By Danielle Wilkinson
This fall season has an impressive lineup of middle grade releases featuring brilliant and fearless protagonists—including a vampire slayer trying to prevent a war, a spy who goes undercover to stop a terrorist attack, a boy who can talk to ghosts, and a girl fighting the discriminatory dress code at her school.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but we hope it helps you keep an eye out for your next new read!
Key Player by Kelly Yang (Chinese American author & protagonist)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Scholastic
Description: The Women’s World Cup coming to Southern California, everyone is soccer-crazy—especially Mia Tang! As Mia aims for her goals, she’ll have to face prejudice, discrimination, and her own fears.
The Curse on Spectacle Key by Chantel Acevedo (Cuban American author & protagonist)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Balzer + Bray
Description: A sweetly spooky ghost story about a Cuban American boy who befriends a pair of spirits and tries to break the curse on his island home . . . only to discover a seemingly lost piece of his family’s history in the process.
We Were the Fire By Shelia P. Moses (Black author & protagonist)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Description: The powerful story of an eleven-year-old Black boy determined to stand up for his rights, who’s pulled into the action of the 1963 civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution by Sherri Winston (Black author & protagonist)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Bloomsbury Children’s
Description: A story about a young Black girl who summons the courage to fight against a discriminatory dress code—and stand up for herself.
Eden’s Everdark By Karen Strong (Black author & protagonist)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Description: A young girl who stumbles into a magical realm ruled by a wicked witch is a haunting and ultimately uplifting middle grade novel about grief, family, and decades-old magic.
Shot Clock by Caron Butler & Justin A. Reynolds (Black authors & protagonist)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Katherine Tegen Books
Description: After Tony’s best friend Dante is killed by a police officer, Tony tries to carry on Dante’s legacy by making the Sabres, the AAU basketball team Dante took to two national championships.
They Call Her Fregona: A Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles (Mexican American author & protagonist)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Kokila
Description: “You can be my boyfriend.” It only takes five words to change Güero’s life at the end of seventh grade. A bittersweet first-love story in verse and the highly anticipated follow-up to They Call Me Güero.
The Bluest Sky by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Cuban author & protagonist)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Knopf Books for Young Readers
Description: A boy and his family must decide whether to remain in Cuba under a repressive government or risk everything for the chance of a new beginning.
Serwa Boateng’s Guide to Vampire Hunting by Roseanne A. Brown (Ghanaian American author, Ghanaian protagonist)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Rick Riordan Presents
Description: A pre-teen Ghanaian vampire slayer gets shipped to Maryland, where she gets a taste of normal life—until a deadly shapeshifting vampire known as an adze infiltrates her school.
Adrift by Tanya Guerrero (Filipino/Spanish author, biracial Filipino protagonists)
Release date: September 6, 2022 | Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Description: An upper middle grade contemporary story of survival and grief about two cousins whose resilience is tested when one of them is lost at sea.
Iveliz Explains It All by Andrea Beatriz Arango, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez (Puerto Rican author, illustrator, & protagonist)
Release date: September 13, 2022 | Random House Books for Young Readers
Description: One girl takes on seventh grade while facing mental health challenges, and must find her voice to advocate for the help and understanding she deserves.
The Gingerbread Witch by Alexandra Overy (LGBTQIA+ author, sapphic protagonist)
Release date: September 13, 2022 | Inkyard Press
Description: Maud has grown up in a house made of gingerbread, wanting nothing more than to be a witch like Mother Agatha.
Starlet Rivals by Puneet Bhandal (Indian author & protagonist)
Release date: September 13, 2022 | Lantana
Description: Twelve-year-old Bela has always dreamed about becoming a famous Bollywood star, and now the opportunity might finally be within her grasp.
Speak Up! by Rebecca Burgess (Autistic author & protagonist)
Release date: September 16, 2022 | Quill Tree Books
Description: A coming-of-age middle grade graphic novel that follows an autistic girl who finds friendship where she least expects it and learns to express her true self in a world where everyone defines her by her differences.
