10 Great Young Readers’ Books to Give in 2016


The holidays are the perfect time to reflect on the many wonderful books that the year has brought us—and to make sure that we (and our loved ones) haven’t missed out on any of the ones on our to-be-read lists! This year saw new standalone titles (and series!) from such heavy-hitters as Rick Riordan, J. K. Rowling, and Raina Telgemeier. Go ahead, bask in the warming glow of 2016’s best new books for young readers.

Ghosts, by Raina Telgemeier 
Raina Telgemeier is back with her signature graphic novel style in this new fictional tale about teenager Catrina, who is moving with her family to a coastal town in Northern California in hopes that the new setting will help her sick little sister. Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from Bahía de la Luna’s sea air. But as the sisters soon learn, the weather isn’t the only creepy thing about this town—there are ghosts! Maya really wants to meet one, but Catrina wants no part of it. Can she push past her fears to help her sister?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I & II, by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
The tale of the Boy Who Lived continues in this eighth original Harry Potter story—the first to be presented as a stage play, premiering in London’s West End on July 30, 2016. Set 19 years after the conclusion of the final book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the new story finds Harry now an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and a father of three children. And his youngest son, Albus, is struggling with the weight of his family’s legacy, as both father and son are forced to face some unfortunate dark truths in this highly anticipated release.

Serafina and the Twisted Staff, by Robert Beatty
Serafina defeated the Man in the Black Cloak in her 2015 debut novel, but she’s having to face a new evil in this equally suspenseful follow-up. One evening, Serafina is attacked by a group of vicious wolfhounds in the forest near her home at Biltmore Estate. The animals seem to be under the control of a terrifying creature—and Serafina believes this stranger isn’t acting alone. Someone else is wreaking havoc at Biltmore—and it’s up to Serafina to put a stop to it.

Pax, by Sara Pennypacker 
Bestselling author Sara Pennypacker’s latest is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about a 12-year-old boy named Peter and his beloved fox, Pax. Peter rescued Pax as an orphaned kit and has raised him as a pet since Peter’s own mother’s sudden death five years earlier. But now Peter’s father is heading to the frontlines of a raging war and is forcing his son to release his pet fox into the wild before Peter goes to live with his grandfather. The ensuing chapters alternate between the boy’s and fox’s perspectives as they each learn how to survive without the other.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, by J. K. Rowling
Consider this one a companion to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. That book came about as a way to bring the final(?) Potter story to the bookshelves of fans who may not be able to get tickets to a London theatrical production, and as a satisfyingly bookish way to complete the series for those of us reared on the novels. Likewise, the hardcover of Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts screenplay means readers get to enjoy the latest magical adventure in a form akin to the way we originally enjoyed Harry’s story. The thought of a new Potterverse story not somehow finding a spot on my bookshelf just feels wrong.

Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes, by Rick Riordan
Ancient Greek and Egyptian mysticism are swirling together to form a force to be reckoned with in this new collection of crossover stories from author Rick Riordan. Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes is comprised of three crossover short stories all published together for the first time—The Son of Sobek, The Staff of Serapis, and The Crown of Ptolemy—in which powerful magicians Carter and Sadie Kane meet demigods Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase, just as strange creatures begin showing up in unexpected places.

An Author’s Odyssey (The Land of Stories Series #5), by Chris Colfer
The fifth book in Chris Colfer’s popular modern-day fairy tale series finds twins Alex and Conner Bailey facing the realization that the only way to get to the Masked Man and his army is in Conner’s own short stories. The pair will need the help of all their friends and allies—some crafted from Conner’s very own imagination—to defeat the menacing masked one. Bonus: This Barnes & Noble exclusive edition contains an excerpt from The Mother Goose Survival Guide.

Dog Man (Captain Underpants: Dog Man Series #1), by Dav Pilkey
Dav Pilkey is back with a new hero for Captain Underpants fans. Is it a dog? Is it a man? No! It’s Dog Man! George and Harold’s latest heroic creation is part dog, part man, and all about biting, er, fighting crime! Greg used to just be a regular police dog with a normal human police companion, but after an injury in the line of duty, the pair undergo a life-changing surgery that combines the head of a dog and the body of a human, resulting in the titular character who’s all set to sniff out the bad guys. This Barnes & Noble exclusive edition includes a Dog Man poster inside.

Return to the Isle of the Lost (Descendants series #2 B&N Exclusive Edition), by Melissa de la Cruz
Author Melissa de la Cruz is returning to Disney’s Isle of the Lost with this stellar second book in the Descendantsseries. Now living in Auradon and dating King Ben, Mal thought she had left her villainous roots behind her. But she and her friends Evie, Carlos, and Jay have all received menacing messages demanding they return to the Isle of the Lost—and they suspect that their parents are the ones sending them. Maleficent, Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil, and Jafar won’t rest until their kids are back in their clutches and Auradon is destroyed, so the teens are sneaking back to the island to put a stop to it. But will Mal discover she’s still wicked at her core, or has she truly turned over a new leaf?

The Hidden Oracle (Trials of Apollo series #1, B&N Exclusive Edition), by Rick Riordan
“How do you punish an immortal?” Riordan ominously asks in the description of the first book in the new Trials of Apollo series. “By making him human.” Naturally, Zeus is the punisher here, and his son Apollo, god of the sun, is on the receiving end after angering dear old dad. But rather than being sent to his room, the 4,000-year-old deity is cast down to Earth, landing in New York City as a regular teenage boy. He now has to: 1) learn how to survive, 2) find a way to get back in Zeus’s favor, and 3) dodge his many god, monster, and mortal enemies—NBD. This Barnes & Noble exclusive edition includes a camp letter from Apollo to Zeus.

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