Big Summer Read

Summer Reading Guide 2019

 

Bird graphic

Blast off with books this summer! There’s a lot to celebrate: the start of summer, time to sit down and cool off with stories in fact and fiction, maybe a family vacation. Here you’ll find funny stories, friendship stories, science and nature books, poetry, graphic novels, picture book biographies, and more.

And there’s even a special anniversary in the summer of 2019 to celebrate through books — the 50th anniversary of man’s first Moon landing. Imagine what it would be like to celebrate your birthday on the Moon or what it felt like for the Apollo 11 astronauts to walk on the Moon.

For 0-3 year olds

12 Lucky Animals: A Bilingual Baby Book

By: Vickie Lee
Illustrated by: Joey Chou
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Meet each animal in the Chinese zodiac and learn about their basic characteristics. Stylized, geometrically shaped creatures are presented in Mandarin and English, with the Chinese transliterated to guide pronunciation.

Big and Little: A Story of Opposites

By: Cheryl Pilgrim
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

The adventures of a big black dog and a small white canine demonstrate a range of opposites — feelings and activities. The nearly wordless tale of adventure and friendship is expressively, even dramatically, illustrated and certain to encourage original storytelling.

Five Enormous Dinosaurs

By: Will Bonner
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Join the countdown of stomping dinosaurs from five to zero. Each numeral remains on double page spreads visible through die-cuts until the final pages where children are stomping in front of a skeleton in a museum. Dinosaurs depicted are identified at the very end.

Hello, Honeybees

By: Emily Dove
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Bees buzz through the sturdy pages to introduce the activities of honeybees. With or without two bees that can be punched out of the front cover, young readers are encouraged to join the journey in this hive-shaped book.

Peek-a-Baby Farm

By: Mike Orodan
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Lift the sturdy flap to meet the offspring introduced by the adult animals in two durable volumes (Peek-a-Baby Ocean). Farm animals and the names of their young are likely to be more familiar than those that live in the ocean. Both, however, are engaging and informative.

Peekity Boo: What You Can Do!

By: Heidi Bee Roemer
Illustrated by: Mike Wohnoutka
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

“Peekity book!” Baby does many things from eating dinner to starting the nighttime ritual of getting ready for bath and bed. Cartoon-like illustrations and a jaunty rhyme follow a mom, dad, and young child until, “Peepity peep./Shhh…Baby’s asleep.”

Pigs in a Blanket

By: Hans Wilhelm
Illustrated by: Erica Salcedo
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Unfold the blanket as three little pigs begin their day. With each page turn, they do everyday, familiar things, until it’s time to be tucked into bed. Silly antics are illustrated in a cartoon style and accompanied by a rhyming text.

Ruby & Rufus: Love the Water

By: Olivier Dunrea
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Ducklings Ruby and Rufus enjoy diving and swimming in the pond with their striped inner-tube. When seasons change, they still enjoy sliding on the now frozen water. Delicately lined illustrations on open, compact pages extend the simple narration.

Who Has Wiggle-Waggle Toes?

By: Vicky Shiefman
Illustrated by: Francesca Chessa
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Join a vivacious gathering of young children as they show off their wiggle-waggle, flip-flop, knockabout, hokey-pokey selves while engaging in familiar activities. From swimming to dancing and more, this gently humorous illustrated tale reads aloud well while encouraging participation.

You Are New

By: Lucy Knisley
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

More for the adults in a baby’s life, this engaging book reminds readers what babies can do now and what they can look forward to enjoying, particularly sharing lots of love. All goings -on are demonstrated by children of various hues in gently crafted illustration on open pages.

For 3-6 Year Olds

A New Home

By: Tania de Regil
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Two children — one from New York City, the other from Mexico City — express concern about moving to a new place. Spritely, detailed illustrations visually convey the many similarities between the children’s interests and the places to which they are moving. Notable places in both cities (e.g., Lincoln Center, the Palacio de Belles Artes) conclude this encouraging look at similarities among people. The Spanish edition, Un nuevo hogar, is also available.