Black Bird, Blue Road by Sofiya Pasternack (Jewish author & protagonist)
Release date: September 20, 2022 | Versify
Description: A historical fantasy in which young Ziva will do anything to save her twin brother Pesah from his illness—even facing the Angel of Death himself.
You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro (Latinx/LGBTQIA+ author & protagonist)
Release date: September 20, 2022 | HarperCollins
Description: A time-bending adventure with David and talking, shapeshifting dog Fea as they attempt to fix David’s life and end up on a quest that may lead them to answers in the most unexpected places.
The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron (Black/LGBTQIA+ author, Black/non-binary protagonist)
Release date: September 20, 2022 | Bloomsbury Children’s
Description: In the world of the Vanquishers, vampires were history . . . until now. Malika “Boog” Wilson and her best friends revive the legendary vampire hunting group after one of their friends goes missing.
Anisa’s International Day by Reem Faruqi (Pakistani American author & protagonist)
Release date: September 20, 2022 | HarperCollins
Description: An irresistible younger middle grade novel about a girl who introduces her class to the art of mehndi for International Day.
The Trouble With Robots by Michelle Mohrweis (Autistic/LGBTQIA+ author & protagonists)
Release date: September 27, 2022 | Peachtree
Description: Evelyn strives for excellence. Allie couldn’t care less. Together, these polar opposites must work together if they have any hope of saving their school’s robotics program.
Holler of the Fireflies by David Barclay Moore (Black author & protagonist)
Release date: September 27, 2022 | Knopf Books for Young Readers
Description: A boy from the hood in Brooklyn travels to a STEM camp in an Appalachian holler for one epic, life-changing summer.
Rain Rising by Courtne Comrie (Black author & protagonist)
Release date: September 27, 2022 | HarperCollins
Description: A debut middle grade novel-in-verse about Rain, who must overcome sadness after her all-star brother is badly beaten up at a frat party.
Ways to Share Joy: A Ryan Hart Story by Renée Watson (Black author & protagonist)
Release date: September 27, 2022 | Bloomsbury Children’s
Description: Renée Watson continues her young middle grade series starring Ryan Hart, a girl who is pure spirit and sunshine.
Undercover Latina by Aya de Leon (Puerto Rican, Black, & West Indian author; Latinx protagonist)
Release date: October 4, 2022 | Candlewick
Description: A Latina teen spy goes undercover as a white girl to stop a white supremacist terrorist plot in a fast-paced middle-grade debut from a seasoned author of contemporary crime fiction.
Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria by George Jreije (Lebanese-American author & protagonist)
Release date: October 4, 2022 | HarperCollins
Description: Twelve-year-old Shad Hadid is an aspiring baker whose life is uprooted when he discovers he’s descended from a long line of alchemists and sent to the mysterious Alexandria Academy.
The Lords of Night by J.C. Cervantes (Mexican American author, Mexican/Mayan protagonist)
Release date: October 4, 2022 | Rick Riordan Presents
Description: Fourteen-year-old Renata Santiago is the most powerful godborn of them all, a bruja with the ability to manipulate shadows and a magical rope that controls time.
Children of Stardust by Edudzi Adodo (Togolese author, Black protagonist)
Release date: October 4, 2022 | Norton Young Readers
Description: This exhilarating and playful middle grade adventure novel rockets through space on an epic quest to protect the galaxy.
A Different Kind of Normal by Abigail Balfe (Autistic author)
Release date: October 4, 2022 | Crown Books for Young Readers
Description: In this joyfully illustrated memoir, author-illustrator Abigail Balfe recounts her journey growing up autistic and the challenges of navigating the “normal” world around her.
Mwikali and the Forbidden Mask by Shiko Nguru (Kenyan author & protagonist)
Release date: October 11, 2022 | Lantana
Description: 12-year-old Mwikali is moving to a new school in Nairobi and just wants her life to be normal. But when she learns she is descended from an ancient bloodline of legendary Kenyan warriors, all hope of a normal life fades.
Nikhil Out Loud by Maulik Pancholy (Indian American/LGBTQIA+ author & protagonist)
Release date: October 11, 2022 | Balzer + Bray
Description: A gay Indian American boy, the voice actor of a hit animated series, learns the power of using his own voice after his family moves to a small town in Ohio.
