Special Collections

Summer Reads for Kids

Description: An eclectic mix of middle grade fiction for summer reading fun. Ages 8-12. #kids #summer


Showing 1 through 25 of 32 results

Jelly

by Jo Cotterill

Twelve-year-old Jelly hides her true self behind her humor and keeps her true thoughts and feelings locked away in a notebook. Can she find the courage to share who she really is?

Angelica (Jelly for short) is the queen of comedy at school. She has a personality as big as she is, and everyone loves her impressions. But Jelly isn't as confident as she pretends to be. No one knows her deepest thoughts and feelings. She keeps those hidden away in a secret notebook.

Then her mom's new boyfriend, Lennon, arrives. He's kind and perceptive, and he is the first person to realize that Jelly is playing a part. Jelly shares her poetry with him and he convinces her to perform one of her poems as a song at the school talent show. Can Jelly risk letting people see the real her? What if it all goes wrong?

Date Added: 05/08/2020


Things You Can't Say

by Jenn Bishop

Perfect for fans of See You in the Cosmos and Where the Watermelons Grow, author Jenn Bishop's latest novel tells the moving story of a boy determined to uncover the truth.

Nothing is going right this summer for Drew. And after losing his dad unexpectedly three years ago, Drew knows a lot about things not going right. First, it’s the new girl Audrey taking over everything at the library, Drew’s sacred space. Then it’s his best friend, Filipe, pulling away from him. But most upsetting has to be the mysterious man who is suddenly staying with Drew&’s family. An old friend of Mom’s? Drew isn’t buying that.

With an unlikely ally in Audrey, he’s determined to get to the bottom of who this man really is. The thing is, there are some fears—like what if the person you thought was your dad actually wasn’t—that you can’t speak out loud, not to anyone. At least that’s what Drew thinks. But then again, first impressions can be deceiving.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


From the Desk of Zoe Washington

by Janae Marks

“Enticing and enthralling.” —Jewell Parker Rhodes

From debut author Janae Marks comes a captivating mystery full of heart, as one courageous girl questions assumptions, searches for the truth, and does what she believes is right—even in the face of great opposition. A perfect book for fans of Front Desk and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook!

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime? A crime he says he never committed. Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family.

Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


My Jasper June

by Laurel Snyder

“This book is a treasure—a touching story of friendship, loss, and finding beauty in the everyday, with characters who stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. I absolutely loved it.”—R. J. Palacio, New York Times bestselling author of WonderLaurel Snyder, author of Orphan Island, returns with another unforgettable story of the moments in which we find out who we are, and the life-altering friendships that show us what we can be.The school year is over, and it is summer in Atlanta. The sky is blue, the sun is blazing, and the days brim with possibility. But Leah feels. . . lost. She has been this way since one terrible afternoon a year ago, when everything changed. Since that day, her parents have become distant, her friends have fallen away, and Leah’s been adrift and alone.Then she meets Jasper, a girl unlike anyone she has ever known. There’s something mysterious about Jasper, almost magical. And Jasper, Leah discovers, is also lost. Together, the two girls carve out a place for themselves, a hideaway in the overgrown spaces of Atlanta, away from their parents and their hardships, somewhere only they can find.But as the days of this magical June start to draw to a close, and the darker realities of their lives intrude once more, Leah and Jasper have to decide how real their friendship is, and whether it can be enough to save them both.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


The Line Tender

by Kate Allen

Heartbreaking but also filled with wit and hope, The Line Tender is the story of Lucy, the daughter of a marine biologist and a rescue diver, and the summer that changes her life. If she ever wants to lift the cloud of grief over her family and community, she must complete the research her late mother began. She must follow the sharks.

Wherever the sharks led, Lucy Everhart's marine-biologist mother was sure to follow. In fact, she was on a boat far off the coast of Massachusetts, collecting shark data when she died suddenly. Lucy was seven. Since then Lucy and her father have kept their heads above water--thanks in large part to a few close friends and neighbors.

But June of her twelfth summer brings more than the end of school and a heat wave to sleepy Rockport. On one steamy day, the tide brings a great white--and then another tragedy, cutting short a friendship everyone insists was "meaningful" but no one can tell Lucy what it all meant.

To survive the fresh wave of grief, Lucy must grab the line that connects her depressed father, a stubborn fisherman, and a curious old widower to her mother's unfinished research on the Great White's return to Cape Cod.

If Lucy can find a way to help this unlikely quartet follow the sharks her mother loved, she'll finally be able to look beyond what she's lost and toward what's left to be discovered.

