B&N Reads, Guest Post, Summer Reading, YA, Young Readers

Celebrate Children’s Book Week and Summer Reading with Some of Your Favorite Authors 

It’s the first week of May which means it’s time to celebrate! Not only is school about to be out for the summer, but it’s also Children’s Book Week — one of the longest-running national literacy initiatives in the country. This year, Every Child a Reader has chosen the theme “Read Books. Spark Change” — a message that will resonate with many.  

To celebrate, we reached out to some of your favorite authors asking what books to crack open next. Keep reading to discover their most recent releases, the books that “sparked change” in them, and what they recommend for some summer reading.  

Chris Grabenstein – Author of Our May OMP, Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game

Author Chris Grabenstein (front row, center) when he was the same age as Luigi Lemoncello in Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game.He’s with his four brothers: Dr. Jeff, Dr. Tom, Dr. Bill, and Lawyer Steve.  


Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game is my most autobiographical book ever because I grew up as the “odd one” in a family of five boys.  

Three of my four brothers are now doctors.  

The other one is a lawyer.  

Mr. Lemoncello's Very First Game

Paperback $8.99

Mr. Lemoncello's Very First Game

Mr. Lemoncello's Very First Game

By Chris Grabenstein

In Stock Online

Paperback $8.99

Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game is the story of how the young Luigi L. Lemoncello, a game-loving boy with a big imagination and a flair for theatrics, grew up to become Mr. Lemoncello, the world-famous wacky game maker. The “odd” middle child in a big overachieving family, Luigi, just like me, is helped by mentors and friends who see his talents and point him in the right direction to become who he was always meant to be.   

The book is also packed with “Easter eggs” — tiny surprises and revelations that will delight fans of the other books in the Lemoncello series. Why does Mr. Lemoncello wear banana shoes? Read this book to find out.  

Mr. Lemoncello’s Very First Game is the story of how the young Luigi L. Lemoncello, a game-loving boy with a big imagination and a flair for theatrics, grew up to become Mr. Lemoncello, the world-famous wacky game maker. The “odd” middle child in a big overachieving family, Luigi, just like me, is helped by mentors and friends who see his talents and point him in the right direction to become who he was always meant to be.   

The book is also packed with “Easter eggs” — tiny surprises and revelations that will delight fans of the other books in the Lemoncello series. Why does Mr. Lemoncello wear banana shoes? Read this book to find out.  

Half Magic (Tales of Magic Series #1)

Paperback $9.99

Half Magic (Tales of Magic Series #1)

Half Magic (Tales of Magic Series #1)

By Edward Eager
Illustrator N. M. Bodecker
Introduction Alice Hoffman

In Stock Online

Paperback $9.99

When I was a kid, I remember loving everything by Dr. Seuss. He made reading fun. I grew up in the generation that learned to read with “Dick and Jane” books. We saw Dick run. Run, Dick, run. Then we saw Jane run. Run, Jane, run. Sometimes a cat showed up. I think the cat was named Puff. I can’t remember if Puff ran.  

Even as a first grader, the tales of Dick, Jane, and Puff bored me silly. Dr. Seuss taught me the same words that Dick and Jane tried to teach me, but the good doctor did it with clever, imaginative verse that made me realize that reading could open up fun new worlds!  

Unfortunately, when I was the age of many of my readers, they didn’t let us read books in school. We had something called SRA — short, color-coded essays with lots of comprehension questions at the end. I missed out on a lot of great books that I have since gone back and read. I highly recommend Edward Eager’s Half Magic, originally published in 1954. It’s still a great summertime read!  

When I was a kid, I remember loving everything by Dr. Seuss. He made reading fun. I grew up in the generation that learned to read with “Dick and Jane” books. We saw Dick run. Run, Dick, run. Then we saw Jane run. Run, Jane, run. Sometimes a cat showed up. I think the cat was named Puff. I can’t remember if Puff ran.  

Even as a first grader, the tales of Dick, Jane, and Puff bored me silly. Dr. Seuss taught me the same words that Dick and Jane tried to teach me, but the good doctor did it with clever, imaginative verse that made me realize that reading could open up fun new worlds!  

Unfortunately, when I was the age of many of my readers, they didn’t let us read books in school. We had something called SRA — short, color-coded essays with lots of comprehension questions at the end. I missed out on a lot of great books that I have since gone back and read. I highly recommend Edward Eager’s Half Magic, originally published in 1954. It’s still a great summertime read!  

Holes

Paperback $8.99

Holes

Holes

By Louis Sachar

In Stock Online

Paperback $8.99

Summer reading should be fun reading.  

One of my favorite vacation reads is the award-winning classic Holes by Louis Sachar. Stanley Yelnats has been falsely accused of theft and is sent to Camp Green Lake, an all-boys detention center. The boys spend their days digging holes, an activity the warden tells them will “build character”. Of course, there’s another reason for all the holes, and Stanley starts searching for answers!  

Summer reading should be fun reading.  

One of my favorite vacation reads is the award-winning classic Holes by Louis Sachar. Stanley Yelnats has been falsely accused of theft and is sent to Camp Green Lake, an all-boys detention center. The boys spend their days digging holes, an activity the warden tells them will “build character”. Of course, there’s another reason for all the holes, and Stanley starts searching for answers!  

The Chronicles of Prydain Boxed Set

Paperback $38.95 $44.95

The Chronicles of Prydain Boxed Set

The Chronicles of Prydain Boxed Set

By Lloyd Alexander

In Stock Online

Paperback $38.95 $44.95

Summer is also a great time to dive into a fantasy series. I highly recommend Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain, a collection of five books about Taran, an assistant pig-keeper, and his adventures in the fictional land of Prydain. Yes, it’s another set of books I wish I had read when I was a kid, so I read them a few summers ago! (It’s never too late to be a kid!)  

