T10T: Diverse MG Reads (and a giveaway!)

September 17, 2019


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s theme is “favorite things to eat/drink while reading”. I don’t eat/drink much while reading, personally, but I do have a giveaway going on over on Instagram that I really wanted to take the opportunity to boost! To celebrate the release of J.C. Cervantes’ The Fire Keeper, a diverse Mayan anthology retelling, let’s talk about a few other diverse MG titles! But first…

Giveaway Details:

Thank you so much to Disney Book Group for partnering with me for this giveaway! It’s open to all US readers — all you have to do is visit this instagram post (or go to my IG, @howlinglibraries, and look for the recent post with the big “GIVEAWAY TIME!” light board message) and enter there! It’s super easy and takes about two seconds, and one lucky winner will receive:

  1. A hardcover copy of The Fire Keeper 
  2. An exclusive branded hat
  3. An exclusive bumper sticker

The giveaway is open until 11:59PM EST on September 25th, 2019, so be sure to enter while you can!



Now, for 5 books I recommend and 5 on my TBR…

1. princess princess ever after — ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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What a soft, sweet graphic novel! It features a subtle f/f romance, a QPOC heroine, positive fat rep, and it offers some solid discussions against gender roles and the idea that princesses can’t be heroes, too.


2. ghost squad — tbr, releasing april 7th 2020

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Not only do I clearly need a story about a couple of cute kiddos and their witchy grandma fighting off angry ghosties in St. Augustine, but then you’re gonna go and give me a precious cover like this and tell me it features own-voices Dominican rep?! I had better see this cutie getting the hype it deserves, that’s all I’m sayin’.


3. stargazing — ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ — review


Another graphic novel recommendation already? I know, I know, but these MG graphic novel creators are honestly out here killing the game with rep and frankly, not getting the praise they deserve! This one’s about a couple of Chinese-American girls from very different homes and lives befriending one another. There are some twists and tragic moments, but all in all, it’s a wholesome, sweet story of unlikely duos and connecting with your culture in whatever ways feel right to you, and it’s really precious.


4. the ghost collector — tbr


Indigenous rep is something we really don’t see a lot of, so I’m very hyped to get my hands on a copy of this Cree-inspired book inspired by the author’s own great-grandmother’s life. It features a family of women who catch ghosts in their hair, and when Shelly’s mother passes unexpectedly, she begins to use her ability to hoard ghosts in hopes of forcing her mother’s spirit to come to her. Not gonna lie, just typing up that synopsis has a little lump in my throat, but I really want to get a copy of this one ASAP.


5. the tea dragon society — ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ — review

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Another graphic novel recommendation, I know! But I think it’s the last. ? I just really don’t ever see enough people talking about this beautiful little book! It’s got dragons, gorgeous artwork, and more importantly, multiple queer and/or POC characters as well as a disabled character. It’s so stunning and everyone needs to read it, end of story.


6. gloom town — tbr


Ronald L. Smith is probably best-known for two things in his stories: creepy, twisted little settings and plots, and own-voice black rep in the main characters. Gloom Town looks like it’ll live up to both of those expectations, and it takes place in a gloomy seaside town (love), features otherworldly enemies (also love), and pits two young kiddos against ancient evil entities (again, love). This sounds like a recipe for a pretty fun (and spooky!) adventure.


7. the dollmaker of krakow — ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ — review


First of all, if you pick up this book — and I hope you do — please do not send me the bill for replacing your poor, tear-drowned pillow (or couch cushions, or desk, or whatever), but this book will probably destroy you in a few different ways. THAT SAID… you gotta read it. It’s a fantasy historical fiction about a living doll and her dollmaker living in Krakow during the height of Hitler’s regime, and it’s so gorgeous and underrated.


8. tristan strong punches a hole in the sky — tbr, releasing october 15th 2019


*deep breath* … listen. In the year 2019, we are being blessed with an own-voices story about a young black boy learning to cope with his grief and pain of losing his best friend by going to his grandparents’ farm in Alabama… where he meets black American gods and gets sucked into a wild mythological adventure including mother-loving Anansi, the Weaver? Literally every single tiny thing about this synopsis has me dying to read this, plus the cover has left me totally done for, it’s so gorgeous. Wow. ?


