Middle-grade readers will be showered with many new books being released in April.
A middle-grade debut from Angie Thomas. Graphic novels. A new adventure story by author and illustrator Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret). PLUS, an MG debut from MUF’s very own Heather Murphy Capps: Indigo and Ida! This month’s lineup of new releases for middle-grade readers will help beat the blahs when those April Showers arrive. Enjoy!
I’m Still Here (Adapted for Young Readers): Loving Myself in a World Not Made for Me, written by
Austin Channing Brown, Convergent Books, April 4
Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with race in America came at age seven, when she discovered that her parents had named her Austin to trick future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools and churches, Channing Brown writes, “I had to learn what it means to love Blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker, and expert helping organizations practice genuine inclusion.
In this adaptation of her bestselling and critically acclaimed memoir, she explores how America’s racial dynamics show up in the classrooms, friend groups, and conversations kids inhabit every day. “I love being a Black girl,” she writes. “And sometimes being a Black girl in America is hard.” Covering topics like representation, self-love, allyship, and being Black in public, Brown helps kids nourish their identity and make sense of how they fit into the world.
For students navigating a time of racial hostility, and for the adults and educators who care for them, I’m Still Here is an empowering look at the experiences of young Black kids, inviting the reader to confront apathy, find their voice, and discover how Blackness–if we let it–can save us all.
School Trip: A Graphic Novel, written by Jerry Craft, Quill Tree Books, April 4
New York Times bestselling author Jerry Craft is back with the newest adventures of Jordan, Drew, Liam, and all the characters that fans first met in New Kid, winner of the Newbery Award and the Coretta Scott King Author Award! In this full-color contemporary graphic novel, the gang from Riverdale Academy Day is heading to Paris, for an international education like you’ve never seen before …
Jordan, Drew, Liam, Maury, and their friends from Riverdale Academy Day School are heading out on a school trip to Paris. As an aspiring artist himself, Jordan can’t wait to see all the amazing art in the famous City of Lights.
But when their trusted faculty guides are replaced at the last minute, the school trip takes an unexpected–and hilarious–turn. Especially when trying to find their way around a foreign city ends up being almost as tricky as navigating the same friendships, fears, and differences that they struggle with at home.
Will Jordan and his friends embrace being exposed to a new language, unfamiliar food, and a different culture? Or will they all end up feeling like the “new kid”?
Indigo and Ida, written by Heather Murphy Capps, Published by Carolrhoda Books/Lerner, April 4
When eighth grader and aspiring journalist Indigo breaks an important story, exposing an unfair school policy, she’s suddenly popular for the first time.
The friends who’ve recently drifted away from her want to hang out again. Then Indigo notices that the school’s disciplinary policies seem to be enforced especially harshly with students of color, like her. She wants to keep investigating, but her friends insist she’s imagining things.
Meanwhile, Indigo stumbles upon a book by Black journalist and activist Ida B. Wells―with private letters written by Ida tucked inside. As she reads about Ida’s lifelong battle against racism, Indigo realizes she must choose between keeping quiet and fighting for justice.
Good Different written by Meg Eden Kuyatt, Published by Scholastic, April 4
An extraordinary novel-in-verse for fans of Starfish and A Kind of Spark about a neurodivergent girl who comes to understand and celebrate her difference.
Selah knows her rules for being normal.
She always, always sticks to them. This means keeping her feelings locked tightly inside, despite the way they build up inside her as each school day goes on, so that she has to run to the bathroom and hide in the stall until she can calm down. So that she has to tear off her normal-person mask the second she gets home from school, and listen to her favorite pop song on repeat, trying to recharge. Selah feels like a dragon stuck in a world of humans, but she knows how to hide it.
Until the day she explodes and hits a fellow student.
Selah’s friends pull away from her, her school threatens expulsion, and her comfortable, familiar world starts to crumble.
But as Selah starts to figure out more about who she is, she comes to understand that different doesn’t mean damaged. Can she get her school to understand that, too, before it’s too late?
Spy Camp the Graphic Novel, written by Stuart Gibbs, Illustrated by Anjan Sarkar
The second book in the New York Times bestselling Spy School series continues in graphic novel form as aspiring spy Ben Ripley must spend his summer in top-secret training–and is thrown back into danger.
Ben Ripley is a middle schooler whose school is not exactly average–he’s spent the last year training to be a top-level spy and dodging all sorts of associated danger. So now that summer’s finally here, Ben would like to have some fun and relax. But that’s not going to happen during required spy survival training at a rustic wilderness camp, where SPYDER, an enemy spy organization, has infiltrated the spies’ ranks. Can Ben root out the enemy before it takes him out–for good?
