Big Summer Read
Summer Reading Guide 2018
Too hot, too rainy to be outside? Traveling in a car? On a boat? On a train or plane? You can play with words. Or read about a playing ball. Visit another country or find a new friend. Find out why hippos sink or what whales eat. Meet someone interesting like the woman who had a komodo dragon as a companion. Perhaps you’d rather spend time with the funniest guy in baseball. The age-leveled lists are ready to print and take to your local library or bookstore.
You never know what you’ll find or what will inspire you when you open a book for as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jacqueline Woodson, says” “READING = HOPE x CHANGE”
Browse through the 2018 summer lists online or download and print the PDF before you head out to the library or store.
For 6-9 Year Olds
100 Bugs! A Counting Book
One sunny morning, two children bounce out of bed to start counting and exploring insects. What they find – leafhoppers, ladybugs, and more – are presented through rich, rhyming text and in numbers that always add up to 10. Colorful illustrations depict an idyllic countryside and young, cheerful explorers.
A Big Day for Baseball
When Jack and Annie don the magic baseball hats given to them by Morgan, they find themselves back in 1947 as batboys. There they learn a lot about the game, a player named Jackie Robinson, and how history was made. Readers may also want to find out more in the accessible nonfiction companion, Baseball (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker) which introduces more about the people and players of the period.
Baby Monkey, Private Eye
Who is Baby Monkey? Well, he’s a baby and a monkey but one with a job: he’s a Private Eye! Readers will solve the mysteries with Baby Monkey as they carefully examine signature monochromatic sketches interspersed with narrative. The format is wholly original as is the humor and art. (For the less keen-eyed, a key to the visuals is included.)
Meet bowhead whales in this slim but fact-filled volume. Dramatic illustrations add detail and drama beginning on endpages. This brief, accessible introduction may inspire further examination of these fascinating sea mammals.
Every Month Is a New Year
A new year starts every month somewhere in the world. Join the celebrations from Russia to Spain, from Jordan to Chile (plus many more) in lively poems and textured, colorful collage illustrations. Additional information about the celebrations and different calendars concludes this lush, unique fête.
When the new lighthouse keeper replaces the old one, he continues the duties: polishing the lens, refilling the oil, and keeping watch for sailors in trouble. With his wife, his life continues until a mechanical light replaces the old one and the family moves to the mainland. Though they say goodbye, the lighthouse continues to say hello. This handsome, delicately illustrated and gently told tale pays homage to early lighthouses and their keepers.
Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
The true story of four African American women whose talent and tenacity led to careers at NASA is recast for younger readers. The unfairness and dscrimination caused by segregation is presented in an accessible, age appropriate, and engaging way.
If the S in Moose Comes Loose
What would happen if the “S” in the word moose comes loose? And the “E” breaks free? Follow the madcap sequence as the cow, goat and other animals share their ideas. Comical line drawings and wacky scenes play with words for laugh-out-loud silliness.
Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl
Third grader, Jasmine Toguchi, wants to enter her school’s talent show, but what talent could she show? She knows though when she’s introduced to the traditional Japanese drums where Jasmine finds a skill – and a friend. Young readers will see themselves in Jasmine and her recognizable travails.
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor
Joan was not like other girls her age. Rather than parties and such, Joan preferred to visit the Natural History Museum to talk to the curator about reptiles and even her own crocodile. In this fascinating look at an early scientist, readers will meet a unique, perhaps eccentric woman (and her komodo dragon) whose work can be appreciated today.
Let’s Investigate with Nate: Dinosaurs
Travel with Nate Bell and a group of kids whose adventure begins at the Science Museum. They travel back in time to explore dinosaurs and the eras in which they roamed the earth. Several suggestions for further investigation conclude this lighthearted but informative book.
When Trey loses his lucky piece of sea glass, he’s convinced that his luck is gone, too. He goes into a slump in baseball, not certain that he can ever get his mojo back. Baseball fans will enjoy the baseball terms and jargon and just may figure out that lucky charms are not what create success on or off the baseball field.
Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths
Peter and Ernesto are friends but are very different: Peter is a homebody while Ernesto wants to explore. So travel he does making the friends’ reunion all the better when it comes. The comic book format with simple illustrations is just right to depict the sloths’ friendship with both humor and sincerity.
Snails Are Just My Speed!
Did you know that snails build “roads of slimy mucus”, other snails can follow those trails, often to eat together? That snails live everywhere on earth in all types of environments? Find out much more about these amazing — albeit slimy — creatures in this comically illustrated but fascinating glimpse at snails.
