The Summer 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

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Here is a preview of the Summer 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List flier, arriving at stores in the upcoming Children’s White Box.

The four-page, full-color flier features the top 10 children’s titles for the summer publishing season and an additional 33 titles organized by age group. All Next List picks are based on recommendations from booksellers at independent bookstores across the country and include a bookseller quote and full bibliographic information.

The Kids’ Indie Next List also features nine Revisit & Rediscover titles identified by children’s booksellers as enduring works that are critical for bookstores to have on their shelves at all times.

The top 10 Kids’ Indie Next List titles and the Revisit & Rediscover titles are featured on downloadable shelf-talkers on BookWeb.

The nomination deadline for the Fall Kids’ Indie Next List is July 15, 2016. The fall list will focus on titles published between August 1 and October 31. Nominations may be submitted via e-mail, the online nomination form, or through Edelweiss or NetGalley. (On Edelweiss, navigate to the book page of your choice, click “Your Review” and select “Submit to Indie Next.” On NetGalley, click the green “Title Feedback” button for any title in your account.)

The Summer 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview

The Top 10

1. Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo
(Candlewick, 9780763681173, $16.99)
“DiCamillo returns to her native Florida in her newest novel and she writes with a level of mastery that will take your breath away. One moment you’ll be laughing, and the next your laughter will turn to tears. Three little girls who have already shouldered more than their share of loss form an uncertain alliance over the meaning of life, baton-twirling, and Florence Nightingale. Who will win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire 1975 competition? Every reader will!” —Jennifer Armstrong, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

2. Wolf Hollow, by Lauren Wolk
(Dutton Books for Young Readers, 9781101994825, $16.99)
“Wolk’s debut is the story of Annabelle, who is harassed by Betty the bully in small-town Pennsylvania in 1943. No one believes Annabelle despite the bad events that are causing major harm to others. Everything is blamed on Toby, a misunderstood WWI veteran trying to live a simple and remote life in Wolf Hollow. Annabelle, however, sees Toby’s kindness, and courageously takes a stand as the lone voice of justice as tensions mount. Reminiscent of the time and tone of To Kill a Mockingbird, this is a haunting read.” —Candace Moreno, San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe, San Marino, CA

3. There Is a Tribe of Kids, by Lane Smith
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626720565, $18.99)
“Other books have been published about groupings of animals and the collective nouns used to describe them, but this one has Lane Smith’s gift for blending wit, whimsy, and wonder. He uses puns and wordplay combined with amazingly textured mixed media illustrations to craft a clever and heartfelt tale about childhood adventure, the beauty of language, and the gift of belonging.” —Marc Villa, Politics and Prose Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Washington, DC

4. Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, by John David Anderson
(Walden Pond Press, 9780062338174, $16.99)
“Ms. Bixby is the teacher that every student dreams of having for sixth grade. When she announces that she is leaving school due to health complications, Topher, Steve, and Brand set out on a quest to make her last day unforgettable. Told with warmth and lots of humor that 12-year-old boys will appreciate, this new classic coming-of-age story from Anderson is truly one-of-a-kind.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

5. If I Was Your Girl, by Meredith Russo
(Flatiron Books, 9781250078407, $17.99)
“Amanda Hardy is starting a new life in a new town and a new school — one where no one ever knew her as Andrew Hardy. She has survived a suicide attempt, lifelong bullying from peers, and her father’s denial of who she really is. Now, she finds herself in the life she’s always imagined — as a normal teenage girl with girlfriends and even a boyfriend — but she still finds herself living in fear of her past. This novel about a transgender woman, written by a transgender woman, is an important and timely story.” —Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

6. A Unicorn Named Sparkle, by Amy Young
(FSG Books for Young Readers, 9780374301859, $16.99, available July)
“Lucy really, really wants a unicorn. As she waits for her magical mail-order steed, Lucy imagines what her unicorn will be like: sweet, dainty, and blue with a pink mane. What she gets in Sparkles, though, is not what she had in mind. Sparkles eats underwear, smells funny, and has fleas. What should Lucy do? Will Lucy really send Sparkles away just for being different? This is a silly, sweet, and fun tale about expectations and the appreciation for one’s unique — and sometimes unexpected — qualities.” —Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

