Browse our regularly updated lists of staff picks, bestsellers, reading recommendations by grade, award winners, and more.
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Beat the Heat for Younger Readers
Bubbles ... Up!
A day at the community pool is full of unwater magic--dunking and diving with friends; somersaulting, walking on your hands, and bursting up through the surface like a tortoise. But when a thunderstorm comes and a little brother ventures too close to the pool's edge, will our main character be quick enough and brave enough to save the day?
In this energetic read-aloud, the words swim off the pages as the underwater world comes to life through lush, dynamic illustrations and visual poetry. Journey to an imaginative world where, always and forever, bubbles . . . rise . . . UP!
On a hot summer day, Farmer Brown and the animals have a pool party! One by one, everyone gets cool in the pool. Splash! Splash! Splash! Everyone except the cows, that is. The cows don’t like to be splashed. The cows don’t like noise. The cows don’t like a crowded pool. Will everyone have fun in the sun?
The Big Umbrella
In the tradition of Alison McGhee’s Someday, beloved illustrator Amy June Bates makes her authorial debut alongside her eleven-year-old daughter with this timely and timeless picture book about acceptance.
By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath. It doesn’t matter if you are tall. Or plaid. Or hairy. It doesn’t matter how many legs you have.
Don’t worry that there won’t be enough room under the umbrella. Because there will always be room.
Lush illustrations and simple, lyrical text subtly address themes of inclusion and tolerance in this sweet story that accomplished illustrator Amy June Bates cowrote with her daughter, Juniper, while walking to school together in the rain.
One evening at dusk a wind current carries a lone firefly out over the sea. Glancing down into the water, the insect is mesmerized by the glowing bioluminescence, mistaking it for other fireflies. Seeking company, the firefly plunges into the waves. Luckily, there are human bystanders who can lend a hand. Based on an event witnessed by nature writer and ecologist Rachel Carson (The Sea Around Us and Silent Spring) where a firefly attempts to join its "family" in the ocean, this lyrical story written in verse perfectly illustrates the wonder and delight the natural world offers those who pay close enough attention. Back matter includes science facts about fireflies and bioluminescence, as well as information about Carson's life.
My Ocean Is Blue
A girl’s poetic exploration of the ocean she loves. “This is my ocean,” the young girl begins as she heads over the dunes with her mother. Then, passing the day at the seaside, she lyrically describes her ocean in simple, sensory detail. It is both “slimy” and “sandy,” “sparkly” and “dull.” It has wonderful sounds, as it “splashes and crashes and echoes and squawks.” And there are so many colors, from “rusted orange” to “polished green.” Though “mostly it’s blue.” Nothing escapes the girl’s careful observations. And at day’s end, she can’t wait to for her next trip to the beach. This enchanting nature companion will awaken the explorer in every child.
Duck & Goose Go to the Beach
Duck wants to go on an adventure. But Goose isn't so sure. Together, the two best friends set off on a walk that takes them through the meadow, past a shady thicket, and over a distant hill, all the way to a place they've never been before--the beach! Turns out, Goose loves the ocean. But guess who doesn't?
The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water
Everybody knows that crocodiles like water. But not this little crocodile! He thinks water is cold and wat and horrid. But perhaps he was born to be different. And perhaps that's going to be quite exciting...
One rainy day in the city, an eager little boy exclaims, “Rain!” Across town a grumpy man grumbles, “Rain.” In this endearing picture book, a rainy-day cityscape comes to life in vibrant, cut-paper-style artwork. The boy in his green frog hat splashes in puddles—“Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy!”—while the old man curses the “dang puddles.” Can the boy’s natural exuberance (and perhaps a cookie) cheer up the grouchy gentleman and turn the day around?
Working up the courage to take a big, important leap is hard, but Jabari is almost absolutely ready to make a giant splash.
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
A beloved picture book from two-time Caldecott Medal award-winner Sophie Blackall that transports readers to the seaside in timeless, nautical splendor!
Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp's wick, and writes every detail in his logbook.
Step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse into a cozy dollhouse-like interior with the extraordinary award-winning artist Sophie Blackall.
Beat the Heat for Older Readers
Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond--Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a "meltdown" she's the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She's the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.
But even the strongest glue sometimes struggles to hold. When a summer trip doesn't go according to plan, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they never knew. For the first time in years, Cat has the opportunity to be a kid again, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken or strained relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another's shoes.