Funny, poignant, and deeply moving, The Line Tender is a story of nature's enduring mystery and the people willing to seek meaning and connection within it.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


Sal & Gabi Break the Universe

by Carlos Hernandez

In order to heal after his mother's death, thirteen-year-old Sal learns to reach into time and space to retrieve things--and people--from other universes.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


Other Words for Home

by Jasmine Warga

A gorgeously written, hopeful middle grade novel in verse about a young girl who must leave Syria to move to the United States, perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Aisha Saeed.

Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria.

But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before.

But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


The Lost Girl

by Anne Ursu

Anne Ursu, author of the National Book Award nominee The Real Boy, returns with a story of the power of fantasy, the limits of love, and the struggles inherent in growing up.When you’re an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark.Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive, dreamy, and brilliant—and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.When fifth grade arrives, however, it's decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both.Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city around them, things both great and small going missing without a trace.As Iris begins to understand that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides it’s up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


Dream Within a Dream

by Patricia MacLachlan

A young girl finds herself—and so much more—during a summer stay with her grandparents in this tender novel from Newbery Award–winning author Patricia MacLachlan.

When Louisa (short for Louisiana) is sent to stay with her grandparents for the summer, she’s not looking forward to it. While her brother is determined to find a way to stay on Deer Island forever, Louisa would rather be off having adventures with their globetrotting ornithographer parents. She’s a writer, and there’s nothing on all of Deer Island to write about—right?

Louisa quickly discovers that small doesn’t necessarily mean quiet, and the island has plenty of scope for the imagination. It also has George, the boy who helps her see the world in a whole new light. The end of summer is coming fast, and Louisa must decide what she really wants: travel the world with her parents, or stay on Deer Island with the people she’s only just learning to love?

Date Added: 05/08/2020


All the Greys on Greene Street

by Laura Tucker

SoHo, 1981. Twelve-year-old Olympia is an artist--and in her neighborhood, that's normal. Her dad and his business partner Apollo bring antique paintings back to life, while her mother makes intricate sculptures in a corner of their loft, leaving Ollie to roam the streets of New York with her best friends Richard and Alex, drawing everything that catches her eye.

Then everything falls apart. Ollie's dad disappears in the middle of the night, leaving her only a cryptic note and instructions to destroy it.

Her mom has gone to bed, and she's not getting up.

Apollo is hiding something, Alex is acting strange, and Richard has questions about the mysterious stranger he saw outside. And someone keeps calling, looking for a missing piece of art. . . .Olympia knows her dad is the key--but first, she has to find him, and time is running out.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

by Christopher Healy and Todd Harris

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be. Debut author Christopher Healy takes us on a journey with four imperfect princes and their four improbable princesses, all of whom are trying to become perfect heroes-a fast-paced, funny, and fresh introduction to a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw

by Christopher Healy and Todd Harris

The League of Princes returns in the hilariously epic conclusion to the hit series that began with Christopher Healy's The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, which the Los Angeles Times called "one of the more clever, hilariously successful incarnations of the current literary rage to rip apart and rewrite fairy tales."Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don't you? Well, think again. Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered--and the four Princes Charming are the prime suspects. Now they're on the run in a desperate attempt to clear their names. Along the way, however, they discover that Briar's murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms--a plot that will lead to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle

by Christopher Healy

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You remember them, don't you? They're the Princes Charming, who finally got some credit after they stepped out of the shadows of their princesses—Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose—to defeat an evil witch bent on destroying all their kingdoms. But alas, such fame and recognition only last so long. And when the princes discover that an object of great power might fall into any number of wrong hands, they are going to have to once again band together to stop it from happening—even if no one will ever know it was they who did it. Christopher Healy, author of the acclaimed The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, takes us back to the hilariously fractured fairy-tale world he created for another tale of medieval mischief. Magical gemstones, bladejaw eels, a mysterious Gray Phantom, and two maniacal warlords bent on world domination—it's all in a day's work for the League of Princes.

Date Added: 05/08/2020


The Great Upending

by Beth Kephart

When a troubled children’s book author moves to their farm, two kids with troubles of their own hatch a scheme to swipe the ending of the final book in a bestselling series to get a reward from the book’s publisher in this gorgeously written novel in the tradition of Wonder and Out of My Mind.

Twelve-year-old Sara and her brother Hawk are told that they are not to bother the man—The Mister—who just moved into the silo apartment on their farm. It doesn’t matter that they know nothing about him and they think they ought to know something. It doesn’t matter that he’s always riding that unicycle around. Mama told them no way, no how are they to bother The Mister unless they want to be in a mess of trouble.