7. Towers Falling, by Jewell Parker Rhodes
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316262224, $16.99, available July)
“Rhodes has accomplished a very difficult thing: the task of explaining the emotional repercussions of 9/11 to a generation who wasn’t even born at the time of the terrorist attacks. In this middle-grade novel, recent history becomes present and personal for the characters and the reader. This book is perfect for teachers looking for an entry point into a discussion of 9/11, and for readers looking for a character-driven novel with both emotional impact and heart.” —Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

8. Wolf Camp, by Andrea Zuill
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780553509120, $16.99)
“Oh, to step out of our routines, if only for a moment, and pretend to be someone else. Homer, a pampered pooch, gets to do just that when he goes off to Wolf Camp to experience life as a wolf. Homer and his fellow canine campers survive in the wild with all of its adventures and discomforts and make themselves into a temporary pack. When they take some of their new-found skills home, they enliven the neighborhood. Zuill’s witty asides and comical artwork add humor to an already funny story.” —Diann Fortune, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

9. The Star-Touched Queen, by Roshani Chokshi
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250085474, $18.99)
“A princess cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction becomes an empowered queen of the Otherworld in Chokshi’s darkly romantic debut, inspired by Indian and Greek mythology. Richly imaginative, lyrical, sensuous, and lush, The Star-Touched Queen is a spellbinding tale of love, betrayal, and redemption — perfect for fans of Rosamund Hodge, Laini Taylor, and Bree Despain.” —Alyssa Raymond, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

10. The Outliers, by Kimberly McCreight
(HarperCollins, 9780062359094, $18.99)
“In this story of unrelenting suspense, 16-year-old Wylie Lang receives a text message from her best friend Cassie: ‘I need your help, I messed up big...’ With only cryptic clues to guide them, Wylie and Jasper, Cassie’s boyfriend, take off to find her. But the trip quickly goes from difficult to extremely dangerous and Wylie has to figure out who is trustworthy and who is an enemy. With The Outliers, McCreight proves that Reconstructing Amelia was just the first stellar tale from a major new talent.” —Jerry Brown, The Bookstore, Radcliff, KY

For Ages 4 – 8

The Bear and the Piano, by David Litchfield
(Clarion Books, 9780544674547, $16.99)
“When a young bear cub happens upon a piano abandoned in the forest, he’s not sure what to make of it or of the strange sounds that come out of it. Unable to resist the pull of this mysterious contraption, Bear starts to spend most of his time playing with the piano and over time begins to create beautiful music. One day, while out on a hike, a girl and her father come upon Bear during one of his ‘concerts.’ The young girl convinces Bear to return to the city where he can become a star, playing the piano in sold-out concert halls. Bear, longing to see what the world has to offer outside the forest, agrees to go. He soon becomes a smash hit with top-selling albums and all the fame he could ever wish for. But what is all that fame without sharing it with the people you love?” —Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Douglas, You Need Glasses!, by Ged Adamson
(Schwartz & Wade, 9780553522433, $16.99)
“Douglas the dog keeps busy playing with his girl, Nancy, but he is so nearsighted that when things get complicated, Nancy has to take him to the eye doctor for glasses. The vibrant and silly illustrations add to the fun as Douglas selects his first pair of glasses and discovers how amazing everything really looks. The two-page spread of photos of real kids wearing glasses clinches the deal, making this a perfect book for children — or anyone — who needs glasses.” —Joan Trygg, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

Finding Wild, by Megan Wagner Lloyd, Abigail Halpin (Illus.)
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9781101932810, $16.99, available July)
“I love everything about this book: the title, the cover, the stunning art, the text, and the message! Where is wild in your life? There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Can you find it? The adventure can begin in your own backyard!” —Rachel King, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled, by Lynne Rae Perkins
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062373458, $17.99)
“From the very beginning, readers understand that Frank and Lucky are the best of friends. And then we discover that there is so much more. Both are learning all sorts of things: Frank is good at reading and Lucky is even better at listening. Perkins gives young readers the story of a dog and his boy, and gives adults a terrific opportunity to show that you can learn things in all sorts of ways! This is a charmer!” —Margaret Neville, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

