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The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza (The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza #1)

Mac Barnett, illus. by Shawn Harris (HarperCollins/Tegen)

When rats from another galaxy begin devouring the moon, Earth’s smartest scientists dispatch a cybernetically enhanced cat—the First Cat in Space—to deal with the threat. Accompanied by guileless, toenail-clipping robot LOZ 4000 and the proud Moon Queen, First Cat adventures across a madcap geography. Adapting the “Live Cartoon” Instagram series that shares its title, Barnett and Harris replace innovative papercraft and DIY camerawork with an assured graphic novel full of absurdist humor.


The Marvellers (The Marvellers #1)

Dhonielle Clayton, illus. by Khadijah Khatib (Holt)

The first Conjuror to enroll at the elite Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors, Ella Durand is determined to make her family proud. After she boards a sky-ferry and dons her Marvellian mantle, though, an already difficult cultural adjustment becomes even more troublesome. Fantastical and deeply atmospheric, Clayton’s middle grade debut combines myriad global cultural traditions with an intersectionally inclusive adventure that ensnares readers.


Miss Quinces

Kat Fajardo (Graphix)

In Fajardo’s graphic novel, a solo debut, aspiring artist Suyapa Gutiérrez would rather spend her 15th birthday reading manga than dancing at a quinceañera. But on a family trip to visit her mother’s family in Honduras, Sue learns that her mother has already planned the celebration. Fajardo’s sympathetic look at a girl learning that she can be herself and still cherish family tradition celebrates the beauty of Honduras with vivid, summery art.


Small Town Pride

Phil Stamper (HarperCollins)

After 13-year-old Jake Moore comes out to his parents, his father installs a large Pride flag in the family’s small-town Ohio yard, and Jake decides to throw the village’s first Pride festival. But village politics and red tape threaten to derail things, forcing Jake and his cohort to work toward changing the system. Drawing from his own childhood experiences, Stamper keeps the accessible story hopeful with a heartfelt portrayal of acceptance, inclusion, and bighearted community.


Valentina Salazar Is Not a Monster Hunter

Zoraida Córdova (Scholastic Press)

The Salazar family, including Valentina and her tight-knit siblings, are not monster hunters—they’re monster protectors, responsible for rescuing the magical creatures that sometimes wander into the real world from their own dimensions. When a mythical egg surfaces, Val will stop at nothing to protect it from the actual monster hunters determined to destroy it. Córdova weaves a tale packed with action and hijinks, perfect for an impromptu summertime adventure.


Wretched Waterpark (Sinister Summer #1)

Kiersten White (Delacorte)

The Sinister-Winterbottoms siblings—Theo; her twin, Alexander; and their older sister, Wil—are spending the summer with odd and sometimes creepy Aunt Saffronia. Desperately bored, the three are thrilled when Aunt Saffronia suggests a trip to the Fathoms of Fun Waterpark, but the theme park is filled with oddities even creepier than their aunt, making the trio wonder if they’re in over their heads, in White’s series opener about an average summer vacation turned spooky.


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