The Funniest Man in Baseball: The True Story of Max Patkin
Even as a kid, Max had a good arm. He even pitched while he served in the Navy where he struck out Joe DiMaggio. The next time he pitched to the star, Joltin’ Joe hit a homerun which is when Max’s career as a baseball clown really started. Meet Max Patkin and follow his unusual baseball career in comic illustrations and straightforward text.
Lily and her mom miss their own garden. When they visit the public garden they find their neighbor preparing the soil. Soon Lily and her friends are helping Mr. Sam plant and tend a vegetable garden. A concluding activity for an easy home garden ends this informative, easier to read book.
The Golden Thread: A Song for Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger was a musician, an activist, an environmentalist and more. An overview of his life and work is presented as though a ballad-like narrative almost ready to be sung. Strong, clean lines in black and white with a “golden thread” running through are created by cut paper illustrations for a powerful introduction to Seeger’s life and times.
The Truth about Hippos
Hippos are denser than water and so sink in water. Plus, they can’t actually swim but push off to “sail through the water like otters.” Interesting factoids about these huge land animals are presented in cartoon illustrations complete with funny asides in conversation bubbles. Further resources are included at the end. The author approaches a furry animal in the same way in The Truth about Bears.
The Word Collector
People collect lots of different things: bugs, art, marbles and more. But Jerome collects words that he heard, saw, or read. When Jerome’s word collection goes flying out of his albums, he learns that words are even more powerful when creatively put together and shared. The pleasure in language is evident in the narrative as well as line and wash illustrations.
With My Hands: Poems about Making Things
What is a maker? “A maker starts with/empty space/ideas/hope/and stuff.” With those things, one can craft a boat, a card, a tie-dye shirt, or even a sock puppet. Poetry, art, and ideas come together in a charming whole to encourage, inspire, and stimulate creativity. Textured illustrations show a range of children creating, sharing and more.
For 3-6 Year Olds
A Dog Called Bear
Lucy always wanted a dog but Bear becomes a bit of a problem. In addition to sleeping for months, he is messy and eats endless bowls of porridge. When Bear runs away, both he and Lucy find out that friendship overcomes most things. Readers will immediately recognize the mistaken identity seen only in the simple illustrations and enhanced in humorous dialog.
Alma and How She Got Her Name
Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela thought her name was too long. That is until her dad shares the history behind it. Alma discovers pride in the strong relatives after whom she is named. The limited colors used in the drawings provide a look back and a look forward as Alma grows to recognize the strength in her name.
When a boy misses his bus, he hollers, “Bus! Stop!” What follows is an imaginative series of other buses that appear as a Conestoga wagon, a boat and even one that floats. The horizontal format and blocky illustrations focus on the boy’s travel travails – and the start of another’s bus problems as he finally boards a bus.
Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back?
A small, gray elephant has a bad back itch. Can anyone help him? The alligator is a bit scary, the sloth is too slow, and meerkats are too tickly. Relief comes for elephant but maybe not so much for the hedgehog. Simple comic strip-like illustrations and dialog in various sizes are rib-tickling.
Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes
Handsomely illustrated, shapes both simple (square, rectangle) and complex (cone, hexagon) are introduced as found in a range of art and architecture, faith, and practices in Muslim countries. A concluding note by the author broadly explains Islam and the range of countries from which her inspiration was drawn.
Daddy, Me, and the Magic Hour
Family life is busy for the young narrator until after dinner when he and his dad share the Magic Hour. As day wanes but before being tucked in, father and child take a magical neighborhood walk enjoying small pleasures along the way. Gentle text and handsome illustrations combine to reveal one family’s loving and lovely tradition.
If you don’t blink, you don’t have to turn the page; you therefore don’t have to go to bed. Each time a blink occurs, however, the closer the end gets in this humorous, participatory book with a big-eyed owl as a guide (who, by the way, is asleep by book’s end).
A child visits his grandfather but has trouble communicating; they literally don’t speak the other’s language. That is until they find another way to share thoughts and feelings through art. As each of them expresses himself creating unique superheroes, two generations are drawn together. Universal emotions are placed in a specific but nonetheless moving context.
Two dudes, a platypus and a beaver, paddle out to ride a wave but see a threatening fin nearby. Is the huge shark a threat or a friend waiting to be made? This wacky, almost wordless tale is told in large spreads and smaller panels of expressive characters complemented by the equally expressive typeface of the few words used. Get it, dude!?