Good Night, Baddies, by Deborah Underwood, Juli Kangas (Illus.)
(Beach Lane Books, 9781481409841, $17.99)
“A bedtime story that is both silly and sweet, Good Night, Baddies offers a rare look at our favorite storybook villains after they’ve gone home for the day. No more huffing, puffing, scheming, or chasing for them — off the clock, these ‘baddies’ let their softer sides show. As Troll takes a bubble bath, Rumpelstiltskin reads a story, and Giant fearfully asks the Witches to check under his bed, the baddies slowly settle down to a peaceful night’s sleep. These familiar yet creatively reimagined ‘baddies’ will win the hearts of readers young and old.” —Sarah Nimmo, Blue Manatee Children’s Books, Cincinnati, OH

Nobody Likes a Goblin, by Ben Hatke
(First Second, 9781626720817, $17.99)
“When adventurers storm Goblin’s dungeon, plunder the treasure, and kidnap his best friend, Skeleton, Goblin sets out to rescue him. Goblin is undeterred in his quest, even though he quickly discovers that no one likes a Goblin. Hatke’s illustrations and adorable anti-hero make for a refreshing and vibrant quest-tale. Humorous and exciting, this adventure story is really about friendship and the lengths one will go to save someone they love.” —Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree, by Daniel Bernstrom, Brendan Wenzel (Illus.)
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062354853, $17.99)
“This lilting, fun picture book explodes with energetic drawings in a riff on folk tales of old. Author Bernstrom’s debut, which is reminiscent of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, is perfectly suited to Wenzel’s colorful, animated illustrations. Storytime readers will find much to do in this imaginative eucalyptus, eucalyptus tree!” —Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Rules of the House, by Mac Barnett, Matt Meyers (Illus.)
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781423185161, $17.99)
“Every family has one: a rule follower. They ruin all the fun. They tell Mom and Dad. They deserve to be pinched. Jenny and her rule-following brother, Ian, go for a holiday to the house in the woods where the bear rug watches every move and the evil wood stove’s red eyes glow in the dark. When Jenny breaks ALL the house rules, Ian must save her … by breaking a rule!” —Marya Johnston, Out West Books, Grand Junction, CO

School’s First Day of School, by Adam Rex, Christian Robinson (Illus.)
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781596439641, $17.99)
“This unexpected and fresh perspective about a new school welcoming its first classes will intrigue and amuse both kids and teachers as they prepare to go back to class. This is a welcome, original entry for the shelf of back-to-school books with wonderful text by beloved author Rex and witty art by the award-winning Robinson.” —Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

Tell Me a Tattoo Story, by Alison McGhee, Eliza Wheeler (Illus.)
(Chronicle Books, 9781452119373, $16.99)
“Finally, a kids’ book that is tailor-made for the millennial parent — an age demographic that is not only accepting of body art but also celebrates the stories of the body as canvas and fosters appreciation for the art form. There is often a deeply personal story behind each tattoo and that legacy is highlighted with McGhee’s gentle words and Wheeler’s tender illustrations. As the hip father in the book recounts his tattoos’ meanings to his curious young son, a well-rounded life full of love is told through ink.” —Julie Oliver, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Thunder Boy Jr., by Sherman Alexie, Yuyi Morales (Illus.)
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316013727, $17.99)
“Thunder Boy Jr. is named for his father. His dad is called Big Thunder and he is called Little Thunder. All Thunder Boy wants is a normal name like his mom and his sister. Through Alexie’s gorgeous prose and Morales’ stunning illustrations, Thunder Boy imagines other names he would rather have. This is a beautifully told ode to both fatherhood and identity.” —Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

When Penny Met POTUS, by Rachel Ruiz, Melissa Manwill (Illus.)
(Capstone Young Readers, 9781623707583, $15.95, available July)
“Penny’s mom works in the White House and has promised Penny that she could meet POTUS. Penny is not sure what a POTUS is. She imagines that POTUS is a big, furry, blue-horned something. She is just sure that he does all kinds of fun stuff, like going on secret missions. She finally finds out that POTUS is not quite all that she imagined, but is still pretty cool. A clever ending to a funny and sweet story.” —Debbie Buck, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

