September and October are big months for new releases and there are quite a few diverse debuts to celebrate. Here are seven new books with diverse characters all out in the month of September.
Yusef Azeem is not a Hero by Saadia Faruqi, is the story of sixth grader Yusef whose big ambition is to compete in the regional robotics competition. He encounters prejudice in his small Texas town but his Muslim community is a source of insight and courage as he learns to stand up for himself and all he believes. A particularly timely story and perfect for a generation of young readers born a decade after the events of 9/11/
In this MG debut The Insiders by Mark Oshiro, a gay Mexican-American boy moves from his wealthy and tolerant San Francisco school to a school short on both resources and compassion. Héctor takes refuge in a magical janitors closet and finds many kindred spirits–outsiders of one kind or another. All who find exactly what they need behind the magic door: respite and friendship and adventure.
A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks is another tale of moving to a new town and finding a place of respite and navigating new friendships from the author of From the Desk of Zoe Washington.
Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte was a critical sensation last year. In her follow up title Set Me Free , LaZotte again sets her story in Massachusetts in 1805. Fourteen year old Mary Lambert, a deaf girl from the Martha’s Vineyard deaf community, travels away from home to be the tutor of another deaf girl. Her pupil has been brutally treated and Mary shifts her role from teacher to liberator. It’s rare to find a children’s book with a deaf protagonist and I found a lot to like in both these titles, though I have yet to see any commentary on it from a deaf reviewer.
The Samosa Rebellion is a MG debut for Shanthi Sekaran. She crafts a richly imagined world where recent immigrants from India to the fictional Island of Mariposa are discriminated against openly with direct encouragement from political leaders. The rising tide of prejudice clears the way for immigrants to be imprisoned. When Muki Krishnan’s own grandmother is one of the victims he vows to free her and finds a secret rebellion. It’s a great conversation starter about systemic racism.
Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom by Sangu Mandanna Eleven year old Kiki uses a journal to cope with her anxiety; drawing the many characters she knows from Indian mythology is a solace. Until her notebooks bring an evil character to life and form a portal to another world. Kiki and her friends are launched into a grand adventure where they tackle demons interior and exterior with courage and resourcefulness.
The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: new stories about mythic heroes edited by Rick Riorden I love an anthology for giving a young reader exposure to many authors so that they can find a new favorite. Ten stories. Ten magical worlds. Ten award-winning authors. This is top of my list for Christmas presents for the many MG readers in my family.
Rosanne Parry is the author of 7 MG novels including best sellers A Wolf Called Wander, and A Whale of the Wild. Her first picture book Big Truck Day will go on sale in September of 2022. She sells books at Annie Blooms Bookstore in Multnomah Village and writes books in her treehouse in Portland, Oregon.
From the Mixed-Up Files is the group blog of middle-grade authors celebrating books for middle-grade readers. For anyone with a passion for children’s literature—teachers, librarians, parents, kids, writers, industry professionals— we offer regularly updated book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children's book from writing to publishing to promoting.
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