The Children’s Book Review | June 1, 2016
Hot New Releases & Popular Kids Stories
It’s time for our June edition of “Best New Kids Books!” Hooray for plenty of lazy, beautiful, summer reading time. And, for some, it’s also time for prepping growing littles for preschool or kindergarten. We’ve got you covered with some great first-day-of-school picture books and wonderful novels to get lost in.
Written by Paul Czajak
Illustrated by Wendy Grieb
Publisher’s Synopsis: Monster is dreading his first day of school. But his classroom is full of new friends and so many fun things to learn that Monster forgets his fears in no time…until he catches his friends bullying. What will Monster do?
Another exhuberant addition to the award-winning Monster & Me™ series, addressing back-to-school jitters and the difficulty of dealing with bullies—especially when they’re friends.
Ages 2-8 | Publisher: Mighty Media Kids | June 28, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1938063749
Written by Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by Ron Husband
Publisher’s Synopsis: Missouri, 1847
When James first started school, his sister practically had to drag him there. The classroom was dark and dreary, and James knew everything outside was more exciting than anything he’d find inside.
But his teacher taught him otherwise.
“We make our own light here,” Reverend Meachum told James.
And through hard work and learning, they did, until their school was shut down by a new law forbidding African American education in Missouri. Determined to continue teaching his students, Reverend John Berry Meachum decided to build a new school-a floating school in the Mississippi River, just outside the boundary of the unjust law.
Based on true events, Ron Husband’s uplifting illustrations bring to life Deborah Hopkinson’s tale of a resourceful, determined teacher; his bright, inquisitive students; and their refusal to accept discrimination based on the color of their skin.
Ages 4-7 | Publisher: Jump At The Sun | June 7, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1423121961
Written by Adam Rex
Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Publisher’s Synopsis: It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?
The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | June 28, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1596439641
Written by Ben Hatke
Publisher’s Synopsis: Goblin, a cheerful little homebody, lives in a cosy, rat-infested dungeon, with his only friend, Skeleton. Every day, Goblin and Skeleton play with the treasure in their dungeon. But one day, a gang of “heroic” adventurers bursts in. These marauders trash the place, steal all the treasure, and make off with Skeleton―leaving Goblin all alone!
It’s up to Goblin to save the day. But first he’s going to have to leave the dungeon and find out how the rest of the world feels about goblins.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: First Second | June 7, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1626720817
Written by Rob Sanders
Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Publisher’s Synopsis: Ruby Rose loves to dance . . .
. . . while she’s brushing her teeth,
. . . while she’s eating her breakfast,
. . . and even on her way to class.
But there’s NO DANCING at school! Or is there? With a little luck and a lot of rhythm, Ruby Rose finds a way to get everyone up on their dancing feet. A perfect back-to-school book for budding dancers.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | June 24, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062235695
Written and Illustrated by Sam Garton
Publisher’s Synopsis: Otter—the irrepressible picture book character from I Am Otter, Otter in Space, and Otter Loves Halloween!, sure to be adored by fans of Llama Llama—goes to school for the first time!
In Otter Goes to School, Otter starts her own school for Teddy, Giraffe, and the rest of her friends. They have a great teacher and do lots of fun things together . . . until Teddy says he doesn’t like school anymore. Luckily, Otter Keeper comes to the rescue and teaches everyone the best lesson of all!
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Balzer + Bray | June 14, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062352255
Written by Kate Messner
Publisher’s Synopsis: Charlie feels like she’s always coming in last. From her Mom’s new job to her sister’s life away at college, everything else always seems to be more important than Charlie’s upcoming dance competition or science project. Unsure of how to get her family’s attention, Charlie comes across the surprise of her life one day while ice-fishing . . . in the form of a floppy, scaly fish offering to grant her a wish in exchange for its freedom. Charlie can’t believe her luck until she realizes that this fish has a funny way of granting wishes, despite her best intentions. But when her family faces a challenge bigger than any they’ve ever experienced, Charlie wonders if some things might be too important to risk on a wish.
With the same warmth and fun that readers loved in All the Answers, Kate Messner weaves fantasy into the ordinary, giving every reader the opportunity to experience a little magic.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens | June 7, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1619633766
Written by Tricia Springstubb
Publisher’s Synopsis: From acclaimed author Tricia Springstubb comes a poignant and topical middle grade novel about the effects of an accidental shooting on family, friendship, and community. Perfect for fans of Jennifer L. Holm and Rita Williams-Garcia.
Twelve-year-old Nella Sabatini’s life is changing too soon, too fast. Her best friend, Clem, doesn’t seem concerned; she’s busy figuring out the best way to spend the “leap second”—an extra second about to be added to the world’s official clock. The only person who might understand how Nella feels is Angela, but the two of them have gone from being “secret sisters” to not talking at all.
Then Angela’s idolized big brother makes a terrible, fatal mistake, one that tears apart their tight-knit community and plunges his family into a whirlwind of harsh publicity and judgment. In the midst of this controversy, Nella is faced with a series of startling revelations about her parents, friends, and neighborhood. As Angela’s situation becomes dangerous, Nella must choose whether to stand by or stand up. Her heart tries to tell her what to do, but can you always trust your heart? The clock ticks down, and in that extra second, past and present merge—the future will be up to her.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Balzer + Bray | June 7, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-0062366283
Written by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Publisher’s Synopsis: From the critically acclaimed author of Anything But Typical comes a touching look at the days leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers.
Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck the World Trade Center.
But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will’s father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Naheed has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she’s getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Aimee is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business.
These four don’t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day—the day our world changed forever.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers | June 28, 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1442485068
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