Shouting at the Rain
Delsie loves tracking the weather--lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She's always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she's looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a "regular family." Delsie observes other changes in the air, too--the most painful being a friend who's outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he's endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved. And that, together, they can weather any storm.
Danny Dragonbreath can't breathe fire, but he has no fear. And that comes in handy when a bad grade at school inspires him to enlist his cousin the sea-serpent's help with a research project. Using a hybrid of comic-book panels and text, Ursula Vernon introduces an irresistible set of characters that will have readers laughing until smoke comes out of their noses!
Half a Chance
A moving middle-grade novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES. When Lucy's family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera's lens, as her father has taught her -- he's a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he's judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special -- or only good enough. As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn't want to see: his grandmother's memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own.
"Beautifully drawn, brutally funny, brilliantly honest. Vera is such a good cartoonist I almost can’t stand it.” —Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile
In Be Prepared, all Vera wants to do is fit in—but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there's one summer camp in her price range—Russian summer camp.
Vera is sure she's found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the "cool girl" drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!
It's city-girl Maddy's first summer in the bayou, and she just falls in love with her new surroundings - the glimmering fireflies, the glorious landscape, and something else, deep within the water, that only she can see. Could it be a mermaid? As her grandmother shares wisdom about sayings and signs, Maddy realizes she may be the only sibling to carry on her family's magical legacy. And when a disastrous oil leak threatens the bayou, she knows she may also be the only one who can help. Does she have what it takes to be a hero? Jewell Parker Rhodes weaves a rich tale celebrating the magic within.
Where the Watermelons Grow
When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren't there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time.
With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.
But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.
In the fifth installment of the Olympians series of graphic novels, author/artist George O'Connor turns the spotlight on that most mysterious and misunderstood of the Greek gods, Poseidon: Earth Shaker. Thrill to such famous myths as Theseus and the Minotaur, Odysseus and Polyphemos, and the founding of Athens—and learn how the tempestuous Poseidon became the King of the Seas.
Adventure According to Humphrey
The fifth book in the beloved and award-winning school hamster series!
The students in Room 26 are learning about boats and building their own for a race on Potter's Pond. Humphrey the hamster loves dreaming about being a pirate and watching his friends build ships. But when he mistakenly ends up at sea on the day of the boat race, he finds himself in the middle of more adventure than he bargained for! Humphrey is back in this charming story of a hamster on the high seas of hilarity.
Look for all twelve of Humphrey's adventures!
Favorite Beginning Chapter Book Series
Posy the Puppy
When a call comes in that Posy the puppy has hurt her leg at the Paws and Prizes field day, Dr. KittyCat rushes to the scene. Without Dr. KittyCat's help, Posy will be disqualified! Posy has two-color art inside! Supercute photographs of real puppies and kittens combine with hand-drawn purple line art for a completely unique look.
13th Street #1: Battle of the Bad-Breath Bats
A new silly and spooky highly illustrated series that's perfect for fans of Eerie Elementary and Notebooks of Doom, featuring art on every page and fun activities at the end of each book. It's a Halloween chapter book treat!
Cousins Malia, Ivan, and Dante are visiting their aunt Lucy for the summer. But on their way to Gulf City's water park, they get lost on 13th Street. Only it's not a street at all. It's a strange world filled with dangerous beasts! Will the cousins find their way back to Aunt Lucy's?
Each story in this hilarious and scary new series from award-winning author David Bowles is designed to set independent readers up for success--with short, fast-paced chapters, art on every page, and progress bars at the end of each chapter!
Dragons and Marshmallows
In the first book of this series, Zoey discovers a glowing photo and learns an amazing secret. Injured magical animals come to their backyard barn for help! When a sick baby dragon appears, it's up to Zoey and Sassafras to figure out what's wrong. Will they be able to help little Marshmallow before it's too late?
Each story in the Zoey and Sassafras series features a new magical animal with a problem that must be solved using science. There isn't a set formula for each book; Zoey sometimes needs to run experiments, while other times she needs to investigate a mystery, and yet other times she needs to do research. Zoey models how to keep a science journal through her handwritten entries in each story. Each story is complete with a glossary of the kid-friendly definitions for scientific terms used. The series highlights child-led inquiry science and the topics covered align with both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.