Remember — summer reading is all about fun reading. Have a great, book-filled vacation!

Summer is also a great time to dive into a fantasy series. I highly recommend Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain, a collection of five books about Taran, an assistant pig-keeper, and his adventures in the fictional land of Prydain. Yes, it’s another set of books I wish I had read when I was a kid, so I read them a few summers ago! (It’s never too late to be a kid!)  

Remember — summer reading is all about fun reading. Have a great, book-filled vacation!


Pari Thomson

Greenwild: The World Behind the Door (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Hardcover $17.99

Greenwild: The World Behind the Door (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Greenwild: The World Behind the Door (B&N Exclusive Edition)

By Pari Thomson

In Stock Online

Hardcover $17.99

Greenwild is the story of an eleven-year-old girl called Daisy Thistledown whose glamorous journalist mother goes missing in the Amazon rainforest. Desperate to find her, Daisy escapes from her horrible boarding school and stumbles through a hidden silver door into a secret, magical world called the Greenwild: a place where plant magic is real.  

Greenwild is a story about friendship and courage and protecting nature — and it’s also got lily pad boats, milk-chocolate trees, magical glasshouses, and a very grumpy kitten called Napoleon. 

Greenwild is the story of an eleven-year-old girl called Daisy Thistledown whose glamorous journalist mother goes missing in the Amazon rainforest. Desperate to find her, Daisy escapes from her horrible boarding school and stumbles through a hidden silver door into a secret, magical world called the Greenwild: a place where plant magic is real.  

Greenwild is a story about friendship and courage and protecting nature — and it’s also got lily pad boats, milk-chocolate trees, magical glasshouses, and a very grumpy kitten called Napoleon. 

The Secret Garden (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)

Hardcover $15.00

The Secret Garden (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)

The Secret Garden (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)

By Frances Hodgson Burnett
Illustrator Charles Robinson

In Stock Online

Hardcover $15.00

I first read The Secret Garden when I was eight years old and I immediately loved its bad-tempered, vulnerable main character, Mary Lennox. This was the book that first showed me that heroes don’t have to be perfect or immediately loveable: they can be spikier and more interesting than that. And it was the first book that confirmed my sense that nature — in the real world — could be really, truly magical, and somehow miraculous in its ability to inspire, comfort and heal. 

I first read The Secret Garden when I was eight years old and I immediately loved its bad-tempered, vulnerable main character, Mary Lennox. This was the book that first showed me that heroes don’t have to be perfect or immediately loveable: they can be spikier and more interesting than that. And it was the first book that confirmed my sense that nature — in the real world — could be really, truly magical, and somehow miraculous in its ability to inspire, comfort and heal. 

Journey to the River Sea

Paperback $8.99

Journey to the River Sea

Journey to the River Sea

By Eva Ibbotson
Illustrator Kevin Hawkes

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Paperback $8.99

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson is the story of orphan Maia, who gets sent to live with distant relatives near the Amazon. The relatives turn out to be awful, but Maia finds unexpected wonder and breath-taking adventure in the rainforest. The book is funny, wise, beautifully written, and full of everything a reader could wish for — brave orphans, nasty villains, fierce alligators, glorious food, boat chases — and it conjures up all the real-life magic of the Amazon rainforest every time you open its pages. 

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson is the story of orphan Maia, who gets sent to live with distant relatives near the Amazon. The relatives turn out to be awful, but Maia finds unexpected wonder and breath-taking adventure in the rainforest. The book is funny, wise, beautifully written, and full of everything a reader could wish for — brave orphans, nasty villains, fierce alligators, glorious food, boat chases — and it conjures up all the real-life magic of the Amazon rainforest every time you open its pages. 


Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston

Julia and the Shark

Paperback $8.99 $9.99

Julia and the Shark

Julia and the Shark

By Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Illustrator Tom de Freston

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Paperback $8.99 $9.99

The shark was beneath my bed, growing large as the room, large as the lighthouse, rising from unfathomable depths until it ripped the whole island from its roots. The bed was a boat, the shark a tide, and it pulled me so far out to sea I was only a speck, a spot, a mote, a dying star in an unending sky… 

Julia is living on a remote Scottish island, in an old lighthouse, for the summer. Her dad is there to fix the light whilst her mum is on a mission to find an elusive, ancient Greenland Shark. But soon this becomes an obsession that takes them all into deep, dark water, one that threatens to engulf them all. Told in words and images, it is an adventure which takes you into the depths of the sea, and the landscapes of Julia’s worries and dreams.

The shark was beneath my bed, growing large as the room, large as the lighthouse, rising from unfathomable depths until it ripped the whole island from its roots. The bed was a boat, the shark a tide, and it pulled me so far out to sea I was only a speck, a spot, a mote, a dying star in an unending sky… 

Julia is living on a remote Scottish island, in an old lighthouse, for the summer. Her dad is there to fix the light whilst her mum is on a mission to find an elusive, ancient Greenland Shark. But soon this becomes an obsession that takes them all into deep, dark water, one that threatens to engulf them all. Told in words and images, it is an adventure which takes you into the depths of the sea, and the landscapes of Julia’s worries and dreams.

