Welcome to a brand new month! If you’re wondering which new middle grade books are out in September 2023, this is the post for you. September is a notoriously release-heavy month, and this year is no different. I’ve read several of these books, but a few on this list are yet TBR. You’ll find a delightful mix of fiction and non-fiction books for upper middle-grade readers and some for younger middle grade readers. There are also historical fiction and contemporary realistic options, with some verse novels thrown in.
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20 New Middle Grade Books Out in September 2023
Here are 20 new middle grade books out this month:
Nothing Else But Miracles
Published: September 5, 2023 | Historical Fiction | 288 pp | Age 9+
It’s 1944 and Dory’s father has been joined the US Army in World War II, leaving behind 12-year-old Dory and her brothers, Fish (17) and Pike (7) with the parting words that the neighborhood will always give them what they need. So far, her father’s words have been true, with the neighborhood Italian restaurant Caputo’s offering them one free dinner a week and their neighbor sending them Polish food.
But when the new landlord demands to see their father if they want to keep living there, the kids are in a fix. This is a heartwarming, slice-of-life middle grade novel about New York City, family, and the safety of community, perfect for fans of historical fiction with a touch of mystery.
Maid for It
Published: September 5, 2023 | Realistic Fiction | 240 pp | Age 10+
After years of dealing with an opioid addiction, Franny’s mom is finally sober and on the right track with a cleaning job and a cozy apartment upstairs from a laundromat. But then she gets in an accident and has to be prescribed opioids again, sending Franny into a worry frenzy. Franny starts doing her mom’s cleaning jobs behind her back to ensure they don’t run out of money. But she soon learns that worrying about adult problems isn’t her job. This one is a page-turner and tackles important issues like poverty, classism, and drug misuse.
Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods
Published: September 12, 2023 | Non-Fiction | 288 pp | Age 8+
This is a non-fiction audiobook about the history of popular Chinese meals like dumplings and wontons. Kids who like folk tales, foodie books, and history will eat this up. I got this as an advanced listening copy from Libro.fm, but the hard copy has full-color images making this a delightful cross between a non-fiction picture book and a middle grade book.
Published: September 19, 2023 | Graphic Novel, Sports Fiction | 256 pp | Age 9+
Rosie’s dad wants her to play racquetball even though she says she wants no part and has no interest. He used to love it when he was a kid and he pushes Rosie to improve by constantly critiquing her game. But Rosie has a bad attitude about the sport because of the pressure he puts on her.
Blair is a new student with a warm family who are all into racquetball and Rosie wants her to compete in her behalf. But as Rosie hangs out with Blair’s family away from her father’s harsh supervision, she realizes what it means to play for fun. If you like graphic novels about sports, friendship, and dynamic characters who grow throughout the story, this is a very satisfying one to pick up.
I Am Kavi
Published: September 19, 2023 | Verse Novel | 272 pp | Age 9+
It’s 1998 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In the middle of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Kavi is dealing with her own personal upheavals. Her mother has remarried her father’s best friend after his death and is expecting a new baby.
Meanwhile, Kavi is getting sent to the city on a scholarship to an elite private school. There, she starts telling lies of a life of wealth and grandeur– small at first, then bigger and bigger — to fit in with the rich kids until she begins to lose herself. I really enjoyed this debut verse novel and readers looking for books set outside the US will love it.
The Improbable Tales of Baskerville Hall Book 1
Published: September 12, 2023 | Mystery, Historical Fiction | 336 pp | Age 9+
Ali Standish is back with a mystery novel that reimagines the early life of Conan Doyle. When young Arthur Conan Doyle is offered a spot at Baskerville Hall, a secret school for extraordinarily gifted children, he is elated at being chosen—and being given a chance to turn his family’s fortunes around.
There, Arthur makes quick friends with Irene Eagle, a girl who boldly strides into action, and Jimmie Moriarty, a boy whose brilliance rivals Arthur’s own. Together, they discover that their new school is a peculiar place, home to leaning towers and unexplained explosions, prowling wolves and extinct birds. Along the way, Arthur uncovers a mystery that will lead to grand adventure . . . and even greater danger. I’m eager to experience this one on audio!
