New Middle-Grade Releases for March!

March always feels like a long month to me. Cold. Windy. Hints of winter mingled with hints of spring. There’s a lot of time to read a book or two or a few. New Middle-Grade Releases for March will give you some ideas. Enjoy!

Ferris by Kate DiCamillo. 240 pp. March 5.

ferrisIt’s the summer before fifth grade, and for Ferris Wilkey, it’s a summer of sheer pandemonium. Her little sister, Pinky, has vowed to become an outlaw. Uncle Ted has left Aunt Shirley and is holed up in the Wilkey basement to paint a history of the world. And Charisse, Ferris’s grandmother, has started seeing a ghost at the threshold of her room, which seems like an alarming omen given that she is also feeling unwell. But the ghost is not there to usher Charisse to the Great Beyond. Rather, she has other plans—wild, impractical, illuminating plans. How can Ferris satisfy a specter with Pinky terrorizing the town, Uncle Ted sending Ferris to spy on her aunt, and her father battling an invasion of raccoons?


The First State of Being by Erin Entrada Kelly. 272 pp. March 5. first state of being

It’s August 1999. For twelve-year-old Michael Rosario, life at Fox Run Apartments in Red Knot, Delaware, is as ordinary as ever—except for the looming Y2K crisis and his overwhelming crush on his fifteen-year-old babysitter, Gibby. But when a disoriented teenage boy named Ridge appears out of nowhere, Michael discovers there is more to life than stockpiling supplies and pining over Gibby.

It turns out that Ridge is carefree, confident, and bold, things Michael wishes he could be. But when Ridge reveals that he’s the world’s first-time traveler, Michael and Gibby are stunned but curious. As Ridge immerses himself in 1999—fascinated by microwaves, basketballs, and malls—Michael discovers that his new friend has a book that outlines the events of the next twenty years. His curiosity morphs into something else: focused determination. Michael wants—no, needs—to get his hands on that book. How else can he prepare for the future?

Read an interview with award-winning author Erin Entrada Kelly.

Free Period by Ali Terese. 272 pp. March 5.

free periodHelen and Gracie are pranking their way through middle school when a stinky stunt lands them in the front office — again. The principal orders the best friends to do the unthinkable: care about something. So they join the school’s Community Action Club with plans to do as little as humanly possible.

But when Helen is caught unprepared by an early period and bleeds through her pants, the girls take over the club’s campaign for maxi pads in bathrooms. In the name of period equity, the two friends use everything from over-the-top baked goods to glitter gluing for change. But nothing can prepare them for a clueless school board, an annoying little sister, and crushes. As Helen and Gracie find themselves closer to change and in deeper trouble than ever before, they must decide if they care enough to keep going . . . even if it costs them their friendship.


Gigi Shin Is Not a Nerd by Lyla Lee. 192 pp. March 5. gigi shin

Jiyoung “Gigi” Shin loves to create, from her zany outfits to self-executed haircuts. She dreams of becoming an artist and doodles every chance she gets—at school instead of taking notes, in choir instead of singing, and at home instead of homework. Art is her way of escaping her boring life in suburban Middle of Nowhere, Texas. Unfortunately, her working-class, immigrant parents want her to focus on her studies and pursue something more “practical.”  When Gigi learns about an elite art camp on the East Coast, she’s determined to go. But she knows her parents won’t let her. After overhearing her little brother Tommy complain about how hard math is and how his teacher goes too fast for him, Gigi has a brilliant idea: forming a tutoring club with her friends to make enough money for the art camp. The girls go all in, but the first few sessions with their classmates are a little chaotic, and Gigi wonders if she will end up sacrificing more than she bargained for to achieve her dreams.

Gut Reaction by Kirby Larson & Quinn Wyatt. 272 pp. March 5.

gut reactionTess Medina is still dealing with the loss of her father when she starts at a new school. She feels close to him by doing what she does best — baking — because her dad taught her everything she knows. But when tasting her creations causes a deep stabbing pain in her abdomen, she tries to power through and be strong in the same way she powers through her emotional pain.

Lucky for Tess, her baking skills attract the right kind of attention, and she assembles a ragtag team to taste her new creations in preparation for the Jubilee Flour Junior Baker West Coast competition. This is a chance to redeem herself and prove that she’s a star baker. Above all, Tess is desperate to win first place and make her dad proud.

But leading up to the competition, Tess’s pain gets worse and worse, and, soon, she finds that she’s avoiding so many foods that she’s barely eating. When the physical pain becomes too great, Tess will be forced to confront everything she has been trying so desperately to hide.

Kyra, Just for Today by Sara Zarr. 320 pp. March 5. kyra just for today

Krya has always felt like she’s a bit too much. Too tall, too loud, and too earnest. But she’s okay with that. Ever since her mom got sober five years ago, she and Kyra have always been there for each other—something Kyra is thankful for every week when she attends her group meetings with other kids of alcoholics.

Then seventh grade starts, and everything Kyra used to be able to count on feels unsure. Kyra’s best friend, Lu, is hanging out with eighth graders, and Mom is unusually distant. When Mom starts missing work, sleeping in, and forgetting things, Kyra doesn’t dare say “relapse.” But not saying that word means not saying anything at all—to Lu or to her support group. And when Kyra suspects that her worst fears might be real, she starts to question whether being just enough is not enough at all.

Mani Semilla Finds Her Quetzal Voice by Anna Lapera. 336 pp. March 5.

mani semillaTwelve-year-old, Chinese-Filipino-American-Guatemalan Manuela “Mani” Semilla wants two things. To get her period and to thwart her mom’s plan of taking her to Guatemala on her thirteenth birthday. If her mom’s always going on about how dangerous it is in Guatemala, and how much she sacrificed to come to this country, then why should Mani even want to visit?