Ain't Burned All the Bright

Hardcover $16.99 $19.99

Ain't Burned All the Bright

Ain't Burned All the Bright

By Jason Reynolds
Illustrator Jason Griffin

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Hardcover $16.99 $19.99

Ain’t Burned All the Bright is an astonishing blend of text and imagery by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin. It is unlike anything we have read before, comprised of just ten sentences and 300 pages of art, and it pulls us through a gamut of emotion, every page soaked through with feeling. Asking what it is like to be a Black child in America right now, at once universal and intensely personal, it centres on breath: when we are filled with it, when it is taken from us. It is a must-read masterpiece, and a work of staggering creative vision.  

Ain’t Burned All the Bright is an astonishing blend of text and imagery by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin. It is unlike anything we have read before, comprised of just ten sentences and 300 pages of art, and it pulls us through a gamut of emotion, every page soaked through with feeling. Asking what it is like to be a Black child in America right now, at once universal and intensely personal, it centres on breath: when we are filled with it, when it is taken from us. It is a must-read masterpiece, and a work of staggering creative vision.  

Dragon Mountain

Dragon Mountain

By Katie Tsang , Kevin Tsang

Paperback $8.99

Dragon Legend

Dragon Legend

By Katie Tsang , Kevin Tsang

Paperback $8.99

Dragon City

Dragon City

By Katie Tsang , Kevin Tsang

Paperback $9.99

The Dragon Mountain series by Katie and Kevin Tsang. Billy Chan never expected to open a crack in a mountain, and he certainly never thought it would wake a sleeping dragon. Billy and his friends Dylan, Charlotte, and Ling-Fei have stumbled upon an ancient and potentially world destroying secret, and they must set the dragons free to avoid the awful fate of the Dragon of Death. We join Billy and co. on a wildly imaginative, dangerous and heartfelt adventure into the fantastical Dragon Realm.  


Kate DiCamillo

I’ve been thinking a lot about fairy tales recently. During the pandemic, I turned to some of my favorite books from when I was young — one of them is an old, over-sized Golden Book edition of Pinocchio. This book is lavishly illustrated and unabridged, and truthfully, it is kind of frightening (I mean: there are rabbits carrying a coffin with Pinocchio in it), but that’s part of what fairy tales do: frighten us and comfort us at the same time. 

The Ogress and the Orphans

The Ogress and the Orphans

By Kelly Barnhill

Hardcover $19.95

A Rover's Story

A Rover's Story

By Jasmine Warga

Hardcover $14.99 $19.99

The Last Mapmaker

The Last Mapmaker

By Christina Soontornvat

Hardcover $16.19 $17.99

The Magician's Elephant

The Magician's Elephant

By Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator Yoko Tanaka

Paperback $8.99

The Beatryce Prophecy (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The Beatryce Prophecy (B&N Exclusive Edition)

By Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator Sophie Blackall

Paperback $7.49 $14.99

Fairy tales seem particularly good for reading by firelight, but they are good summertime reading, too. This summer, I plan to read what I think of as modern fairy tales: Kelly Barnhills’ The Ogress and the Orphans, Jasmine Warga’s A Rover’s Story, and Christina Soontornvat’s The Last Mapmaker.  Maybe you will read some of these books, too.  And maybe, while you are searching the shelves this summer, you’ll find some of my books, stories that are also fairy-tale esque — The Magician’s Elephantor The Beatryce Prophecy. 

The Puppets of Spelhorst

Hardcover $17.99

The Puppets of Spelhorst

The Puppets of Spelhorst

By Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator Julie Morstad

In Stock Online

Hardcover $17.99

And for something to look forward to, The Puppets of Spelhorst is a fairy tale novella I wrote that will come out this fall. It tells the story of five puppets — a king, a wolf, a boy, a girl, and an owl — whose fates are intertwined, and who discover that they belong to each other and are in a story together. Writing this story made me think about fate and destiny and friendship and bravery. It comforted me.  And I hope that you will find some comfort in this story, too. 

And for something to look forward to, The Puppets of Spelhorst is a fairy tale novella I wrote that will come out this fall. It tells the story of five puppets — a king, a wolf, a boy, a girl, and an owl — whose fates are intertwined, and who discover that they belong to each other and are in a story together. Writing this story made me think about fate and destiny and friendship and bravery. It comforted me.  And I hope that you will find some comfort in this story, too. 


Claribel A. Ortega

The Golden Frog Games (Witchlings 2)

Hardcover $16.19 $17.99

The Golden Frog Games (Witchlings 2)

The Golden Frog Games (Witchlings 2)

By Claribel A. Ortega

In Stock Online

Hardcover $16.19 $17.99

There are few things I love more than books with magical competitions, so when I set out to write the second book in the Witchlings series I knew it had to take place during a witchy tournament. I am so excited that Witchlings: The Golden Frog Games does just that! Every four years, the Golden Frog Games is held in the Twelve Towns. This year, Thorn Laroux is the first Spare to ever compete. However, a hexer is on the loose, turning Thorn’s fellow champions into stone. Suspicion lands on Thorn and the other two Witchlings Seven Salazar and Valley Pepperhorn (who is surprised?). The Witchlings must work together to unravel the mystery of the stone hex before Thorn becomes the next victim. It won’t be easy, since Seven’s magic is broken (monstruo-related) and Valley has plenty of issues of her own (parents divorcing-related). You’ll have to read it to see if the Witchlings can stop the hexer before it’s too late. The Golden Frog Games is bigger and even more exciting than book one, with first crushes, midnight toad racing, and ten talking raccoons!  

