Fall Book Watch: Middle Grade and Young Adult

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

Zenobia by Morten Dürr and Lars Horneman - Middle Grade, graphic novel. A young girl in Syria is caught up in the war tearing her country and family apart.

Grace and I are going to be looking ahead to the books coming out each season so we can get an idea of what's coming to shelves. Fall is almost ready to give way to winter (already?!) so we're launching the series now with a look at what's just come out in the last few months.

These lists, and on all of our Book Watch lists, are not exhaustive by any means, but titles that jumped out at us; maybe we love the style, or the story captures our imagination, or we're fans of the author or illustrator. If you're so inclined, you can take a look for yourself at all the books going on sale from major publishers in Publisher's Weekly's On-Sale Calendar, or by checking out the lists provided by specific publishers you know you love.

This fall we saw a ton of books about feminism, immigration, space travel, and personal journeys. Here are the books we're most excited about:


- Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon by Suzanne Slade - Middle Grade non-fiction in verse

- Nevertheless, We Persisted - An anthology of essays by 48 incredible women, including activists, actors, politicians, musicians, and teens, about times when they met hardship and persisted.

- The Splintered Light by Ginger Johnson - Middle Grade, and called “reminiscent of The Giver” for its exploration of the nature of creation.

- They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems by David Bowles - A Middle Grade novel in verse from the perspective of a Mexican-American boy just entering 7th grade.

- We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson -- Another Middle Grade-and-up anthology, this one including CB favorites Jason Reynolds, Jacqueline Woodson, and Kwame Alexander answering the question, "In this divisive world, what shall we tell our children?"

- The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco - An exploration of the world starting with the most bizarre, unique, and unexpected places.

- Winnie’s Great War by Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut - Middle Grade. Grace pointed out that this is the second Winnie the Pooh origin story we've seen illustrated by Sophie Blackall. We'll be discussing this more in another post but in the meantime, this looks great.

- The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser - Middle Grade. Reading the description to this one made me want to check out the first in the series, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. The power a house can hold.

- Here to Stay, by Sara Farizan - Young Adult. Farizan has written two other books we've loved: If You Could Be Mine and Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel. Her books draw from her own experience as an Iranian-American and the challenges of sexual identity and experience, especially as a teenager.


- Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz - Middle Grade. Nora's life in the Philippines falls apart suddenly when she loses her father and her home. When her mother goes missing, she sets off to find her.

- History vs. Women: The Defiant Lives That They Don’t Want You to Know by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams - Middle Grade. A look into history with Dr. Ebony Adams brings to light stories of women's perseverance through the centuries.

- Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo - Middle Grade. A sequel to DiCamillo's Raymie Nightingale.

- On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden - Young Adult, graphic novel. Space -- and love -- exploration with absolutely stunning illustration.

- Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak - Young Adult. From the author of The Book Thief.

- America’s Test Kitchen: The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs - OK, are you really surprised we're including a cookbook?

- Zenobia by Morten Dürr and Lars Horneman - Middle Grade, graphic novel. A young girl in Syria is caught up in the war tearing her country and family apart.

- Seeing Stars: A Complete Guide to the 88 Constellations by Sara Gillingham - Middle Grade. Gorgeous.

- Endurance, Young Readers Edition: My Year in Space and How I Got There by Scott Kelly - It's a great season for space, apparently, as the number of great books about space travel and the cosmos grows. Can't say we mind.

- Monstrous Devices by Damien Love - Middle Grade. This one made me think of everything I loved about The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and I'll definitely be checking it out. GB


- Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison - Middle Grade. Another fantastic collection from Vashti Harrison, author of Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History.

- A Velocity of Being, Letters to a Young Reader, edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick - Middle Grade and up. An anthology about books, edited by one of our favorite reader and ruminators: Maria Popova of Brainpickings.

- Inkling by Kenneth Oppel, illus. by Sydney Smith - Middle Grade, graphic novel. "Perfect for those who love Hoot, Holes, or Frindle."

Print this list! Click here for a link to a condensed version of this list in Google Drive.

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