Friday, July 31, 2015

Happy Birthday J.K. Rowling!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the author who reminded us to believe in magic, and reminded adults that reading children's book is cool! No matter what age we are. In honor of her, here are some of my favorite quotes from the Harry Potter series. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Today I am so thrilled to be apart of the Celebratory Tour for Dr. Seuss! Having grown up reading this book as a child, being apart of this tour means so much more to me than just reviewing a book. Dr. Seuss's books are timeless classics that have helped countless children learn how to read. Today I have the pleasure of featuring HOP ON POP.


By: Dr. Seuss
Published by: Random House Kids
Released on: 2/28/1963(original release date)
Series: I Can Read It All By Myself Beginner Books Series
Ages: 3-7 years old
Rating: 5 Stars
Purchase it from: Amazon | B&N 

Loved by generations, this “simplest Seuss for youngest use” is a Beginner Book classic. See Red and Ned and Ted and Ed in a bed. And giggle as Pat sits on a hat and on a cat and on a bat . . . but a cactus? Pat must NOT sit on that! This classic Beginner Book makes an ideal gift for Seuss fans and is an especially good way to show Pop some love on Father’s Day! Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning (Quoted from Amazon).

This is one of my favorite Dr Seuss books as a child. It's one I enjoyed reading to my children when they were younger. Hop On Pop is a fun read. I loved having the chance to recently read it again. With rhyming words, and easy to read words, this book is an ideal book for those toddler age through second grade. It's a great book for children who can't yet read, and those who are just learning to read. 

*Source: I received this book from the publisher to review in exchange for my honest review.


In the Fall of 2013, an original manuscript with accompanying sketches by Dr. Seuss, aka Ted Geisel, was discovered in the La Jolla, California home of the late beloved children’s author. That complete manuscript was for the picture book, WHAT PET SHOULD I GET?, and will be published by Random House Children’s Books on July 28, 2015. It is the first original new Dr. Seuss book since the publication of the last book of Dr. Seuss’s career, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! in 1990. WHAT PET SHOULD I GET? captures the excitement of a classic childhood moment—choosing a pet—and features the brother and sister characters that Dr. Seuss drew in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

Dr. Seuss 44 Classic Book Celebratory Tour
  1. And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, 1937 – The Young
  2. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, 1938 – Bookish Antics
  3. The Seven Lady Godivas, 1939 – The Eater of Books
  4. The King’s Stilts, 1939 – On Starships and Dragonwings
  5. Horton Hatches the Egg, 1940 – The Book Cellar
  6. McElligot’s Pool, 1947 – Media Mikes
  7. Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, 1948 –Mommie of 2
  8. Bartholomew and the Oobleck, 1949 – Nonperfect Parenting
  9. If I Ran the Zoo, 1950 – Live to Read
  10. Scrambled Eggs Super! 1953 – Word Spelunking
  11. Horton Hears a Who! 1954 - Bookiemoji
  12. On Beyond Zebra! 1955 - Jessabella Reads
  13. If I Ran the Circus, 1956 – Book Hounds
  14. The Cat in the Hat, 1957 – The Bookbag
  15. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 1957 – Nightly Reading
  16. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, 1958 – Winter Haven Books
  17. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, 1958 – Alice Marvels
  18. Happy Birthday to You! 1959 – Chapter by Chapter
  19. Green Eggs and Ham, 1960 – Poland Bananas
  20. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, 1960 – Once Upon a Twilight
  21. The Sneetches and Other Stories, 1961 - The Mod Podge Bookshelf
  22. Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, 1962 – Good Books and Good Wine
  23. Dr. Seuss’s ABC, 1963 – The Irish Banana
  24. Hop on Pop, 1963 – Mundie Moms
  25. Fox in Socks, 1965 – Page Turners
  26. I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, 1965 – Book Rock Betty
  27. The Cat in the Hat Songbook, 1967 – Giveaway Train
  28. The Foot Book, 1968 – I Am A Reader
  29. I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today! And Other Stories, 1969 – Cuddlebuggery
  30. I Can Draw It Myself, 1970 – The Children’s Book Review
  31. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? 1970 – Curling Up with a Good Book
  32. The Lorax, 1971 - Elizziebooks
  33. Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! 1972 – Reading with ABC
  34. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? 1973 – Me, Myshelf, and I
  35. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff, 1973 – Paperback Princess
  36. There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! 1974 – Presenting Lenore
  37. Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! 1975 – YA Books Central
  38. The Cat’s Quizzer, 1976 – Lille Punkin’
  39. I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! 1978 – Confessions Of A Vi3tbabe
  40. Oh Say Can You Say? 1979 – Ex Libris
  41. Hunches in Bunches, 1982 – No BS Book Reviews
  42. The Butter Battle Book, 1984 – Novel Novice
  43. You’re Only Old Once! 1986 – Dad of Divas
  44. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 1990  - Jesse the Reader