There are few things I love more than books with magical competitions, so when I set out to write the second book in the Witchlings series I knew it had to take place during a witchy tournament. I am so excited that Witchlings: The Golden Frog Games does just that! Every four years, the Golden Frog Games is held in the Twelve Towns. This year, Thorn Laroux is the first Spare to ever compete. However, a hexer is on the loose, turning Thorn’s fellow champions into stone. Suspicion lands on Thorn and the other two Witchlings Seven Salazar and Valley Pepperhorn (who is surprised?). The Witchlings must work together to unravel the mystery of the stone hex before Thorn becomes the next victim. It won’t be easy, since Seven’s magic is broken (monstruo-related) and Valley has plenty of issues of her own (parents divorcing-related). You’ll have to read it to see if the Witchlings can stop the hexer before it’s too late. The Golden Frog Games is bigger and even more exciting than book one, with first crushes, midnight toad racing, and ten talking raccoons!  

The Hobbit

Paperback $16.49 $18.99

The Hobbit

The Hobbit

By J. R. R. Tolkien
Illustrator J. R. R. Tolkien

In Stock Online

Paperback $16.49 $18.99

It’s definitely the kind of story I would’ve loved as a kid. When I was younger, I spent most of my time reading, and there were quite a few books that impacted me. But the book that fostered my love of fantasy and led me on the path to becoming an author was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved the world, adventure, and most importantly the friendship!  

It’s definitely the kind of story I would’ve loved as a kid. When I was younger, I spent most of my time reading, and there were quite a few books that impacted me. But the book that fostered my love of fantasy and led me on the path to becoming an author was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved the world, adventure, and most importantly the friendship!  

Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island Series #1)

Paperback $7.99

Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island Series #1)

Curse of the Night Witch (Emblem Island Series #1)

By Alex Aster

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Paperback $7.99

In the spirit of fantasy books filled with adventure, I think Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster would make a great choice for summer reading this year. It’s about a young boy who, along with his two best friends, has just one week to undo a curse that will end his life, and is inspired by Colombian folklore.  

In the spirit of fantasy books filled with adventure, I think Curse of the Night Witch by Alex Aster would make a great choice for summer reading this year. It’s about a young boy who, along with his two best friends, has just one week to undo a curse that will end his life, and is inspired by Colombian folklore.  


A.F. Steadman

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

By A.F. Steadman

Hardcover $18.99

Happy Children’s Book Week! I’m A.F. Steadman, the author of the Skandar series, set in a world of warrior unicorns, elemental magic and courageous heroes. The second book Skandar and the Phantom Riderhas just been released, and like Skandar and the Unicorn Thief, it follows Skandar Smith and Scoundrel’s Luck as they move into their second year of rider training. Within its pages a new mystery will arise, rider and unicorn friendships will be tested, loyalties will be called into question, fierce elemental jousts will be fought, the very foundations of the Island will be shaken, and an uncertain future will be sung into existence. Meanwhile, Skandar’s sister, Kenna will embark on an adventure of her own, but is she in more danger than she realizes? 

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Series #1)

Paperback $10.99

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Series #1)

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Series #1)

By Ursula K. Le Guin

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Paperback $10.99

The Earthsea quartet was one of the reasons I fell in love with reading — and fantasy books in particular. I think they showed me how far an imagination can travel and even now remind me to challenge myself to be as creative as I can for my own readers. The world Le Guin sets up in A Wizard of Earthsea — the first of the quartet – is vast, the people are fascinating, the magic complex and the adventures truly thrilling. I remember immediately liking Ged, who we meet in A Wizard of Earthsea as a goatherd and was fully prepared to follow him through life, peril, and magic. And whenever I re-read this series, I get something more out of it. I’ll be forever grateful that I found these books, and that I get to return to Earthsea whenever I want.  

The Earthsea quartet was one of the reasons I fell in love with reading — and fantasy books in particular. I think they showed me how far an imagination can travel and even now remind me to challenge myself to be as creative as I can for my own readers. The world Le Guin sets up in A Wizard of Earthsea — the first of the quartet – is vast, the people are fascinating, the magic complex and the adventures truly thrilling. I remember immediately liking Ged, who we meet in A Wizard of Earthsea as a goatherd and was fully prepared to follow him through life, peril, and magic. And whenever I re-read this series, I get something more out of it. I’ll be forever grateful that I found these books, and that I get to return to Earthsea whenever I want.  

Strangeworlds Travel Agency

Paperback $8.99

Strangeworlds Travel Agency

Strangeworlds Travel Agency

By L. D. Lapinski

In Stock Online

Paperback $8.99

Imagine you could travel to new worlds simply by stepping into a suitcase? Well, that’s exactly what Flick Hudson discovers when she is invited to join the secret Strangeworlds Society. In the Strangeworlds trilogy Lapinski lets readers step in and out of suitcases — and into beautifully imagined worlds, overseen by the wonderful characters of Jonathan and Flick. There’s humour and high stakes, there’s conflict between home life troubles and thrillingly fast-paced adventures — and there’s a suitcase-load of heart. I would recommend picking the first book up this summer, and if you devour it as quickly as I did don’t worry! The whole trilogy is already available.  

Imagine you could travel to new worlds simply by stepping into a suitcase? Well, that’s exactly what Flick Hudson discovers when she is invited to join the secret Strangeworlds Society. In the Strangeworlds trilogy Lapinski lets readers step in and out of suitcases — and into beautifully imagined worlds, overseen by the wonderful characters of Jonathan and Flick. There’s humour and high stakes, there’s conflict between home life troubles and thrillingly fast-paced adventures — and there’s a suitcase-load of heart. I would recommend picking the first book up this summer, and if you devour it as quickly as I did don’t worry! The whole trilogy is already available.  