The A&A Detective Agency: The Fairfleet Affair
Published: September 19, 2023 | Mystery | 272 pp | Age 8+
When Dr. Alistair Fairfleet, the institute’s eccentric chairman, disappears on the first day of Alex and Asha’s summer vacation, they receive a letter written by the missing millionaire himself inviting them to a game involving complicated clues and puzzles. It is just the sort of case they’ve been waiting to tackle. But nothing in the Fairfleet case has a simple solution.
As the kids track down clues, they uncover art forgeries, archaeological crimes, and Fairfleet family secrets. All of this tests their partnership and forces them to confront the complicated legacies of the people and places they admire most. I have an ARC of this one but haven’t read it yet.
Published: September 26, 2023 | Graphic Novel, Humor, Fantasy | 80 pp | Age 7+
Pocketon is a cute animal town, and a new cat, Taro, has just moved in. Peaches, Pogi, and Mago are besties and are immediately curious about Taro, who’s a bit introverted and withdrawn. But when Taro leaves a book behind, Peaches finds an in to invite her over and start a friendship. This beginner graphic novel is SO CUTE and explores the idea of befriending people even though, on the surface, you seem to have few common interests. It’s also written in a dyslexia-friendly font that makes it easy to read.
The Mona Lisa Vanishes
Published: September 5, 2023 | Non-Fiction | 288pp | Age 10+
This engaging narrative non-fiction book about the Mona Lisa heist is guaranteed to steal the hearts of history and art lovers. Despite being aimed at older middle schoolers, it includes fun black-and-white (in the ARC) illustrations to complement the story and reads more like fiction (in terms of interest level) than non-fiction.
Published: September 5, 2023 | Verse Novel | 256 pp | Age 10+
In Rye, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC, people work hard, kids go to school, and football is big on Friday nights. An eighth-grade English teacher creates an assignment for her class to debate whether Rye’s racist mascot should stay or change. Now six middle schoolers–-all with different backgrounds and beliefs–-get involved in the contentious issue that already has the suburb turned upside down with everyone choosing sides and arguments getting ugly. This one is on my Kindle, but yet TBR.
Published: September 19, 2023 | Adventure | 352 pp | Age 8+
Dogtown is a shelter for stray dogs, misbehaving dogs, and discarded robot dogs, whose owners have outgrown them. Chance, a real dog, has been in Dogtown since her owners unwittingly left her with irresponsible dog-sitters who skipped town.
Metal Head is a robot dog who dreams of being back in a real home. And Mouse is a mouse who has the run of Dogtown, pilfering kibble, and performing clever feats to protect the dogs he loves.
When Chance and Metal Head embark on an adventure to find their forever homes, there is danger, cheese sandwiches, a charging station, and some unexpected kindnesses along the way. This book has very short chapters and illustrations that are perfect for new chapter book readers.
Farewell Cuba, Mi Isla
Published: September 5, 2023 | Realistic Fiction | 336 pp | Age 9+
1960, Cuba. Cousins Victoria and Jackie love living in their island country with their large family. When when Fidel Castro’s communist government takes hold, things change swiftly leading Victoria’s father to relocate his family to Miami, leaving Jackie and her family behind.
As Victoria adapts to life in the US, Jackie and her family struggle in Cuba—until the family decides to send Jackie over to the States with Operation Peter Pan. But will Jackie ever see her family again. Both girls band together to bring the rest of their family to America.
The storytelling in this book is immersive, containing just the right amount of detail about Cuba’s political history and the impact on its people—at least the wealthy class. I also liked seeing the American middle school experience in the 1960s.
Ellie’s Deli: Wishing on Matzo Ball Soup!
Published: September 5, 2023 | Realistic Fiction | 224 pp | Age 7+
Eleven-year-old Ellie is feisty, determined, and a little bit anxious. She considers Lukshen Deli part of the family—after all, it’s been around for four generations, ever since her great-grandmother opened it. Ellie is determined to prove that old fashioned Jewish delis can get with the times—but if her plan doesn’t work, the deli will be sold for good. This heartwarming book for 8-10 year old girls has lovely illustrations and is just a joy to read. Thrilled to hear it will be a series!
