by Brittney Reed-Saltz, with input from Mindy Barrett and Liz McLuckie
Book recommendations. It’s why you read this blog, right? You want to hear which titles we, the librarians who are trained to find books you’ll love, think are worth your time.
And that’s what this blog seeks to do, but today I’m turning the model on its head a little bit. Today’s recommendations aren’t coming from me… They’re coming from the kids who visit our libraries.
As an adult, it can be difficult to figure out what the kids in your life will want to read. Recommending books that you liked at their age can be a good start, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. After all, everyone has their own interests, and sometimes the books that we view through the rosy light of nostalgia just don’t resonate with younger generations in the same way. Times change, and sometimes they change very quickly.
So, what’s an adult to do?
I always pay attention to what my younger patrons are checking out and reading, and I love when they tell me about particular titles that they think are awesome. Not just because it means that they’re enjoying books, which is sort of the whole goal, but because it helps me build a mental list of books that I might recommend to other kids.
Do you know a kid who’s struggling to find their next great read? Or are you at your wits’ end trying to help a reluctant reader? Try out one of these titles, selected from books that kids have been checking out at all of our branches this summer.
The Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo and Thea Stilton
Fast-paced illustrated stories featuring the adventurous newspaper mouse Geronimo Stilton and his sister, Thea (both the pseudonyms of author Elisabetta Dami… look for them under Stilton).
The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer
Middle-grade fantasy focusing on a set of twins who fall into a book of fairy tales and find themselves face-to-face with the characters they have read about.
Dog Man graphic novel series by Dav Pilkey
From the creator of the long beloved zany chapter book series Captain Underpants, Dog Man follows the adventures of a new kind of crime fighter: one with the body of a man and the head of a police dog.
The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel series by Raina Telgemeier
The plots you might remember from Ann M. Martin’s classic series get an update with art by Raina Telgemeier. Kids also love Telgemeier’s other graphic novels: Smile, Sisters, Ghosts, and Drama.
All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
A graphic novel about an 11-year-old girl trying to adjust to public school after being homeschooled, and to find her place in the Renaissance Faire where her parents work.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Kinney’s stories of a kid trying to survive school and documenting his misadventures are perennial favorites. For a readalike with a female protagonist, try Rachel Renee Russell’s Dork Diaries series.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Wonder has been in the spotlight a lot over the past few years as the result of being included in school reading lists and being adapted into a movie. It continues to be popular with kids who enjoy realistic fiction.
Stick Dog series by Tom Watson
Burgers, hot dogs, pizza, ice cream, and more… This light-hearted series follows an insatiable dog on his quest for food. These books promise to make kids laugh, and make them hungry.
Peter Powers series by Kent Clark
Although Peter comes from a family of supeheroes, he has the worst superpower ever: making ice cubes with his fingertips. Can he somehow use his power to save the day? Find out in a chapter book series perfect for fans of The Incredibles.
My Weird School series by Dan Gutman
A.J. goes to a very weird school, where teachers don’t know math, kiss pigs, wear dresses made out of potholders, and more. Each book introduces a new teacher, each one weirder than the last. Gutman’s series is a good readalike for Louis Sachar’s older Wayside School books.
Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine
The Goosebumps books are an example of books from our childhoods (if you’re somewhere in your early 30s, at least) that are still captivating new audiences. The books stand alone, so don’t worry about reading order. Your kids can jump in anywhere and be assured of a good scare with a unique premise, whether it’s ventriloquist dummies, garden gnomes, or a haunted mask providing the chills.
The library has tons of books about Minecraft, from how-to guides to middle grade novels set within the world of the game. What if your kid isn’t into Minecraft? Try searching the library for books that fit their interests, whatever they might be! Even in the rare occasion that we don’t have something about a particular topic they love, we can always help you put in a request for the library to purchase a particular book.