Janae Marks

On Air with Zoe Washington

On Air with Zoe Washington

By Janae Marks

Hardcover $16.99 $19.99

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

By Janae Marks

Paperback $9.99

On Air with Zoe Washington continues the story of Zoe, who was first introduced in From the Desk of Zoe Washington. Now 14-years-old, Zoe is determined to help her recently exonerated father, Marcus, achieve his dream of opening a restaurant — all while raising awareness around life after incarceration, navigating changing friendships, and of course, baking! 

One Crazy Summer: A Newbery Honor Award Winner

Paperback $9.99

One Crazy Summer: A Newbery Honor Award Winner

One Crazy Summer: A Newbery Honor Award Winner

By Rita Williams-Garcia

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Paperback $9.99

A young reader book that’s had a big impact on me is One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia. This beautiful book takes place in 1968, but its themes are still relevant to this day. The story touches on difficult themes like racism and parental abandonment, while also sharing hope and Black joy. It’s a modern classic that all readers and writers can learn from. 

A young reader book that’s had a big impact on me is One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia. This beautiful book takes place in 1968, but its themes are still relevant to this day. The story touches on difficult themes like racism and parental abandonment, while also sharing hope and Black joy. It’s a modern classic that all readers and writers can learn from. 

Not an Easy Win

Hardcover $17.99

Not an Easy Win

Not an Easy Win

By Chrystal D. Giles

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Hardcover $17.99

A recent favorite is Not an Easy Win by Chrystal D. Giles. It begins with Lawrence reeling after a tough day at school ends with his expulsion. He starts spending his days at the local rec center, where he learns to play chess, connects with the community, and finds his purpose. 

A recent favorite is Not an Easy Win by Chrystal D. Giles. It begins with Lawrence reeling after a tough day at school ends with his expulsion. He starts spending his days at the local rec center, where he learns to play chess, connects with the community, and finds his purpose. 


Jerry Craft

As I celebrate the release of School Trip, my third graphic novel in the New Kid saga, I’d like to take a moment to share the love. Here are a few of my current favorite graphic novels that you may also enjoy. 

Sunshine: A Graphic Novel

Paperback $12.99 $14.99

Sunshine: A Graphic Novel

Sunshine: A Graphic Novel

By Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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Paperback $12.99 $14.99

I LOVE stories about good kids, and this is one of them. It’s an amazing follow-up to his National Book Award finalist graphic novel Hey, Kiddo, another one of my favorites. It tells a wonderful story of when author / illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka was in high school and spent a summer as a counselor at a camp for seriously ill kids and their families. It’s always such a treat to see kids relating to their family and peers with actual emotion, especially since teens are often portrayed as being selfish and preoccupied. It shows kids that it is indeed okay to care about others. Lots of heart and good feels. 

I LOVE stories about good kids, and this is one of them. It’s an amazing follow-up to his National Book Award finalist graphic novel Hey, Kiddo, another one of my favorites. It tells a wonderful story of when author / illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka was in high school and spent a summer as a counselor at a camp for seriously ill kids and their families. It’s always such a treat to see kids relating to their family and peers with actual emotion, especially since teens are often portrayed as being selfish and preoccupied. It shows kids that it is indeed okay to care about others. Lots of heart and good feels. 

A First Time for Everything (National Book Award Winner)

Paperback $14.99

A First Time for Everything (National Book Award Winner)

A First Time for Everything (National Book Award Winner)

By Dan Santat

In Stock Online

Paperback $14.99

Okay, I’m not going to lie. When Dan Santat told me that he was doing a graphic novel about when he was in middle school and took a trip to Europe, I was mortified. Especially since it was coming out BEFORE my own graphic novel, School Trip, about kids going to Paris for a week. But it’s a very different book. And VERY good. Once again, it is full of characters that kids will have no problem relating to and has an innocence that readers will find endearing. It’s a really great story that will have kids root for the underdog. Okay, Dan, we can still be friends.

Okay, I’m not going to lie. When Dan Santat told me that he was doing a graphic novel about when he was in middle school and took a trip to Europe, I was mortified. Especially since it was coming out BEFORE my own graphic novel, School Trip, about kids going to Paris for a week. But it’s a very different book. And VERY good. Once again, it is full of characters that kids will have no problem relating to and has an innocence that readers will find endearing. It’s a really great story that will have kids root for the underdog. Okay, Dan, we can still be friends.

Hoops: A Graphic Novel

Paperback $12.99

Hoops: A Graphic Novel

Hoops: A Graphic Novel

By Matt Tavares
Illustrator Matt Tavares

In Stock Online

Paperback $12.99

I also love books with female leads that don’t seem like “girl books.” And I love books with male leads that don’t seem like “boy books.” This is one of those books. Hoops is the story of a high school girls basketball team in their rookie season. And even though they don’t have the fancy uniforms, the big crowds, or the nice gym that the boy’s team has, they have every bit as much drive and determination. And it’s contagious. One of the things that I enjoyed the most about Hoops, is that even though the girls are not treated with equality, it never comes across as a “woe is me” story. 

I also love books with female leads that don’t seem like “girl books.” And I love books with male leads that don’t seem like “boy books.” This is one of those books. Hoops is the story of a high school girls basketball team in their rookie season. And even though they don’t have the fancy uniforms, the big crowds, or the nice gym that the boy’s team has, they have every bit as much drive and determination. And it’s contagious. One of the things that I enjoyed the most about Hoops, is that even though the girls are not treated with equality, it never comes across as a “woe is me” story. 