Theodor “Seuss” Geisel is one of the most beloved children’s book authors of all time. His long list of awards includes Caldecott Honors for McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, and Bartholomew and the Oobleck, the Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctorates. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, three Grammys and a Peabody. Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books during his lifetime, and his books have sold more than 650 million copies worldwide. Though Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit


Thank you to Random House, I've got a copy of Dr. Seuss's newest release, What Pet Should I Get, to giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book, which is out TODAY. US residents only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Little Golden Book To Release STAR WARS Books!

Coming to a book store near you soon! Little Golden Books will release STAR WARS books starting on July 28th, 2015! There will be a book for each Star Wars film that has already been released. Check out the press release from Random House below:

New York, NY, July 9, 2015—The iconic Little Golden Book format will extend its collection of titles to include retellings of the epic Star Wars movies for the first time ever, as announced today by Barbara Marcus, President and Publisher, Random House Children’s Books. On July 28, 2015, the first six Star Wars Little Golden Books will be released, including illustrated retellings of The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Chris Angelilli, Vice President, Editor-in-Chief, Director of License Publishing, Random House Children’s Books, will oversee the publication of these six titles.

All Star Wars Little Golden Books will feature a custom gold spine that includes popular characters from the Star Wars universe.

These books will introduce young readers to the iconic film series that ranks among the top five highest-grossing film franchises of all time, and will be welcome additions for adult collectors and fans.

“We are thrilled to contribute to the Star Wars galaxy with these Little Golden Book retellings,” said Marcus. “Bringing together these two beloved and popular brands is a significant moment, and we look forward to sharing these epic stories in classic Little Golden Book form.”

Launched in 1942, Little Golden Books revolutionized children’s book publishing by making high-quality picture books available at affordable prices. More than 60 years later, many of the original Golden Book titles are still wildly popular.

“The Star Wars franchise has woven itself into the hearts and minds of generations of fans, many of whom read Little Golden Books as children,” said Jeanne Mosure, Senior Vice President, Group Publisher, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “We’re very excited to be incorporating Little Golden Books into our overarching strategy so parents can now introduce their own children to the wonders of the galaxy through this classic format.”

Coming September 1, 2015, Random House will release a boxed set with the six Star Wars Little Golden Books titles.

By Courtney Carbone; Illustrated by Heather Martinez 
RH Children’s Books; Golden Books | On sale July 28, 2015
Hardcover: 9780736435420 | $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.) | 24 pages | Ages 2-5
Ebook: 9780736435437 |On Sale August 25, 2015|  $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.)

Illustrated by Ethen Beavers
RH Children’s Books; Golden Books | On sale July 28, 2015
Hardcover: 9780736435468 | $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.) | 24 pages | Ages 2-5
Ebook: 9780736435475  |On Sale August 25, 2015|  $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.)

By Geof Smith; Illustrated by Patrick Spaziante
RH Children’s Books; Golden Books | On sale July 28, 2015
Hardcover: 9780736435406 | $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.) | 24 pages | Ages 2-5
Ebook: 9780736435413  |On Sale August 25, 2015|  $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.)

