Moses and Gangi’s Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found (2021)

With so many amazing nominations for the Cybils Awards’ Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction category, some of our favorite books are bound to be left off the shortlist. Rucker Moses and Theo Gangi’s Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found is that book for me. I fell in love with the characters and the plot. Set in Brooklyn, this story follows three young African American not-quite-teens as they weave their way through the city’s magical past and present.

At the start of the text, Kingston and his mom move back to Brooklyn, a city they left when his father disappeared during a magic show a few years earlier. Their plan is to move into the family brownstone with Kingston’s uncles and his cousin, Veronica, who features prominently in the text. The brownstone also serves as a failing magic shop.

If the family can’t bring in some money, and fast, they will lose their home. Kingston’s mom has a plan to convert the dusty magic shop into a bustling café, but the family struggles with change.

Early in the text, Veronica and Kingston run into Too Tall Eddie, one of Kingston’s childhood friends. The three quickly partner up as the text’s action heats up! The action pivots around parallel worlds seeping into each other, and the stakes are high.

Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found is a fast-paced read that even reluctant readers will enjoy. The plot itself is fantastic, emotions are brilliantly rendered, relationships feel real, and the magical element is strong and detailed without being overwhelming or hard to follow. I loved the discussion of Black magicians and the urban landscape the characters explore.

I’m really surprised more people aren’t raving about this book. It’s definitely one that readers who love middle-grade novels about magic, portals, and strong friendships will enjoy!

Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction

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