If You Liked This Book, Try …
A Summer Reading List Filled with Old and New Favorites

by Mia Wenjen

When you’re trying to find a new book for summer reading, it’s often helpful to get a comparison. Hence, here are ten new books paired with ones you might have already enjoyed.

Multicultural, Diverse, and Inclusive Picture Books

If you like Mama, Do You Love Me?, try Sweetest Kulu.
Both of these sweet picture books introduce animals that live in the Arctic and celebrate love for a precious child. I love the subtle introduction of Native American culture! [Ages 2 and up]

If you like A Chair for My Mother, try Sunday Shopping.
There are all kinds of families and both these books celebrate a multigenerational family of women with grandmothers playing important roles. Money is tight for both these families too, but with that comes the reward of careful saving and imaginative window shopping! [Ages 4 and up]

If you like Wemberly Worried, try Ally-saurus & the First Day of School.
This pairing is perfect for a child about to start kindergarten or preschool, as it shows two different perspectives of the first day of school. Wemberly has a lot of anxiety while Ally is not afraid to be herself, even if that means she’s different from the other girls. By the end of the school day, both girls cannot wait to return again tomorrow. These two contrasting books can help set up a discussion with your child who might have first day of school jitters too. [Ages 4 and up]

If you like The Name Jar, try The Change Your Name Store.


Wilma Lee Wu and Unhei (pronounced Yoon-Hey) are both considering changing their names. Unhei is concerned about fitting in at her new American school and having a name that her classmates can recognize and pronounce. Wilma wants to try out new ethnic identities. Both girls, after considering many options, realize that their own names are special and uniquely theirs. [Ages 4 and up]

If you like It’s Ok To Be Different, try Stella Brings the Family.
Todd Parr gently teaches tolerance for things that are different from what you are used to. Schiffer brings this message further with her picture book featuring same gender parents. Both books have an important message of acceptance, for both yourself and others around you. [Ages 4 and up]


Plucky Mighty Girl Graphic Novels

If you like Zita the Spacegirl, try Dragons Beware!.
Mighty girls don’t flinch at instigating a rescue of their friend or loved one. Mythical creatures or aliens don’t faze them either. And it goes without saying that their plan, while not approved by adults, will succeed. There always has to be that one girl that doesn’t listen, but aren’t those girls the most fun? They certainly have the best adventures! [Ages 6 and up]

If you like Smile, try Amelia’s Middle-School Graduation Yearbook.
Smile is a graphic novel and Amelia’s Middle-School Graduation Yearbook is a notebook novel but both books feature the big issues of middle school: fitting in, finding your true friends, and that big transition to high school. [Ages 9 and up]


Chapter Books for Summer Reading

If you like All-of-a-Kind Family, try The Penderwicks in Spring.
What I love about the Penderwicks series is that it has an old-fashioned feel of a classic but it’s set in contemporary times and focuses on the little dramas involving a large and loving family. Both series have families predominately of girls but, as the series continues, both add a young boy to the family. In each series too, one of the girls will have her moment and the book will focus more on what is happening to her. Whether an instant classic or a classic that endures, both series make you feel as if you, the reader, are part of their families. [Ages 8 and up]

If you like Turtle in Paradise, try The Way to Stay in Destiny.
Old time Florida has a mythical quality to it; it’s so different from the tourist mecca Florida is now. Life was simpler then, it seems, with small towns filled with neighbors that looked out for each other. For a young kid sent to Florida to live with relatives who are just scraping by, this is a good thing. Even in sleepy towns, there is the possibility of adventure, whether it involves pirate treasure or music. [Ages 9 and up]

If you like The Lightning Thief or any Percy Jackson book, try The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence.
It’s probably not a coincidence that both these series are published by Disney-Hyperion because both have that quality that makes for cinematic excitement. Do you remember when Percy Jackson was an unknown, newly published book that you might have discovered from excited word of mouth? At least, that’s how I found it. The Zodiac Legacy is the brainchild of Marvel Comic great Stan Lee and he combines a diverse cast of characters, superpowers revolving around the Chinese Zodiac, graphic novel illustrations, and page-turning excitement. My son has already asked for the sequel. Even more telling is that his friends who have read it are impatient to discuss it in great detail. I think this series is the Next Big Thing.
[Ages 8 and up]


How about you? What new children’s books are you loving and what books do they remind you of? Please share in the comments below! Thanks so much!