By Geof Smith; Illustrated by Caleb Meurer
RH Children’s Books; Golden Books | On sale July 28, 2015
Hardcover: 9780736435383 | $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.) | 24 pages | Ages 2-5
Ebook: 9780736435390  |On Sale August 25, 2015|  $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.)

By Geof Smith; Illustrated by Chris Kennett
RH Children’s Books; Golden Books | On sale July 28, 2015
Hardcover: 9780736435444 | $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.) | 24 pages | Ages 2-5
Ebook: 9780736435451 |On Sale August 25, 2015|  $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.)

By Geof Smith; Illustrated by Ron Cohee
RH Children’s Books; Golden Books | On sale July 28, 2015
Hardcover: 9780736435482 | $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.) | 24 pages | Ages 2-5
Ebook: 9780736435499 |On Sale August 25, 2015|  $4.99 / $5.99 (Can.)

Various; Illustrated by Golden Books
RH Children’s Books; Golden Books | On sale September 1, 2015
BX/Hardcover: 9780736434706 | $29.94 / $35.94 (Can.) | Ages 2-5

* * * * * * * * * * 

The Star Wars nerd in me can not wait to get my hands on these! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

IN A VILLAGE BY THE SEA by Muon Van / Book Review

By: Muon Van
Illustrated by: April Chu
Published by: Creston Books
Released on: 5/12/15
Ages: 4 - 8 years old

Written in a spare, lyrical style using fresh, evocative imagery, In a Village by the Sea tells the story of longing for the comforts of home. A perfect book for teaching about diverse cultures and lifestyles through rich pictures and words, moving from the wide world to the snugness of home and back out again.

A beautifully illustrated, culturally diverse book. In A Village By the Sea will give children a personal view of a Vietnamese fishing village, and the beautiful story that unfolds within the pages of this book. 

I love the adventure a book can take you on without leaving the comforts of the very spot you're sitting to read a book at. In A Village By the Sea, readers are taken on an adventure at sea, as well as welcomed into the warmth of a small house that sits high on the hills over looking the sea, that belongs to the family who is waiting for their fisherman to return home, safe and sound.

I loved the imagery, and the way Muon Van tells her story. The story itself is simplistic in it's wordage, and is told in such a way that young children can easily comprehend what is happening on each page. The illustrations are just as beautiful as the story. Each page focuses on a specific part of the story, bringing that part of the story to life elegantly. One of my favorite parts of the story is the hole in the wall of the kitchen, where the cricket is at, who's painting the picture of the boat out at sea. I won't say anything else about it, as you'll have to read the book to find out the significance of that painting.

I really enjoyed this book. I love the author's note at the end of the story. Readers learn more about the real life inspiration behind the book itself, and the author's personal connection to the story. This is a book that would be a wonderful addition to any library, classroom or personal library. 

Rating: 4 Owlets - I Really Enjoy It!
This book was provided by publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review. Check out the book on Goodreads, purchase it from Amazon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


By: Cornelius Van Wright
Published by: Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin Random House
To Be Released on: 7/28/15
Ages: 5-9

It’s the adventure of a lifetime when best friends—and self-proclaimed superheroes—defeat bad guys of their own invention.

It’s wonk ’em time when Bucky and Stu have to stand up to Phat Tyre, TrashMan and Hose-Nose. No matter that the bad guys are all made out of household items that Bucky and Stu have assembled themselves—these bad guys don’t stand a chance against the boys’ power moves. Still, it’s quite a surprise when their latest villain, the giant Mikanikal Man, gets zapped during a lightning storm and comes to life! The battle—and thrill—of a lifetime ensue. 

Full of surprises and laughs, this upbeat, action-packed story celebrates imagination, creativity, and friendship in even the most unexpected forms. Cornelius Van Wright’s hilarious illustrations are full of surprises and are perfect for portraying the high-speed antics of two enthusiastic boys.

Two best friends, back yard fun, and a lot of great imaginative play, make for a fun read. Wright does a fabulous job at capturing the imaginative world of play through the eyes of two young boys, Bucky and Stu. Every day is an adventure as these two battle various household, and yard items. After all, someone has to protect earth from these bad guys right? 

