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The Golden Hour

Niki Smith

A Kirkus's Best Middle Grade Books of 2021 Pick

From the author of The Deep & Dark Blue comes a tender graphic novel, perfect for our time, that gently explores themes of self-discovery, friendship, healing from tragedy, and hope for a better tomorrow.

Struggling with anxiety after witnessing a harrowing instance of gun violence, Manuel Soto copes through photography, using his cell-phone camera to find anchors that keep him grounded. His days are a lonely, latchkey monotony until he's teamed with his classmates, Sebastian and Caysha, for a group project.

Sebastian lives on a grass-fed cattle farm outside of town, and Manuel finds solace in the open fields and in the antics of the newborn calf Sebastian is hand-raising. As Manuel aides his new friends in their preparations for the local county fair, he learns to open up, confronts his deepest fears, and even finds first love.

This title will be simultaneously available in paperback.

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The Prince and the Dressmaker

Jen Wang

A fairy tale for any age, Jen Wang's The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride—or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia—the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances—one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family.

This title has Common Core connections.

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Girl Haven

Lilah Sturges

Full of wonder, humor, and heart, Girl Haven is the newest original story from the author of Lumberjanes.

Three years ago, Ash’s mom left home and never returned, leaving behind a husband and child and a shed full of mystical curiosities related to the all-girl fantasy world she’d created as a child—Koretris. One day Ash invites a new group of friends from Pride Club over, and they try one of the spells to enter Koretris. To their amazement, they’re all transported to a magical realm filled with human-sized talking animals who are fiercely protective of their world and are ready to fight to protect it. But if Koretris is real, why is Ash there? Everyone has always called Ash a boy—shouldn’t the spell have kept Ash out? And what does it mean if it let Ash in?

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Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel

Rey Terciero

Little Women with a twist: four sisters from a blended family experience the challenges and triumphs of life in NYC in this beautiful full-color graphic novel perfect for fans of Roller Girl and Smile.

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are having a really tough year: with their father serving in the military overseas, they must work overtime to make ends meet...and each girl is struggling in her own way. Whether it's school woes, health issues, boy troubles, or simply feeling lost, the March sisters all need the same thing: support from each other. Only by coming together--and sharing lots of laughs and tears--will these four young women find the courage to discover who they truly are as individuals...and as a family.
Meg is the eldest March, and she has a taste for the finer things in life. She dreams of marrying rich, enjoying fabulous clothes and parties, and leaving her five-floor walk-up apartment behind.
Jo pushes her siblings to be true to themselves, yet feels like no one will accept her for who she truly is. Her passion for writing gives her an outlet to feel worthy in the eyes of her friends and family.
Beth is the shy sister with a voice begging to be heard. But with a guitar in hand, she finds a courage that inspires her siblings to seize the day and not take life for granted.
Amy may be the baby of the family, but she has the biggest personality. Though she loves to fight with her sisters, her tough exterior protects a vulnerable heart that worries about her family's future.

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The Girl from the Sea

Molly Knox Ostertag

From the author of The Witch Boy trilogy comes a graphic novel about family, romance, and first love.

 

Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can't wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She's desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends...who don't understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan's biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl.Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn't seem so stifling anymore.But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they're each trying to hide will find its way to the surface...whether Morgan is ready or not.

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Princess Princess Ever After

Katie O'Neill

When the heroic princess Amira rescues the kind-hearted princess Sadie from her tower prison, neither expects to find a true friend in the bargain. Yet as they adventure across the kingdom, they discover that they bring out the very best in the other person. They’ll need to join forces and use all the know-how, kindness, and bravery they have in order to defeat their greatest foe yet: a jealous sorceress, who wants to get rid of Sadie once and for all.

Join Sadie and Amira, two very different princesses with very different strengths, on their journey to figure out what “happily ever after” really means--and how they can find it with each other.

 

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The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part One

Michael Dante DiMartino

Relishing their newfound feelings for each other, Korra and Asami leave the Spirit World . . . but find nothing in Republic City but political hijinks and human vs. spirit conflict!

