It feels like the warm weather just started, yet somehow we’re already halfway through June. Summer is the time of year when families come to the library and take out a whole stack of books to read on vacation. As the most popular series fly off the shelves, the children’s section can start to look a little bare. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are just a couple of the series that may become difficult to find in the next month or two. You might need a book to reach your summer reading goals, or something to keep your child from spending too much time staring at a screen. Whatever the case, try one of these suggestions to keep you busy while you wait for your other books to come in.
Did a young Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, and Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein), really team up to solve mysteries in nineteenth century London? Sadly no, but if the idea intrigues you, give The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency a try! The author has a lot of fun with the historical characters, but it isn’t necessary to know anything about them in order to enjoy these books.
Whew, that’s a long title! In this book, a girl named September leaves her dreary life for an adventure in another world. Along the way she encounters a herd of wild bicycles, a boy named Saturday, and a Wyverary (that’s half wyvern and half library). The Fairyland books were inspired by early children’s works like the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. These five books are full of wit, whimsy and elaborate wordplay. Valente is one of my favourite authors and has also written several novels for adults.
When one of Lyra’s friends is kidnapped, she’s drawn into a plot that involves missing children and mysterious experiments taking place in the far north. The Golden Compass has already been made into a graphic novel, a movie and a play. This is one of my childhood favourites, and I have high hopes for the BBC miniseries that’s coming out later this year. A perfect time to read the books before the TV show! It’s the first in a trilogy, and if you like it there are a few short companion volumes and also a recently published prequel, The Book of Dust.
I only recently read this book for the first time, and I’m sorry I waited so long! Sophie works in her family’s hat shop, until the day a witch turns her into an old woman. Searching for a way to reverse the spell, she meets the wizard Howl and his unusual castle. There are two books that follow it, along with a large number of other works by Jones. You may also want to watch the animated film by Studio Ghibli.
I’m really enjoying this graphic novel series about a princess in a tower who decides she’s had enough of this whole damsel in distress thing. She befriends the dragon guarding her and together they set off to rescue her sisters. It’s great if, like me, you love different retellings of familiar fairy tales. There’s also a spin-off series about Raven and her crew of female pirates.
In a steampunk world in which vampires and werewolves roam Victorian London, there is a very special sort of finishing school. These young ladies learn much more than manners, for Miss Geraldine’s school turns out the best spies and assassins in England. The Finishing School books are great for teens. They can also be read as a prequel to Carriger’s main series for adults, the Parasol Protectorate.