Bucky and Stu are in a for a huge surprise when they awake the next morning after a thunder storm, and find that one of their creations, The Mikanikal Man was hit by lightening, and is now alive! Now these two superheroes have to spring into action. What ensues is a fun, action packed story that young readers will enjoy. Be warned, a superhero cape is must when reading this book!

Rating: 3 Owlets - It Was A Good Read 
* I received this book to review from the publisher (in exchange for my honest review). You can add it to Goodreads, pre-order it from AmazonThe Book Depository or any of your favorite book retailers. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CUPCAKE! by Terry Border / Book Review

By: Terry Border
Published by: Philomel Books
Released on: 7.7.15
Ages: 5 & up

From the creator of Peanut Butter & Cupcake comes a birthday book starring everyone's favorite dessert!

What's a cupcake to do when she needs to plan her birthday party? In this hilarious, kid-friendly homage to food and birthdays, Cupcake runs through tons of ideas while her best friend, Blueberry Muffin, finds reasons why they won't work: Soup gets seasick; Donut melts in the sun; someome might get squashed during musical chairs; and Cupcake is not very good at limbo (her icing might get sliced off!). Just as Cupcake is ready to crumble, Blueberry Muffin has one last idea that just might save the day. 

With laugh-out-loud visual gags (like a band made up of beans--the musical fruit, of course), this book is sure to put a birthday smile on any kid's face (and on adult faces as well).

If this book doesn't leave you wanting a cupcake, I don't know what book will. The pictures in this book look delicious. 

It's Cupcake's birthday, and she wants to plan a great party for all her friends. Every idea she has, her friend Muffin counters with why it may not work out. As Cupcake and Muffin continue to plan, little does Cupcake know that her friends are planning something of their own to surprise her with.

This was the first picture book I've read who's pictures were of actual food. My initial thought was that it was a little weird, though incredibly smart. Kids will love looking at these pictures. Aside from the pictures, the story itself is okay. I liked the concept of it, but having recently read some outstanding picture books, this book's story fell flat for me. What this book lacked in it's writing, it made up for in it's pictures. Just be warned, you may crave a good cupcake after reading it. 

Over all rating = 2.5 stars (Story wise - the story was okay = 2 stars / Picture wise - the pictures were good = 3 stars).

This book was provided by publisher to review, in exchange for my honest review. Check out the book on Goodreads, purchase it from Amazon | Barnes & Noble. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Reading with READ BRIGHTLY

Summer is full swing, and that means summer reading is too. Did you know that during the summer, kids can lose crucial reading ground, especially those at high risk. Students who don't read during the summer can fall back a few levels on their reading levels. As parents, we understand how hard it can be sometimes to get our kiddos to read at least 20 mins each day during the summer. 

If you're looking for some great tools to aid in your children's summer reading, check out Brightly ( This is an awesome new website that Penguin Random House has created to aid parents for summer reading, as well as aid in raising life long readers. 

About The Site
The site is a Penguin Random House initiative that shares book recommendations from all publishers for every age and stage of reader--from toddlers to teens to grown-ups. On Brightly you'll find essays from authors, insights from illustrators, tips and advice on raising readers, seasonal inspirations, and more. Check them out here

Summer Reading
Now that school’s out, Brightly has created Summer Reading Fun Packs to keep kids reading and help families survive the summer months. Brightly offers three Summer Reading Fun Packs created for different ages and stages: Pre-K, growing readers, and tweens. 

The packs include: 
  • Ultimate Summer Reading Lists—combat the summer slide and make reading fun with Brightly’s book recommendations for preschoolers6-8 year olds, and 9-12 year olds.  
  • Engaging Audiobooks for Family Travel—cheer for traffic as you enjoy a shared reading experience with your preschoolergrowing reader, and tween.  
  • Learning Games for Car Trips—play your way to your destination and put an end to “are we there yet”. 
  • Kindergarten Readiness—discover ten things you can do to at home to get your child ready for the transition. 
  • Summer Learning Loss Preventiontips and advice to prevent brain drain in 6-8 year olds and tweens
  • Printables—hands-on activities, puzzles, Mad Libs, coloring, and more. 
There's definitely something for everyone on Brightly. Whether for children, tweens, teens or parents. I highly recommend checking them out. A great thing about Brightly, is you can take it with you on the go! Brightly works great on an hand held device, or laptop, (at least it has on our devices so far). 