Warriors: A Starless Clan #3 Shadow, written by Erin Hunter, HarperCollins, April 4
A crossroads for the Clans–and the warrior code!
The warrior code now allows a cat to formally change Clans, but ShadowClan’s newest arrival feels increasingly unwelcome–and though ShadowClan warrior Sunbeam thinks every cat deserves a chance, one of the loudest voices of opposition is her own mother. Meanwhile medicine cat apprentice Frostpaw scrambles to help RiverClan stay afloat under the watchful eye of a second Tigerstar, and the shadow of growing conflict looms over them all…
This seventh epic Warriors series is full of action, intrigue, and adventure–a perfect introduction for new readers and for long-time fans eager to discover what unfolds after the events of The Broken Code.
Big Tree, written by Brian Selznick, Scholastic, April 4
“Hello, stars. I thought I heard you calling me.”
A mysterious voice has been speaking to Louise in her dreams. She and her brother Merwin are Sycamore seeds, who hope to one day set down roots and become big trees. But when a fire forces them to leave their mama tree prematurely, they find themselves catapulted into the unknown, far from home. Alone and unprepared, they must use their wits and imagination to navigate a dangerous world–filled with dinosaurs, meteors, and volcanoes!–and the fear of never finding a safe place to grow up. As the mysterious voice gets louder, Louise comes to realize their mission in life may be much bigger than either of them ever could have imagined!
Brimming with humor, wonder, mystery, and a profound sense of hope, Big Tree is a trailblazing adventure, illustrated with nearly 300 pages of breathtaking pictures. It is Selznick’s most imaginative and far-reaching work to date and a singular reading experience for the whole family!
Nic Blake and The Remarkables, written by Angie Thomas, Published by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen, April 4
Internationally bestselling superstar author Angie Thomas makes her middle grade debut with the launch of an inventive, hilarious, and suspenseful new contemporary fantasy trilogy inspired by African American history and folklore.
It’s not easy being a Remarkable in the Unremarkable world. Some things are cool–like getting a pet hellhound for your twelfth birthday. Others, not so much–like not being trusted to learn magic because you might use it to take revenge on an annoying neighbor.
All Nic Blake wants is to be a powerful Manifestor like her dad. But before she has a chance to convince him to teach her the gift, a series of shocking revelations and terrifying events launch Nic and two friends on a hunt for a powerful magic tool she’s never heard of…to save her father from imprisonment for a crime she refuses to believe he committed.
The Little Mermaid: Guide to Merfolk, written by Erin Geron, Disney Press, April 11
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about mermaids and more from Disney’s new live action film The Little Mermaid inside this gorgeous guidebook!
From Prince Eric’s royal library, this beautiful guidebook deep dives into the legends and lore surrounding the mermaids and their world from The Little Mermaid live action film. Learn more about the Seven Seas and the mermaid princesses who rule them, discover stories of sirens and sea witches, and come to know the legend of the coral moon. With gorgeous full-color illustrations throughout, this book is perfect for any reader who can’t get enough of mermaids.
Creatures of the In Between, written by Cindy Lin, HarperCollins Publishers, April 11
Princess Mononoke meets How to Train Your Dragon in this magical middle grade adventure from Cindy Lin, author of The Twelve, featuring a blend of East and Southeast Asian folklore and mythical creatures, and starring a boy with a hero’s destiny.
Prince Jin is running out of time.
He must find a monster companion before his thirteenth birthday or lose the throne completely.
And that means travelling to the only place where monsters still live: the legendary, dangerous Whisper Island.
But untold perils await Jin there. The magical creatures he seeks are not so easily swayed, and an even greater threat looms on the horizon–one that could threaten everything Jin hopes to achieve.
Fireborn: Phoenix and the Frost Palace, written by Aisling Fowler, HarperCollins, April 18
Twelve journeys to new lands and embarks on even more perilous adventures in this sequel to Fireborn, which B.B. Alston praised as “the best kind of children’s fantasy story.”
Twelve is now a full-fledged hunter, with a new name worthy of her fiery powers: Phoenix.
But with her new powers come new responsibilities. When a plea for help arrives from the long-lost witch clan, it’s clear Phoenix’s newfound fire is their only hope. Phoenix and her friends must travel to Icegaard, the witches’ home, to combat the mysterious darkness there—one that grows stronger each day.
But deep within this darkness lies an enemy that could destroy Ember entirely . . . unless Phoenix can find the strength to stop it.
A thrilling adventure and poignant journey all in one, this second novel in the Fireborn trilogy—perfect for fans of The School for Good and Evil and the His Dark Materials series—will take Phoenix and her readers to enchanting new worlds, where unexpected friends, untold dangers, and a treacherous new enemy await.