Summer may be winding down for many kids across the U.S., but there’s still time for them to enjoy some summer reading before the new school year starts. For parents and caregivers searching for the right book for the young readers and pre-readers in their lives, these lists of new, librarian-recommended books are a great place to start.
Compiled by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, these lists are meant for parents and caregivers and can be used to explore titles that may match or spark a child's interest. Ranging from picture books that can be read to babies to future YA classics for 8th graders, the selected titles are sure to engage kids of all ages.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Fluffy McWhiskers: Cuteness Explosion, by Stephen W. Martin, illustrated by Dan Tavis (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021)
“Enjoy the deadpan humor of a story about a cat so adorable that anyone who sees her explodes.”
Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race, by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, illustrated by Isabel Roxas (Rise X Penguin Workshop, 2021)
”A clear, direct book for young children about skin color and race, accompanied by questions to spark conversation. Part of the First Conversations series.”
Dancing With Daddy, by Anitra Rowe Schulte, illustrated by Ziyue Chen (Two Lions, 2021)
“A nonverbal young girl in a wheelchair anticipates an upcoming father-daughter dance, supported by her attentive and loving family.”
We Shall Overcome, by Bryan Collier (Orchard, 2021)
“This picture book juxtaposes the lyrics of the 1960s civil rights anthem with multilayered collage illustrations chronicling a day in the life of a contemporary Black child, against the backdrop of past events and struggles.”
Nina: A Story of Nina Simone, by Traci N. Todd, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Putnam, 2021)
“A picture-book biography of little Eunice, who grew up to become one of the most influential, powerful voices in music.”
The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London's Poop Pollution Problem, by Colleen Paeff, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021)
“In a smelly and unsafe 1858, only one person can save London from its waste-filled river and cholera outbreaks—engineer Joseph Bazalgette.”
Ain't Burned All the Bright, by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jason Griffin (Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 2022)
“Over three “breaths,” a boy reflects on current social events from within his home, where his father isolates, sick, in a spare and powerfully illustrated blend of mixed-media collage and poetry.”
Last Gamer Standing, by Katie Zhao (Scholastic Paperbacks, 2021)
“In the near future, Reyna Cheng studies at an elite academy dedicated to virtual reality gaming. Secretly playing under a tough male avatar to avoid misogynistic harassment, she attempts to win it all at the Junior Dayhold Tournament.”
For more reading resources for kids, visit the ALSC Book and Media Awards Shelf.
Featured photo by Lina Kivaka.