Frog and Beaver
Beaver doesn’t think about his neighbors downstream while he’s building his dam. Frog bravely tries to make Beaver understand but Beaver just doesn’t listen. Only when disaster strikes do all of the animals figure out how to make homes for everyone. Gentle wisdom and cartoon illustrations tell a satisfying story.
Goldfish on Vacation
Even goldfish can use a vacation as three children learned. They let their fish, Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss, — as well as many other kids’ fish — vacation in a fountain built by the architect of Grand Central Station! At the end of the summer, the goldfish returned to their homes and children. The “perfectly true made-up story” is based on actual events in NY City,
Say hello to a dazzling array of animals presented in intriguing groupings. Starting with “Hello Hello/Black and White” all the way to “…Roars,/Peeps, Chirps/and Chants/Hello Song,/and Hello Dance…” the bouncy, rhyming text and animated illustrations is sure to engage. A final note about the animals’ status and a key to who readers have greeted conclude the book.
I Really Want to See You Grandma
Yumi and Grandma really wanted to see each other. As Yumi travels by bus toward Grandma, Grandma travels by train to visit Yumi. Back and forth they go until they accidentally but happily meet in the middle. Humor abounds in the simple illustrations and gentle narration in an elongated format that highlights Yumi and Grandma’s treks back and forth.
King and Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth
Kayla loses a tooth but now can’t find it! Will the Tooth Fairy still visit her? Can her trusty canine, King, help solve the mystery of the missing tooth? The latest installment is sure to delight fans and stands on its own as a recognizable, satisfying, everyday mystery just right for newly independent readers.
Look Out! It’s a Dragon
Sapphire was not like other dragons. She had no desire to “crush castles or capture princesses.” But the local residents of a forest shun Sapphire until other fierce and fiery dragons destroy the woods. Almost translucent illustrations in rich, layered colors move the satisfying story to its dramatic conclusion.
My Pet Wants a Pet
When the boy’s puppy wants its own pet, the dog chooses a cat; the cat gets a bird and so on until the boy’s mother has had enough! Can the child find a solution to allow all of the pets’ pets to stay? Humor abounds in the funny, cartoonish illustrations and understated but over-the-top tale.
Roar: A Dinosaur Tour
“Millions of year ago, dinosaurs walked the Earth.” Some were small, some walked on two legs, others on four. An easy text and colorful but simple, dramatic illustrations on double page spreads present a variety of the ancient creatures each clearly labeled. Even today, you can see their bones at museums. Endpapers are used to further extend the informative presentation.
In this companion to Triangle, Square’s block is seen and greatly appreciated by Circle. Circle declares that Square is a genius, but is he? This second installment in Barnett’s trilogy is sure to amuse as well as confound.
The third brother was a different kind of dinosaur. Rather than a more typical stegosaurus, he was a stegothesaurus who knew lots of words and loved to use them. Then he met an equally loquacious allosaurus and learned how this meat-eater acquired his words! Words and wordplay and simple, silly illustrations will delight both non-dinosaur and dinosaur aficionados.
Sweet Shapes: A Forest of Tasty Shapes
Tasty treats create shapes which turn into an array of creatures with just a few additional lines and a lot of creativity. Baklava Squirrels are made from the edible Greek parallelogram; oval jelly beams make colorful butterflies, and more in this original – and appetizing – look at shapes.
There’s a Tiger in the Garden
Nora announces that she and her toy giraffe Jeff are bored. Reluctantly, she takes her grandmother’s advice and soon discovers a Tiger with whom to explore grandma’s lush, jungle-like garden. Richly colored and well told, this is a tale of the power of imagination and play.
A colorful line-up of simply shaped animals opens this book. Sharp-eyes will see the one that is hiding, angry, sleeping, and more on each double page spread. Some are sure to recall “Who’s Who?” on the black pages with only eyes showing. An answer key is provided for the impatient or less observant.
For 9-12 year olds
Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words
Even good guys behave badly sometimes and that includes American hero, Abraham Lincoln. Rather than demount old Abe from a pedestal, this historical episode serves to demonstrate that even the best folks make mistakes and that errors can be rectified. Humorously told and expressively illustrated, additional information concludes the tale of Lincoln’s almost-duel.
Amal’s dream of becoming a teacher is thwarted when she is penalized for insulting the landowner’s son, becoming his servant. Her tenacity and love of learning leads to a satisfying conclusion in this riveting story set in contemporary Pakistan.