A Piglet Named Mercy

By: Kate DiCamillo
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Not all of the residents on Deckawoo Drive were thrilled when a small piglet wound up on their street. Happily, however, this small creature found the way into the hearts of the Watsons and became the toast-eating toast of Deckawoo Drive. How Mercy Watson came to become part of the family and community is a worthy prequel to those who have read or will read the early chapter books by the same author/illustrator team. Nonetheless, t is strong, handsomely illustrated tale in its own right.

B Is for Baby

By: Antinuke
Illustrated by: Angela Brooks
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Focus on one family and one letter: B is not only for baby, but brother, banana and more. A charming baby and mother travel through the pages of this colorful book with lots to explore in each image while listening to alliterative language. Set in Africa, perhaps the author’s native Nigeria, this is sure to delight young readers from around the world.

Because

By: Mo Willems
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

It all started with one musician becoming inspired by another’s music. After all, music changes the listener, provides inspiration, and more…just because. This fresh saga of how music has stretched over centuries to inspire a new composer begins with Beethoven and ends with the now-grown child who was inspired. A number of people are included in the “score”, effectively portrayed in the illustrations that “perform” it.

Bird Watch

By: Christie Matheson
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Watching birds requires practice, patience and an eagle eye. Young birders may want to practice on the pages of this book as the gentle, rhyming text provides clues and encouragement. Find the chickadee, wren and bluebird in the lush natural environments shown in realistic watercolors. Additional notes about birds and birding concludes this handsome introduction.

Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins

By: Michelle Meadows
Illustrated by: Ebony Glenn
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

An African American ballerina, Janet Collins, lived in mid-20th century America. She is introduced in a rhyming, repetitive cadence and fluid, swirling illustrations. Janet never gave up her dream of dancing even in a segregated society. An afterward not only provides additional resources about this early ballerina but also additional information about her life and legacy.

Community Soup

By: Alma Fullerton
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Kioni is missing on soup day at school, the time when everyone comes together to make soup. He’s busy chasing his errant goats — until he figure out that the goats can share something special. Rich collages illustrate the story set In a Kenyan village. A delicious-sounding recipe for pumpkin vegetable soup is included.

Cyril and Pat

By: Emily Gravett
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Cyril is the only squirrel in Lake Park; that is until he meets Pat. Pat has a different kind of tail and looks a bit scruffy but the duo enjoy each other’s company until one of the  park’s other inhabitants informs Cyril that Pat is a rat and no squirrel can befriend one. The rhyming saga is illustrated in Gravett’s signature style to complement and extend the droll telling.

Gondra’s Treasure

By: Linda Sue Park
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Dragons from the East are significantly different from those of the West. But Gondra is the offspring of a dad from the East and a mother from the West and has characteristics from both. Lush, often humorous illustrations complement the story and show characterizations of both eastern and western dragons.

Grow Up, David!

By: David Shannon
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

David, the naughty but loveable kid from No, David, again hears those words. This time, however, it’s his big brother who shouts them; David is too little to play with the older boys. The illustrator’s signature illustrations and hand drawn text create a humorous, recognizable addition to books about this sharp-toothed little boy.

Hello Summer!

By: Shelley Rotner
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Summer brings hot weather and cooling activities. From lemonade and watermelon, to outdoor play and thunderstorms, summer is presented in full color photographs and lyrical language. Witness children of different ages experience the warmth and pleasure of summer in all of its glory.

Hey, Water!

By: Antoinette Portis
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Water can be found almost everywhere and in many different forms. Clear, colorful, and well placed illustrations combine with crisp language to describe water from a tear to fog, from rain to an iceberg. This handsome introduction may inspire even the youngest reader to further explore a liquid that is often taken for granted.

Home Is a Window

By: Stephanie Parsley Ledyard
Illustrated by: Chris Sasaki
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Home is many things including a “little bit of green, a corner, and a chair.” And home is all that you miss when you move. But the most important thing about home is “the people gathered near.” Warm illustrations use bold shape on open pages in this lyrical presentation of one family’s moving story.

Leila in Saffron

By: Rukhsanna Guidroz
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Leila discovers a bit more about herself and her family during their weekly dinner with Leila’s grandmother. She discovers that the color saffron really does look good on her and that she is part of a loving family. Bold, bright illustrations capture the colors of the Middle Eastern family, glimpsing their diverse community.

