Get Excited for these Spring 2022 Middle Grade Releases

By: Shanleigh Klassen

“‘When snow melts, what does it become?'
‘It becomes water, of course.'
‘Wrong! It becomes spring!’”
― Natsuki Takaya

As we move from the cold winter into a hopeful spring, let’s look ahead to all the incredible books coming our way this season. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so let us know your most anticipated Spring 2022 books in the comments below!

March Releases:

     Book cover of New From Here by Kelly Yang. Image shows three children outside a home on a sunny day. A young Asian American girl stands holding a red bicycle behind two Asian American boys, one of whom is wearing a dinosaur costume and drawing in chalk on the road. The other is wearing a dark red shirt and blue shorts and lounges on the sidewalk.  Book cover for Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall. Image shows a young Afro Latina girl swinging from a vine. Behind her, an older Afro Latina woman also swings on a vine as three monstrous creatures look on from either side of a precipice. A flying monster follows the two women, shown above the older woman's head.  Book cover for Troublemaker by John Cho. Image shows a young Korean American boy wearing a white tshirt, a red backpack, headphones around his neck, and a shirt tied at the waist. Behind him shows a city street with lit up advertisements in various languages. In the distance is a darkened sky with smoke rising up.  Book cover for Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly. Image shows 8 children hanging out around a creek with a tall weeping willow off the left side. The background colour is a gradient from yellow to green to blue.   Book cover for Ellen Outside the Lines by A J Sass. Image shows a young white girl with red hair among a blue sky with playing cards flying all around. Below her is a brightly coloured cityscape of Barcelona with four silhouetted figures running along.

  • New from Here by Kelly Yang (March 1)
    A timely and courageous story that follows Knox Wei-Evans, a 10-year-old boy who moves from Hong Kong back to California on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Knox’s life spirals out of control amidst rising hate crimes, it’s only by embracing his own uniqueness that he’ll gain the strength to make it through.

  • Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall (March 1)
    Determined to find information on her cousin who disappeared 50 years ago, Pilar accidentally ends up on the fantastical island of Zafa, populated with demons, shapeshifters, and the fearsome Dominican boogeyman, El Cuco.

  • Troublemaker by John Cho (March 22)
    Follows the events of the Los Angeles Riots through the eyes of Jordan as he and his friends are confronted with the racism within and affecting their community, both in the past and in the present.

  • Those Kids from Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly (March 22)
    In the small town of Fawn Creek, Louisiana, nothing ever changes. That is until Orchid Mason arrives and what follows is a character-driven tale that embraces the power of kindness.

  • Ellen Outside the Lines by A. J. Sass (March 22)
    Ellen is comfortable with her categorical and well-defined life. But when a school trip to Barcelona and a new classmate challenges Ellen’s rigidly defined world, she learns to embrace how life doesn't always stick to a binary.

April Releases:

      Book cover for Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega. Image shows three young kids standing as purple and blue magical waves surrounds them. In the background amidst more swirling magical waves are a set of glowing pink eyes.   Book cover for Alice Austen Lived Here by Alex Gino. Image shows two kids, a Black child wearing a pink sweater and a white child wearing a black shirt with a pizza logo on the back, with their backs to the viewer and looking upwards. In the background is a pale blue cityscape showing the Statue of Liberty.  Book cover for It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds. Image shows five young Black kids each facing a different direction, in an empty residential street. The main character is in a crouched position in the centre, wearing a towel around his neck, red swim trunks and flip-flops.  Book cover for The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat. Image shows a young Thai girl on the helm of a ship with water below. Behind the girl is a golden disc encircled by a golden dragon.  Book cover for Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl by Julie Kagawa. Image shows a large, green glowing creature looming over two children as they run away. The kids appear to be running on the arrow of a giant golden compass.

  • Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega (April 5)
    Ever since the placement ceremony, Seven’s life has taken a bit of a downward turn. Determined to become the powerful witch she knows she is, she embarks on a dangerous task with her two fellow Witchlings to gain their full powers.

  • Alice Austen Lived Here by Alex Gino (April 5)
    Sam and their best friend TJ take a stand against the "Dead Straight Cis White Men" as they discover and explore the rich queer history of their Staten Island borough – a history that no longer needs to be quiet, as long as there are good people to stand up for it.

