.What a fantastic year for children’s literature. Once more, a list of Outstanding Books became the stories we could turn to as adults looking for great books to read for ourselves and the books we were eager to give to the young readers in our lives.

The Nightingale and Anya:

The first book about Anya, Ivan, and their dragon friend Hkon was a favorite of mine, and this sequel may be even better. In addition to the wonderful and endearing characters, there is a male bisexual character who actually has a male love interest and the two are compatible. The adventure itself is captivating and perfectly described: vivid, imaginative, and nearly film-like. Since I still rarely see my own holidays and customs represented in books, I also appreciate that Anya is Jewish. This adventure story manages to strike a delicate balance between silly humor and more serious scenes.

The Arabic Shawl:

Egyptian Kanzi worries about fitting in at her new school in this beautifully illustrated picture book. She finds solace in Teita’s Arabic quilt, and with the assistance of her teacher, she tells her classmates about her love of her culture and language. A moving and powerful tale with stunning illustrations that emphasize the significance of all languages.

Boys All Over:

The Syrian civil war has torn apart the life of Sami, a young boy. He and his family are now on the run in a last-ditch effort to reach the UK. He experiences hope and love as well as trauma, heartbreak, and madness on the way. A must-read for middle school students and anyone interested in learning more about the plight of refugees.


This graphic novel, which is a companion piece to Craft’s New Kid Book , which won a Newbery Award, completely captivated me. Class Act delves even more deeply into what it’s like to be one of the few nonwhite students at a posh school. It examines not only the daily micro- and macroaggressions these students face, but also the ways they must choose whom to trust and reserve judgment. Jordan and Drew cautiously invite their white friend Liam back to their neighborhood this time, rather than simply visiting their classmates’ McMansions. While Craft makes an excellent point about giving sincere and kind friends the benefit of the doubt, she is careful not to draw a false equivalence between racism and assuming the worst of wealthy people.


When it looks at Wonder Woman as a tween, this middle grade book has a lot to say. In the book, Diana really admires the other Amazons and wants to train with them in Themiscyra because she admires their powers. Diana also hopes that her mother, Queen Hippolyta, will let her learn to fight at the festival in Themiscyra, where their various cultures are discovered and explored. However, it is up to Diana and Princess Sakina to save the day when a visitor—a boy—comes to the area to warn them of an imminent danger. If you’re looking for a touching story and pure girl power, this book is for you. How about the good news? It is the first of a planned series of Diana middle grade books.


I was offered this middle grade fantasy as a read-alike to Kiki’s Delivery Service, and I’m happy to say that my assessment is correct. I imagine that the majority of children can identify with Eva, who is about to turn 13 and is constantly worried about her shaky magical abilities. Despite her constant doubts that she will pass the exam, she is determined to attain the rank of Novice Witch. However, Eva, one of the most determined young witches, devises a strategy to assist the Auteri community through “semi-magical fixes.” I adored both her and Abe’s charming and whimsical world for this planned series. Truth be told, it’s a good read for anyone of any age.


Zoe Washington has just turned 12 in this middle-grade novel. And she has started a pen pal relationship with Marcus, her biological father whom she has never met. Zoe gets to know Marcus for the first time under the supervision of her grandma. But Zoe doesn’t know her mother. As she gets to know Marcus, she learns about the injustices of the justice system and becomes determined to get Marcus out of prison. This novel is timely, suitable for readers of all ages, and it skillfully addresses significant issues from Zoe’s optimistic viewpoint at all times.

The Ghoul Squad:

The perfect blend of fun, friendship, magic, and ghosts can be found in this adorablely creepy book about best friends Lucely and Syd. Who accidentally awaken a graveyard full of dangerous spirits. In addition, Lucely must rescue the firefly spirits of her family’s ancestors and recruit additional visitors for her father’s ghost tour before they lose their home. You can’t help but adore this book because it combines supernatural antics with so much heart and humor, making it just the right amount of scary for middle grade readers.


Gustavo is a ghost who is reserved, as the title suggests. But he is determined to make friends. However, there is yet another issue: He is hidden from view! Our translucent hero struggles to overcome his difficulties in time. To plan a Day of the Dead party in this whimsical and touching picture book. There are a lot of charming details for readers to discover on a second. Third, or fifteenth read, and each page is colorful and vibrant.

If you arrive from Earth:

The illustrations in Sophie Blackall’s picture books are always stunning. My favorite section in this one is the library, which features a variety of characters and multiple wordless stories. Other than a child by the name of Quinn writing a letter to visitors from space. There is no real narrative. It teaches us fundamental information about the world. Such as the kinds of animals and homes and what makes people unique. Take pleasure in the charming artwork and the overall message of kindness.

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