Like a Lizard

By: April Pulley Sayre
Illustrated by: Stephanie Laborie
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Rich, active verbs challenge readers to swoop, scoop, “dip your dewlap”, and more just like the lizards of varying sizes and colors that are depicted. Text swirls throughout each attractive, informative page. Additional information about the lizards presented concludes the book, sure to inspire movement, language, and further investigation of reptiles.

Oink

By: David Elliot
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Soon after a small pig starts a bath (“oink!”), there’s an insistent “knock, knock” on the door. Gradually, poor pig is joined by sheep (“Maa!}, cow (“Moo!”) and more. Then one-by-one all of the animals leave pig alone for a peaceful bath. The humor in this nearly wordless book is conveyed by understated line and wash illustrations sure to elicit laughs and language from readers.

One is a Piñata: A Book of Numbers

By: Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Illustrated by: John Parra
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

As in her other books, the author presents counting from one to ten (in numerals as well as Spanish and English words) in the context of a fiesta! Colorful illustrations and rhyming text create a dynamic book to share aloud and perhaps inspire a party!

Sweety

By: Andrea Zuill
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Bespectacled Sweety was different from others, even other naked mole rats. Sweety’s Aunt Ruth helps her niece discover what she  most enjoys and develop the confidence to share it. An understated text and comical line and wash illustrations present an awkward but endearing group of rodents sure to dance their way into readers’ hearts and thoughts.

The Chickens Are Coming

By: Barbara Samuels
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The day Winston, Sophie and their mom saw the sign looking for a home for chickens, the family determined to raise the fowl in their backyard. They learned, however, that chickens do not lay eggs on demand that and different breeds lay different kinds of eggs. The humorous story of chickens is based in the author’s Brooklyn research and sure to inform as well as entertain.

The Farmer

By: Ximo Abadia
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Paul plants and waters his crops but despairs when the rain doesn’t come. “But Paul is not alone.” A cow, donkey, and mole who have also watched Paul’s hard work bring buckets and barrels just before the rain begins resulting in lush crops and a jubilant Paul. Dramatic illustrations are naïve and extremely effective in conveying a range of emotions.

When the Bees Buzzed Off

By: Lula Bell
Illustrated by: Stephen Bennett
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

What happens when the bees buzz off? Who will pollinate? Where could they have gone? Follow brave bugs as they work to bring the bees back. Clues and the occasional bee are hidden beneath flaps on each sturdy page. This playful story has a satisfying conclusion and is infused with information about bees and more.

For 6-9 Year Olds

Boom! Bellow! Bleat! Animal Poems for Two or More Voices

By: Georgia Heard
Illustrated by: Aaron DeWitt
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Words and image combine on open pages encouraging readers to voice thirteen poems in two voices while learning about the critters introduced. Familiar animals populate each handsome, realistically illustrated page with color-coded poems (to facilitate reading together). "Nature’s Notes" are included for additional factual information about animals and their sounds.

Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings

By: Douglas Florian
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Short poems in various forms will inform and engage as they swirl across the pages of this attractive, lively volume. Large pages support the colorful, mixed media illustrations that encourage readers to read about heavenly bodies while gaining tidbits of information, inspiration, and imagination

Crab Cake

By: Andrea Tsurumi
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The sea turtle, pufferfish, octopus and other sea creatures do what they do; crab bakes cakes. One day, however, there’s a huge splash and sunshine no longer reaches the bottom; crab bakes a cake. Fortified by cake, the sea critters turn the tide on polluters in a droll, dramatic, and effective tale told with visual elements of a graphic novel. Final resources include links to information about oceans and pollution.

Daring Dozen: The Twelve Who Walked on the Moon

By: Suzanne Slade
Illustrated by: Alan Marks
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Spare, poetic text and luminous, realistic illustrations chronicle the Apollo missions. Comprehensive back matter with photographs adds depth to the presentation. The author, a trained engineer, also presented Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez for readers 9 to 12. The subtitle of this memorable book is the time it took from President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to Neil Armstrong’s first step on the Moon.