Another Quest for Celeste
Celeste, the small mouse that accompanied John James Audubon’s apprentice, on an earlier adventure (A Nest for Celeste) is now separated from Joseph. Happily, she finds a new companion, an earnest young man named Abe Lincoln. This quiet fantasy is generously illustrated with expressive pencil drawings.
Bat and the Waiting Game
Bixby Alexander Tam, aka Bat, is back. He was first introduced in A Boy Called Bat where Bat first met Thor, a baby skunk rescued by Bat’s veterinarian mom. Now Thor is big enough to be released, but Bat wants to keep him…even taking Thor to his sister’s play. The result is predictable but as gently humorous and engaging as this tale of Bat.
Dinosaurs! (Explorer series)
Dinosaurs, endlessly fascinating, continue to be explored. Current information is presented in an intriguing format that includes a foldout timeline. More standard information is included such as an examination of what a dinosaur is, when they lived, when they ceased to exist, as well as some of the paleontologists who discovered them.
Jordie is thrilled when Professor Reese moves in next door with her dog, Baxter. Is it possible that Baxter can understand what Jordie says? Has the professor’s work put her in danger? This fast-paced adventure combines mystery and science fiction sure to intrigue.
Making wishes is easy; making them come true in a world of diminishing magic isn’t so easy. That doesn’t stop a new Granter, a young fairy named Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets, from trying along with a canine friend and a couple of humans in this warm, gently humorous, and fresh novel.
I Am Gandhi
The life of the man whose name is associated with nonviolent protest is presented in graphic format. A range of well-known artists contributed their work to present a slim but impactful look at Gandhi’s life. Actual photographs and additional biographical information are included at the end as is information about the artists.
I Got It!
A baseball game. A kid watching. An outfielder needed. It should be an easy out, but not really when all manner of fantastic things get in the way of catching the ball. What really happens in this a riveting, nearly wordless baseball game is open to interpretation and certainly worthy of multiple examinations.
Itch! Everything You Didn’t Want to Know about What Makes You Scratch
Ever wondered why or what makes you itch? There are lots of itchy answers ranging from mosquitoes to fungi among many other cringe-worth things. Find out in this fascinating, informative, well-sourced, and illustrated exploration.
Leaf Litter Critters
Meet nature’s recyclers, a variety of critters that contribute the “brown food web”, presented in a range of poetry and humorous illustrations. In addition to factual material throughout, this small volume concludes with additional information, a glossary, activities and experiments.
Francis strives to make the best shoes possible, even from material that is hard to acquire. When his friend doesn’t return with one such item, Francis goes on a jungle trek to find him. Along the way, he comes across actual animal residents. Photographs are incorporated into comics as is a bit of factual information for a rollicking good adventure.
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag
Have you ever wondered where the rainbow flag comes from? It all began with the first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk. His life and how the rainbow flag came to be and to express both hope and pride are briefly presented in accessible language and animated illustrations. Photographs of Milk and additional biographical sketch conclude the book.
Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship
Rescue couldn’t make it as a guide dog, but he was ideal as a service dog. When Jessica lost both legs, the dog named Rescue rescued Jessica in many ways. Though the tone and illustrations of the book are appropriate for younger readers, the seriousness of the event that caused Jessica to lose both legs is quite sophisticated. It is explained in an afterward.
“Rodents are a diverse group.” They range from the pygmy jerboa to the sizable capybara, the largest rodent in the world. Rodents have been made into pets, culinary delicacies, lab animals and more. A range of rodents are presented in realistic, life-size illustrations and informative but accessible text. Additional resources conclude this fascinating look at often maligned mammals.
Science Comics: Sharks: Nature's Perfect Hunter
Sharks often get a bad reputation from movies and television but they’re crucial to a healthy ocean. Find out more about these amazing creatures in this dramatic, engaging comic book that is well-researched and well-documented. If things technical and mechanical things are of greater interest, then try Science Comics: Robots and Drones: Past, Present, and Future by Mairghread Scott, illustrated by Jacob Chabot.
Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen
How, Etzel, a German shepherd trained to be a fierce police dog came to be the much-loved and talented silent movie star is dramatically presented in this fictionalized account. Black and white illustrations create a sense of the time in which Strongheart lived and worked. Based on actual people and events, Strongheart’s story is sure to appeal to a new generation.
The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America
Meet the dragon slayer, a girl and a mouse, and a boy who talks to ants. Three traditional tales, each revealing a particular truth, are recast here in comic book format. An introduction and the concluding background note provides a glimpse into the cultures from which the tales come.