Leon the Extraordinary: A Graphic Novel (Leon #1)

Paperback $11.49 $12.99

Leon the Extraordinary: A Graphic Novel (Leon #1)

Leon the Extraordinary: A Graphic Novel (Leon #1)

By Jamar Nicholas
Illustrator Jamar Nicholas

In Stock Online

Paperback $11.49 $12.99

Another really good book about a really good kid. Leon goes to a school where many of the kids have superpowers. Unfortunately, he isn’t one of them. But what he lacks in not being able to fly, or shooting beams out of his eyes, he makes up with compassion. Leon always looks out for the little guy or the little girl. Even though for the most part, he is one of them. It’s also nice to see an African American protagonist who doesn’t have to carry the weight of an entire people on his shoulders. He’s just a kid who wants to look out for other kids. Oh, yeah, and it’s funny! 

Another really good book about a really good kid. Leon goes to a school where many of the kids have superpowers. Unfortunately, he isn’t one of them. But what he lacks in not being able to fly, or shooting beams out of his eyes, he makes up with compassion. Leon always looks out for the little guy or the little girl. Even though for the most part, he is one of them. It’s also nice to see an African American protagonist who doesn’t have to carry the weight of an entire people on his shoulders. He’s just a kid who wants to look out for other kids. Oh, yeah, and it’s funny! 

Swim Team: A Graphic Novel

Paperback $14.39 $15.99

Swim Team: A Graphic Novel

Swim Team: A Graphic Novel

By Johnnie Christmas
Illustrator Johnnie Christmas

In Stock Online

Paperback $14.39 $15.99

Okay, I know this one is a bit older than the others, but it’s still worth a mention. Especially since I wrote the cover blurb: “Combines wonderful characters and history to create a story that will make you want to dive right in!”  Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, until she’s forced to take swimming. One of her greatest fears! But to make matters worse, swimming is also one of the most popular sports in her new community. Ugh! With a little coaxing, a LOT of practice, and some solid friendships, she sets out to turn the school’s failing team around. 

Okay, I know this one is a bit older than the others, but it’s still worth a mention. Especially since I wrote the cover blurb: “Combines wonderful characters and history to create a story that will make you want to dive right in!”  Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, until she’s forced to take swimming. One of her greatest fears! But to make matters worse, swimming is also one of the most popular sports in her new community. Ugh! With a little coaxing, a LOT of practice, and some solid friendships, she sets out to turn the school’s failing team around. 

School Trip

Paperback $13.49 $14.99

School Trip

School Trip

By Jerry Craft
Illustrator Jerry Craft

In Stock Online

Paperback $13.49 $14.99

I really like these books because they all put really well-rounded characters in situations that are off the beaten path. In School Trip, I set out to do the same by showing kids of color getting a chance to see the world and become global citizens. I almost never saw those stories as a kid, and as a result, I didn’t think it was a realistic goal to have. 

So, if you want to give kids — or yourself — some really great stories and characters to relate to, pack your bags, your swim trunks, your superhero gear, and your basketball and join in on the fun! 

I really like these books because they all put really well-rounded characters in situations that are off the beaten path. In School Trip, I set out to do the same by showing kids of color getting a chance to see the world and become global citizens. I almost never saw those stories as a kid, and as a result, I didn’t think it was a realistic goal to have. 

So, if you want to give kids — or yourself — some really great stories and characters to relate to, pack your bags, your swim trunks, your superhero gear, and your basketball and join in on the fun! 


Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ruby (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Hardcover $17.99 $19.99

The One and Only Ruby (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The One and Only Ruby (B&N Exclusive Edition)

By Katherine Applegate

Hardcover $17.99 $19.99

I’m so excited about my third book in the “One and Only” series: The One and Only Ruby. Ruby, the sweet baby elephant from The One and Only Ivan, has her own book at last! 

Ruby is thriving at the animal sanctuary where she now lives. She spends her days floppy-running, playing in the mud, and learning new riddles. She has her small elephant herd for companionship, along with her two best friends, Ivan the gorilla, and Bob the dog, to provide guidance and laughter. 

But things are beginning to change: Ruby is growing up, whether she likes it or not. Her tusks are starting to come in, and her herd will soon celebrate her “Tuskday.” (“It’s like a birthday, without the presents,” she laments.)  At the ceremony, Ruby has to make a speech about important, grown-up stuff, but that’s a scary prospect — especially since, as a newborn elephant on the African savanna, Ruby learned firsthand that having tusks can pose great danger. 

When an old friend from Africa visits the sanctuary, Ruby starts to reflect on her early life, with all its dangers, thrills, beauty and heartache. Slowly, with the help of her friends, she learns that growing up may not be so scary, after all. It might even be amazing! 

I’m so excited about my third book in the “One and Only” series: The One and Only Ruby. Ruby, the sweet baby elephant from The One and Only Ivan, has her own book at last! 

Ruby is thriving at the animal sanctuary where she now lives. She spends her days floppy-running, playing in the mud, and learning new riddles. She has her small elephant herd for companionship, along with her two best friends, Ivan the gorilla, and Bob the dog, to provide guidance and laughter. 

But things are beginning to change: Ruby is growing up, whether she likes it or not. Her tusks are starting to come in, and her herd will soon celebrate her “Tuskday.” (“It’s like a birthday, without the presents,” she laments.)  At the ceremony, Ruby has to make a speech about important, grown-up stuff, but that’s a scary prospect — especially since, as a newborn elephant on the African savanna, Ruby learned firsthand that having tusks can pose great danger. 

