'Schools of Wonder' Book Recommendations

By: Shanleigh Klassen

Grab your backpack, your books, and your wand; we’re heading back to school in our May 2022 box, SCHOOLS OF WONDER. Our May book is an incredible fantasy adventure full of thrills and intrigue from a best-selling author making their middle grade debut.

**Curious to know what book we’re featuring? Check out our spoiler page HERE, but beware! SPOILER ALERT!**

There are no shortages of magical schools in literature and we’re excited to feature just a few of those as book recommendations for you here. So, what are you waiting for? School’s in session!

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
Book cover of Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. Image shows a young Black child with dark brown afro hair in a white button down tshirt, one arm reaching out towards a glass sphere in the midst of shattering. Wispy animal-like creatures emanate from the glass sphere and surround the child. The background is various shades of blue.

A soon-to-be classic of the fantasy genre and an OwlCrate Jr fave, follow Amari on her first adventure of the Supernatural Investigation series. Amari's brother Quinton is missing, and Amari won't give up trying to find him. When a ticking briefcase appears in her brother’s old closet, Amari discovers Quinton left her a nomination for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Now, Amari must compete against some of the nation's wealthiest kids in order to stay in this secretive new world — and to discover the truth behind her brother’s disappearance. Get caught up now in this one-of-a-kind magical world and be ready for the sequel, Amari and the Great Game, set to publish on August 30th.

(P.S. You can still snag one of our exclusive editions when you buy a January 2021 INNER MAGIC box from the OwlCrate Shop!)

The Insiders by Mark Oshiro
Book cover for The Insiders by Mark Oshiro. A sideways V illustration shows three children running along a school hallway with multicoloured lockers. The main background is a bright yellow.

This story does an incredible job blending real-life difficult situations with just a hint of fantasy. At Héctor's old school in San Francisco, being gay didn't feel like being different. But here in Orangevale, he's immediately targeted by the school bully, which is how he discovers that the school’s janitor's closet is much more than it appears. The room becomes Héctor's much-needed safe space and even magically connects him to other kids across the country who are likewise seeking refuge. Together, Héctor and his two new friends help each other face their respective trials with compassion, humour, and friendship.

Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
Book cover for The Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega. Three children stand centered on the cover, a brown-skinned Latine child with curly shoulder-length brown hair wearing a light purple sweater in the front, with a pink-haired white child wearing black to their right and a black-haired white child also wearing black to their left. Magical wisps in shades of blue and pink surround the three figures, leading up to a pair of ominous eyes in the background.

In the magical town of Ravenskill, there is a Black Moon Ceremony held every year which places Witchlings into their covens in order to come into their powers as full-fledged witches. But on the night of Seven’s ceremony, she’s declared a Spare without a coven. Alongside two other Spares, Seven embarks on a dangerous and impossible task in order for the three of them to gain their full powers, or be turned into toads. Fast-paced, emotional, and utterly magical, this book explores the power of privilege and how important it is to look beyond a first assumption.

(And be sure to check out Claribel A. Ortega’s quiz to find out which coven house you’d be placed into!)

Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas
Book cover for Wildseed Witch by Marti Dumas. Image shows a young Black child with dark brown curly hair with various pink, white, and purple flowers woven throughout and surrounding. In the child's outstretched hands are floating, glowing pink and purple flowers.

When an emotional outburst sparks Hasani’s latent magical ability, she catches the attention of Les Belles Demoiselles: Finir l’École des Sorcières, the premier charm school for witches. There, young ladies from old-money witch families learn to harness their magic in ways that all but promises them great power and success. But Hasani can barely control her newfound magic and she struggles under the weight of unspoken rules that everyone else seems to know. The other witches call Hasani a “wildseed” — a stray witch from a family of non-witches. But wildseeds are more powerful than they know and Hasani will learn that there are more ways to thrive than can ever be taught in a classroom. Out May 10th!

Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis
Book cover for Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis. Image shows a young white child with red hair, wearing a blue sweater, in mid-run. In their hands is a glowing orb from which green-tinged streaks spiral out. In the background are a pair of ominous eyes looming over the scene. Image takes place in a forest clearing surrounded by stones.

During a field trip on her 12th birthday, Kelcie is suddenly attacked by ice fairies, leading her to a magical tree that transports her to the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts. Here in the Land of Summer, the AUA trains elite warriors to defend against creatures from the Lands of Winter. Although Kelcie is shown to possess powers similar to that of Otherworld's most infamous traitor, she won’t let that stop her from finding her place in this magical new world. Inspired by Celtic mythology, this is a brutal new magical school positively brimming with possibilities.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Book cover for The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Image shows three children, two white boy-presenting children with dark hair and blond hair and a brown-skinned girl-presenting child with dark brown hair in braids, standing among fog and clouds. Towering above them is a a hooded figure in an elaborate black cloak with a full-faced silver mask.

All his life, Callum’s father has warned him about how dangerous and evil the Magisterium is. But as a potential mage, Call has no choice but to attend the trials where he plans to purposefully fail. Unfortunately, Call fails at failing and is enrolled along with the two others under Master Rufus’ tutelage. As the year rolls along in the cavernous underground school, nothing and no one is quite what they appear to be. You may think you know where this story is heading, but revelations and plot twists will keep you guessing at every turn. The first in the Magisterium series, I promise you’ll be desperate for the next installment.

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