If you follow my blog, then you know I am quick to read a book featuring #BlackGirlMagic or Diverse Magic worlds. I’ve noticed a little trend that I’m loving in middle grades where Black girls and girls of color are taking center stage in a space that previously excluded them. A generation of writers that felt unseen are now writing the novels they wish had existed when they were growing up. I love it!
Here is a short list of novels that celebrate diverse magic in Middle Grades books. Some I have read, all are on my TBR list. Magic academies are definitely a trend in the list! If I missed any, let me know in the comments so I can add it to my list!
Publication Date: May 3, 2022
Ages/Grades: Ages 8-12 / Grades 4-6
Length: 416 pages
Description: Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, like brewing Indian spice elixirs and bartering with pesky Irish pixies.
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Publication Date: Aug. 30, 2022
Ages: 8-11 / Grades 4-6
Description: Kyana Turner has just found out the family secret–she’s a witch! This means mandatory lessons every Saturday at Park Row Magick Academy, the magic school hidden in the back of her local beauty shop. Learning spells, discovering charms and potion recipes, and getting a wand made to match her hair’s curl pattern, Kyana feels like she’s a part of something really special. The hardest part will be keeping her magic a secret from non-Magick folks, including her BFF, Nae.
Publication Date: June 14, 2022
Ages: 8-12 / Grades 3-7
Series: yes, Onyeka and the Legacy of the Solari (pub date unknown)
Description: Onyeka has a lot of hair—the kind that makes strangers stop in the street and her peers whisper behind her back. At least she has Cheyenne, her best friend, who couldn’t care less what other people think. Still, Onyeka has always felt insecure about her vibrant curls…until the day Cheyenne almost drowns and Onyeka’s hair takes on a life of its own, inexplicably pulling Cheyenne from the water.
At home, Onyeka’s mother tells her the shocking truth: Onyeka’s psycho-kinetic powers make her a Solari, one of a secret group of people with super powers unique to Nigeria. Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves embroiled in a momentous battle between truth and lies…
Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
Publication Date: Jan. 19, 2021
Ages: 9+ / Grades 3-7
Series: yes, Amari and the Great Game
Length: 432 pages
Description: Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.
So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.
Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Ages: 8-12 / Grades 3-7
Series: yes (Next book: The Golden Frog Games, 2023)
Description: Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches. And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!
With action-packed adventure, a coven of quirky witchlings, Claribel A. Ortega’s signature humor, and girl-power vibes, you won’t be able to put down this middle-grade Latine witch story, perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers or Harry Potter.
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
Ages: 10-14 / Grades 5-9
Series: yes, Charmed Life (Book 2)
Length: 352 pages
Description: Hasani’s post-seventh-grade summer to-do list is pretty simple: get a bigger following for her makeup YouTube channel and figure out how to get her parents back together. What she does NOT expect is that an emotional outburst will spark a latent magical ability in her. Or that the magic will be strong enough to attract the attention of witches. Or that before she can say #BlackGirlMagic, she’ll be shipped off on a scholarship to a fancy finishing school for talented young ladies.
Les Belles Demoiselles is a literal charm school. Here, generations of young ladies from old-money witch families have learned to harness their magic, and alumnae grow to become some of the most powerful women across industries, including politicians, philanthropists, CEOs, entrepreneurs—and yes, even social media influencers. Needless to say, admission to the school is highly coveted, very exclusive . . . and Hasani sticks out like a weed in a rose bouquet.
While the other girls have always known they were destined to be witches, Hasani is a Wildseed––a stray witch from a family of non-witches, with no background knowledge, no way to control her magic, and a lot to catch up on. “Wildseed” may be an insult that the other girls throw at her, but Wildseeds are more powerful than they know. And Hasani will learn that there are ways to use magic and thrive that can never be taught in a classroom.
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Ages: 8-12/ Grades 3-7
Length: 272 pages
Description: Still grieving the loss of her mother, Eden visits Safina Island, her ancestral home, as a healing balm. But when she discovers an old sketchbook that belonged to her mother, she’s haunted by the images she sees drawn there. A creepy mansion covered with roots and leaves. A monstrous dog with dagger-sharp teeth. And a tall woman with wind-blown hair and long, sharp nails who is as beautiful as she is terrifying.
Days later, exploring the island alone, Eden follows a black cat through a rift in the bright day. She stumbles into Everdark, a parallel world where the sun never rises, where spirits linger between death and the afterlife, and where everything from her mother’s drawings is all too real—especially the Witch of Everdark, who wants to make Eden her eternal daughter.
Can Eden find a way to defeat the witch’s magic? Or will she remain trapped in Everdark forever?
What book from my Diverse Magic for Middle Grades list are you most excited to read?