When an old friend from Africa visits the sanctuary, Ruby starts to reflect on her early life, with all its dangers, thrills, beauty and heartache. Slowly, with the help of her friends, she learns that growing up may not be so scary, after all. It might even be amazing! 

Charlotte's Web

Paperback $10.99

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

By E. B. White , Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator Garth Williams

In Stock Online

Paperback $10.99

So many books have changed the way I view the world, but the first, the most vital, and the most cherished, is Charlotte’s Web. I still read it every year, and it still fills my heart with immense joy.  

Charlotte’s Web is wise and kind, and a reminder that every moment of every day should be treasured. What more could you ask of a book? 

So many books have changed the way I view the world, but the first, the most vital, and the most cherished, is Charlotte’s Web. I still read it every year, and it still fills my heart with immense joy.  

Charlotte’s Web is wise and kind, and a reminder that every moment of every day should be treasured. What more could you ask of a book? 

Harriet Spies

Hardcover $18.99

Harriet Spies

Harriet Spies

By Elana K. Arnold
Illustrator Dung Ho

In Stock Online

Hardcover $18.99

Harriet Spies, by Elana K. Arnold, would make the perfect family read-aloud! I simply adore Harriet Wermer. She’s got Ramona Quimby’s feisty charm, Miss Marple’s sleuthing instincts, a cat named Matzo Ball, and a grandmother with an island bed-and-breakfast. Such a fun read. 

(This is the second Harriet book. The first, Just Harriet, is every bit as entertaining!)  

Harriet Spies, by Elana K. Arnold, would make the perfect family read-aloud! I simply adore Harriet Wermer. She’s got Ramona Quimby’s feisty charm, Miss Marple’s sleuthing instincts, a cat named Matzo Ball, and a grandmother with an island bed-and-breakfast. Such a fun read. 

(This is the second Harriet book. The first, Just Harriet, is every bit as entertaining!)  


Jason Reynolds

Miles Morales Suspended: A Spider-Man Novel

Hardcover $19.99

Miles Morales Suspended: A Spider-Man Novel

Miles Morales Suspended: A Spider-Man Novel

By Jason Reynolds
Illustrator Zeke Peña

In Stock Online

Hardcover $19.99

In, Miles Morales: Suspended, we see Miles in the worst possible position as he’s trapped in In School Suspension, which is tricky for a superhero. On top of that, he’s bored. Also, termites are tearing through the library books. And, maybe, just maybe, those termites are also trying to tear through Miles. Which makes things a lot less boring.  

In, Miles Morales: Suspended, we see Miles in the worst possible position as he’s trapped in In School Suspension, which is tricky for a superhero. On top of that, he’s bored. Also, termites are tearing through the library books. And, maybe, just maybe, those termites are also trying to tear through Miles. Which makes things a lot less boring.  

Love That Dog: A Novel

Paperback $9.99

Love That Dog: A Novel

Love That Dog: A Novel

By Sharon Creech

In Stock Online

Paperback $9.99

I’ve mentioned this book before, but I can’t seem to shake the effects Sharon Creech’s, Love That Dog had on me. The first time I read it — almost twenty years ago — it hadn’t been published yet. But because of that book, I knew there were multiple ways to tell stories for kids, which made me feel like I had far more room to play than I’d previously assumed. Changed me forever.  

I’ve mentioned this book before, but I can’t seem to shake the effects Sharon Creech’s, Love That Dog had on me. The first time I read it — almost twenty years ago — it hadn’t been published yet. But because of that book, I knew there were multiple ways to tell stories for kids, which made me feel like I had far more room to play than I’d previously assumed. Changed me forever.  

We Are All So Good at Smiling

Hardcover $19.99

We Are All So Good at Smiling

We Are All So Good at Smiling

By Amber McBride

In Stock Online

Hardcover $19.99

The book I recommend for summer reading is, Amber McBride’s new novel, We Are All So Good at Smiling because I think we should read whatever Amber writes. It’s gorgeous, and emotional, and pulsing. Like summer.  

The book I recommend for summer reading is, Amber McBride’s new novel, We Are All So Good at Smiling because I think we should read whatever Amber writes. It’s gorgeous, and emotional, and pulsing. Like summer.  


Mark Oshiro

The Sun and the Star: A Nico di Angelo Adventure (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Hardcover $16.99 $19.99

The Sun and the Star: A Nico di Angelo Adventure (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The Sun and the Star: A Nico di Angelo Adventure (B&N Exclusive Edition)

By Rick Riordan , Mark Oshiro

Hardcover $16.99 $19.99

The Sun and the Star is in many ways a departure for me as a writer and the most Mark Oshiro thing I’ve ever written. Getting to write with Rick Riordan was such a challenging, rewarding experience, especially since I got a front-row seat to watching a Percy Jackson novel go from an outline to a book. I learned so much from Rick in terms of structure, world-building, and humor, and I think fans will be truly delighted by what the two of us were able to pull off in this story. Nico, in particular, is a character dear to my heart, and I loved getting to flesh out his story in surprising ways.  

The Sun and the Star is in many ways a departure for me as a writer and the most Mark Oshiro thing I’ve ever written. Getting to write with Rick Riordan was such a challenging, rewarding experience, especially since I got a front-row seat to watching a Percy Jackson novel go from an outline to a book. I learned so much from Rick in terms of structure, world-building, and humor, and I think fans will be truly delighted by what the two of us were able to pull off in this story. Nico, in particular, is a character dear to my heart, and I loved getting to flesh out his story in surprising ways.  