Give them try, and get your kids hooked on Summer Reading!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

CHRIS COLFER is Coming To BOOK PEOPLE on 7/13/15

Author & Actor Chris Colfer is coming to Austin, TX! He'll be signing his 4th book in the The Land of Stories series on Monday 7.13.15 at Book People! Get all the info below. YES, you can pre-order a signed book if you can't make it to the signing. 

Check out all the info below from Book People:

Land of Stories 4: Beyond the Kingdoms
is officially on sale today! Books and signing tickets 
are now available in-store and online. 

Colfer will speak, take audience questions, 
and then sign books. The speaking portion of the event 
is free and open to the public. 

Tickets are required to join the signing line and are only available with the purchase of a copy of 
The Land of Stories 4 
from BookPeople. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of JULY!

Image found via Google

We hope you have a wonderful, and safe holiday! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Percy Pack: Celebrating 10 Years of Percy Jackson / New Original E-Book Will Be Out on 7/14/15 #ReadRiordan

We are so excited to be apart of the Percy Pack! We've teamed up with Disney Hyperion to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of PERCY JACKSON! Each month beginning in June, through October, we'll be bringing you exciting news, and special features celebrating the 10th anniversary of Percy Jackson! Each month we'll feature a new post about the latest Percy Jackson news, as well as Rick Riordan's other series. If you're a fan of Percy Jackson, and Greek Mythology, be sure to follow our posts, as well as other Percy Pack members via the #ReadRiordan hashtag.

Get your first look! Today I'm thrilled to share an exclusive first look at the NEW ORIGINAL RICK RIORDAN E-BOOK DEMIGODS OF OLYMPUS: An Interactive Adventurewhich will be released on July 14th, 2015!

Your quest begins! Use your demigod skills in this interactive and customizable adventure story written by New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan. Combining four short stories, The Two-Headed Guidance Counselor, The Library of Deadly Weapons, My Demon Satyr Tea Party, and My Personal Zombie Apocalypse, your choices will have consequences in this first interactive demigod adventure. 

There's more exciting news for fans of Percy Jackson! Keep reading to out more about other upcoming releases!

The first look at Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (being released on October 6, 2015), was revealed last week on USA Today

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarök, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Don’t forget to pre-order Percy Jackson’s GREEK HEROES, the companion to the national best seller Percy Jackson’s GREEK GODS available on Percy Jackson’s birthday, August 18, 2015.

Who cut off Medusa's head? Who was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus? It takes a demigod to know, and Percy Jackson can fill you in on the all the daring deeds of Perseus, Atalanta, Bellerophon, and the rest of the major Greek heroes. Told in the funny, irreverent style readers have come to expect from Percy, ( I've had some bad experiences in my time, but the heroes I'm going to tell you about were the original old school hard luck cases. They boldly screwed up where no one had screwed up before. . .) and enhanced with vibrant artwork by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco, this story collection will become the new must-have classic for Rick Riordan's legions of devoted fans--and for anyone who needs a hero. So get your flaming spear. Put on your lion skin cape. Polish your shield and make sure you've got arrows in your quiver. We're going back about four thousand years to decapitate monsters, save some kingdoms, shoot a few gods in the butt, raid the Underworld, and steal loot from evil people. Then, for dessert, we'll die painful tragic deaths. Ready? Sweet. Let's do this.

Pre-order Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Indiebound | Indigo | iBooks

Visit the Official Website
Follow Rick Riordan on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

Monday, June 29, 2015

10 Books for Middle Schoolers to Read Over the Summer

Looking for some books for your middle grade reader? Check out this list of 10 MG books to read over the summer that Random House Kids shared. Originally posted by Common Sense Media, Random House Kids shared the link via their Facebook page. If you're not yet following Random House Kids, I highly recommend that you do! 