Trouble is the last thing Sara and her brother need. Sara’s got a condition, you see. Marfan syndrome. And that Marfan syndrome is causing her heart to have problems, the kind of problems that require surgery. But the family already has problems: The drought has dried up their crops and their funds, which means they can’t afford any more problems, let alone a surgery to fix those problems. Sara can feel the weight of her family’s worry, and the weight of her time running out, but what can a pair of kids do? Well, it all starts with…bothering The Mister.

Date Added: 05/01/2020


A Field Guide to Getting Lost

by Joy McCullough

A girl with a passion for science and a boy who dreams of writing fantasy novels must figure out how to get along now that their parents are dating in this lively, endearing novel.Sutton is having robot problems. Her mini-bot is supposed to be able to get through a maze in under a minute, but she must have gotten something wrong in the coding. Which is frustrating for a science-minded girl like Sutton—almost as frustrating as the fact that her mother probably won&’t be home in time for Sutton&’s tenth birthday. Luis spends his days writing thrilling stories about brave kids, but there&’s only so much inspiration you can find when you&’re stuck inside all day. He&’s allergic to bees, afraid of dogs, and has an overprotective mom to boot. So Luis can only dream of daring adventures in the wild. Sutton and Luis couldn&’t be more different from each other. Except now that their parents are dating, these two have to find some common ground. Will they be able to navigate their way down a path they never planned on exploring?

Date Added: 05/01/2020


Finally, Something Mysterious

by Doug Cornett

The best mysteries can only be solved with your best friends. The perfect summer read for fans of Stuart Gibbs.Paul Marconi has always thought that Bellwood was a strange town, but also a boring one. Not much for an eleven-year-old to do. Fires are burning nearby, Paul's parents are obsessed with winning a bratwurst contest, and his best friend, one of the founding members of their only-child detective club, the One and Onlys, is about to acquire a younger sister, sort of undoing their whole reason for existing. But then! Hundreds of rubber duckies have appeared on the lawn of poor Mr. Babbage without any explanation. Finally! There is something that Paul and his friends can actually investigate.In the face of all these bizarre occurrences, Paul is convinced that uncovering who deposited the duckies will finally bring some sense to what has become an upside-down world. Soon the three friends have a long list of suspects, all with their own motives, but no clear culprit. When everything comes to a head at the town's annual Bellwood Bratwurst Bonanza, Paul discovers that some things don't have an easy explanation and not every mystery can be solved.A perfect summer story about friends, amateur sleuthing, and a whole lot of rubber duckies.&“The perfect mix of hilarious and heartwarming—kids won&’t be able to get enough of Paul and his friends&’ Bellwood adventures.&”—Elsie Chapman, author of All the Ways Home"Delightful fun for budding mystery fans."--Kirkus"A diverting mystery with clever misdirection that will keep readers guessing until the end."--The Bulletin"The quirkiness of the premise and the light, punny humor give the narrative its momentum."--Booklist"The One and Onlys seem primed to become a popular trio among readers who enjoy an old-fashioned whodunit."--Publishers Weekly

Date Added: 05/01/2020


Dragon Pearl

by Yoon Ha Lee

Rick Riordan Presents Yoon Ha Lee's space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits. But you'd never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min's mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.

Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She's counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds. When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.

Min's quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.

This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination.

Date Added: 04/11/2019


The Whispers

by Greg Howard

Eleven-year-old Riley believes in the whispers, magical fairies that will grant you wishes if you leave them tributes.

Riley has a lot of wishes. He wishes bullies at school would stop picking on him. He wishes Dylan, his 8th grade crush, liked him, and Riley wishes he would stop wetting the bed. But most of all, Riley wishes for his mom to come back home.

She disappeared a few months ago, and Riley is determined to crack the case. He even meets with a detective, Frank, to go over his witness statement time and time again.

Frustrated with the lack of progress in the investigation, Riley decides to take matters into his own hands. So he goes on a camping trip with his friend Gary to find the whispers and ask them to bring his mom back home.

But Riley doesn't realize the trip will shake the foundation of everything that he believes in forever.

Date Added: 04/11/2019


The Countdown Conspiracy

by Katie Slivensky

Ambassador, you are go for launch in T- minus 5…4…3…2….

Get ready to blast off with this high-action, high-stakes middle grade adventure that’s perfect for fans of Chris Grabenstein and Peter Lerangis!

Miranda Regent can’t believe she was just chosen as one of six kids from around the world to train for the first ever mission to Mars.

