By Lani Aquino
Teachers work tirelessly all year long to keep the learning spark alive in their students. When a lifelong love of reading gets added into the mix, it can do wonders for boosting that educational journey with a firm foundation built on one of the fundamentals. Some students seem to need a commercial grade blowtorch to get the reading fires crackling though, and the right book can be the perfect igniter for the job. These newly released titles in children’s literature may just hold the key to building or bolstering avid readers over the summer break.
The Book of Mistakes- This first picture book by Corinna Luyken takes readers through the journey of an artist’s inspiration and also holds a powerful lesson. When mistakes begin to happen in the artistic process, readers watch the story unfold as the artist takes ownership and transforms blunders into newly inspired creations. Whether it’s adding a new feature to fix a spacing issue or reconfiguring the original “big picture” concept, every mistake takes a positive spin and the final product is more masterful than the original intent. A great way to talk about the artistic process and also transfer this message to everyday life and dealing with mistakes and stumbling blocks in a positive fashion.
Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt- This second installment in Ben Clanton’s Narwhal and Jelly graphic novel series for young readers offers another fast-paced and funny set of adventures with the dynamic and lovable duo. Readers move through the stories via the witty dialogue exchanged between the characters. While the adventures are amusing and a bit zany as superhero capabilities are uncovered, the underlying messages are an additional bonus. Readers are able to see the beauty of friendships and discover the importance of believing in oneself. Young readers can delight and learn from the undersea adventures of this engaging pair as Narwhal and Jelly work together to help others, deal with bullies, and support one another.
Girling Up- A Ph.D. and a starring role on The Big Bang Theory are just a couple of accolades of Girling Up author Mayim Bialik. This new release adds teen author to the mix, and the messages found within the pages won’t disappoint readers, both young and old. With all the ups and downs and angst that are a part of growing up, this book offers some insight on how to cope and help teens feel like they are not alone on the tumultuous journey of adolescence. With anecdotes from her own journey coupled with the knowledge garnered from a neuroscience doctorate, this open and honest guide is a great addition to a preteen/teen’s library and a great way to get conversations about difficult topics started.
The Unbreakable Code- This newest addition to Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s Book Scavenger series is a great find for students in the middle grades. Readers once again follow Emily and James on a code-cracking adventure. With cyphers and puzzles interspersed throughout the novel, this engaging story offers some unique attributes to draw in its audience. The adventures aren’t limited to the written pages of the novel either. The Book Scavenger website offers students a way to become sleuths in their own right and procure a copy of the first book that may be hidden near them. Coupling the fun of solving a mystery with dynamic storytelling is sure to make this a new favorite.
Real Friends- The pairing of Newberry Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham has produced a great newcomer in the graphic novel realm. Readers follow Shannon on the zig-zag journey of navigating friendships and family life in this engagingly formatted memoir of the author’s youth. The stumbling blocks she encounters are timeless, and some of the references to life in the 80s are sure to be enjoyed by adult readers. Finding books that allow students to find themselves within the hopes, dreams, and disappointments of the characters can do wonders for the adolescent psyche. This title is a must add for reading lists and library shelves.
The Case of the Stinky Stench- Authored by Josh Funk and illustrated by Brendan Kearney this sequel to Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast is just as entertainingly delicious as its predecessor. Young readers can delight in the mystery that unfolds in the unexpected landscape of a familiar household appliance. Inspector Croissant is on a mission to uncover the stinky stench and calls upon the assistance of Sir French Toast, his uncle, and Lady Pancake. The quest for answers is moved along via well-crafted verses of rhyme that will captivate young and old readers with clever descriptions and fanciful wordplay. This engaging tale is a laughingly funny foray into mystery for young readers.
Sending students out the door for summer with a list of some newcomers on the children’s literature scene is a great way to keep them interested in reading over break. The fun of discovering a new author and/or series can provide a welcome escape during students’ time away from the classroom. From a mystery solving breakfast pastry to an insightful look into teenaged angst, this list of new releases is sure to have something that will strike a chord or ignite a spark in readers of all ages.
If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.