The Last Beekeeper by Pablo CartayaIn a world... broken by climate change and protected by the System, Yoly Cicerón will do whatever it takes to escape her family's farm for an education in the high-tech city.
What happens: Yoly's determination puts her in unexpected danger, leading her to shocking truths about the System and a discovery that could change everything: a hive of honeybees, long thought extinct.
For fans of: futuristic stories that make you think, like Donna Barba Higuera's The Last Cuentista. (Ages 8-12.)
In the Beautiful Country by Jane KuoThe American dream? Before moving from Taiwan to the U.S. in 1980, 10-year-old Anna thinks of America as "the beautiful country." After arriving, though, Anna faces the challenges of a new language and a new culture, as well as racist bullying at school.
Why you might like it: Told through poetry, Anna's story feels moving and genuine, especially for readers who've been through similar things.
Try this next: Firoozeh Dumas' It Ain't So Awful, Falafel or Kelly Yang's Front Desk series. (Ages 9-12.)
Chester Keene Cracks the Code by Kekla MagoonMeet: routine-loving 6th-grader Chester, who's training himself to be a spy just like his absent father, who only contacts Chester through secret messages.
What happens: When Chester's free-spirited classmate Skye provides scavenger hunt clues that line up with the most recent message from his dad, the unlikely new friends set out to solve the puzzle -- with surprising results.
Read it for: a twisty mystery full of action and code-cracking, alongside a touching take on friendship and family. (Ages 8-12.)
Leave It to Plum! by Matt PhelanStarring: perky purple peacock Plum, whose job as the zoo's guest ambassador is to "mingle, guide, delight."
What happens: Jealous ningbing Itch (a tiny marsupial) tries to escape and make trouble for Plum, but the bird has enough smarts -- along with help from street cat Jeremy and zookeeper Lizzie -- to foil Itch's schemes.
Who it's for: The 1st in a series, this whimsical illustrated chapter book will be a hit with fans of Kate DiCamillo's Mercy Watson series. (Ages 8-11.)
The Kaya Girl by Mamle WoloWelcome to: Makola Market in Accra, Ghana, where rich doctor's daughter Abena and working-class Muslim migrant Faiza begin an unexpected friendship.
Why you might like it: You'll be touched by the way Faiza and Abena learn each others' languages and start to see the world differently, while vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of the market will make you feel like you're right there with the characters. (Ages 9-13.)
Akissi: Tales of Mischief by Marguerite Abouet; illustrated by Mathieu SapinWhat it is: slice-of-life comics starring spunky Akissi, who finds trouble wherever she goes.
Why you might like it: Set on West Africa's Ivory Coast, Akissi's adventures allow you to visit a place that might be new to you, while also serving up plenty of gross-out moments and upbeat, laugh-out-loud humor.
Series alert: If you like this intro to the Akissi series, be sure to check out the the books that follow, starting with More Tales of Mischief. (Ages 7-10.)
Class Act by Jerry CraftStarring: 8th-grader Drew Ellis, still waiting for a growth spurt while dealing with the pressures of being one of the only Black kids at his prep school.
Why you might like it: You might relate to the way Drew has to work "twice as hard to go half as far," even as you laugh at the funny dialogue and clever visual jokes.
Series alert: Though it's a sequel to the mega-popular New Kid, Class Act stands on its own. (Ages 9-13.)
Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel by Jennifer L. Holm; illustrated by Savanna Ganucheau and Lark PienWhat it is: a graphic novel version of the 2010 novel about skeptical, 11-year-old Turtle, who spends the summer of 1935 in Florida with her cousin Beans and a gang of pranksters.
Read it for: quirky characters, hilarious adventures, family drama, and bits of '30s pop culture.
Art alert: With exaggerated expressions and beachy pastel colors, the illustrations enhance the humor and tropical vibes of the original. (Ages 8-12.)
Twins by Varian Johnson; illustrated by Shannon WrightStarring: brainy, nervous Maureen and confident go-getter Francine, identical twin sisters who used to be best friends.
What happens: Starting middle school highlights the ways in which the sisters are growing apart, although they still agree about one thing: each wants to beat the other in the race for class president.
Art alert: Smart details and expressive faces make it easy to tell the feuding twins apart in this warm, funny read. (Ages 9-13.)
Bug Boys by Laura KnetzgerStarring: Rhino-B and Stag-B, two beetle buddies who love to go exploring together, whether they're following a treasure map, escaping giants, or stopping a war between termites and honeybees.
Art alert: The world of Bug Boys is bursting with candy colors and creative touches, similar to animated shows like Steven Universe.
Try this next: Ben Clanton's Narwhal and Jelly books, another graphic novel series filled with bite-sized stories and feel-good friendship. (Ages 7-10.)
The Okay Witch by Emma SteinkellnerWhat it's about: Lonely 13-year-old outsider Moth Hush is shocked to discover her hidden witchy abilities, as well as a long history of power and prejudice in her family and her Massachusetts hometown.
Who it's for: fans of Molly Ostertag's Witch Boy series, as well as anyone looking for a fun, thought-provoking comic about the perks and perils of magical heritage.
Check out the sequel: The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow. (Ages 9-13.)
Contact your librarian for more great books!