The first book in a fresh and funny new chapter book series, told completely in emails, about a boy named Eddie and a naughty pet dragon!
Dear Uncle Morton, You'd better got on a plane right now and come back here. Your dragon has eaten Jemima. Emily loved that rabbit!
It had sounded so easy: Eddie just needed to look after Uncle Morton's unusual pet for a week while he went on vacation. But soon the fridge is empty, the curtains are blazing, and the mailman is fleeing down the front path. The Dragonsitter will have readers laughing out loud and begging for more adventures.
Grilled Cheese and Dragons
Meet the princess who'd rather wear a suit of armor than a crown!
Princess Serena (or as she prefers, Princess Pulverizer) doesn't want to be a princess--she wants to be knight! But her father, King Alexander of Empiria, thinks she still has a lot to learn when it comes to exhibiting valiant behavior. So he presents a challenge: the princess must first go on a Quest of Kindness and perform good deeds to prove that she truly deserves to go to knight school. With help from a friendly dragon named Dribble and a perpetually terrified knight-in-training named Lucas, can she complete her quest and discover what it really takes to be a hero?
Battle of the Bands
Jasmine, Maggie, Becca, and Scarlet love jamming together, but are they ready to perform in front of a real audience in a Battle of the Bands competition? Find out in the first book of this early chapter book series!
Jasmine, Maggie, Becca, and Scarlet love jamming together in Jasmine's basement. Maggie bangs on the drums, Becca strums her guitar, Jasmine plunks the keys of her keyboard, and Scarlet wails into her hairbrush mic. Even though they may not have the best equipment, or an audience, they have fun making music to their own beat. But when Jasmine's brother tells her about an upcoming Battle of the Bands competition, Jasmine thinks this could be their chance to prove they're a real band. Now she just has to convince the other girls. . . .
With each book told from a different girl's perspective, this series is all about girl power, diversity, and marching to the beat of your own drum!
Bookmarks Are People Too!
Hank stars the same Hank as in the bestselling Hank Zipzer series, only this time he's in 2nd grade! Hank is a kid who doesn't try to be funny, but he somehow always makes the kids in his class laugh. He's pretty bad at memorizing stuff, and spelling is his worst subject. (But so are math and reading!) In the first book in this new series, Hank's class is putting on a play, and Hank wants the lead part: Aqua Fly. But he freezes in his audition and can only buzz like a fly. His teacher creates a special part for Hank, a silent bookmark. This may seem like an insignificant role, but when his enemy, Nick McKelty, freezes during the performance, it's up to Hank to save the play!
Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business
Mindy Kim just wants three things:
1. A puppy!
2. To fit in at her new school
3. For her dad to be happy again
But, getting all three of the things on her list is a lot trickier than she thought it would be. On her first day of school, Mindy’s school snack of dried seaweed isn’t exactly popular at the lunch table. Luckily, her new friend, Sally, makes the snacks seem totally delicious to Mindy’s new classmates, so they decide to start the Yummy Seaweed Business to try and raise money for that puppy!
When another student decides to try and sabotage their business, Mindy loses more than she bargained for—and wonders if she’ll ever fit in. Will Mindy be able to overcome her uncertainty and find the courage to be herself?
Danger! Tiger Crossing
When ten-year-old Tiger Brooks and his family move into a new home, he sees some strange things at the house next door--like a talking pig in a top hat When he and his neighbor, Luna Lopez, investigate, they discover a reclusive old woman and her magical golden frame, through which they can enter the world's greatest paintings. In this book, Tiger and Luna get pulled into the painting Surprised or Tiger in a Tropical Storm by Henri Rousseau. But they must escape the jungle adventure before time runs out, otherwise they'll be trapped in the painting forever
The Un-Friendship Bracelet
Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives.
In the first Craftily Ever After book, best friends Emily and Maddie are so close that they spend most of their free time together, and wear matching friendship bracelets, too! One day, a new student named Bella Diaz shows up at Mason Creek Elementary. Maddie immediately befriends her, discovering that she too is really crafty. As Maddie and Bella spend more time together, Emily finds herself spending more time alone…until she realizes that the boy who’s been sitting next to her in class this whole time loves to draw and create just like she does. When Emily’s friendship bracelet falls off and Maddie doesn’t even notice, Emily begins to think that maybe it was an un-friendship bracelet after all.
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