The House on Mango Street

Paperback $11.49 $12.95

The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street

By Sandra Cisneros

In Stock Online

Paperback $11.49 $12.95

When I was fourteen, my freshman year English teacher, Ms. Alford, assigned us this novel to read. Without a doubt, there is no singular book that affected my path toward being a writer than this one. It was the second book I ever read with a Latinx main character — the other being Bless Me, Ultima — but was the book that convinced me that raw, gritty, and poetic stories written by Latinx people and about us were possible. I return to this book constantly and litter my books with references to Mango Street. Sandra Cisneros changed my life! 

When I was fourteen, my freshman year English teacher, Ms. Alford, assigned us this novel to read. Without a doubt, there is no singular book that affected my path toward being a writer than this one. It was the second book I ever read with a Latinx main character — the other being Bless Me, Ultima — but was the book that convinced me that raw, gritty, and poetic stories written by Latinx people and about us were possible. I return to this book constantly and litter my books with references to Mango Street. Sandra Cisneros changed my life! 

The Vanquishers (The Vanquishers #1)

Hardcover $16.99

The Vanquishers (The Vanquishers #1)

The Vanquishers (The Vanquishers #1)

By Kalynn Bayron

In Stock Online

Hardcover $16.99

I truly feel like we’re in a beautiful age of middle grade, and authors like Kalynn Bayron are pushing the boundaries of the kind of stories for younger readers. I inhaled this novel as an advanced copy and have since re-read it twice. It is powerfully relevant, absolutely hilarious, and even managed to frighten me. Boog and her friends are some of the most compellingly written kids in the kidlit space, and this novel tackles vampirism in a way you’ve never seen before. It’s genuinely one of the first middle grade books I recommend (alongside The Marvellers and Valentina Salazar is Not a Monster Hunter) to kids looking for genre-bending adventures.  

I truly feel like we’re in a beautiful age of middle grade, and authors like Kalynn Bayron are pushing the boundaries of the kind of stories for younger readers. I inhaled this novel as an advanced copy and have since re-read it twice. It is powerfully relevant, absolutely hilarious, and even managed to frighten me. Boog and her friends are some of the most compellingly written kids in the kidlit space, and this novel tackles vampirism in a way you’ve never seen before. It’s genuinely one of the first middle grade books I recommend (alongside The Marvellers and Valentina Salazar is Not a Monster Hunter) to kids looking for genre-bending adventures.  


Rick Riordan

The Sun and the Star: A Nico di Angelo Adventure (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Hardcover $16.99 $19.99

The Sun and the Star: A Nico di Angelo Adventure (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The Sun and the Star: A Nico di Angelo Adventure (B&N Exclusive Edition)

By Rick Riordan , Mark Oshiro

Hardcover $16.99 $19.99

What I love about this book is that it focuses on two of my favorite characters, Nico and Will, and Mark Oshiro brought so much enthusiasm and emotional depth to the story. I sometimes shortchange the emotional story when I write an adventure novel, but Mark made this a truly multidimensional journey — not just through the depths of Tartarus, but also through the lives of two young men navigating first love, along with all the usual teenage fears and hopes.  

What I love about this book is that it focuses on two of my favorite characters, Nico and Will, and Mark Oshiro brought so much enthusiasm and emotional depth to the story. I sometimes shortchange the emotional story when I write an adventure novel, but Mark made this a truly multidimensional journey — not just through the depths of Tartarus, but also through the lives of two young men navigating first love, along with all the usual teenage fears and hopes.  

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Series #1)

Paperback $10.99

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Series #1)

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Series #1)

By Ursula K. Le Guin

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Paperback $10.99

LeGuin’s Earthsea books have held up remarkably well since I read them as a child. They present a complex, believable, fantastical world that I wanted to live in, even though it held all the terrors and dangers of the human experience. I loved Ged’s journey from scared boy to powerful wizard. The book opened my mind to the possibilities of fantasy beyond Lord of the Rings. Back then, it was rare to find a fantasy that did not sound like Tolkien, but LeGuin was a powerful, singular voice, still well worth reading. 

LeGuin’s Earthsea books have held up remarkably well since I read them as a child. They present a complex, believable, fantastical world that I wanted to live in, even though it held all the terrors and dangers of the human experience. I loved Ged’s journey from scared boy to powerful wizard. The book opened my mind to the possibilities of fantasy beyond Lord of the Rings. Back then, it was rare to find a fantasy that did not sound like Tolkien, but LeGuin was a powerful, singular voice, still well worth reading. 

The House in the Cerulean Sea (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Paperback $18.99

The House in the Cerulean Sea (B&N Exclusive Edition)

The House in the Cerulean Sea (B&N Exclusive Edition)

By TJ Klune

Paperback $18.99

This book is gentle and kind, full of faith in humanity’s better nature despite all the ugliness and cruelty that tears us apart. At its core is a story about what good people do when faced with injustice, and how we find love, joy, and family in difficult times. This book shows you a fantasy world you might not want to live in — parts of it are depressingly familiar with government bureaucracies, dreary cities, uncaring neighbors, and casual bigotry — but you will definitely want to live on Marsyas Island with its wonderful cast of magical foundlings. 

This book is gentle and kind, full of faith in humanity’s better nature despite all the ugliness and cruelty that tears us apart. At its core is a story about what good people do when faced with injustice, and how we find love, joy, and family in difficult times. This book shows you a fantasy world you might not want to live in — parts of it are depressingly familiar with government bureaucracies, dreary cities, uncaring neighbors, and casual bigotry — but you will definitely want to live on Marsyas Island with its wonderful cast of magical foundlings.