Go for the Moon: A Rocket, a Boy, and the First Moon Landing

By: Chris Gall
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A boy looking out his bedroom window into the night sky begins, “The Moon is out tonight. In the morning, three brave men will climb into a giant rocket … and fly to the Moon.” It’s the Apollo 11 mission which inspires the child for a lifetime. Dramatic, highly realistic illustrations present the narrator’s life on earth interwoven with images and information about the Apollo Moon landing and return. An author’s note reveals that he grew up to build small rockets and an airplane. Fun facts, a glossary, and additional resources are included.

Good Dog, McTavish

By: Meg Rosoff
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

McTavish knew he’d chosen the right family to rescue when he met the Peachey family although the family thought that they had saved a shelter dog. With a little help from young Betty, McTavish straightens out the family after Mum quit being mum. Wry, understated humor in crisp prose from both human and canine perspectives is complemented by clever drawings.

If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon

By: Joyce Lapin
Illustrated by: Simona Ceccarelli
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What could be more fun than going to a birthday party by rocket? Celebrating your birthday on the Moon, of course! That’s just is explored in this playfully illustrated look at the moon, bouncily contrasting it an Earth party. The views of Earth would be stunning making up for the fact that everyone would have to wear space suits. Information is presented in boxes throughout this fanciful journey.

In Focus: Forests

By: Libby Walden
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

There are forests all over the world including many National Parks in the United States. There are kelp forests, rainforests, and forests of mangrove. Each is home to unique animals, sometimes people, and occasionally forest mythology. Explore these and more as each page uncovers what may be seen when the canopy is pulled back. Concrete suggestions on protecting and preserving these environments conclude this lushly illustrated volume

Juana and Lucas: Big Problemas

By: Juana Medina
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Juana has an almost perfect life: beautiful home in Bogota, great mami and loving abuelas, decent school, and the best dog ever: Lucas. But when Mami begins spending more time with Luis, well, that becomes Juana’s big problemas! First introduced in Juana and Lucas, Juana’s again narrates in an honest and child-like voice. The cartoon style illustrations enhance characterization, adding verve and humor to Juana’s concerns about change and her continued place in her family, near universal concerns of childhood.

Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet

By: Curtis Manley
Illustrated by: Jessica Lanan
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A girl gazes out a window, staring at the nighttime sky. From early times, people like Lucretius, Teng Mu, Giordano Bruno and Christiaan Huygens believed that other worlds exist. When the young girl and her family visit a museum, she too wonders, and later continues to look out at the nighttime sky. Realistic illustrations effectively combine with the accessible, informative text.

Moonshot

By: Brian Floca
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, the author/illustrator’s spectacular, dramatic but readable look at the mission has been updated and expanded. Additional art has been added to the new portions including a look at the people who worked behind the scenes to make it happen. Additional information about Apollo’s return is also here.

Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure: Book 1

By: Alex T. Smith
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Mr. Penguin longs for adventure with his Kung Fu kicking spider sidekick, Colin. They find it in the Museum of Extraordinary Things many times over. The author/illustrator of the "Claude" series has begun a new series with quirky, over-the-top, always comic characters as Mr. Penguin and Colin save the day and the museum, putting the bad guys where they belong.

Music for Mr. Moon

By: Erin Stead
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Harriet just wants to play her cello alone. But when she accidentally knocks the lonely Moon from his heavenly perch, she learns to share her cello-playing with him. Both find friendship in this delicately illustrated, whimsical tale that presents a Moon and one friend with particular personalities.

My Happy Year

By: Paul Meisel
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Short, readable entries each with a date, chronicle the first year of a bluebird as told by the newly hatched narrator. Information about bluebirds’ range appears on front endpapers while a glossary is placed on back endpapers. Dramatic illustrations show the dangers faced by the young bluebirds until the following June when A. Bluebird shows off the "my beautiful chicks!"

Ocean Emporium: A Compilation of Creatures

By: Susie Brooks
Illustrated by: Dawn Cooper
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

If you travel to the sea, consider the varied animals and sea creatures that live in the world’s oceans. Glimpse some of them on the oversized pages of this informative, beautifully illustrated emporium — a diverse undersea world teaming with life. If you take that trip to the sea, you might come across seashells. Have you ever wondered why there are so many different shapes? Explore this and find out who the shells’ residents may be in Seashells: More than a Home by Melissa Stewart, realistically illustrated by Sarah Brannen.

Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair

By: Alice Kuipers
Illustrated by: Diana Taledano
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Polly and her magic book, Spell (first introduced in Polly and the Magic Book) are back for another magical adventure. What Polly writes in Spell comes true, just not always as she intended. Magical, madcap adventure follows in this generously illustrated and engaging second book about Polly and the power of writing.

Power Up

By: Seth Fishman
Illustrated by: Isabel Greenberg
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Millions of refrigerators, TVs, schools and stoplights can be powered by the energy held in one person’s pinky finger. So why can’t you power your toys? “… because your body needs all the energy it’s got.” This unique look at the human body’s systems and the energy required to run them is presented in accessible language and darkly hued, strong illustrations.

Secret Engineer: How Emily Roebling Build the Brooklyn Bridge

By: Rachel Dougherty
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Emily Warren was a bright girl who grew into a determined, intelligent, self-taught woman. After her husband, Washington Roebling, fell ill while building the Brooklyn Bridge, it was Emily who interpreted Washington’s drawings and carried out the plans over ten years. This is a fascinating examination of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and the people and engineering behind it, revealed in spritely illustration and accessible language.

Stubby: A True Story of Friendship

By: Michael Foreman
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A young soldier narrates the story of how he met a podgy pudgy dog soon named Stubby. Stubby and Corporal Conroy soon became inseparable friends and more; Stubby was adopted into Conroy’s regiment to become a heroic soldier in his own right. This true story of World War I is illustrated in light hues with gentle lines, accompanied by a straightforward text. An afterward includes a photo of Stubby and provides a bit of additional information.

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The True Story of Alan Bean

By: Dean Robbins
Illustrated by: Sean Rubin
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Alan Bean was not the first but the fourth man to walk on the Moon. However, he was the first astronaut to create paintings inspired by what he saw on and from the Moon. The highly readable, handsomely illustrated look at the Apollo 12 astronaut includes information gleaned from interviews with him as well as back matter (biographical information, a timeline and bibliography). This is a unique look at the moon and its impact on one artist/astronaut, sure to inspire others.

The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons

By: Natashcha Biebow
Illustrated by: Steven Salerno
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

You may not have heard of Edwin Binney but chances are you’ve used his invention: Crayola crayons. Binney’s determination to come up with ways for children to create and draw with non-dusty color led to the invention. His life and legacy (and even how the name Crayola was crafted) makes a memorable story. Illustrated in color and brought right up to contemporary crayon making, this is a fascinating and well documented look at one man’s continuing legacy.

The Fisherman and the Whale

By: Jessica Lanan
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A boy insists that they not leave until the whale accidentally caught in their fishing net is extricated. No words are needed as the tale is revealed in dramatic illustrations from various perspectives. The author cautions readers that this is more fable rather than a realistic portrait but effectively conveys the whale’s struggle and one child’s empathetic response to it.

The Frog Book

By: Steven Jenkins
Illustrated by: Robin Page
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

There are approximately 5000 species found world over (with the exception of Antarctica), in different sizes, many shapes and in various colors. Open the pages of this lushly illustrated book to meet some of the frogs from around the world, many of which are now threatened. Handsomely crafted and presented, dip in or read cover-to-cover, these frogs will remain with readers long after the covers are closed.

The Magic of Letters

By: Tony Johnston
Illustrated by: Wendell Minor
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

“Letters hold magic…they open worlds.” Playful and rich, powerful, giggling, bewitching words are all presented in different typefaces, playfully illustrated to evoke their command and enchantment. Sure to intrigue, try reading this aloud for full, dynamic effect. You’ll never look at the alphabet in quite the same way!

The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories

By: Sergio Ruzzier
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Two friends, Fox and Chick, are quite different. But they find common ground to enjoy a boat ride, chocolate cake, and even the sunrise, in three short, generously, gently illustrated chapters. As with their first adventure, The Party: and Other Stories, Fox and Chick star in short tales presented in easy graphic novel style just right for readers just starting longer chapter books.