For Ages 9 – 12

Booked, by Kwame Alexander
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780544570986, $16.99)
“Newbery Medal-winning author Alexander wows readers again with another story told in verse. Booked is the story of Nick Hall, who wants to do his own thing on his own time — mainly play soccer with his best friend, Coby. With carefully chosen words, Alexander immediately engages readers with his quick-action pace. We get inside Nick’s head as he struggles with bullying, his parents’ divorce, his first love, disappointments, and the love/hate relationships he has with his teachers. We root for Nick as he tumbles along, and through it all we cannot help but appreciate Alexander’s mastery and the power of his words.” —Arna Lewis, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

The Crimson Skew, by S.E. Grove
(Viking Books for Young Readers, 9780670785049, $17.99, available July)
The Crimson Skew is the wonderfully thrilling conclusion to The Mapmakers Trilogy. The story, which makes good on the promises made in The Glass Sentence and furthered in The Golden Specific, brings Sophia and Theo together again after a long time apart. Whether you have followed the entirety of the series or are just jumping in, this adventure is marvelous and the ending is both surprising and satisfying.” —Demi Marshall, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Eleven and Holding, by Mary Penney
(HarperCollins, 9780062405470, $16.99)
“This summer Macy is going to turn 12 and too many things are not what they seem: Ginger, whose gray braids hang down from her motorcycle helmet, offers a reward to find a dog that may not be missing; that annoying boy with the skateboard and sideways smile might not be that bad; and the special assignment they say her father has been on since returning from Iraq may not really be why he isn’t coming home for her birthday. Macy’s summer of hard truths — baffling, funny, and tough as it is — is full of amazing discoveries and a loving, endearing cast of characters.” —Ellen Lamb, The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, NH

The Gallery, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780525428657, $16.99)
“The Sewell mansion, the height of elegance in 1928 New York City, conceals many mysteries. Rose Sewell, locked in her rooms upstairs, is consumed by art and said to be crazy. Twelve-year-old Martha, outspoken with the nuns one time too many and expelled from school, now works for the Sewells as a chambermaid. Who locks his wife up and pretends everything is normal? Overwhelmed with curiosity about Rose and Mr. Sewell, who is the model of success in the newspaper world, Martha pops the bubble of secrecy and cleverly exposes the truths of the wealthy and powerful.” —Jane Morck, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Lily and Dunkin, by Donna Gephart
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 9780553536744, $16.99)
“Lily Jo McGrother is about to start eighth grade, and she’s determined that this will be the year she truly becomes Lily instead of Timothy. The year seems to start off on a positive note when Lily meets Dunkin, but Dunkin has his own issues and it appears he would rather get in with the popular crowd than swap secrets with a boy at the bottom of the middle school food chain. This book takes the usual middle school themes and puts gender identity and bipolar disorder in the mix with two special characters who want nothing more than to be accepted for who they are.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions, by Tracey Hecht, Kate Liebman (Illus.)
(Fabled Films Press, 9781944020002, $15.99)
“A charming, funny, and intriguing title for middle grade readers, produced with wonderfully quirky color art throughout, The Nocturnals tells the story of night-active animals who discover that their kind are suddenly going missing. The characters — including a Pepé Le Pew-like sugar glider, a sweetly self-effacing pangolin, and a beautiful, wise, soft-spoken fox — work together to solve the mysterious disappearances. Readers are left wanting more stories about these unique characters and, luckily, there are more in the works!” —Francine Lucidon, The Voracious Reader, Larchmont, NY