Where the Lost Ones Go by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Biracial Asian American author, Biracial Japanese American protagonist)
Release date: October 11, 2022 | Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Description: A middle grade contemporary fantasy in which a twelve-year-old girl grieves the loss of her beloved grandma and attempts to contact her beyond the grave.
Hazel Hill is Gonna Win This One by Maggie Horne (LGBTQIA+ author, sapphic protagonist)
Release date: October 18, 2022 | Clarion Books
Description: A funny, feminist, and queer contemporary middle grade debut that follows twelve-year-old loner Hazel Hill, who, after one of her classmates is harassed online, devises a plan to catch the school’s golden boy in the act.
Weird Rules to Follow by Kim Spencer (Ts’msyen author, Indigenous protagonist)
Release date: October 18, 2022 | Orca
Description: Mia, a young Indigenous girl growing up in the 1980s, learns some hard lessons about friendship, family and cultural differences.
Frizzy by Claribel A. Ortega (Afro-Latinx/Dominican-American), illustrated by Rose Bousamra (mixed-race) (Afro-Latinx/Dominican-American protagonist)
Release date: October 18, 2022 | First Second
Description: A middle grade graphic novel about Marlene, a young girl who stops straightening her hair and embraces her natural curls.
Marikit and the Ocean of Stars by Caris Avendaño Cruz (Filipino author & protagonist)
Release date: October 18, 2022 | Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Description: A magical middle grade debut, inspired by Filipino folklore, about a ten-year-old girl who embarks on a quest in the world of gods and spirits to save her and her family from a sinister shadow god.
Show Us Who You Are by Elle McNicoll (Autistic author & protagonist)
Release date: October 25, 2022 | Crown Books for Young Readers
Description: A neurodiverse twelve-year-old girl is shown an amazing new technology that gives her another chance to talk to the best friend she lost.
Anne: An Adaptation of Anne of Green Gables (Sort Of) by Kathleen Gros (LGBTQIA+ author & protagonist)
Release date: October 25, 2022 | Quill Tree Books
Description: In this modern graphic novel retelling of Anne of Green Gables from graphic novelist Kathleen Gros, foster kid Anne Shirley finally lands in a loving home and befriends a girl who she may have more-than-friends feelings for.
A Seed in the Sun by Aida Salazar (Mexican author & protagonist)
Release date: October 25, 2022 | Dial Books
Description: A farm-working girl with big dreams meets activist Dolores Huerta and joins the 1965 protest for workers’ rights in this tender-hearted middle grade novel in verse.
Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston by Esme Symes-Smith (LGBTQIA+ author, nonbinary protagonist)
Release date: November 8, 2022 | Labyrinth Road
Description: In a magical medieval world filled with dragons, shape-shifters, and witches, a twelve-year-old hero will search for their place as an impending war threatens. A thrilling middle-grade series opener that stars a nonbinary tween and explores identity and gender amid sword fights.
Morning Sun In Wuhan by Ying Compestine (Chinese American author, Chinese protagonist)
Release date: November 8, 2022 | Clarion Books
Description: This swift, gripping novel captures not only the uncertainty and panic when COVID first emerged in Wuhan, but also how a community banded together.
Futureland: Battle for the Park by H.D. Hunter (Black), illustrated by Khadijah Khatib (Malaysian) (Black protagonist)
Release date: November 8, 2022 | Random House Books for Young Readers
Description: When an extraordinary flying theme park arrives above Atlanta, one boy must stop a sinister force from stealing the park’s tech and taking over the world.
Danielle Wilkinson is a 20-something aspiring author from Atlanta who has always loved the feeling of getting lost in a good story. In 2021, her blog Danielle The Writer was selected as The Write Life’s 100 Best Websites For Writers. She also started her first business the same year, where she teaches new and aspiring authors how to dominate on Instagram so they can grow a community of loyal fans. When she’s not working or writing, you can find her reading with a cup of tea, listening to podcasts, trying to take the perfect photo for her Instagram, or fangirling over K-Pop videos.