Personally I've not read all the books listed here. Since I can't personally talk about each book, I've included the description of the book from the original article that Common Sense Media shared. Check out their list of 10 Books For Middle Schoolers To Read Over Summer below: 
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, ages 10+
What It's About
: Raised in both South Carolina and New York, author Jacqueline Woodson shares tales of her upbringing through Jim Crow and Civil Rights in the '60s and '70s. Told completely in verse, Woodson's book details cherished memories about her grandparents, pop culture, new friends, and living in both the segregated country and diverse city streets.
Why Read It? Woodson's award-winning memoir (National Book Award, Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Author Award) is funny and sad and everything in between. The intimate and engaging poems will teach middle schoolers about a complicated time in American history, but it's also a universal story about coming of age, changing family dynamics, and learning what makes you uniquely talented.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, ages 10+
What It's About
: Before she was the youngest Noble Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai was a young Pashtun girl who loved to learn in her hometown of Pakistan's Swat Valley. Although her mother was illiterate, Malala grew up in a girls' school run by her father. A curious, precocious learner who firmly believed in a girl's God-given right to learn, Malala was considered a blasphemous troublemaker by the Taliban, and in 2012 she was shot by a Taliban gunman. She survived and refused to be silenced.
Why Read It? Educating girls is a global human rights issue, and Malala's story teaches young readers that even the youngest advocate can have a huge impact. As Malala explains, in countries "where women aren't allowed to go out in public without a man, we girls traveled far and wide inside the pages of our books. In a land where many women can't read the prices in the markets, we did multiplication ... we ran as free as the wind."
Murder Is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens, ages 10+
What It's About: In 1930s Hong Kong, a Chinese Anglophile sends his 13-year-old daughter Hazel Wong to boarding school in England. When she arrives at the perpetually dark and damp Deepdean School for Girls, Hazel is in awe of the young (and mean) English girls she meets. Still, she connects with plucky and beautiful Daisy Wells, who asks Hazel to be the Watson to her Holmes. There's not much sleuthing for the girls to do until Hazel discovers the dead body of the science mistress -- but by the time Hazel runs back with Daisy, the body has mysteriously disappeared.
Why Read It? This boarding-school mystery in a historical setting is written in the tradition of Nancy Drew with a dash of Veronica Mars humor and Hogwarts excitement. Although the main characters are girls, boys will enjoy the Holmes-and-Watson-style (or should we say Wells-and-Wong) adventures in figuring out what in the world is happening around them.
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip M. Hoose, ages 12+
What It's About
: During WWII, Denmark didn't resist Nazi occupation, and this deeply shamed 15-year-old Knud Pedersen, who along with his brother and some classmates started a small, secret club of political resisters in 1941. Full of brave but naïve teenage boys desperate to undermine the Nazi regime, the Churchill Club committed 25 acts of sabotage -- disabling German vehicles, stealing Nazi arms, and destroying and defacing German property -- before being arrested in 1942.
Why Read It? What middle schooler doesn't want to read about teens who defied authority for the greater good? The Churchill Club's actions sound like something out of a movie, but they really happened, and Hoose interweaves his own historical nonfiction with recollections from Pedersen himself. This is the kind of book students would gladly read for history class, because the characters are such courageous, clever young heroes.
The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming, ages 12+
What It's About
: Award-winning children's author Candace Fleming captures the final years of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. Czar Nicholas II isn't prepared to step up and lead his vast empire. An intensely personal man, Nicholas is better suited to family life with his German and English wife Alexandra (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria) and their five children: four girls and one sickly son. As revolutionaries gain ground and WWI approaches, it becomes clear that the Czar and his family are headed toward doom.
Why Read It? History buffs or not, kids interested in "real stories" will love Fleming's straightforward style of explaining complex sociopolitical ideas and historical contexts concerning the Imperial family, World War I, the Russian Revolution, Russian Orthodox ideology, and even European royalty. There's a lot to digest, but it's always fascinating. Fans of nonfiction narratives will dive into Fleming's chronicle of one of history's most fascinating downfalls.
