If you can tell kids, ages eight through fourteen, a little about a book this small tease can encourage them to open a book and get them reading. Here are the books to do just this – and what better time than summer? This list encompasses fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, mystery, sports and humor.
Family Tree: Better to Wish, by Ann M. Martin, is an historical fiction that takes place in the 1930’s when the Great Depression affected nearly everyone. Young Abby is living in a small town where she enjoys her rural setting and her great friends. But with the success of her father’s business, he moves the family to a bigger house in a bigger town and Abby begins to truly miss her old life. This is the first in a planned 4 part series where you read about Abby and her off-spring in the following books. Martin’s description and detail of life back in the ‘30’s is captured magnificently! It’s great to read books so well written and I anticipate more coming!
Joshua Dread, by Lee Bacon, is a hilarious science fiction about 12-year-old Joshua who truly is embarrassed by his parents: they’re super villains! The book will grab you at the first sentence and never let you go: “Our class got out of sixth period early the day my parents tried to flood the earth.” His mom is a botanist who has the power to control plants with her mind and she keeps zombies in the basement. His dad has scattered his incomplete inventions all over the house. However, all Joshua wants is to be normal. When he suddenly explodes a pencil, he realizes that he has a superpower too. This is a non-stop book full of excitement and laughs!
Beholding Bee, by Kimberly Newton Fusco, is a well written story about overcoming difficulties when it seems almost impossible to achieve. Bee was left as an orphan when her carnival parents died in the 1940’s. She is being raised by Pauline who sells food at the carnival. But Bee was born with a “wine-stain” mark on her cheek and as she helps with the food, people make fun of her. When the head of the carnival wants to put her in the show as a “freak” due to the mark on her face, and when Pauline leaves, Bee decides she must escape and runs away. What happens to her, and the events that take place while she’s on the run, will have you turning the pages quickly!
Of Giants and Ice, by Shelby Back, will keep you reading with great anticipation and enjoyment to the very end! Rory has just begun another after-school program. But this one is extremely different! Ever After School is actually a place where there are magic dragons, talking fawns and even tables with food that continually appears. This is a school for “characters-in-training” who are taught by fairytale stars, such as Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel, to fight the evil forces in tales. So Rory’s new friend asks her to join in the training as they climb a giant beanstalk. This is where the adventure becomes exciting! This is the first book in a planned series. The second book, “Of Witches and Wind”, was just published this month.
Little League District Double Header, by Matt Christopher, is a terrific story about baseball. Liam and Carter have had to deal with a giant change in their lives, team and friendship. Liam’s family has moved across the country to California. So now he has to prove his abilities once again to his new team, while Carter is now facing a new replacement who may replace him on the pitcher’s mound. If you’ve not read any of Christopher’s books, you’re in for a treat!
The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani, takes two best friends to a school where you are either chosen to enter the good part and learn to deal with handsome princes and etiquette or enter the evil part where you learn about “Uglification” and curses of death. Sophie knows she’s been chosen for the Good section as she fits the part. But both girls’ fortunes are reversed and the book takes you through each girl’s adventures and trials as they attempt to adjust – or reverse the outcome. This is an exciting and well-written read!
Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, by Chris Grabenztein, will take you on a hunt to figure out a way to escape from the library. Kyle is thrilled to win a spot to be one of twelve kids to get to sleep in the newly built library (built by his hero: a creative genius who loves games). But when he, along with the rest of the kids, wake the next morning, he finds that he can’t leave the library as all the doors are locked. So now there must be games played, riddles deciphered and clues solved. This is an engaging adventure as the reader becomes involved and entangled in the story as the book moves toward the surprising conclusion.
The Last Dragonslayer, by Jasper Fforde, finds that magic is dying off. There is very little magic left, only enough to perhaps rewire houses or deliver pizza via a magic carpet. Fifteen-year-old Jennifer is the director of an employment agency for magicians. But then the visions begin which predicts the death of the last dragon by a dragonslayer. If this actually happens, it will change everything in Jennifer’s land. Be prepared for some very unexpected events that will keep you on the edge of your seat – or your magic carpet.