With summer coming to an end, it's time to get ready for fall. Light an apple-cinnamon candle, soak in a view of the green outdoors, brew a cup of something yummy, and grab a bag of books. Below are some of my recent favorites that won't leave any family member behind. Take a look! You're sure to fall into something that will enlighten, entertain, and engage the avid and reluctant reader alike.
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
This 2018 Newberry Award winner is a wonderful story about friendship and finding your inner hero. Told in different points of view, two boys and two girls, this book celebrates the greatness of being different and the bravery to be who you are.
Virgil is a shy boy who feels completely lost in his sports-crazed family. Valencia is a deaf yet smart girl who loves nature and feels alone in her world. Kaori is a self-taught psychic with a little sister who follows her everywhere she goes. The characters are complete with Chet a fanatic basketball player who can't stand the weird kids. These lives are entwined when Virgil and his guinea pig get trapped at the bottom of a well. With a little help from the universe, and the bravery of the girls, a rescue unfolds and friendship takes root. Your tween will love it!
Young Adult (14 and up)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
With a movie release date of October 19, 2018, there's plenty of time to read New York Times Bestseller, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas before it appears on the big screen. In this young adult novel, sixteen year-old Starr is torn between her two worlds. Garden Heights-the mostly poor, black neighborhood where she lives- and Williamson Prep-the predominately white, private school she attends. When she witnesses a police shooting of her childhood friend, Khalil, she wrestles with her two identities. When a riot breaks out, her bravery pushes her to activism as she defends Khalil and fights against injustice. The Hate U Give is an acronym derived from the phrase, THUG LIFE, from former rapper Tupac. Tupac and the song are referenced in the novel.
Click the book image to view the movie trailer which will entice you to read it more than I can. My fourteen year-old and I couldn't put this book down but I'll warn you---the book is loaded with swear words. I anticipate a huge buzz with the upcoming release of the movie.
Sink or Swim; A Novel of WWII by Steve Watkins
Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, twelve-year-old, Colton and his older brother, Danny are fishing off the coast of North Carolina. America is at war with Germany and Japan and Danny awaits his assignment in the Navy. But when the brothers are attacked by a German U-boat, Danny nearly loses his life and slips into a coma. Angered Colton decides to take action and his brothers enlistment papers to replace Danny's spot in the Navy.
Barely keeping his age a secret, Colton makes it through bootcamp. But when he's assigned to fight the Nazi submarines, his life takes a deadly turn. The reality of war comes to fruition and Colton's youth quickly becomes a distant memory. Danny forms a brotherhood with his fellow navy fighters while enduring the mental and physical battle no twelve year-old should experience. Through it all, both Colton and Danny survive but their lives are changed forever.
I read this out loud to my nine-year-old son and we loved it. It kept us both on edge and wanting to read one more page before lights out. Anyone who's fascinated with WWII or loves a good suspense story will devour this book. It's loosely based on the true event of an underaged boy who successfully enlisted in the navy. Click the image to get a preview of the first few pages.
Goldfish on Vacation by Sally Lloyd-Jones
My favorite picture books are those that teach events in history. Goldfish on Vacation is one of those books. It's a story that happened in New York City over the summers of 1992 and 2005. The Hamilton Fountain, named after Robert Ray Hamilton--the great-grandson of Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the United States--was restored for families to take their pet goldfish during the hot summer months. It's a lovely story that celebrates community, New York City, and summertime!
The illustrations by Leo Espinosa bring the story to life with a combination of black and white history images and colorful present time images. This book will make your little one smile and if you ever find yourself in New York City, why not meander to Riverside Drive and 76th Street where you'll find the Hamilton Fountain? I intend to.
Hamilton Fountain, NYC
Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
I'm an early-to-bed gal so if I'm up reading past eleven, you know it's a great book. This suspense thriller is a page turner. Especially for those of us who'd do anything for the safety of our children!
Vivian, a CIA agent, is close to a much needed promotion, has a loving husband and four young children who are the center of her world. She's on the brink of finding Russian sleeper cells in the U.S., but after a few clicks, her life is changed forever when a picture of a Russian spy appears on her screen--her husband! As the story unfolds, flashbacks bring to light pieces of the past revealing her husband's motives and manipulations. But he's the primary caregiver to their four kids and has never shown anything but devotion and love toward the family. Is he being forced to comply with the Russians or is he truly a spy who will stop at nothing to get the job done? Just when you think he's a loving husband who is unwillingly trapped in the skeins of Russian control, something happens that make you second guess his intentions. This back and forth pattern continues until the final reveal--I won't share and ruin the reading experience for you. But don't skip the Epilogue!!!
A reading indulgence, Need to Know will have your stomach in knots while you question how far you would go to save your family. Don't forget to click the image for a preview of the first few pages.
Click below for a list of the hottest books of the summer. There are several the dads in the family will enjoy. Certainly, we don't want to leave them out.
Summer's Best Sellers
If you have a book you'd like to share, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can add it to my reading list.
Bye, for now and Happy Reading!