Sea Change: A TOON Graphic, by Frank Viva
(TOON Books, 9781935179924, $18.95)
“Eliot is pretty sure his uncle’s house in Nova Scotia is the worst place to spend the summer, especially since he isn’t much of a swimmer. Early mornings on a fishing boat, gathering maggots for bait, dealing with a local bully — it’s certainly not idyllic, but there is more to Point Aconi than Eliot imagined, and slowly the place begins to work its magic on him. Plunge into this book and prepare yourself for a story that will leave you emotionally drained yet refreshed — just like a good day at sea.” —Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, by Brian Farrey
(Algonquin Young Readers, 9781616205058, $16.95)
“A creepy forest and two courageous girls — one a princess and the other a peasant — are the heart of The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse. Farrey has written a beguiling fantasy with plenty of suspense to keep middle grade readers turning the pages. Good characters, a perplexing mystery, and a satisfying ending with several possibilities for sequels all work together to make this a not-to-be-missed read.” —Ellen Richmond, Children’s Book Cellar, Waterville, ME

This Is Not a Werewolf Story, by Sandra Evans
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781481444804, $16.99, available July)
“Raul doesn’t talk much. He spends his days at the One of Our Kind boarding school looking after the younger kids and keeping his secrets to himself — because he does have secrets, and so does the woods surrounding the school. Blending aspects from a variety of mythologies, Evans has created a wonderful coming-of-age story about a young boy discovering himself and his family. Highly recommended!” —Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

What Elephants Know: A Novel, by Eric Dinerstein
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484728543, $16.99)
“‘My mother is an elephant and my father is an old man with one arm.’ So begins this absolute gem of a book set in Nepal. It is a masterfully written, poignant story of an orphan boy, Nandu, who finds home and family with the head of an elephant stable. When the king orders the stable to be closed, Nandu must find a way to save it. This is a brilliant and unforgettable story filled with action and universal truths.” —Vicky Titcomb, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

When Friendship Followed Me Home, by Paul Griffin
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803738164, $16.99)
“When outsider Ben Coffin discovers Flip, an abandoned dog, and finds a friend in Halley, the librarian’s daughter, he finally begins to feel like he belongs in his own life. When tragedy strikes and Ben’s life threatens to fall apart, Flip proves that friendship — and love — can take many forms. This book can only be described as tail-thumping, dog-kisses-all-over-your-face good!” —Clara Martin, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Wishing Day, by Lauren Myracle
(Katherine Tegen Books, 9780062342065, $16.99)
“Do wishes come true? Natasha is about to find out when, on the third night of the third month after her 13th birthday, she makes three wishes: one for her first kiss, one for her mother to be alive, and one for her to be ‘somebody’s favorite.’ Natasha is the sensible sister, while Darya is the pretty sister and Ana is the goofy, silly, creative sister. Since her mother disappeared and her father remains buried in grief, Natasha must keep the family together. Wishing Day explores the themes of mental illness, homelessness, and family loss in a coming-of-age story sprinkled with magic. Readers will be anxious for the next installment in a planned trilogy.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

For Teens

The Crown’s Game, by Evelyn Skye
(Balzer + Bray, 9780062422583, $17.99)
“Russia, 1825. Two enchanters are raised from birth to assist the tsar, but only one can survive. With social unrest threatening the empire, the tsar is forced to begin the Crown’s Game. This ‘game,’ meant as a way for each enchanter to demonstrate their skills and prove their worth to the empire, brings Vika and Nikolai together to compete for the favor of the tsar. As the two take turns creating awe-inspiring events, Vika and Nikolai begin to realize that the real magic is created when they are together. But when one is destined to die, how can their love survive?” —Marya Johnston, Out West Books, Grand Junction, CO

Highly Illogical Behavior, by John Corey Whaley
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780525428183, $17.99)
“Though Lisa’s motivation in approaching Solomon, her reclusive former classmate, is suspect, there is nothing suspect about the friendship that she, Solomon, and Clark have together. Solomon’s anxiety and agoraphobia are treated with sensitivity, and Whaley manages the near impossible by showing the unexpected humor and humanity of his character’s situation. If only we all had a Lisa or Clark in our lives to help us get out of our heads, and if only the Lisas and Clarks of the world had a Solomon to teach them the empathy that comes with true friendship.” —Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780553539479, $17.99, available July)
“Mather has perfectly captured the spirit and mystery that surrounds the site of the infamous Salem witch trials. Surreal and edgy, this is part ghost story, part historical fiction, and completely gripping. Is Samantha really seeing ghosts? Will she be able to let herself fall for the boy who wants her? Can she break the family curse before she loses her dad forever?” —Clarissa Murphy, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

