby―she slowly starts a journey to learn to appreciate and proudly wear her curly hair. Frizzy is an empowering middle grade graphic novel about embracing who you are. ~ African – Middle School

Related: 80+ Multicultural Graphic Novels for Children & Teenagers // 60+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Hair & Skin


Holler of the Fireflies
by David Barclay Moore

Javari knew that West Virginia would be different from his home in Bushwick, Brooklyn. But his first day at STEM Camp in a little Appalachian town is still a shock. Though run-ins with the police are just the same here. Not good. Javari will learn a lot about science, tech, engineering, and math at camp. And also about rich people, racism, and hidden agendas. But it’s Cricket, a local boy, budding activist, and occasional thief, who will show him a different side of the holler—and blow his mind wide open. Holler of the Fireflies is a brilliant new novel from the award-winning author of The Stars Beneath Our Feet~ African – Middle School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination


Garvey in the Dark
by Nikki Grimes

Garvey’s finally happy—he’s feeling close to his father through their shared love of music, bullies are no longer tormenting him, and his best friends Manny and Joe are by his side. But when the schools, stores, and restaurants close because people are getting sick, Garvey’s improved life goes into lockdown as well. And when Garvey’s father gets sick, Garvey must find a way to use his newfound musical skills to bring hope to both his father and himself. Capturing the shock and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of Grimes’ beloved character, Garvey In The Dark is a powerful novel-in-verse that shows readers how even small acts have large reverberations, how every person can make a difference in this world, and how—even in the most difficult times—there are ways to reach for hope and healing. ~ African – Middle School

More in the series: Garvey’s Choice // Garvey’s Choice: The Graphic Novel


The Door of No Return
by Kwame Alexander

Young Kofi lives and dreams on the banks of the river Offin. He loves these things above all else: his family, the fireside tales of his father’s father, a girl named Ama, and, of course, swimming. It is in the river that he feels invincible and where he thinks he can finally prove himself in a race against his schoolyard rival. But the river also holds dark secrets that Kofi will soon discover. Told never to venture there after nightfall but never told why, Kofi seeks his own answers. One night is all it takes to transform a life. As his world turns upside down, Kofi ends up on a harrowing journey that steals him away from everything he loves. The Door of No Return is an epic and unforgettable tale of adventure, family, betrayal and bravery. ~ African – Middle School


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