But one day, up in the attic, she finds secret letters between her mom and her Tía Beatriz, who, according to family lore, died in a bus crash before Mani was born. But the letters reveal a different story. Why did her family really leave Guatemala? What will Mani learn about herself along the way? And how can the letters help her to stand up against the culture of harassment at her school?

Maya Plays the Part by Calyssa Erb. 240 pp. March 5. maya plays the part

Maya lives and breathes musicals. When her chance to finally be a part of the summer musical program at the community theater comes up, Maya is convinced she will get the lead. After all, who knows The Drowsy Chaperone better than she does? However, things don’t turn out exactly the way she’s planned, and the summer turns out to be jam-packed with problems: dealing with her best friend’s move, her parents’ busy jobs, and―since her autism diagnosis―the ongoing puzzle of how to be Maya in Public. But perhaps most important of all, Maya has to figure out how to play the part that truly feels like her own.

Paper Dragons: The Fight for the Hidden Realm by Siobhan McDermott. 384 pp. March 5.

paper dragonsAn outsider in her village above the cloud sea, 12-year-old orphan Yeung Zhi Ging’s only hope of escape is to win the single invitation to train as a Silhouette: an apprentice to the immortals. After her ill-fated attempt to impress the Silhouette scout leads to a dragon attack, Zhi Ging is sure her chances are over. But the scout spots her potential and offers her protection and a second chance. She’s in.

In her lessons in the underwater realm of the immortals, Zhi Ging faces challenging trials to prove she’s worthy—despite her rivals’ attempts to sabotage her. But as Zhi Ging’s power grows, so do the rumors of the return of the Fui Gwai, an evil spirit that turns people into grey-eyed thralls. Can Zhi Ging use her newly uncovered talents to save her friends and the world beyond? Or will the grey-eyed spirit consume them all?


Penny Draws a Secret Adventure by Sara Shepard. 240 pp. March 5. penny draws a secret adventure

Little by little, Penny Lowry is making it through the fifth grade with help from her friends as well as her lovable dog Cosmo. But there’s a lot of change to deal with this year. Penny’s newborn twin brother and sister have everyone in her family on their last nerve with their crying. Her friends Maria and Chloe are spending a lot of time together without inviting Penny along, leaving her to worry why. Then, on top of everything else, Penny and her friends discover a very old map in her attic that sends them on a wild scavenger hunt in search of treasure! Can Penny get her worries about her friends and family under control, and lead her group of friends to find the hidden treasure?

Summer at Squee by Andrea Wang. 320 pp. March 5.

summer at squeePhoenny Fang plans to have the best summer ever. This year she’s a senior camper at Summertime Chinese Culture, Wellness, and Enrichment Experience. That means she and her squad of friends will have the most influence. It almost doesn’t matter that her brother is a CIT (counselor-in-training) and that her mom and auntie are the camp directors.

But the day Phoenny arrives, she learns the Squad has been split up, and there’s an influx of new campers. Determined to be welcoming and share all the things she loves about camp, Phoenny quickly learns how out of touch she is with others’ experiences. Particularly of the campers who are adoptees. The same things that make her feel connected to her culture and community make some of the other campers feel excluded.

Summer at Squee turns out to be even more transformative than Phoenny could’ve imagined, with new friendships, her first crush, an epic show, and a bigger love for and understanding of her community.

Next Stop: A Graphic Novel by Debbie Fong. 272 pp. March 19. next stop

Pia is a soft-spoken middle schooler whose life is turned upside down after both the loss of her younger brother and her parents’ decision to move to a new town. To get her mind off of the troubles at home, Pia goes on a bus tour with a family friend, stopping at weird and wacky roadside attractions. The final destination: a mysterious underground lake. The locals say it has magical powers. Pia won’t admit she believes in it, but she’s holding on to hope that the waters may hold the answer to mending her broken family.


The Circuit: Graphic Novel by Francisco Jiménez. Illustrated by Celia Jacobs. 240 pp. March 26.

the circuitPoignantly told from a young boy’s perspective, The Circuit centers on a Mexican family working in California’s fields. It portrays an honest and evocative account of a family’s journey from Mexico to the fields of California and to a life of backbreaking work and constant household moves. The story is told through the eyes of a boy who longs for education and the right to call one place home.

A popular choice for community reads, as well as school curricula and curriculum adoptions. Francisco Jiménez’s award-winning memoir is brought to life in Celia Jacob’s beautiful and resonant artwork and is a powerful story of survival, faith, and hope.

Olivetti by Allie Millington. 256 pp. March 26. olivetti

Being a typewriter is not as easy as it looks. Surrounded by books and recently replaced by a computer, Olivetti has been forgotten by the Brindle family―the family he’s lived with for years. The Brindles are busy humans. But 12-year-old Ernest would rather be left alone with his collection of Oxford English Dictionaries. The least they could do is remember Olivetti since he remembers every word they’ve typed on him. It’s a thankless job, keeping memories alive.

Olivetti gets a rare glimpse of action from Ernest’s mom, Beatrice, only for her to drop him off at Heartland Pawn Shop. When Olivetti learns Beatrice has mysteriously gone missing afterward, he believes he can help find her. He breaks the only rule of the “typewriterly code” and types back to Ernest, divulging Beatrice’s memories stored inside him.

Their search takes them across San Francisco―chasing clues, maybe committing a few misdemeanors. As Olivetti spills out the past, Ernest is forced to face what he and his family have been running from: The Everything That Happened. Only by working together will they find Beatrice and the parts of themselves they’ve lost.

Here are even more ideas for a new March read.

March 2024 bookshelf

Weezie Prescott
1 Comment
  1. Great list. Ferris and The First State of Being are on my TBR list. I also can’t wait for Uprising by Jennifer Nielsen.