Summer Reading 2024: BIPOC Girls on Adventure

A decorative header with an illustration of five diverse girls dressed in colorful outfits preparing for an adventure, set against a background of colorful stripes and silhouetted mountains with the text "and so the ADVENTURE begins."
Photograph of Lisely Laboy

Lisely Laboy is the project manager at Diverse BookFinder. Lisely holds a master’s degree in Information and Library Sciences from Florida State University and undergraduate degrees from the University of Florida in Sociology and Women’s Studies. She has 10 years of public library experience, including time as a programming librarian for children and teens.

Here at Diverse BookFinder, we encourage the use of diverse books all throughout the year! 

Using books that feature BIPOC characters allows BIPOC children to see themselves reflected on the page. It also allows non-BIPOC children to see the beautiful diversity of our world, and to build empathy for others. These important lessons should be emphasized and supported every day.

Summer is a busy time of year, kids are out of school (or will be soon) and our friends at our local public libraries are getting ready for Summer Reading!

This year, public librarians are planning for the theme of the 2024 Collaborative Summer Reading Program; “Adventure Begins At Your Library.

Well, your DBF team loves a good adventure and today we’re sharing some of our favorite BIPOC, Girl-Powered Middle Grade adventures to keep you reading all summer long!

Book cover for The Spindle of Fate by Aimee Lim

The Spindle of Fate
by Aimee Lim

Twelve-year-old Evie Mei Huang never did like helping in her mom’s tailor shop. She hated helping to mend fraying clothes, how the measuring tape got all twisted up, and how pushy her mother’s clients were. Most of all, she hates that her mother is dead and isn’t here to help anymore.

But when the universe sends a life preserver, Evie knows to grab it. So yes, it’s weird when a talking monkey shows up and tells her that her plainspoken, hardworking tailor mother was actually the head of a Guild of magical weavers who can change the fate of a person with only a spool of thread. Very weird. But he also comes bearing news that her mother is trapped in Diyu, the Chinese underworld, and that only Evie can get her back. No pressure. The important thing is that Evie’s mom isn’t dead. And if she’s got this one shot to bring her back and save her family, she’s got to take it.

Book cover for The Secret Library by Kekla Magoon

The Secret Library
by Kekla Magoon

Since Grandpa died, Dally’s days are dull and restricted. She’s eleven and a half years old, and her exacting single mother is already preparing her to take over the family business. Starved for adventure and release, Dally rescues a mysterious envelope from her mother’s clutches, an envelope Grandpa had earmarked for her. The map she finds inside leads straight to an ancient vault, a library of secrets where each book is a portal to a precise moment in time.

As Dally “checks out” adventure after adventure–including an exhilarating outing with pirates–she begins to dive deep into her family’s hidden history. Soon she’s visiting every day to escape the demands of the present. But the library has secrets of its own, intentions that would shape her life as surely as her mother’s meticulous plans. What will Dally choose?

Book cover for Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold by Jessica Outram

Bernice and the Georgian Bay Gold
by Jessica Outram

It’s the summer of 1914. Eight-year-old Bernice lives with her family in a lighthouse on Georgian Bay. One day Bernice wakes up to find a stranger named Tom Thomson sleeping in their living room. When she overhears him talk about gold on a nearby island, Bernice is determined to find it.

Inspired by her beloved Mémèr’s stories of their Métis family’s adventures and hardships, Bernice takes the treasure map the stranger left behind and sets out in a rowboat with nothing more than her two dogs for company and the dream of changing her family’s fortunes forever.

Book cover for Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs by Pam Munoz Ryan

Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs
by Pam Munoz Ryan

Ever since Solimar was a little girl, she has gone to the ouamel forest bordering her kingdom to observe the monarch butterflies during their migration, but always from a safe distance. Now, on the brink of her quinceañera and her official coronation, Solimar crosses the dangerous creek to sit among the butterflies. There, a mysterious event gives her a gift and a burden–the responsibility to protect the young and weak butterflies with her magical rebozo, or silk shawl.

Solimar is committed to fulfilling her role, and has a plan that might have worked. But when her father, the king, and her brother, the prince, leave on an expedition, a neighboring king overthrows the kingdom and holds everyone left in the village hostage. It takes all of Solimar’s courage to escape and then embark on a dangerous journey to save her kingdom, but she’s not alone. Her pet bird, Lázaro, the butterflies she protects, and a magical rag doll, Zarita, are with her. Then, at a precarious moment, she meets a river boy who knows the rapids.