9. the night diary — ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


I actually read The Night Diary just a couple of weeks ago as an assigned book for my kid’s literature class this fall, and I am so freaking glad I picked it up, but dang, y’all, I’m still nursing a broken heart from this gorgeous little book. It’s told in diary entries of a girl writing to her deceased mother, and it takes place in 1947 in India, when the country was being divided into India and Pakistan. There are quotes in this book that will honestly live in my heart forever, and knowing that the story is inspired by the author’s grandparents’ own trek to safety during that horrible time? Oof.


10. from the desk of zoe washington — tbr, releasing january 14th 2020


I’m not sure whose idea it was for all of these upcoming releases to have such stunning, colorful, bright covers with these adorable kids of color on the fronts, but I would like to meet that person and shake their hand. And then buy all of these books and put them all over my house like little pieces of art. *ahem* Anyways! This one’s about a 12-year-old girl writing letters to her incarcerated dad, who she’s never met but she has reason to believe he’s an innocent man, and now she’s determined to prove his innocence and get him out — while juggling everything she needs to do to ready herself to enter Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge. I’m here for literally all of this and I need it, like, yesterday.


There you go — 10 diverse MG recommendations! Sorry that some of them aren’t out yet and you’ll all have to commiserate with me while we wait, but… at least you can add them to your Goodreads TBR! ? And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out J.C. Cervantes’ The Storm Runner & The Fire Keeper!


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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. I love your list this week! I’ve heard so many good things about the Tea Dragon books, I need to give them a try, and Princess Princess Ever After, Ghost Squad and The Ghost Collector all sound amazing!

    1. Such a great list of recs! I haven’t heard of the majority of these but I’ve read The Tea Dragon Society and it’s the cutest graphic novel that always leaves me feeling the warm fuzzies ? The Night Diary and The Dollmaker of Krakow look like really great reads too. Will be sure to check those out ?

      My TTT post

    1. I like the spin you took on this post ? I can’t wait to try Stargazing… I’ve been getting slowly in to MG books lately and this one seems so good! I love when stories emphasise culture and friendship! Great list ? Jen

      1. Thank you! Stargazing would be an AMAZING one for someone just getting into MG. It doesn’t feel “too” young IMO – I think it could easily have been a YA story without anything really changing.

    1. great post. That is a marvellous giveaway. If I lived in the US then I wouldn’t hesitate to enter.

      1. Thank you! I’m so sorry for the limitations! 🙁 The publisher is hosting the giveaway as far as actually sending out the prizes and sadly they had to restrict it to US only. I’m hoping to do a giveaway of my own in the near future that will be international though!!

    1. I COMPLETELY agree with you about MG graphic novelists. They are seriously KILLING it right now but not getting a whole lot of attention because parents (and some teachers) are sleeping on the medium. They see them as “simple comics” and “picture books.” They want their kids to read “real books” (which quite frankly gets on my last nerve anytime I hear an adult say that, especially when I as the librarian and professional recommend it for their kid). I’ve read SO many graphic novels this year so far and some of them are absolutely amazing.

      I also agree with you about Night Diary. oof. I am STILL thinking about that book and I read it last year.

      1. Yesssss to all of this! THANK YOU! I get so tired of seeing parents turn their kids into reluctant readers or non-readers because they’re close-minded to new mediums. Comics have always been beloved and graphic novels are just an extension of that – if anything, I would say often with more substance? But people get so finicky about it sometimes and it hurts my heart.

    1. Lovely post, Destiny! <3 I only heard about the dollmaker of krakow once before, but it sounds INCREDIBLE! I'm even more excited to read it, now that I've seen how much you adore it! If I sob buckets, I blame you entirely! Haha!

    1. Love this list! So many good books on here. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of The Ghost Collector, and it was fabulous! Definitely laid on the feels, but I thought it handled the grief process so well, especially for the target audience, and it was really fun seeing a lot of little bits of Cree life mixed in.

      I am so ridiculously excited for Tristan Strong, too! I’ve been following this book’s progress for what feels like forever now, and then they rewarded me by moving up the release date from 2020, and this is clearly a reward for my patience. :3

      1. Thank you! Your review is the first I’m hearing for The Ghost Collector and it makes me so happy to hear you enjoyed it so well, I’m definitely gonna have to order a copy or throw it on my birthday list ASAP.

        Yessss! I knew I was thinking it was originally a 2020 release, glad I wasn’t imagining that! ? Thank you to the RRP gods for granting us early access to Tristan Strong!

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