  • It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds (April 5)
    Eddie is grounded until he can get his mountain of clothes clean. When the power goes out, leaving Eddie with only his swim trunks and flip-flops, he and the neighborhood kids soon discover they may be the only people left on Earth.

  • The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat (April 12)
    Although Sai is the assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker, she fears her father’s past will spoil her future. So, she jumps at the chance to join an expedition to the fabled Sunderlands in the hopes of discovering who she may become.

  • Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl by Julie Kagawa (April 26)
    Shinji’s world takes a turn when he becomes embroiled in a struggle between a nefarious corporation and an ancient power. This is the first of an epic new series that combines high-tech wizardry with old-world mythology.

May Releases:

      Book cover for Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao. Image shows a young modern-looking Chinese boy standing back-to-back with an older Chinese man in traditional clothing. Behind the two is a dragon shaped out of blue water.  Book cover for The Secret Diary of Mona Hasan by Salma Hussain. Image shows a young Emiratis girl whos face is mostly obscured by an open yellow diary. The girl has a pencil tucked behind her left ear. Behind the girl in various shades of blues, are framed photos of buildings and other family members.  Book cover for Every Bird a Prince by Jenn Reese. Image shows a young white child on a bicycle in front of a glowing portal in the trunk of a massive tree. Birds are shown flying towards the glowing portal door.  Book cover for The Science of Being Angry by Nicole Melleby. Image shows two figures on the left and right side looking towards the center figure. The center figure emits a red-orange aura that flows outwards into light and dark blues.   Book cover for Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit by Jesse Q Sutanto. Image shows a young Chinese boy wearing a blue sweater and reaching up towards a glowing cage. A fox spirit rests on the boy's shoulders as a giant phoenix bird curls around both figures.

  • Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao (May 3)
    Zach is tasked by the spirit of the First Emperor of China (bound into Zack’s AR gaming headset) to heist magical artifacts from across China and defeat figures from history and myth to prevent the world from being overrun by the spirits of the underworld.

  • The Secret Diary of Mona Hasan by Salma Hussain (May 3)
    Over the course of a year that sees a war break out in Dubai and her family immigrate to Canada, Mona learns to navigate these massive life changes and find her own, unique voice along the way.

  • Every Bird a Prince by Jenn Reese (May 10)
    Eren’s life is confusing enough when a strange, magical bird requests her help to save their forest kingdom from an ancient foe. Though reluctant to get involved, Eren must find the bravery to not only save all those she holds dear, but she must also be brave enough to explore who she is becoming. 

  • The Science of Being Angry by Nicole Melleby (May 10)
    Joey is angry all the time and she doesn’t understand why. As her anger and temper overwhelm her, she knows she needs to figure out why she feels this way and so begins a journey to discover what makes a family and what makes us who we are.

  • Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit by Jesse Q. Sutanto (May 23)
    Following his older brother’s death, Theo inherits his brother’s spirit companion – a fox named Kai. With Kai’s reluctant help, Theo must learn to embrace his heritage to solve his brother’s death.

Other Notable Releases:

                           Book cover for Melissa by Alex Gino. Each letter in the name MELISSA is in a different colour, from blue, orange, green, red, yellow, purple, and pink. A small face of a white child with brown hair peaks out from the 'A'.   Book cover of Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi. Image shows five young Indian children standing in the shadow of a massive cobra snake, ready to strike. The figures stand in a cavern with multi-coloured jeweled walls.   Book cover for Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse by Sangu Mandanna. Image shows five young Indian children in various action poses, each confronting a giant water human-like monster. On the far left is a child with black wings, below them are two children running towards the monster, beside them is a child wearing a yellow shirt in a wheelchair, and above them is a child leaping towards the monster wearing a blue and pink outfit.

  • Melissa by Alex Gino (April 5)
    Formerly published as George, this re-branded publication now correctly reflects Melissa’s chosen name. You can read more about the change in this article from Publishers Weekly.

  • Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi (April 5)
    This conclusion to the explosive Pandava quintet sees the Pandavas only have until the next full moon to stop the Sleeper from gaining infinite power. But how can Aru, Mini, and Brynne hope to defeat him without their celestial weapons?

  • Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse by Sangu Mandanna (May 17)
    In this sequel to Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom, Kiki is brought back to Mysore after her beloved kingdom’s only source of water suddenly vanishes. But saving her kingdom may mean dooming another to a terrible fate . . .