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, ages 12+
What It's About
: Fourteen-year-old Audrey struggles with severe anxiety stemming from unspecified school bullying. She is under a doctor's care and making slow but steady progress, but things significantly change when Audrey meets her brother's online gaming friend, Linus. Despite her social anxiety, Audrey finds it easy to talk to Linus, and their friendship eventually turns into a sweet romance.
Why Read It? Best-selling author Kinsella, who's best known for her popular Shopaholic series, delivers her first young adult novel, a realistic contemporary story about social anxiety and gaming addiction that's nevertheless filled with her infectious brand of humor and romance. A book featuring a young teen protagonist, tough issues, humor, and a quirky, close-knit family? Sounds like an ideal mother-daughter read.
I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Martin Ganada and Caitlin Alifrenka, ages 12+
What It's About
: In 1997, 12-year-old American middle schooler Caitlin and 14-year-old Zimbabwean Martin are paired as pen pals through their schools. At first, Caitlin sends photos and trinkets and asks for the same, not realizing the depths of poverty in which Martin lives. Eventually Caitlin and her family start to send financial support to Martin, and their international friendship forever changes each of their lives.
Why Read It? Caitlin and Martin's letters and perspectives will teach kids to better appreciate their relative good fortune and to understand how a little bit of help and a lot of compassion can make a huge impact on someone else's life. Caitlin and Martin's extraordinary friendship should inspire your kid to be a better global citizen.
Undertow by Michael Buckley. ages 13+
What It's About
: Coney Island native Lyric Walker has a family secret: She's part "Sirena." So when 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race (Sirena being among them) of beautiful but violent humanoid sea warriors, land on her beach, she knows this means trouble. Lyric's New York City beach town turns into a militarized zone with the Alpha on one side and humans on another. Then Lyric is asked to give Fathom, the gorgeous and militant Alpha prince, reading lessons, and sparks fly. Which side will she choose?
Why Read It? Described as a combination of The 5th Wave and Twilight with sea creatures, this romantic dystopian fantasy seems to have enough action, war, and adventure to balance out the fiery romance, making it an equally compelling choice for any kid who wants to start reading a popular new series.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, ages 14+
What It's About
: This dual-narrative fantasy follows two characters in an alternate universe with a strict caste system: Laia is a Scholar (the oppressed class), and Elias is an elite military student for the Empire. After Laia's brother is arrested, she joins a resistance movement that places her as a slave at the military academy where Elias is a rising star. Despite their differences, the slave and the soldier have more in common than they care to admit, and together they could start a revolution.
Why Read It? One of the biggest debuts of the year, Tahir's fantasy novel is already a New York Times bestseller and has secured a sequel as well as a lucrative movie deal.
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, ages 14+
What It's About
: Thirteen-year-old Noah and his twin sister Jude are inseparable until their art-critic mom announces that their dearly departed grandmother's ghost wants them to apply to a local arts high school. The competition for their mom's approval coupled with an unexpected, catastrophic loss leads to three years of drifting apart, finding love, and discovering whom they want to be as artists, siblings, and people.
Why Read It? Nelson's gorgeously written coming-of-age novel won multiple awards in 2014, and it deserved every accolade. Best for seventh- and eighth-graders mature enough to immerse themselves in the story's magical realism, philosophical themes, and relationship issues, I'll Give You the Sun will impress English teachers and make readers want to share the book with friends.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Common Sense Media is looking for more MG recommendations. If you have some recommendations, head over to their post HERE and let them know what other books you'd recommend MG readers pick up this summer. This has inspired me to start working on my own personal list of recommendations, as I feel there are a lot of great books left off this list. 

I'd like to know, what other MG books would you recommend reading this summer? Let's share the MG book recommendation love. Please share your recs in the comments below. As always, we recommend that you read or at least look into each book before you have your child read it. 

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~