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Hot Summer Reads

Here's a mix of novels — graphic, classic, and new — that have absolutely nothing to do with SCHOOL. It’s got a little something for every young reader, including yours.

<i>Copper</i> by Kazu Kibuishi
Copper by Kazu Kibuishi

Meanwhile, by Jason Shiga
ISBN: 978-0-8109-8423-3
If your child likes mazes, comic books, and thinking for hours about the paradoxes of time travel, this book will be the perfect treat. It's a "choose your own adventure" graphic novel that claims to have 3856 story possibililties (I uncovered about 50 in only a few hours). Readers are presented with a time machine, a memory transfer device, and a "Killtron" that can destroy everyone on the planet (it can also make ice cream). Play with these devices in various order to find endings that are happy, catastrophic, or whacko. It takes a while to master the fine art of following the maze-like lines that lead you through your choices, but once you do, you can't stop.

Chiggers, by Hope Larson
ISBN: 9781416935841
Abby arrives for another summer at camp only to find that her friends have changed, and she must struggle to find a new social groove. Against the realistically buggy backdrop of typical camp shenanigans, there is also a touch of magical mystery surrounding Abby's bunkmate, who may have been strangely affected by a bolt of lightning. Of course, there’s a cute boy that Abby likes, and guess what? He likes her back! Perfect for any girl who has ever longed to go away to summer camp, or is about to head back there.

Copper, by Kazu Kibuishi
ISBN: 9780545098939
Fans of Kibuishi's Amulet will find something very different in these short stories about a totally zen boy and his anxious dog. Now out in paperback, the adventures in Copper will remind parents of older antics from Charlie Brown and Snoopy, or Calvin and Hobbes. You'll also find the original webcomic at Bolt City. A whimsical read for a lazy summer afternoon.

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia
ISBN: 978-0-06-076088-5
When sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are put on a plane headed out to California in the summer of 1968, they've got two things on their minds: Disneyland and their mother, Cecile. They weren't raised by Cecile, so this is their chance to get to know her. But Cecile, known as Nzila among her Black Panther friends in Oakland, seems completely uninterested in her daughters. This may sound too serious for summer, but don't worry! Delphine's lively voice and charming sisters bring a feather-light tone to the story that makes it a compulsive read. (Plus the ending is sweetly satisfying.)

Raider's Ransom, by Emily Diamand
ISBN: 0-545-14297-0
Zeph is the son of a pirate lord. Lilly Melkun is a fishing village orphan. They both live in a future that seems a lot like the past––after global warming has set civilization back hundreds of years. Trying to avoid a war, Lilly and Zeph sail the high seas, navigate the crowded boardwalks of drowned Lundun, and discover a mysterious technological marvel that's been powered down for almost 150 years. That last touch of sci-fi makes this rollicking adventure truly fantastic (and very funny). Luckily, another book is in the works!

The Suburb Beyond the Stars, by M.T. Anderson
ISBN: 978-0-545-13882-6
In this long-awaited follow up to The Game of Sunken Places, pre-teen hero Brian Thatz and his snarky partner Gregory are once again thrust into the world of magical monsters and misrule. A realistically terrifying suburban development provides the setting. It's a must-read for fans of Anderson's unique ability to balance cerebral (yet absurd) storytelling with hair-raising (also absurd) action.

The Night Fairy, by Laura Amy Schlitz
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3674-6
Flora is a fairy who flies at night, drinking dew and eating pollen. When a bat rips her wings she decides to become a day fairy, so she can avoid bats forever. But how to get around? Flora thinks a hummingbird would be the perfect ride. But hummingbirds aren't interested in flying rude little fairies around. Throughout her trials and tribulations, Flora proves to be brave, honest, and compassionate (and yes, she learns a little humility along the way). You know how some books are called "a modern-day classic?" Well, this is one of them.

Time at the Top, by Edward Ormondroyd
ISBN: 978-1930900196
I was so excited to see that a 40th anniversary edition of this book came out recently. You should be too! When Susan Shaw goes missing, her entire apartment building is in an uproar, including her neighbor, the writer Mr. Ormondroyd. When she returns dressed in strange Victorian clothes, the mystery deepens. Luckily, Mr. Ormondroyd lets us in on the secret: Susan found her way back to 1881 simply by taking her building elevator straight to the top. While there, she finds a friendship, a fortune, and maybe even a new family. Old-fashioned fun with time travel. How can you go wrong?

The House of Dies Drear, by Virginia Hamilton
ISBN: 978-1416914051
When Thomas Small arrives at his new house up north in Ohio, he knows right away something's wrong. The house has a history dating back to the Underground Railroad––it's filled with secret panels and passages, maybe even a ghost (or three). The mystery, history, and excitement of this book have kept it a favorite among kids, teachers, and librarians for over forty years.

The Lucky Baseball Bat, by Matt Christopher
ISBN: 978-0316010122
Before there was Mike Lupica, there was Matt Christopher. In the 50th Anniversary Edition of this early reader, you get the original illustrations along with the satisfying story of a boy who doesn't think he can win without his lucky bat. The best thing about this book is that if your young child likes it, there are lots more Matt Christopher sports books to enjoy before levelling up to Lupica!

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