By Kim Childress
Whether you’re looking for something interesting for your end-of-semester book report or you’ve just never outgrown your love of good picture books, we’ve rounded up some of the best reads ever…sports, romance, sci-fi, you name it. It’s a virtual alphabet soup of awesome books, from A to Z!
Alphabetabum by Chrus Raschka and Vladimir Radunsky
Poetry and charming vintage photos combine to form this unique, entertaining alphabet book. We love the accompanying limericks, like this one:
Little Lucian Leroy
Likes licorice, although lollipops are his
Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey
Millie has multiple reasons to find out who murdered the head football coach. Besides the main suspect being her father, Millie wants the lead story for the school paper. Though her detective skills aren’t as shrewd as those of her heroine Nancy Drew, Millie’s spunky character makes this book shine.
Copper Magic by Julia Mary Gibson
The year is 1906, and life is bleak for 12-year-old Violet. Her mother and baby brother have gone missing, and her father is losing their family farm—that is, until Violet unearths a magical talisman, a tiny copper hand, that grants wishes. Whether done by magic or coincidence, Violet must take responsibility for her choices. This is a beautifully written story with a wonderful twist.
Dirty Gert by Tedd Arnold
Ever since she was a little “squirt,” Gert she’s loved to play in dirt—and eat it, too! One day, while snacking on mud in the rain, Gert grows roots. When Hollywood goes haywire over Gert’s earthly transformation, her parents come to the rescue. Rollicking rhyme and running commentary made by earthworms add to the humor.
Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
With a witty main character named, fittingly, Cyn, take an adventure through the underground world of demons…who happen to be really attractive librarians. Not only must Cyn save the school play and rescue her best friend from the aforementioned attractive librarian/demon, she also has to not completely humiliate herself in front of Ryan, the love-of-her-life-who-doesn’t-even-know-she-exists. It’s the perfect mix of trembling with fear and laughing your butt off!
Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita
After Gilly’s third arrest for stealing food for her family, she’s sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School, where the teachers are former villains, like Big Bad Wolf, Evil Queen, and Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother. Gilly finds friends in unexpected places, but there’s something brewing at this school…because, well, a villain’s gotta go on villin’.
Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Ever wondered what happened to Cinderella’s evil stepsisters after Cinderella lived happily ever after? Or how about after Goldilocks left the Three Bears’ house—who cleaned up that mess? You’re in luck because you’ll find out in these delightful poems that put a twist on the classic fairy tales! Oh, and you’ll never again look the same way at the Little Mermaid…
I’m dizzy with dance,
pink petals in my hair,
waltzing and weaving—
the floor becomes air.
Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti
Get lost in the pages of this creepy rendition of the classic story of Hansel and Gretel, with its incredible black-ink illustrations. You’ll swear you see something moving from the corner of your eye.
Is There a Dog in This Book? by Viviane Schwarz
There is, in fact, a dog! At first the cats are scared, but the reader helps the cats realize the dogs are actually kind of cute! But when the cats want the reader to hug the dog, the dog gets scared and hides. The only way to find him is by lifting up flaps in a charming game of hide-and-seek.
Jubilee! One Man’s Big, Bold, and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace by Alicia Potter
Jubilee! is LOUD! It is the story of Patrick Gilmore who dreamed of throwing the BIGGEST concert in history to celebrate the end of the Civil War. Everyone said it couldn’t be done, but Patrick just followed his heart. And he succeeded—his music fest lasted five days! Needless to say, this book makes you want to get up and throw your hands in the air!
Let us have peace.
The Kid’s Guide to Exploring Nature by The Children’s Education Staff at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Whether you live in the city or in the woods, this nifty guide teaches you how to be an expert naturalist. With informational articles and fun nature activities, like how to catch salamanders red-handed as they boogie the night away, this book will make you fall in love with your own backyard.
Lizzie! by Maxine Kumin
With her outgoing personality and crazy adventures, being in a wheelchair doesn’t slow 11-year-old Lizzie down! A diving accident left her paralyzed from the waist down, but that never dampens her outlook. But Lizzie’s fearlessness and passion for animals land her in trouble when she uncovers a mystery at a small roadside zoo near her new home in small-town Florida, where she and her single mother are starting live over.
Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes by Dina Cheney
Perfect for busy nights or the blossoming chef, this book provides yummy recipes that will make your taste-buds shout for more. And it’s easy! Just pop your mug into the microwave for a few minutes and out comes French toast, pizza, pie, and just about anything else you can imagine.
♥ Pizza Toss ♥
This easy crowd-pleaser—think pizza in a mug, in less than 5 minutes—will become one of your go-to dishes.
1 cup 1-inch cubes country bread, such as ciabatta
1/2 cup high-quality marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves, washed
and patted dry
1. Stir together all of the ingredients in a small bowl, then pour into a 12-ounce mug. Pack down.
2. Cover and microwave until hot, about 2 minutes.
Reprinted with permission from Mug Meals: Delicious Microwave Recipes © 2015 by Dina Cheney from Taunton Press.
Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo
This little book is a BIG treasure. A little boy goes to visit Nana, who lives in the city; but he’s afraid of the city. With some love and encouragement (and a snazzy red cape), Nana shows the little boy that the city is filled with wonder and, soon enough, he realizes that when he is brave, he is able to see the magic all around him.
