Kids' Book Picks for the Last Days of Summer

Summer reading heats up with a tantalizing time machine, zombies in Paris, and bullies who learn to make friends.
Regan McMahon Senior Editor, Books | Mom of two Categories: Back to School, Reading, We Recommend
Senior Editor, Books | Mom of two

Finding the right book for your kid can be a challenge. But if you guess right and keep new ones coming, you may be on your way to raising a lifelong reader.

Check out our Essential Books for Kids and Teens guide to find more than 150 of our perennial favorites. Plus, every month, we highlight a few books for different ages -- some exceptional titles that could be the perfect thing to perk your kid's interest, get your reader hooked on a new author, or rediscover an old favorite.

Here are our picks for August:

  • For kids 3 to 7, there are two great new books on bullying. Author-illustrator Laura Vaccaro Seeger, who won a Caldecott Honor for Green, introduces a mean, insulting bull in Bully. But once he understands how hurtful name-calling can be, he changes his ways. With few words and bold images, the book teaches young kids that even bullies have feelings and can appreciate forgiveness after they apologize. And in the latest installment in Anna Dewdney's bestselling Llama Lama series, Llama Llama and the Bully Goat, animal characters underscore two very important points: name-calling and mean behavior aren't OK, and, if you get bullied, walk away and tell someone. Both books are good prep for back-to-school time.
  • For readers 10 to 12, check out The Wells Bequest, a fast-paced sci-fi fantasy by Polly Shulman. A companion to her novel The Grimm Legacy, it involves two kids' quest to solve a mystery related to H.G. Wells' time machine (described in his book of the same name), time traveling to London in the 1890s, and saving New York City from destruction by an evil guy determined to get his hands on the machine. It's a real page turner.
  • For teens 13 to 17, there's A Darkness Strange and Lovely, Susan Dennard's exciting sequel to Something Strange and Deadly. The first book in the series had zombies roaming Philadelphia in 1876. The new one has them running around Paris a few months later. Our heroine, Eleanor Fitt, hops on a ship to go there and help her friends the Spirit-Hunters battle the undead, but learns along the way that she has her own addictive powers of black magic. Sizzling good fun.

For more suggestions, check out our "top picks" lists, including Books Like The Hunger Games and our 50-title list of Summer Reading.

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About Regan McMahon

Regan has been reviewing children's books for more than a decade. A journalist and former book editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, she cites as one of her toughest assignments having to read and review the 784-page... Read more

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Comments (1)

Parent written by MileyHowks

Hello! I can recommend books like Alice in Wonderland, To Be a Dragonet Is Terrific! to increase children's fantasy right before the school!