A pompous developer plans to turn the new spirit portal into an amusement park, potentially severing an already tumultuous connection with the spirits. What's more, the triads have realigned and are in a brutal all-out brawl at the city's borders--where hundreds of evacuees have relocated!

In order to get through it all, Korra and Asami vow to look out for each other--but first, they've got to get better at being a team and a couple!

Written by series co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino and drawn by Irene Koh T.M.N.T., Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman, Secret Origins: Batgirl, Afrina and the Glass Coffin) and with consultation by Bryan Konietzko, this is the official continuation of The Legend of Korra!

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Snapdragon

Kat Leyh

Kat Leyh's Snapdragon is a magical realist graphic novel about a young girl who befriends her town’s witch and discovers the strange magic within herself.

Snap's town had a witch.

At least, that’s how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a crocks-wearing, internet-savvy old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online—after doing a little ritual to put their spirits to rest. It’s creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it’s kind of cool, too.

They make a deal: Jacks will teach Snap how to take care of the baby opossums that Snap rescued, and Snap will help Jacks with her work. But as Snap starts to get to know Jacks, she realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic—and a connection with Snap’s family’s past.

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The Deep & Dark Blue

Niki Smith

The Witch Boy meets The Legend of Korra in this breathtaking, epic graphic novel.
After a terrible political coup usurps their noble house, Hawke and Grayson flee to stay alive and assume new identities, Hanna and Grayce. Desperation and chance lead them to the Communion of Blue, an order of magical women who spin the threads of reality to their will.

As the twins learn more about the Communion, and themselves, they begin to hatch a plan to avenge their family and retake their royal home. While Hawke wants to return to his old life, Grayce struggles to keep the threads of her new life from unraveling, and realizes she wants to stay in the one place that will allow her to finally live as a girl.
This title will be simultaneously available in hardcover.

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Space Battle Lunchtime

Natalie Riess

It's almost time for the season finale of Space Battle Lunchtime, and finalist Peony (the only Earth contestant) is nowhere to be found! That's because she's been kidnapped and taken to the set of Space Battle Lunchtime's biggest rival, Cannibal Coliseum, where chefs compete to cook... each other. Up against some of the most dangerous aliens in the galaxy, will Peony even make it to the end of the show? Stay tuned!

 

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Magical Boy

The Kao

A breathtakingly imaginative fantasy series starring Max--a high schooler chosen to become the next Magical Girl. There's just one catch . . . he's a trans boy!

 

Although he was assigned female at birth, Max is your average trans man trying to get through high school as himself. But on top of classes, crushes, and coming out, Max's life is turned upside down when his mom reveals an eons old family secret: he's descended from a long line of Magical Girls tasked with defending humanity from a dark, ancient evil! With a sassy feline sidekick and loyal gang of friends by his side, can Max take on his destiny, save the world, and become the next Magical Boy? A hilarious and heartfelt riff on the magical girl genre made popular by teen manga series, Magical Boy is a one-of-a-kind fantasy series that comic readers of all ages will love.

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The Tea Dragon Society

K. O'Neill

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. 

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives--and eventually her own. 

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The Witch Boy

Molly Ostertag

In thirteen-year-old Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn't shifted . . . and he's still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help -- as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

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The Magic Fish

Trung Le Nguyen

Tiến loves his family and his friends...but Tiến has a secret he's been keeping from them, and it might change everything. An amazing YA graphic novel that deals with the complexity of family and how stories can bring us together.

Real life isn't a fairytale.

But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It's hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn't even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he's going through?

Is there a way to tell them he's gay?

A beautifully illustrated story by Trung Le Nguyen that follows a young boy as he tries to navigate life through fairytales, an instant classic that shows us how we are all connected. The Magic Fish tackles tough subjects in a way that accessible with readers of all ages, and teaches us that no matter what--we can all have our own happy endings.

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The Legend of Auntie Po

Shing Yin Khor

A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

Part historical fiction, part fable, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine while she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885.


Cover may vary.

Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman's daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan--reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch.

Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po is about who gets to own a myth, and about immigrant families and communities holding on to rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in the United States.

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