Great Books for Back to School!

Check these books out to keep the summer reading spirit alive...

The Tulsa City County Library’s 2018 Summer reading program is over, and it was a rockin’ success! Kids all over Tulsa read thousands of books, earned coupons, and went home with the inflatable guitar bonus prize.

But now that school is back in session, have your children lost interest in books and reading? The song doesn’t have to end here, friends! Let’s get the band back together. Check out these awesome titles to keep your children reading well into the school year.

My new favorite board books:

The Baby University series by Chris Ferrie – Quantum Physics for Babies? Rocket Science for Babies? Has actual scientist Chris Ferrie gone too far? Not at all! It’s never too early to introduce children to new concepts and vocabulary, and Ferrie’s books are full of quality STEM information with simple explanations and minimalist illustrations to make physics accessible for all ages.

Picture books for bedtime reading:

Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel – Using rhythmic language beside gorgeous, colorful illustrations, Wenzel’s new book serves as a wonderful introduction to more than 90 unique and interesting animals – a literal “hello” to nature – with a list at the back to help readers identify them.

Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer – Wordy Birdy loves to talk! But sometimes she talks when she should be listening. She talks right over her friends who warn her not to go near the hungry bear’s cave, for example. A cute story with a great message, Wordy Birdy is the perfect book to support the Build A Reader activity of talking.

I Am the Boss of This Chair by Carolyn Crimi – Oswald, an adorable (though spoiled) housecat is used to being in charge, until Pom-Pom arrives. Any child sharing their home with a new baby will identify with this classic struggle between an old cat and a new kitten, with a lovely understated lesson about sharing and learning how to be on the same side of the team.

People Don’t Bite People by Lisa Wheeler – A bouncing rhyme, goofy examples, and fun illustrations come together to explain in no uncertain terms how this whole biting thing works. Memorable, repeatable, and a great way to get this important rule across.

Nonfiction for curious minds:

Neighborhood Sharks and How To Be An Elephant by Katherine Roy – With gorgeous illustrations that manage to blur the lines between action shots and informative diagrams, both of these books are perfect for third- and fourth-graders who want to learn everything they can about wild animals. Roy’s simple descriptions and storytelling approach do an excellent job of breaking down the latest science on these two fascinating species – elephants and great white sharks – into language that children can understand.

DIY Circus Lab for Kids by Jackie Leigh Davis – If you, like me, have been listening to The Greatest Showman soundtrack nonstop since last winter, this is the book for you. Do-it-yourself lessons guide kids and families through a variety of circus skills, starting with a prop-making class and moving on to important basics, like juggling, clowning, and acrobatics. While most of the skills taught are easy enough for children of all ages, those that require adult assistance include plenty of warnings.

Ongoing series that keep us coming back for more:

Wings of Fire by Tui Sutherland, Book #11: The Lost Continent – An epic narrative about a war between dragon clans, told from the points of view of several younger “dragonets,” this middle grade fantasy series doesn’t skimp on the magic or adventure.

Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan, Book #3: The Burning Maze – Fans of Riordan’s Percy Jackson series won’t be disappointed in this follow-up to Heroes of Olympus starring the hilarious and snarky Apollo, stuck in the form of a regular teenage boy named Lester. With humor and wit, Riordan’s action-packed plots make mythology exciting for today’s kids.

A middle grade mystery:

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson – A mysterious letter points to an unclaimed fortune in this novel that one Tulsa librarian calls “adventure, mystery, and problem-solving with an interesting slice of history… perfect for any Sherlock, Juniors out there.” Told through two different but intertwined timelines (one from the present, and one from the 1950s), The Parker Inheritance features a diverse cast and a fresh perspective on racial issues. Consider reading and discussing this one together as a family.

My top pick for teens:

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – Tired of the medieval-England fantasy trope?  Author Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel, based in a fantasy version of Africa, brings the magic back to the genre. Intriguing characters, giant rideable lions, and gorgeous descriptions make Children of Blood and Bone a promising start to a fascinating new series!

Categories: Books and Literacy