During a season filled with creepy spiders, scary witches, and bizarre foods and beverages that should never be pumpkin-spiced (we’re looking at you, Pumpkin Spice Spam), it’s easy to get spooked. But there’s nothing to be scared of here with this month’s top new picks for young readers—unless you’re afraid of that stack of books on your kiddo’s nightstand finally toppling over. For October, we have the kickoff to an enchanting new series by Chris Colfer, another addition to the illustrated Harry Potter books, new reads from fan favorites like Rachel Renée Russell and Rick Riordan, and more. Check out what we’ve chosen as the best of the best, and let us know what new reads you’re scaring up this month.
A Tale of Magic … (Tale of Magic Series #1), by Chris Colfer
Bestselling author Chris Colfer is taking readers back to the Land of Stories in the kickoff to an enchanting new series. In it, we meet 14-year-old Brystal Evergreen, who lives in an oppressive kingdom where it is illegal for women to read. But as a maid at the library, Brystal manages to secretly borrow books, one of which ends up unlocking literal magic from within the teen. In a place where magic is forbidden, Brystal is soon convicted of her crimes. However, a mysterious woman saves her, whisking her away to the academy of magic to teach Brystal to become a fairy. But all isn’t as it seems at this academy, and it’s up to Brystal to unravel a sinister plot. This Barnes & Noble–exclusive edition includes a bonus scene and artwork.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter Series #4), by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire gets the incredible, full-color illustrated treatment with artwork by Jim Kay and J.K. Rowling’s unabridged text. Things take a darker turn in the fourth book in the bestselling Harry Potter series, as 14-year-old Harry finds himself mysteriously chosen to participate in the Triwizard Tournament, a highly dangerous competition between representatives from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and two other rival schools of magic. But here’s the kicker: Harry isn’t the one who put his name in the Goblet of Fire as a possible Champion, as all competitors must be over the age of 17 to enter. Only with the help of his friends does he have a shot against the perilous tasks and darker forces at work.
Tales From a Not-So-Best Friend Forever (Dork Diaries Series #14), by Rachel Renée Russell
Even though fall has arrived, readers can relish the feeling of summer just a little bit longer along with Nikki Maxwell in the 14th installment in Rachel Renée Russell’s bestselling illustrated Dork Diaries series. Nikki and her bandmates are heading out on a summer tour, opening for the Bad Boyz, which is super-exciting. But there’s an unfortunate catch: Nikki’s #1 frenemy, MacKenzie Hollister, has landed herself a job on the tour—and what’s even worse? She’s going to be Nikki’s roommate! Is Nikki really going to let MacKenzie ruin her summer and her dream of going on tour with the Bad Boyz? Not if Nikki and her real friends have anything to say about it in this awesome new addition to the series.
The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo Series #4), by Rick Riordan
In Rick Riordan’s popular The Trials of Apollo series, Zeus has cast down his son Apollo to earth to punish him, forcing Apollo to live as an awkward human teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to reclaim his godly existence, Lester has to restore five Oracles that have gone dark. He’s three down with two to go in this fourth exciting book in the series, and this time, he’s off to Camp Jupiter in San Francisco where the Roman demigods are preparing to take on the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Can Apollo help them survive the battle and restore the fourth oracle? Bonus: This Barnes & Noble–exclusive edition includes a full-color poster of a scene from the book and diary entries of a Camp Jupiter “probatio.”
Paperback $9.62 | $12.99
The Hidden Kingdom (Wings of Fire Graphic Novel Series #3), by Tui T. Sutherland and Mike Holmes
Fans of the Wings of Fire books will be excited to dive into this third book in the popular series by Tui T. Sutherland to get the graphic novel treatment with stellar art by Mike Holmes. In it, the dragonets have sought shelter in the rainforest, where Glory discovers that RainWings are going missing from their habitat—and the rest of their own species don’t even seem to care. And even though Glory believes she’s not meant to be one of the great dragonets of destiny, she is determined to find the missing RainWing dragons and bring them home. But that could mean throwing the lackadaisical RainWings right into the middle of a deadly war.
The Crossover: Graphic Novel, by Kwame Alexander and Dawud Anyabwile
Kwame Alexander’s 2015 Newbery Medal–winning book gets the graphic novel treatment with stunning illustrations by Dawud Anyabwile. Written in verse, The Crossover tells the story of twelve-year-old Josh Bell and his twin brother, who rule the basketball court—thanks in no small part to their father, a former Euroleague champion. But when a crisis strikes the Bell family, basketball takes a backseat in this lively and emotional page-turner. Anyabwile’s dynamic and powerful illustrations shed new light on Alexander’s incredible characters as they navigate life on and off the court.
Beverly, Right Here, by Kate DiCamillo
Newberry Medal-winning author Kate DiCamillo returns to a familiar and much-loved world in this companion to Raymie Nightingale and Louisiana’s Way Home, this time focusing on now–14-year-old Beverly Tapinski, the third member of the Three Rancheros. Beverly has run away from home before, but now, grieving the death of her beloved dog and sick of her mother’s drinking, she thinks of it as really leaving—getting away and staying away. Determined to be solely self-reliant, Beverly finds herself a job and a place to live, but she can’t help but forge connections with the people around her and even see herself in a new light in this endearing tale.
Dog Diaries: Happy Howlidays (Dog Diaries Series #2), by James Patterson, Steven Butler, and Richard Watson
Who knew a dog could write an awesomely entertaining middle-grade read?! With a little help from bestselling author James Patterson and illustrator Richard Watson, enthusiastic and mischievous pup Junior narrates his way through a tale of holiday adventure—or, as Junior would put it, howliday adventures during Fangsgiving and Critter-Mess-Day. In diary format, Junior gives his hilarious take on these wonderful and wacky occasions filled with things like the pup making sense of why humans named Carol come to howl at the front door and why the mysterious Saint Lick is intending to invade his home. The book also includes a helpful glossary of Doglish terms,
What are your young readers into this month?