Wild Horse Annie: Friend of the Mustangs

By: Tracey Fern
Illustrated by: Steven Salerno
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Velma Bronn Johnson, nicknamed Wild Horse Annie, was born in Nevada. In spite of having polio, Annie was able to ride horses again. Later, when she saw hundreds of wild horses killed to make room for cattle, Annie became an activist. She worked to pass the 1971 law protecting mustangs on federal land. Conversational text is accompanied by loose, swirling illustrations to present an overview of one woman’s fight to save a piece of the Wild West.

Yogi: The Life, Loves, and Language of Baseball Legend Yogi Berra

By: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrated by: Terry Widener
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Yogi Berra was one of a kind. He didn’t excel in school but is still quoted today. And in spite of the naysayers, Yogi went on to become an admired ballplayer. His story is told in rich, detailed illustrations and lucid text, interspersed with “Yogi-isms”. In addition to more detail about Berra’s life and times, baseball aficionados will appreciate the statistics included in the back matter.

¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market

By: Raúl The Third
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

After Little Lobo and his dog, Bernabe, finish breakfast, they load their wagon to deliver to the various merchants. While they deliver the goods, they take time to watch the dancing, smell the churros, and even draw stripes on the newly made “zonkey”. Humor abounds in the graphic tour of Mexican culture complete with Spanish words. A glossary concludes this cheery introduction to a country and its language.

For 9-12 year olds

Bat and the End of Everything

By: Elana Arnold
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

As Bat’s year in third grade nears its end, he begins to worry about releasing his skunk kit into the wild; he worries that his best friend will forget him during his summer away, and more. But Bixby Alexander Tam (Bat for short) still looks forward to working with his veterinarian mom and time with his sister. This is the third book about Bat (who is likely on the autism spectrum and first introduced in A Boy Called Bat) but this book stands alone.

Explorer: Plants!

By: Nick Forshaw, William Exley
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Join Ada Osprey, Senior Librarian of the Eagle-Eyed Explorer Club as she dashes out, inviting readers to explore plants with her. From plant origins to those modified by humans, plants are examined in understandable language enhanced by clearly labeled, highly detailed illustrations. A long, meticulous timeline folds out to summarize and complete this unique exploration.

Monsters: A Magic Lens Hunt for Creatures of Myth, Legend, Fairy Tale, and Fiction

By: Celine Potard, Sophie Ledesma
Genre: Myths and Legends
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Humans all over the world have thought about monsters since time started. Take out the magic lens tucked into a front pocket to explore double-page spreads to meet monsters in fact and fiction. They range from castle monsters to space monsters with lots in between. Monster parts and pieces are appended to facilitate monster creation. This clever book is to engage monster-lovers for hours.

One-Third Nerd

By: Gennifer Choldenko
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Fifth-grader, Liam, is the oldest of the three with two younger sisters. Confident Dakota is a third grader just waiting until she can cure cancer; friendly second grader, Izzy, is a hugger and notices things that other kids miss. Their parents are divorced and money is tight. Can the kids figure out what is causing their beloved dog to urinate on the apartment’s carpet – before the landlord evicts them? Difficult themes are handled with a light touch by the author of Newbery-honor winning, Al Capone Does My Shirts.

Pay Attention, Carter Jones

By: Gary Schmidt
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Young Carter Jones first meets Mr. Bowles-Fitzpatrick, an English butler, on a particularly hectic and rainy morning. Mr. Bowles-Fitzpatrick comes to the Jones family from Carter’s recently deceased grandfather to bring order, cricket and help to the family while the father is deployed. By turn humorous and touching, Carter grows emotionally as do his fellow cricket players and the entire family in this fast, fresh, and nuanced novel.

Polar Bears Survival on the Ice

By: Jason Viola
Illustrated by: Zack Gianllongo
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Join two curious polar bear cubs as they prepare to live and thrive in an extremely harsh environment, presented as a comic book. Fact and fiction combine in this informative but engaging and entertaining look at climate change and the impact on these animals. Back matter includes a glossary, bibliography, and source notes.

Pony Camp Diaries: Chloe and Cookie

By: Kelly McKain
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Jess runs Sunnyside Stables where Chloe is going to spend a week learning how to jump a horse. But will she be able to learn anything with the horse named Cookie?  Not only does Chloe learn to trust and enjoy Cookie, she learns a great deal about herself and her expectations. Like others in the Pony Camp series, this is told as though written in Chloe’s diary. Line illustrations are sprinkled throughout.

Rotten! Vultures, Beetles, Slime and Nature’s Other

By: Anica Sanchez
Illustrated by: Gilbert Ford
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When things come to an end by various means (natural or induced such as roadkill), they decompose. Young readers may just revel in the gleeful grossness in well researched narrative and lighthearted illustrations. A glossary and bibliography conclude this enlightening but entertaining informational book.

Song for a Whale

By: Lynne Kelly
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Iris is the only Deaf student in her class. Though sometimes frustrated, she reads lips though prefers to use American Sign Language (ASL). She’s also most comfortable when working with old radios and their components. When she learns about a unique whale, Blue 55, that is not part of a pod she becomes convinced that it, too, is deaf and thus separate from others. And unlikely but riveting adventure with her grandmother leads to healing and a satisfying conclusion.

Stand on the Sky

By: Erin Bow
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Aisulu’s brother, Serik, wants to become an eagle hunter but ill health prevents it. When Serik is diagnosed with cancer, Aisulu finds the orphaned eaglet and becomes a rare female eagle hunter and competes to win money to pay for Serik’s treatment. Sophisticated readers are likely to enjoy the fast-paced action set in contemporary Western Mongolia.

Sweeping up the Heart

By: Kevin Henkes
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Amelia wants to spend just one summer week in Florida. But her always-working father won’t agree. How Amelia finds consolation and friendship in the art studio to which she escapes her too quiet house is wholly plausible and quite touching. Characters develop fully as does the plot in spare, evocative, and effective language.

The Hyena Scientist

By: Sy Montgomery
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Readers may have to change their opinion of spotted hyenas after meeting them as they are studied in the wild. Fluid prose and stunning photographs combine insight into the field scientists and information about the animals they study. While they remain formidable carnivores, hyenas are surprisingly brave and social animals and appealing in appearance. Thoroughly resourced and documented, this is narrative nonfiction at its best.

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

By: Lamar Giles
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Magic and mischief exist in the Legendary Alston Boys Virginia town. Can they thwart Mr. Flux’s intentions — and ability to freeze time when he takes a snapshot with his camera? This fantastic adventure, populated by likeable characters, is fast, funny and filled with twists and turns, just right for summer.

The Moon

By: Hannah Pang
Illustrated by: Thomas Hegbrook
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this striking volume, readers will encounter the Moon in both fact and fiction. Moon myths from various cultures are presented, the impact of the Moon on plant and animal behavior, a brief examination of the first Apollo landing, even a reflection on what the future of Moon exploration may do and more are presented briefly in well organized, clearly noted and stunningly illustrated sections. A glossary of people and terms are included.

The Tornado Scientist: Seeing Inside Severe Storms

By: Mary Kay Carson
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Tornadoes are complex weather phenomena that can be highly destructive. Follow scientist and storm-chaser, Robin Tanamachi, as she researches the genesis of tornadoes and tornadic behavior. Dramatic photographs show not only storm clouds but the aftermath. Charts and other graphics help explain more technical aspects of tornadoes.

Two Men and a Car: Franklin Roosevelt, Al Capone, and a Cadillac V-8

By: Michael Garland
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

What did President Franklin D. Roosevelt have in common with the notorious gangster, Al Capone? It just might have been a car; specifically a bulletproof Cadillac with a V-8 engine. How these men diverged is presented anecdotally with a touch of speculation but in a highly engaging, readable style. Scratchboard illustrations and concluding back matter includes a timeline, additional resources and a few photographs.

Where Dani Goes, Happy Follows

By: Rose Lagercrantz
Illustrated by: Eva Eriksson
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Dani is spending her winter break with her grandparents in Stockholm, away from her best friend Ella. No one can travel with Dani to celebrate Ella’s birthday, so Dani decides to go alone. Not only does she miss Ella’s birthday, she gets sick to boot! Poor Dani but all’s well that ends well as her almost stepmother reminds, her that “where Dani goes, happy follows.” Charmingly told and gently illustrated, this is sure to please young readers.

Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at Amazon.com help support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!

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Rachael Walker
Rachael Walker
September 17, 2018

Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.

"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." —

Judy Blume