Cinders & Sparrows by Stefan BachmannWhat it's about: After discovering that she's inherited not only an enchanted castle, but also a powerful magic legacy, orphaned servant girl Zita Brydgeborn moves to Blackbird Castle to train in witchcraft with thorny Mrs. Cantanker.
Read it for: an eerie setting and a suspenseful story packed with secrets, spirits, and spells.
For fans of: spooky fantasies like Victoria Schwab's City of Ghosts.
Serena Says by Tanita S. DavisWhat it's about: Smart, sensitive, awkward Serena is totally fine with being the sidekick to her bubbly, outgoing best friend, JC. But when JC finds a new best friend during her recovery from a kidney transplant, Serena turns to vlogging to help her sort out her feelings.
Why you might like it: If you've ever been confused by changing friendships or uncertain about how to act, you'll relate to Serena and root for her as she figures things out.
Last Mirror on the Left by Lamar Giles; illustrated by Dapo AdeolaWhat it's about: The Legendary Alston Boys have a new case! Missus Nedraw, a Warden of the Multiverse Justice System, tasks them with finding a fugitive. Yet as the detective cousins investigate, they start to wonder if they’re really serving justice after all.
Featuring: a useful yo-yo, a spider gang called ArachnoBRObia, and the boys' frenemies, the Epic Ellison Girls.
Series alert: To understand the offbeat humor and sci-fi adventures in this fast-paced sequel, you'll want to start with The Last Last-Day-of-Summer.
The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris GrabensteinWhat it's about: After seventh-grade slacker Jake accidentally downs a bowl of experimental "Ingestible Knowledge" pills (they looked like jellybeans!), he suddenly becomes a full-on brainiac, devoting his newfound smarts to saving his middle school from a greedy principal.
Read it for: a funny celebration of geekiness starring a realistically diverse crew of kids.
Author alert: If you love the popular Mr. Lemoncello series, you don't want to miss this new book from author Chris Grabenstein.
Mellybean and the Giant Monster by Mike WhiteIntroducing: scruffy, hyperactive Mellybean the dog, who falls into an alternate world where she befriends a mopey monster and takes on a competitive king who's known for being a very sore loser.
Why you might like it: Super-cute, Pokémon-style cartoon art makes this graphic novel fantasy adorable as well as exciting.
Series alert: this is just the 1st of many adventures for Mellybean.
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters by Andrea Beaty; illustrated by David RobertsWhat it's about: Young engineer Rosie is ready to invent when a friend of her great-great-aunt needs a device to help her paint with two broken wrists. Rosie's first attempts are flops, however, so she turns to her friends, Ada Twist the scientist and Iggy Peck the architect.
Who it's for: fans of the picture books about Rosie and the Questioneers (remember those?), as well as eager engineers and anyone who needs a reminder to stop, think, and try again.
The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaRea; illustrated by Matt MyersStarring: rat brothers Louie and Ralphie Ratso, who aim to be just as tough as their dad, Big Lou, even though every mean prank they play accidentally turns into a good deed.
Series alert: If you like the black-and-white art, goofy humor (the Ratsos have an "unwelcome mat"), and lovable characters in this easy-to-read book, be sure to pick up the rest of the Ratso Brothers series, starting with book 2, The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid.
Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas by Juana MedinaWhat it's about: Juana Rosas loves her life in Bogotá: she has a wonderful familia, an awesome school (though English is hard), and a perfect perro, Lucas. But big changes are coming: Juana's mami is getting remarried and moving them to a new casa.
Read it for: bright cartoon art and an easy-to-understand blend of Spanish and English.
Series alert: You can jump into this sequel with cero problemas, or you can start from the beginning with Juana & Lucas.
Sadiq and the Desert Star by Siman Nuurali; illustrated by Anjan SarkarWhat it's about: Third-grader Sadiq shares a love of the stars with his Baba, and with his school's space club. The club really wants a telescope, but since buying one is too expensive, Sadiq and his friends decide to build one themselves.
Further reading: Just like Sadiq's upbeat story (the 1st in a series) is about his family, hobbies, and Somali background, Saadia Faruqi's Yasmin series is about one kid's life and Pakistani heritage.
A Friend for Dragon by Dav PilkeyWhat it is: short, silly adventures starring Dragon, a tenderhearted blue character who makes friends with an apple, goes on an unusual trip to the grocery store, and sweeps his dirt floor until it turns into a basement.
Who it's for: beginning chapter book readers who are wading into graphic novels, as well as kids who love Dav Pilkey's Dog Man and Captain Underpants series, but want something they can read on their own.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!