OMG: A Keepsake Journal of Off-the-Wall Q&As by Laura Barcella
For life’s memorable, and even not so memorable, moments, pull out OMG and leave your heart on the page. Filled with questions about what you had for breakfast, places to draw what fills you with hope, and lists about the night sky, this journal lets you laugh, cry, be silly, and be you.
Reprinted with permission from OMG A Keepsake Journal of off-the-wall Q&As © 2015 by Laura Barcella, Sterling Children’s Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Cover illustration by Bethany Robertson. Interior illustrations by Ellen Duda.
The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
Everyone knows princesses are prim and proper, except when there’s a monster on the loose. Then it’s good-bye, pink ball gowns, hello ninja cape! Princess Magnolia must entertain The Duchess, defeat the monster, and save the goats, all while keeping her secret identity just that—a secret. This enchanting tale harkens back to the fairy-tales of old, except this princess doesn’t need any prince to save her from the monster. She’s got that taken care of.
Quest by Aaron Becker
Told all in dazzlingly colored paintings, Aaron Becker takes you on a journey into a mystical universe where anything you draw comes to life. When a king is kidnapped by mysterious knights, two boys (and their trusty parrot) must save the king and his kingdom. This book’s stunning illustrations allows the readers to take their imaginations to new levels!
Rookie Yearbook Three by Tavi Gevinson
Longing. That was idea behind this third installment of Rookie, a collection of some of the best features from RookieMag.com. Tavi Gavinson, the savvy 17-year-old founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine, shares her vision of turning pain and awkwardness into something beautiful and unique. Young women share their own stories about growing up, offering a different way of looking at some of the trials of adolescence and beyond.
Longing for the past: missing something you never had, missing a glorified idea of something, missing ignorance, missing simplicity. The paradox of getting what you longed for, that nothing can ever be truly what you wanted.
Simply Gorjuss Inspirations: 30 Pullout Keepsake Cards to Share by Santoro
You know that feeling when a package arrives for you in the mail? And you get butterflies in your stomach wondering who it could be from, what magic it might contain? Well you can’t go wrong with these happy postcards. Send one to your best friend and she’ll know you love her more than anything.
Change your thoughts and change your world.
Twelve Dancing Unicorns by Alissa Heyman
Though the King keeps his twelve unicorns on golden chains, each morning he finds the chains broken and the unicorns sleeping under their pomegranate trees. Stumped as to where the unicorns go each night, he promises a reward for anyone who can find the answer. A little girl says she will discover the unicorns’ secret, and, despite everyone’s doubts, she befriends the youngest unicorn and is transported into their enchanted world where unicorns roam free.
Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Disturbed by the possibility that her late grandfather might be a thief after she finds a Renaissance masterpiece hidden under one of his paintings, Theodora Tenpenny embarks on a journey to discover more about the painting and her grandfather. Simultaneously, Theo must support her mother with the paltry legacy her grandfather left behind and hold onto his 200-year-old house. This one’s an excellent literary read and well-crafted mystery.
Vanilla Ice Cream by Bob Graham
Do you remember your first taste of vanilla ice cream? That cold, sweet surprise on your tongue? Probably not, but this is a wonderful story of a wandering Indian sparrow that ends up in New York to meet a small girl named Edie. And in a happy accident, Edie gets her first taste of vanilla ice cream.
Women Who Broke The Rules (series) by Kathleen Krull
Ever get in trouble for breaking the rules? Well, this series features women like Sonia Sotomayor, Sacajawea, Dolley Madison, and Judy Blume, who definitely did not follow all the rules. These short biographies bring to light the history-making adventures, brave questions asked, and long hours devoted of the women whose contributions to society are often left out of the history books. Be prepared to be inspired.
X Marks the Spot by Erin Soderberg
Do you like puppies? Do you like pirates? Do you like puppy pirates? Well if you do, then you’re in luck! This cute chapter book takes you on a sea-faring adventure to find Growlin’ Gracie’s hidden treasure. Run along with Wally, his human Henry, and the rest of the puppy crew in this lighthearted quest to find God, jewels, and dog treats! But be prepared—hidden treasure isn’t always what it seems.
Yak and Gnu by Juliette MacIver
This is the amusing, rhyming tale of two friends who think they are the only ones who know how to row down the river. Much to their surprise, as they set off on their journey, Yak and Gnu meet giraffes and hippos and gorillas and even other yaks and gnus that also love the river. Not sure where they belong anymore, Yak and Gnu realize as long as they have each other, all is right in the world.
Zac & Mia by A. J. Betts
The author takes you on a journey that begins with two simple knock-knocks on the wall separating Zac and Mia’s hospital rooms. Neither knows if they will survive, but they do know they need each other—they need to lie, blare Gaga songs, carry each other—so they can keep wishing on burning meteorites together. This novel, written in alternating voices (both of which have a certain innocent snarky-ness that you will come to enjoy), will have you flinging your book across the room, only to be immediately picking it back up so you can finish it by 3 a.m.
But today, we eat salty, soggy corndogs in the sunshine and they taste better than anything.