Holiday Recommendations for Young Readers 2023: Graphic Novels and Chapter Books (Ages 10-14)

Alebrijes, by Donna Barba Higuera, ages 10-14. When thirteen-year-old Leandro takes the fall for his sister and is exiled into an ancient drone, he embarks on a perilous journey beyond the city's walls where he encounters mutant monsters, wasteland pirates, and fellow outcasts as he tries to save his sister and fellow Cascabeles from the oppressive regime.“High-stakes adventure... Beautiful, imaginative writing…. A wondrous addition to any collection." -- Booklist, starred review. SEVEN STARRED REVIEWS!

Mascot, written by Charles Waters and Traci Sorell, ages 10-14. 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 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. Told from several perspectives, readers see how each student comes to new understandings about identity, tradition, and what it means to stand up for real change.  “A brilliant story not to be missed.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review.

Remember Us, by Jacqueline Woodson, ages 10-13. The summer before seventh grade, as the constant threat of housefires looms over her Brooklyn neighborhood, basketball-loving Sage is trying to figure out her place in her circle of friends, when a new kid named Freddy moves in. Together, they reckon with the pain of missing the things that get left behind as time moves on, savor what's good in the present, and buoy each other up in the face of destruction. And when the future comes, it is Sage's memories of the past that show her the way forward. "... Deeply moving…. An outstanding ode to the grief and gift of growing older. Woodson is one of the most esteemed figures in children's publishing, and her historical fiction especially can't be missed." -- Booklist, starred review. SIX STARRED REVIEWS!

Mexikid, written and illustrated by Pedro Martín, ages 9-14. Pedro Martín's grown up in the U.S. hearing stories about his legendary abuelito, but during a family road trip to Mexico, he connects with his grandfather and learns more about his own Mexican identity in this moving and hilarious graphic memoir. “Equal parts hilarious and tear-jerking moments abound… this artistically inventive read, which teems with lively characters and emotion, is a joy to behold." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review.

The Mona Lisa Vanishes: A Legendary Painter, a Shocking Heist, and the Birth of a Global Celebrity, written by Nicholas Day, illustrated by Brett Helquist, ages 10-13. Just over a century ago, a desperate guard burst into the office of the director of the Louvre and shouted, La Joconde, c'est partie! The Mona Lisa, she's gone! No one knew who was behind the heist. Was it an international gang of thieves? Was it an art-hungry American millionaire? Was it the young Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, who was about to remake the very art of painting? Travel back to an extraordinary period of revolutionary change: turn-of-the-century Paris. And then slip back further in time and follow Leonardo da Vinci, painter of the Mona Lisa, through his dazzling, wondrously weird life. "A wildly entertaining, thoroughly contextualized look at art, history, and fame." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review. Three starred reviews!