Julia Vanishes, by Catherine Egan
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, 9780553524840, $17.99)
“Julia lives in Spira City, where magic and even folklore are punishable by death, and she loves her edgy life as a thief and a spy. Her mother was a witch, drowned in the river as part of the frequent Cleansing ceremonies, so Julia stays away from magic. Except that she does have a special skill that comes in handy while thieving: Julia can make herself almost unseen. This is the first book in a new trilogy and I look forward to more of Julia’s adventures as this epic story continues.” —Clare Doornbos, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Larkspur, CA

The Killer in Me, by Margot Harrison
(Disney-Hyperion, 9781484727997, $17.99, available July)
“Nina cannot sleep at night, because every time she closes her eyes she sees inside the mind of a killer. She knows his plans and his next victims. As Nina tries to stop the murders from happening, she makes a shocking discovery that will ultimately make her choose between her conscience and love. This book is a fantastic read — I was hooked from the first page and could not stop reading until I was done. Don’t miss this one!” —Lisa Nehs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

Learning to Swear in America, by Katie Kennedy
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 9781619639096, $17.99, available July)
Learning to Swear in America is a tale of firsts: This will be the first time in the U.S. for Yuri, a genius and physicist from Russia; his first time making friends; his first time kissing a girl; his first time swearing in English; and, oh, his first time saving the entire planet from destruction. Did I mention he is only 17? Through Yuri’s perfectly developed voice, Kennedy tells the story of a fledgling teen finally getting the chance to be a kid.” —Janelle Smith, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Ruined, by Amy Timtera
(HarperTeen, 9780062396600, $17.99)
“After her parents, the king and queen of Ruina, are murdered and her sister kidnapped, Emelina Flores embarks on a clever — yet dangerous — plan to infiltrate the enemy kingdom of Lera and get her revenge. She kills Crown Prince Casimir’s fiancée and assumes her identity so that she can get close enough to murder him and his family. But what if Em and Cas fall in love? With its perilous action, romance, magic, rivalry, and deceit, Ruined is a great choice for fans of epic fantasy.” —Alyssa Raymond, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

The Square Root of Summer, by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
(Roaring Brook Press, 9781626723733, $17.99)
“If I told you that time travel is real, you would think I’m crazy, but for physics prodigy Gottie Oppenheimer, it is real. The emotional stress from the loss of her grandfather, rejection by her secret boyfriend when she needed him most, and the reemergence of her dorky-turned-dashing childhood best friend send her traveling through wormholes to critical moments in her past. With love, family, and friendships on the line, Gottie tempts fate to uncover the meaning behind the wormholes. The Square Root of Summer is as entertaining as it is insightful.” —Clare Donovan, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab
(Greenwillow Books, 9780062380852, $17.99, available July)
“August and Kate live in a broken world where violence breeds actual monsters. Kate wants to embrace her monstrous side, while August would do anything to be human. This Savage Song takes the darkness of the world around us and gives it form. Schwab has gifted readers with a fascinating — if gory — urban fantasy world, a pair of unforgettable protagonists, and a question that will linger long in the minds of readers: What does it mean to be inhuman in a world where humans do such monstrous things?” —Nicole Brinkley, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY

The Summer 2016 Kids’ Revisit & Rediscover

Ages 4 – 8

The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler (Illus.)
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 9780803731097, $6.99) Originally published in 2004
“A long time ago, there was a book about a Gruffalo. What is a Gruffalo? Wouldn’t you like to know? The first thing that you notice when you read this charming book is the wonderful cadence — it trips off the tongue delightfully and you must read it out loud. Your audience will be engrossed with this story of how a little mouse fools Fox, Owl, and Snake on his journey through the deep, dark woods, and entranced by Donaldson’s perfect ending.” —Liesl Freudenstein, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