Published: September 5, 2023 | Realistic, Verse Novel | 376 pp | Age 9+
13-year-old Jonah is determined not to allow anxiety run his life, so he signs up for the anxiety-inducing role of goalie in his school’s hockey team. But when his best friend develops a medical crises, Jonah’s anxiety flares up again. He starts to learn that it’s okay to lean on others and ask for help. This is a Canadian middle grade release that I pre-ordered. I’m excited to read it.
Farther Than the Moon
Published: September 19, 2023 | Realistic Fiction | 336 pp | Age 10+
All thirteen-year-old Houston Stewart has ever wanted is to become an astronaut. His dreams feel like they’re finally coming true when he’s accepted to the highly-competitive Junior Astronaut Recruitment Program. He only wishes he could bring his little brother, Robbie, with him. But Robbie has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and uses a wheelchair.
At camp, Houston is quickly drawn into the orbit of new friends, cosmic adventures, and a long-lost grandfather. But as Houston struggles to meet the program’s rigorous demands, he’s forced to reckon with the truth that Robbie may never visit space like the brothers have always hoped. But Houston is determined to honor Robbie’s dream, even if it seems like an impossible mission. So, like a good astronaut, he dares to make a new plan ― one that shoots for the stars.
The Stupendous Switcheroo
Published: September 12, 2023 | Fantasy, Superheroes, Graphic Novel | 302 pp | Age 8+
What if you woke up with a new superpower every day? That’s what happens to Switcheroo one morning after a radium bath the night before. His inventor mom is off on a super secret work trip, and his robot babysitter is flummoxed by the new development. I’m reading this right now, and it’s a lot of fun! Like Hud + Link and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this one is a prose-graphic novel hybrid with plenty of illustrations throughout and it’s from the star creators of The Cardboard Kingdom.
Published: September 5, 2023 | Realistic Fiction | 264 pp | Age 9+
Twelve-year-old Simi’s life is set. First: graduate from the Bollywood Academy, school to future stars. Second: become a super-famous actor, just like her showbiz parents. There’s only one problem: Simi would rather make music than act, and music is a profession dominated by men. Can Simi navigate the gender barriers of the industry to prove she has what it takes to become Bollywood’s next big music composer? This is the second book in the Bollywood Academy.
Published: September 5, 2023 | Realistic, Verse Novel | 224 pp | 10+
Celina and her family are bilingual and follow both Mexican and American traditions. Celina revels in her Mexican heritage, but once she starts school it feels like the world wants her to erase that part of her identity. Fortunately, she’s got an army of family and three fabulous new friends behind her to fight the ignorance.
Of course, it’s not possible to stay in celebration mode when things get dire–like when her dad’s deported and a pandemic hits–but if there is anything Celina’s sure of, it’s that she’ll always live up to her last name: Guerrera–woman warrior–and that she will use her voice and writing talents to show the world it’s a more beautiful place because people like her are in it.
The Vanderbeekers Ever After
Published: September 19, 2023 | Realistic Fiction | 416 pp | Age 8+
I listened to the latest and final Vanderbeeker book this weekend and I loved it. A heartwarming end to a heartwarming series. Readers should know that this one is not all-feel-good like the previous books in the series. One of the Vanderbeekers is seriously ill and there are a lot of hospital scenes + the death of a character (Not a Vanderbeeker) in this one. Still, lots of educational information for kids, plenty of family and pet scenes to maintain levity throughout. 100% worth reading!
The audiobook is available as part of Libro.fm’s September advance audiobook copies. (Learn more about Libro.fm and the Educator ALC program here.)
Published: September 19, 2023 | Realistic Fiction, Graphic Novel | 224 pp | Age 8+
This is another pre-order I’m thrilled for. I love everything Saadia Faruqi writes and this graphic novel about twin siblings who are forced to stop bickering and band together to support each other sounds right up my alley.
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There they are: 20 new middle grade books releasing in September 2023. Which of these are you most excited for? Which ones have you read?
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