When the real world is too much to handle, books are one of my favorite ways to escape. And the ultimate escape is a good fantasy book, where the impossible happens and new surprises are around every corner.
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In these worlds where animals speak and magic is real, it can sometimes be hard to find main characters that aren’t white. Luckily, there are lots of new middle grade books coming out that both feature characters of color and are written by people of color.
These books follow the stories of all kinds of kids who are exploring magical worlds and going on fantastic adventures. Your kids will love these exciting and encouraging books.
13 Diverse Middle Grade Fantasy Books
A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat
Pong escapes from prison, where he was born, and is on the run. Nok, the prison warden’s daughter, is on a mission to track him dow. This books is set in a Thai inspired fantasy world and is an exciting twist on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.
Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega
Lucely and Syd accidentally awaken spirits that create chaos in their town of St. Augustine. With help from Syd’s witch grandma and her fat cat, Chunk, they join together to save the town. This book will make any day of the year feel like Halloween with family magic, action and adventure. Perfect for fans of Coco and Stranger Things!
The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and The Kingdom Beyond trilogy) by Sayantani DasGupta
Kiranmala is just a normal kid, until one day her parents get kidnapped and a demon tries to eat her. Turns out she is a real Indian princess and must go an epic journey through another dimension to save her parents. Fast paced and full of humor, this book is perfect for fans of Rick Riordian.
The Last Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles
Otto and Sheed are local legends and sleuths in their small Virginia town, but when a mysterious man offers them a chance to freeze time and enjoy summer, chaos ensues. They will have to step up to solve the weirdest challenge of their lives. Non stop action and humor, inspired by The Phantom Tollbooth meets Back to the Future, this book is destined to become a new classic.
Love Sugar Magic Series by Anna Meriano
During the annual Día de los Muertos festival, Leo discovers that her family are brujas, Mexican witches and their bakery is magical! She decides to try some spells out on her own to help a friend in need, and chaos ensues. This book is a perfect mix of delicious pastries, friendship and magic!
Silverworld by Diana Abu-Jaber
Sami casts a spell to try to save Sitti, her Lebannese grandma, but instead falls through a mirror into another world. Silverworld is a magical city where beings of light and dark live, but chaos is starting to take hold. Sami will have to go on the adventure of a lifetime to save her Sitti.
Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly
When Lalani’s mom falls ill with a terrible disease, she must go on a dangerous quest. She sets off in a small boat and sets across the Veiled sea. Based on Filopino folklore, this feminist adventure is by Newbery award winning author, Erin Enrada Kelly (Hello, Universe).
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee
Jess Tran is the only person in her super hero family without super powers. She scores a paid internship that turns out to be working for a super villain! But she does get to work with her secret crush, Abby! Action packed with great characters, this book is technically a YA novel but it is appropriate for ages 10 and up.
Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Maddy spends her first summer in the bayou, where she discovers so much beauty and magic, from fireflies to mermaids. Her grandmother teaches her about her family’s magical legacy, but the bayou is in environmental danger. Can Maddy save the bayou?
The Gauntlet series by Karuna Riazi
Farah and her friends discover a mysterious board game called “The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” on her 12th birthday. They get sucked into the game, which transports them to a magical world where they must beat evil Lord Amari in order to save her brother and get out of the Gauntlet. This book is an action packed fantasy with a Muslim main character and a Middle Eastern inspired magical world.
Peasprout Chen series by Henry Lien
Peasprout Chen is delighted when she selected as one of the first students from her rural country to attend Pearl Famous Academy of Skate and Sword, where she will train in wu liu, marital arts figure skating. At the Academy, Peasprout finds the competition heated and tensions are high and when the school gets vandalized, she gets blamed for it. Can Peasprout uncover the truth and become a champion? This original and exciting book is a blend of Harry Potter meets Crouching Tiger, plus figure skating!
Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca
Mimi is the youngest of a big Indian American family, she dreams breaking out of the family’s shadow and becoming a celebrity chef. A mysterious boy she meets in the woods, gives her recipes and ingredients to help her win a local baking contest, but suddenly everyone in her family starts acting weird. Could her delicious treats be the cause of it all? This book is as sweet and fun as a cupcake, perfect for fans of Love Sugar Magic.
The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao
Faryn Liu dreams of becoming a warrior in the Jade Society, but her and her brother, Alex, have been shunned by the society for years, since the disappearance of their father. While Faryn and Alex train in secret, Faryn encounters a demon in San Francisco and defeats it! Does this mean Faryn is the legendary Heaven Breaker, a warrior for the Jade Emperor? This story is an epic and exciting adventure inspired by Chinese Mythology with magic, dragons and demons, perfect for fans of Rick Riordan!