Book cover for Daughters of the Lamp by Nedda Lewers

Daughters of the Lamp
by Nedda Lewers

Sahara Rashad lives by logic. Loves science. And always has a plan. Except her dad just whisked her away to her uncle’s wedding in Egypt, upending every single plan she had for the summer. In Cairo, Sahara’s days are filled with family–and mystery. First, Sahara’s cousins claim the pretentious bride-to-be is actually a witch. Then her late mother’s necklace starts glowing–and disappears.

Sahara’s attempts to recover the necklace lead her to the greatest mystery yet. Deep in an underground chamber lies Ali Baba’s magical treasure. Hidden from a line of sorcerers who threatened to use its powers for evil, the treasure was given to Sahara’s ancestor Morgana for safekeeping and passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Now only Sahara stands in the sorcerers’ way.

The sequel; Children of the Wind releases 06/11/2024.

Book cover for Lulu Sinagtala and the City of Noble Warriors by Gail D. Villanueva

Lulu Sinagtala and the City of Noble Warriors
by Gail D. Villanueva

Lulu Sinagtala can’t wait for a fun Christmas break. She’s excited to hang out with her sister, Kitty, and best friend, Bart; to reenact her favorite legends from Tagalog folklore (like the amazing tale of Bernardo Carpio); and, of course, to eat as much yummy street-side inihaw as possible!

But when a vicious wakwak attacks her neighborhood and kidnaps Mom, Lulu discovers the creatures and deities of Tagalog myth are real and that two additional Realms exist beyond our own. To make it worse, Lulu has superhuman strength and the ability to wield magic, meaning she’s the only one powerful enough to stop the evil spirit who’s determined to rule the three Realms at all costs. No pressure, right?

Book cover for Where the Black Flowers Bloom by Ronald L. Smith

Where the Black Flowers Bloom
by Ronald L. Smith

In the land of Alkebulan, twelve-year-old Asha is an orphan, raised by Madame S, the proprietor of a traveling carnival. When Madame S is attacked by ghoulish creatures, she manages to tell Asha before she dies, “Seek the Underground Kingdom, where the black flowers bloom.”

Asha doesn’t understand the mysterious words, but they launch her onto a page-turning quest to protect her people and stop an ancient evil. Along the way, she uncovers shocking secrets about the family she never knew and begins to find her place in the world as she discovers her own untapped powers.

Book cover for The Luminous Life of Lucy Landry by Anna Rose Johnson

The Luminous Life of Lucy Landry
by Anna Rose Johnson

Selena Lucy Landry (named for a ship, as every sailor’s child should be) has been frightened of the water ever since she lost her father at sea. But with no one else to care for her, she’s sent to foster with the Martins–a large Anishinaabe family living on a lighthouse in the middle of stormy Lake Superior.

…Although life at the lighthouse isn’t what Lucy hoped for, it is beautiful–ships come and go, waves pound the rocks–and it has one major advantage: It’s near the site of a famous shipwreck, a shipwreck that went down with a treasure her father wanted more than anything. If Lucy can find that treasure–a priceless ruby necklace–won’t it be like having Papa back again, just a little bit?

Book cover for Doña Quixote: Rise of the Knight by Rey Terciero & Monica M. Magaña

Doña Quixote: Rise of the Knight
by Rey Terciero & Monica M. Magaña

Lucia Castillo dreams of being a hero like her grandfather. But to the people in their Texas town, he was just a strange old man who dressed up as a knight and claimed to save the world from monsters only he could see.

Now years later, when Lucia and her best friend–and trusty squire–Sandro discover the town mayor is secretly a shapeshifting beast of Mexican lore, her parents think she’s imagining things like her “Abuelo Loco.” Only Lucia, wearing her grandfather’s magical helmet, can see the hidden threat. Can she and Sandro prove others wrong and stop the mayor from unleashing evil on their town–and beyond?

Looking to purchase any of the titles above? Make sure to visit our BookShop page!

Disclosure: We are an affiliate of & will earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Follow DBF here and on our Social Media (Facebook & Instagram) throughout the summer for more great lists of adventurous reads for every age!

Stay in touch