But as soon as the official announcement is made, she begins receiving anonymous threatening messages…and when the training base is attacked, it looks like Miranda is the intended target.

Now the entire mission—and everyone’s lives—are at risk. And Miranda may be the only one who can save them.

The Martian meets The Goonies in this out-of-this-world middle grade debut where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Date Added: 04/11/2019


Zoe in Wonderland

by Brenda Woods

Coretta Scott King Honor winner Brenda Woods introduces introverted, daydream-prone Zoe, who's afraid her real life will never be as exciting as her imaginary one.

Zoe Reindeer considers herself "just Zoe"--never measuring up to her too-perfect older sister or her smarty-pants little brother.

Truthfully, though, she'd rather just blend in with the plants at the family business, Doc Reindeer's Exotic Plant Wonderland. She does have one friend, Q, and he's the best one ever--but he's moving away, leaving Zoe to fend for herself, and she doesn't know what she'll do without him.

That is until a tall astronomer from Madagascar comes to the nursery looking for a Baobab tree. His visit starts a ball rolling that makes Zoe long for real adventures, not just imaginary ones--and shows her that perhaps her first real adventure is finally beginning.

Date Added: 04/11/2019


Tight

by Torrey Maldonado

Tight: Lately, Bryan's been feeling it in all kinds of ways . . .Bryan knows what's tight for him--reading comics, drawing superheroes, and hanging out with no drama. But drama is every day where he's from, and that gets him tight, wound up.

And now Bryan's friend Mike pressures him with ideas of fun that are crazy risky. At first, it's a rush following Mike, hopping turnstiles, subway surfing, and getting into all kinds of trouble. But Bryan never really feels right acting so wrong, and drama really isn't him. So which way will he go, especially when his dad tells him it's better to be hard and feared than liked?

But if there's one thing Bryan's gotten from his comic heroes, it's that he has power--to stand up for what he feels . . .Torrey Maldonado delivers a fast-paced, insightful, dynamic story capturing urban community life. Readers will connect with Bryan's journey as he navigates a tough world with a heartfelt desire for a different life.

Date Added: 04/11/2019


The Stars Beneath Our Feet

by David Barclay Moore

A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death in this outstanding debut novel that’s been described as a “fast and furious read in which we meet some amazing people, people that stay with us” by Newbery Honor and National Book Award–winning author Jacqueline Woodson.

It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier.

Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.

His path isn’t clear—and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape—and an unexpected bridge back to the world.

David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge—of adolescence, of grief, of violence—and shows how Lolly’s inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.

Date Added: 04/11/2019


Space Case

by Stuart Gibbs

It's a murder mystery on the moon in this humorous and suspenseful space adventure from the author of Belly Up and Spy School.

Like his fellow lunarnauts--otherwise known as Moonies--living on Moon Base Alpha, twelve-year-old Dashiell Gibson is famous the world over for being one of the first humans to live on the moon.

And he's bored out of his mind. Kids aren't allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they're trapped inside the tiny moon base with next to nothing to occupy their time--and the only other kid Dash's age spends all his time hooked into virtual reality games.

Then Moon Base Alpha's top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there's foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Everyone agrees Dr. Holtz went onto the lunar surface without his helmet properly affixed, simple as that. But Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, Dash finds out, and it's a secret that could change everything for the Moonies--a secret someone just might kill to keep...

Date Added: 04/11/2019


Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring

by Angela Cervantes

A room locked for fifty years.

A valuable peacock ring.

A mysterious brother-sister duo.

Paloma Marquez is traveling to Mexico City, birthplace of her deceased father, for the very first time. She's hoping that spending time in Mexico will help her unlock memories of the too-brief time they spent together.

While in Mexico, Paloma meets Lizzie and Gael, who present her with an irresistible challenge: The siblings want her to help them find a valuable ring that once belonged to beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

Finding the ring means a big reward -- and the thanks of all Mexico. What better way to honor her father than returning a priceless piece of jewelry that once belonged to his favorite artist!

But the brother and sister have a secret. Do they really want to return the ring, or are they after something else entirely?

Date Added: 04/11/2019


Lucky Broken Girl

by Ruth Behar

In this unforgettable multicultural coming-of-age narrative—based on the author’s childhood in the 1960s—a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed.

Ruthie’s plight will intrigue readers, and her powerful story of strength and resilience, full of color, light, and poignancy, will stay with them for a long time.

Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro’s Cuba to New York City. Just when she’s finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English—and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood’s hopscotch queen—a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery.

As Ruthie’s world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.


Winner of the 2018 Belpre Award

Date Added: 04/11/2019



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