Tom’s Midnight Garden
When the clock strikes 13, Tom is transported to a Victorian garden where he meets Hatty. Each time Tom leaves his own 20th century England to see Hatty, she has grown a bit older. Philippa Pearce’s classic novel has been translated into a very satisfying and dramatic graphic novel, capturing the essence of the suspenseful fantasy.
Magic has turned Eliza’s 11 brothers into swans and only she can rescue them. Brilliantly illustrated and engagingly retold, the now-classic Hans Christian Andersen enchanted tale of love and loyalty is presented anew.
For 0-3 year olds
Amazing Me! Dance!
Young children are truly amazing as they dance through the pages of this rollicking book. Line and wash illustrations show a wide range of children dancing and playing. This title and Amazing Me! Music! create a harmonious pair.
Bim Bam Boom
One small animal making music with a pot and wooden spoon inspires other to join in the musical fun. Cartoon illustrations repeat the process until pages are filled with the youngsters and their sounds. Activities change when a grownup comes in with a colorful treat.
Black Bird Yellow Sun
A black bird explores the outdoors, seeing many colors. Simple text is accompanied by brilliant, textured illustrations for a glimpse into what one bird may observe in a day.
A mother duck and 5 ducklings waddle onto a bridge. And one by one, the ducklings fall (or perhaps dive) into the water below. What’s a mother duck to do? She joins them, of course. Simple illustrations extend the fun of the repeating narrative.
Who has feet like these? Turn the page to find out! Crisp photographs of animals with different feet are briefly described (e.g., webbed, scaly, even happy) ask then answer the question, introducing animals and one way to identify them.
How Are You?/ ¿Cómo estás?
Two tall giraffes greet an ostrich trying asking the bird how it feels. Ultimately, they all decide that they’re quite pleased to have found new friendships and are thrilled to share a fiesta. Expressive illustrations and the bilingual text depict the joy of the experience.
Pete the Cat: The Petes Go Marching
Pete the Cat is marching with his look-alikes from one to ten, each adding an instrument to the cheerful conclusion. The riff on a familiar rhyme (“Ants go marching”) may inspire others as listeners or readers enjoy the humor.
Pip & Pup
A small yellow chick in need of a playmate spies small puppy. The eager pup is more than happy to frolic but what do a pip and a pup share in common? Though wordless, their story of friendship emerges through gentle, expressive illustrations just right for slightly older toddlers.
Splish, Splash, Ducky!
It’s a happy day for Ducky Duckling as it plays in the rain, hugs bugs, and more. Simple sentences and lots of quacking combine with colorful, naïve illustrations that will encourage engagement as well as delight young listeners.
Summer: A Pop-Up Book
Signs of summer pop up with each page turn and are briefly described, sure to delight adult and child alike. Bright color and engaging text encourage involvement with all things summer. While not terribly fragile, young hands may need a reminder to handle with care.
Sylvia Long’s Big Book for Small Children
The artist’s signature illustrations enhance a broad collection of traditional tales, poems and everyday experiences. Whether dipping in or reading several sections at once, this is just right for sharing with young children and is likely to grow with them.
Young children will recognize the bedtime ritual shared by two siblings from cleaning up to taking a bath, from reading to snuggling with a lovey, Soft illustrations complement the brief text on sturdy pages.
Where’s Mr. Dog?
Where’s the dog? Lift the flap to find out! Small hands are able to play the game lifting the flaps with less worry as the flaps made from soft but durable felt in this brightly colored title, one of a series.
Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package
Eugenia Lincoln is a practical person with no time for gee-gaws, whoop-de-whoops, or frivolity. When an unexpected package containing an accordion arrives at her house, she is determined to have nothing to do with it. But her plans to sell the accordion, destroy the accordion, and give the accordion away all end in frustration. How can Eugenia stop being tormented by this troublesome package? Might she discover that a bit of unforeseen frivolity could be surprisingly . . . joyous?
Young fowl hatch near a large bear named Bruce who becomes their adoptive parent.
The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof
A gentle fantasy in which a cat is transformed into a human who assists a reporter uncover interesting stories.
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine
Mark Twain’s partial tale told to his own children has been carefully completed by Philip Stead and is interpreted for modern listeners.
Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?
Baby Lincoln decides to go on a ‘necessary journey’ away from her bossy older sister, Eugenia. Baby returns with lots of stories and a sister who missed her. Fans or newcomers to the Deckawoo Drive series are sure to enjoy this charming, gentle, and very funny story.
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