[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have author Stephanie Elliot guest posting on the site today. She has a great list of MG and YA titles for back-to-school. Take it away, Stephanie!]
While school is somewhat back in session, these may be some very difficult times for students, parents, teachers, and readers alike! What better way to escape the uncertainty than by reading a great book? Here is a selection of young adult and middle grade books that will spark imagination and inspire today’s readers and dreamers.
Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira by Lou Diamond Phillips
When Everson is lost in a strange and hostile land, he is tasked by his enemies to overthrow their king. But when he meets the king’s daughter, Allegra, there is an unmistakable bond between the two. A war of enemies has brought them together, but will the same war tear them apart? An epic sci-fi fantasy written by actor Lou Diamond Phillips, The Tinderbox will excite and enthrall readers of all ages.
The Great Realization by Tomos Roberts
This poem was first shared online but is now a charming picture book for children. The Great Realization unravels some of the mysteries of the world in which we are currently living – the virus, the pandemic, the lack of personal connection. Through the author’s words and rhyme, children will get perspective and find hope amidst this very confusing time. Sure to become a classic, beautiful illustrations by Nomoco accompany the poetic story.
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
When Amal Shahid is wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit and then sent to jail, he had a choice – to sink into rage and despair, or fight for the truth. Through his art and poetry – and his determination for what is right – Amal will stand up to a system that has been against him simply because of the color of his skin.
Witch Wars: Witches of Orkney, Book 3 by Alane Adams
Giants, witches, dwarves, and even Thor, the God of Thunder, play a part in Witch Wars: Witches of Orkney, Book 3. Abigail is in her second year at Tarkana Academy and things are not good. To prevent inevitable war, she must find Thor’s hammer and restore order in Orkney. When an enemy shows up with harmful intentions, Abigail and her friends must work together to keep the peace.
The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling
Nora just wants life to go back to normal, while her father still lives in constant fear after a devastating shooting changed everything a year ago. The trip to the canyon was supposed to bring Nora and her father peace, but a flash flood occurs, and Nora’s father is gone. Alone, and with no supplies, Nora must face the dangers of the harsh desert and also keep the Beast of her dreams away in order to not only find her father, but to also survive.
Three Keys by Kelly Yang
Mia is planning the best year ever. Her parents are letting her and her best friend run the front desk at their motel, and she is also excited about her writing goals. But sixth grade isn’t what it’s all cracked up to be. Mia’s teacher isn’t that enthusiastic about her writing, and her classmates discover that she lives in a motel. Through school and home-life challenges, Mia will use her determination to get through whatever comes her way! Three Keys is the sequel to the award-winning book Front Desk.
The Magic in Changing Your Stars by Leah Henderson
Ailey Benjamin Lane flubs a dance audition and nearly quits doing what he loves most. His Grampa tells him of his own dreams of being a tap dancer and shows Ailey his treasured tap shoes. When Ailey tries on the shoes, he is magically transported to Harlem in 1939. There, he meets a 12-year-old tap dancer only to realize that he’s gone back in time and has just befriended his very own grandfather! Can Ailey help his Grampa, face his own fears, change the past, and make it back home? Black culture, history, and magical realism blend in this charming book that will delight and inspire.
Caley Cross and the Hadeon Drop by Jeff Rosen
In this epic fantasy series, Caley Cross has been sent to a new world where she becomes the Crown Princess. In this new world, “baests” live inside people, which give them animalistic powers. Caley makes friends who help her to navigate Erinath Academy, the school she now attends. But despite some good times, an evil watcher is searching for Caley in the hopes of obtaining something he needs to become immortal. This book is full of laughs and imagination, the perfect antidote to a bad day.
The Endangereds by Philippe Cousteau and Austin Aslan
The Endangereds are an unlikely bunch of heroes you’ll love! A polar bear, a pangolin (what is a pangolin, you ask? An anteater of sorts!), a narwhal and an orangutan band together to save animals from becoming extinct. These daredevil animals will take on many risks to get the job done. But when their friends are kidnapped by a villainous villain, there’s more trouble than ever expected and the Endangereds may end up on the extinction list!
A Place Called Zamora by LB Gschwandtner
Zamora is utopia, and for most where Niko and El live, it’s a distant dream, a place to escape. Niko and El are currently trapped in a corrupt dystopia and instead of Niko joining the corruption when he wins a race, he chooses El as his prize, which puts them both in danger. Can the two escape to Zamora, and do they have a chance at love, or is the fear that El feels a rational concern? If they make it to Zamora, will Niko be able to claim what is rightfully his, and what is to become of their future?
About the Author:
Stephanie Elliot is the author of the young adult novel, Sad Perfect, which was inspired by her daughter’s journey with ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. She writes about parenting, mental health issues, relationships, and of course, books. An editor and advocate for authors, she lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her family. For more info, visit www.stephanieelliot.com or www.stephanieeditorial.com.