The Empty Pot, by Demi
(Square Fish, 9780805049008, $7.99) Originally published in 1990
“How will the emperor of China choose his successor? He devises a contest, then drives through his empire handing out seeds to all of the children. Little Ping, son of the emperor’s gardener, faithfully plants and waters his seed, but nothing grows. When the day comes to share their plants, Ping is ashamed of his empty pot, but bravely presents it with unexpected results. Told with a light hand and gorgeous illustrations, this is a lovely, timeless story celebrating persistence, courage, honesty, and integrity.” —Elizabeth Bluemle, The Flying Pig Bookstore, Shelburne, VT

Toot & Puddle, by Holly Hobbie
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316080804, $7.99) Originally published in 1997
“Heartwarming and beautifully illustrated, Toot & Puddle is a favorite for young and old alike! Toot and Puddle are the ‘bestest’ of friends, but enjoy very different things. Puddle appreciates the comforts of home, while Toot travels the world. Toot’s postcards of adventures around the globe contrast with Puddle’s activities back in Woodcock Pocket. People — and pigs — can find excitement and joy in quite different ways, but having a friend with whom to share makes any experience all the more meaningful.” —Kirsten Hess, Let’s Play Books!, Emmaus, PA

Ages 9 – 12

The Emerald Atlas, by John Stephens
(Yearling, 9780375872716, $7.99) Originally published in 2011
“This first book in a fantasy trilogy has it all: abandoned children, missing parents, mysterious new worlds, time travel, and an enchanted atlas that may hold some answers. Three ordinary kids try to sort things out, find the truth about their parents, and get back home, but certain forces they encounter keep trying to steal the atlas from them. Full of action and drama, very likable characters, some droll dwarves, an elegant witch, and a dose of humor, this is a book that middle-grade fantasy readers can get lost in. They will be begging for the sequels!” —Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
(Puffin Books, 9780142401200, $7.99) Originally published in 1978
“This kooky mystery features judges, bookies, bombers, and more, all of whom are competing to inherit Sam Westing’s $200 million estate. A stellar book for anyone who loves a good whodunit — and it’s the Newbery winner for 1979!” —Emily Somberg, Pegasus Books, Berkeley, CA

Shadow Spinner, by Susan Fletcher
(Aladdin, 9780689830518, $7.99) Originally published in 1998
“Marjan has the gift of remembering and telling stories. Shahrazad has a similar gift and has saved her own life and the lives of other young women by telling her stories to the Sultan every night. When Shahrazad runs out of tales, she calls upon Marjan to help her secretly gather more. Marjan’s quiet life quickly becomes one of adventure and danger. This rich and exciting retelling of One Thousand and One Nights will captivate older middle-grade readers and teach them the power of story.” —Holly Weinkauf, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

For Teens

The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness
(Candlewick Press, 9780763676186, $10.99) Originally published in 2008
“In this brilliantly imagined world, Todd Hewitt lives in an uneasy community where everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts, or ‘Noise.’ His discovery that more humans are arriving from another planet bearing advanced technology plunges Todd’s seemingly stable life into chaos. Questions of religion, gender roles, and political structure, including the small differences between terrorists and freedom fighters, make this novel of an imagined future feel contemporary.” —Robert McDonald, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL

Feed, by M.T. Anderson
(Candlewick Press, 9780763662622, $8.99) Originally published in 2002
Feed is dystopic science fiction at its best! In this tale set in a near future of environmental disasters and corporate power, Titus and his friends are never alone and almost everyone has access to everything at the blink of an eye via ‘feeds’ linked directly to the brain. Nothing can go wrong with this scenario, right? Enter a crazy computer hacker and chaos ensues! This is a fascinating look at how media manipulates and exploits us all.” —Rene Kirkpatrick, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA

The Five Flavors of Dumb, by Antony John
(Speak, 9780142419434, $8.99) Originally published in hardcover in 2010
“Dumb: a hot high school rock band as hopelessly rhythmically challenged as their members are diverse. Piper: a smart, sassy senior focused on academics and chess club and her plans to attend Gallaudet University in the fall. When financial circumstances threaten Piper’s dreams, she does whatever she can to stay on track. Dumb needs direction and Piper needs money. In a moment of weakness she agrees to become their manager, despite being deaf. A deliciously funny quest to find fame, love, and, most importantly, one’s voice.” —Kris Vreeland, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA