Growing Reader



The Best Children’s and YA Books of August 2017

by the Brightly Editors

Savor the last days of summer with some great reads! August is packed with new releases sure to help you and your kids create more summer reading memories. From an underwater retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to sparkly unicorns, wicked bugs, and lots of twisty magic, there’s plenty of reading fun to be had this month. Here are our top children’s and YA picks for August.

  • Picture Books

  • A Different Pond

    by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui

    A beautiful and powerful story about family, culture, sacrifice, memories of home, and life as a refugee. Phi's smooth prose and Bui's evocative illustrations combine to tell the story of a simple but profound fishing trip between father and son that carries with it so many of the hopes, dreams, and challenges of the immigrant experience.
    (On Sale: 8/1/17)

  • Say Zoop!

    by Hervé Tullet

    Best known for books like Press Here and Mix It Up!, Hervé Tullet has once again expanded on the concept of interactive storytelling to create an imaginative new picture book. Three dots — blue, red, and yellow — each associated with a different sound. What happens to the dots when you whisper or shout? How about singing? Watch as the dots magically respond to sound by changing size, bouncing around, and filling the page with bursts of color.
    (On Sale: 8/1/17)

  • Whose Moon Is That?

    by Kim Krans

    When a curious cat wants to know who the moon belongs to, many animals are quick to claim ownership. Though they each have good reason, the moon corrects them all. She is not owned by anyone — her light is meant to be shared. Filled with breathtaking ink and watercolor illustrations, this book explores our relationship to nature and the beauty of the world in which we live.
    (On Sale: 8/1/17)

  • The Only Fish in the Sea

    by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

    Spoiled little Amy Scott got a goldfish for her birthday, but she thinks they're boring. So what does she do with her new pet? She throws him in the ocean, still in his baggie! Sadie doesn't think goldfish are boring, so she, Sherman, and a couple of monkeys in striped shirts set out to save little Ellsworth (what's a fish without a name?!). Little ones will love poring over the details of the delightfully zany ink and watercolor illustrations.
    (On Sale: 8/15/17)

  • The Mermaid

    by Jan Brett

    Jan Brett's stunning retelling of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” takes place under the sea, in a magical and enchanting setting inspired by the coast of Okinawa, Japan. Kiniro, a young mermaid, comes across a gorgeous house made of seashells and coral, and can’t resist taking a look inside. Kiniro finds everything she could possibly want in the house: a delicious breakfast, a cute little chair, and, best of all, a comfy bed that’s perfect for a nap. But when the Octopus family walks through the door, they aren’t happy to find out that someone has been in their home.
    (On Sale: 8/22/17)

  • All the Way to Havana

    by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Mike Curato

    Readers of all ages looking for a lyrical exploration of our near neighbor, Cuba, will savor the lovely All the Way to Havana. In it, a little boy and his parents make their way toward Havana in their old blue car, Cara Cara. As Cara Cara takes them through the country, along the coast, and into the busy streets of the city, the little boy — and readers — are treated to the sites, sounds, and details of this vibrant country.
    (On Sale: 8/29/17)

  • Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True

    by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Brigette Barrager

    Before her passing in March 2017, Amy Krouse Rosenthal reunited with illustrator Brigette Barrager to create another delightful Uni the Unicorn tale. There's lots of rain in the forecast for the Land of Unicorns, which means no sunshine, rainbows, or sparkly unicorns. Luckily, Uni truly believes that little girls are real and it's that faith that helps save the unicorns from the gloomy weather. Cute, colorful, and with a touch of whimsy, this fun read will help brighten anyone's day.
    (On Sale: 8/29/17)

  • Middle Grade

  • The Loser’s Club

    by Andrew Clements

    The New York Times bestselling author of Frindle brings us another delightful school story. Sixth grader Alec is the definition of a bookworm. Once he starts a book, he can’t put it down, even when he’s in class. When the principal tells Alec to pay attention or else, Alec has a brilliant idea: The Loser’s Club. It’ll be a club that no one would want to join — a place where he can read in peace. But, Alec quickly finds out that things don’t always go according to plan.
    (On Sale: 8/1/17)

  • Magic Tree House: A Big Day for Baseball

    by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by AG Ford

    In their latest adventure, the Tree House whisks Jack and Annie back to 1947 to be batboys in a special ballgame in Brooklyn, NY. The siblings don't know much about baseball, so it's a good thing Morgan the librarian gave them magical baseball caps to make them expert players. Just what makes this game so special? They only have nine innings to find out!
    (On Sale: 8/1/17)

  • Wicked Bugs: The Meanest, Deadliest, Grossest Bugs on Earth

    by Amy Stewart, illustrated by Briony Morrow-Cribbs

    So, yeah, this one is gross. But that's kind of the point — there is something bizarrely fascinating about the baddest of bugs. Like the fact that there are zombie bugs or that scorpions glow in ultraviolet light. Amy Stewart's Young Readers' edition of her bestselling book for grown-ups will surely delight any kid obsessed with creepy crawly creatures and the crazy things they do.
    (On Sale: 8/8/17)

  • Girls Who Code

    by Reshma Saujani

    Since 2012, the organization Girls Who Code has been working to close the gender gap in technology. Its founder, Reshma Saujani, hopes to reach even more girls, and connect them with coding, with her new book. A mix of how-to's, motivational insights, and info about computer science and those working in the field, Girls Who Code is helping to change the landscape of technology.
    (On Sale: 8/22/17)

  • Pablo and Birdy

    by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Ana Juan

    A quietly moving tale filled with humor and magical realism for middle grade readers. Pablo wants to know where he came from and how he ended up washing up on the shores of the seaside town of Isla as a baby with only a parrot to accompany him. As he approaches his tenth birthday, the only one who can tell him the truth of his past is his parrot, Birdy, but she can't talk. Or can she? When strong winds begin to blow — winds similar to the ones that brought Pablo to Isla — Birdy begins muttering. What does it mean? And what changes will it bring?
    (On Sale: 8/22/17)

  • Laugh Out Loud

    by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, illustrated by Jeff Ebbeler

    In his latest story for middle grade readers, bestselling author James Patterson draws inspiration from his own childhood. This self-aware story follows 12-year-old Jimmy and his dream of starting his own book company for kids. His dreams, like most 12-year-olds', are big and bold — a ferris wheel and bowling alley at the office? Of course! Packed with humor, fun references to kids' lit, and a great message about following your dreams.
    (On Sale: 8/28/17)

  • Tumble & Blue

    by Cassie Beasley

    Blue's been cursed to lose at everything from foot races to tiddlywinks. Tumble wants more than anything to be a hero. Immediately drawn to Blue and his bad luck, she makes it her mission to help him. Young readers will love this tale of friendship and fate as the two journey into the Okefenokee Swamp in search of a glittery gold gator with the power to change their lives forever.
    (On Sale: 8/29/17)

  • Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos

    by Lulu Delacre

    Though fiction, this relevant and moving collection reflects the real experiences of Latinos who live in the United States. These beautifully illustrated short stories depict the lives of twelve young Latinos performing daily tasks like working at a father’s burrito truck, or working to change a family member’s immigration status. These stories will move readers to understand the joys of the Latino culture, and the many difficulties that come with immigration.
    (On Sale: 8/29/17)

  • YA

  • We Now Return to Regular Life

    by Martin Wilson

    Three years ago Sam was abducted. Now he's been discovered alive and he's coming home. But Sam isn't the same boy he was three years ago. Gripping and intense, debut author Martin Wilson weaves together a heart-wrenching depiction of what it means to survive trauma and the long road to recovery for him and his family and friends.
    (On Sale: 8/1/17)

  • Little & Lion

    by Brandy Colbert

    Los Angeles is home for Suzette, and even though she attends boarding school in New England, she always longs to return to California. Her family and her friends are in L.A., along with her crush, Emil. And Suzette wants to be there to support her stepbrother as he copes with bipolar disorder. But when she actually returns home, Suzette feels anything but serenity — she finds herself falling for a girl, and her brother’s illness spirals out of control.
    (On Sale: 8/8/17)

  • Spellbook of the Lost and Found

    by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

    From the acclaimed author of The Accident Season comes a gripping tale of friendship, secrets, and magic. Best friends Olive and Rose have started to lose things — small things at first, but then something bigger, and maybe even each other. The ancient spellbook claims it can bring back things that have been lost. Is it the path to setting things right? Or will it lead them somewhere they never intended to go?
    (On Sale: 8/8/17)

  • A Map for Wrecked Girls

    by Jessica Taylor

    Emma and her older sister, Henri, have always been inseparable. But when they find themselves shipwrecked on a deserted island with a handsome boy with a secret past, it seems that their unbreakable bond has been ruptured. A powerful and compelling story about survival, sisterhood, and secrets.
    (On Sale: 8/15/17)

  • Wicked Like a Wildfire

    by Lana Popovic

    The first in a two-book series, Lana Popovic's debut YA fantasy novel is already picking up serious fans. Twin sisters, Iris and Malina, have the unique magical ability to manipulate beauty — but their mother has forbade them from sharing their gifts with anyone. When she's attacked, Iris and Malina will have to discover the truth of their magic, of their lives, and of the curse that haunts their family. Publishers Weekly says, “Readers will be captivated by [Popovic's] entrancing writing, evocative setting, and distinctive supernatural worldbuilding."
    (On Sale: 8/15/17)

  • All Rights Reserved

    by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

    In this dystopian world speech is anything but free. When she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks, every scream she lets out, every nod, every gesture of affection. Failure to pay is punished severely. But Speth discovers a loophole. Instead of paying to speak, she chooses to never speak again at all. Her defiance sparks a frenzy and a movement that threatens the entire society.
    (On Sale: 8/29/17)

  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer

    by Leigh Bardugo

    New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo brings us the highly-anticipated coming-of-age story of one of the biggest superheroes of all time: Wonder Woman. Diana is the Princess of the Amazons before anything else, and has always longed to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when an opportunity finally presents itself, she risks exile by saving a mortal girl, Alia. Diana doesn’t realize that Alia is a Warbringer: a descendant of Helen of Troy, destined to bring about violence everywhere she goes. Diana and Alia must fight side by side to defeat an army of enemies, mortal and divine, if they wish to save both of the worlds they hold dear.
    (On Sale: 8/29/17)

What other books are you looking forward to reading this month?