Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. AlstonWhat it's about: Certain that her missing brother Quinton is alive, Amari Peters follows his trail to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, where she uncovers more clues, as well as her own dangerously powerful magic.
Featuring: fairies, aliens, a were-dragon named Elsie, a hidden world, and plenty of #BlackGirlMagic.
Series alert: If you don't want to say goodbye to Amari, you don't have to -- this is the 1st in an enchanting, fast-paced fantasy series.
Shaking Up the House by Yamile Saied MéndezWhat it's about: a clever, funny prank war between two sets of president's daughters.
What happens: With the end of their dad's U.S. presidency in sight, sisters Winnie and Ingrid Lopez begin playing practical jokes on the incoming president's kids, Zora and Skylar Williams. But their fun turns messy when the First Ferret goes missing and they accidentally unleash mayhem at the White House.
For fans of: Sherri Wintston's President series, or Mac Barnett and Jory John's Terrible Two books.
Root Magic by Eden RoyceWhat it's about: In 1963 South Carolina, Jez Turner and her twin, Jay, are still grieving the loss of their grandmother when their uncle, Doc, begins training them in rootwork.
What's that? Rootwork is a kind of of folk magic passed down through Jez's Gullah family, and with looming threats both human and otherworldly, she might need to use it sooner than she expected.
You might also like: Tracey Baptiste's Jumbies series, another fantasy with a vivid cultural setting and a heroine who bravely protects her community.
Case File: Little Claws by Eliot Schrefer; illustrated by Daniel DuncanMeet: dashing fox Esquire and her grouchy rooster friend Mr. Pepper, founders of The Animal Rescue Agency, which pledges to help all animals live their natural lives.
What happens: When Esquire and Mr. Pepper hear about a baby polar bear in peril, they rush to Alaska to join the rescue mission, along with a crew of animal allies.
Don't miss: the goofy cartoon art and fact-filled "field notes" in this short, series-starting chapter book.
Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable; illustrated by Stephanie YueWhat it's about: When NYC kid Katie takes a job caring for her neighbor's 217 mischievous cats, she discovers that the cats all have special skills, such as lock-picking, mixed martial arts, and computer hacking. Could these kitties be in league with the Mousetress, the city's most famous supervillain?
Read it for: a unique superhero story filled with funny, memorable characters both human and feline.
For fans of: cats (of course!), as well as graphic novels by Victoria Jamieson and Raina Telgemeier.
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah KapitWhat it’s about: After a coach sees her amazing knuckleball, 11-year-old Vivy lands her first spot on a real baseball team, despite her mom’s worries about her being the only girl and the only autistic player on the team.
Why you might like it: Told through letters between Vivy and her pen-pal (a major league pitcher), this authentic story will leave you cheering as Vivy finds new confidence both on and off the field.
Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray by Jess KeatingWelcome to: Genius Academy, a tiny, elite boarding school where 12-year-old inventor Nikki Tesla is sent after her pet ferret, Pickles, triggers a totally accidental explosion from Nikki's death ray prototype.
What happens: Nikki is sure she doesn't need friends, but when her death ray is stolen and the Academy reveals some exciting (and risky) secrets, she'll have to figure out how to get along with her fellow students.
Series alert: This adventure kicks off the smart, science-themed Elements of Genius series.
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla MagoonStarring: ten-year-old Caleb, who's tired of spending every summer stuck in his boring Indiana town.
What happens: Styx Malone -- 16 years old and impossibly cool -- moves to the neighborhood and introduces Caleb and his brother Bobby Gene to a risky scheme that could earn them the freedom Caleb dreams about.
Who it's for: readers looking for a funny, realistic story about a summer full of excitement and trouble.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae MarksStarring: twelve-year-old Zoe, whose summer plan (practicing for the Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge) is derailed after she receives a letter from the father she’s never met, and she decides to prove that he’s innocent of the crime that sent him to prison.
Who it’s for: readers who like realistic stories that are both fun and deep.
Try this next: C.C. Payne’s The Thing About Leftovers, another believable, moving book about a foodie kid dealing with complicated family stuff.
Willow Moss & the Lost Day by Dominique ValenteWhat it's about: Last Tuesday is missing, and without it the kingdom of Starfell could fall apart! That's what fearsome witch Moreg Vaine claims when she recruits Willow -- whose only magic power is finding lost objects -- to set things right.
Featuring: a color-changing kobold, a fainting visionary, a dragon named Feathering, and an imaginative quest.
Who it's for: This sweet, fascinating series opener is perfect for readers who love fairy tales and classic fantasy.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!