Growing Reader



The Best Children’s and YA Books of July 2017

by the Brightly Editors

Summer is officially underway and promises plenty of sunshine and lots of new books for kids of all ages! July’s releases offer something for every kind of reader — from exciting adventure stories and LOL-worthy comedies to edge-of-your-seat dramas and thought-provoking historical fiction. Here are some of the best children’s and YA titles coming out this month.

  • Picture Books

  • Goodnight Lab: A Scientific Parody

    by Chris Ferrie

    Get a brief introduction to science by taking a tour of a laboratory! Readers will identify — and say goodnight to — equipment found in the lab that's featured in this fun picture book parody. With illustrations and a structure reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's classic, Goodnight Lab is sure to be a hit with both STEM-minded families and fans of Goodnight Moon alike. (Looking for more children's book parodies? Check out our list of Hilarious Parodies of Classic Picture Books!)
    (On Sale: 7/4/17)

  • My First Coding Book

    by Kiki Prottsman

    Computer coding is quickly becoming a must-have skill for today's kids. In this hands-on book, would-be-coders as young as five can learn the basics of computer programming. Written by Kiki Prottsman, the education program manager at, the book is filled with fun puzzles, mazes, and games to teach kids computer programming fundamentals like sequences and algorithms. Computer not required. Curiosity encouraged.
    (On Sale: 7/4/17)

  • Mad Scientist Academy: The Space Disaster

    by Matthew McElligott

    Dr. Cosmic and his class of little monsters are back for another adventure in the Mad Scientist Academy series. Their next lesson is an out-of-this-world experience as the class puts on anti-gravity belts and steps into Dr. Cosmic’s very realistic planetarium to learn all about space. Hilarity ensues when a computer glitch transports the class all across the galaxy and the students must use their quick wits to make their way back to Earth. School Library Journal calls it a “space adventure that young readers will pore over, learn from, and enjoy.”
    (On Sale: 7/11/17)

  • Marigold Bakes a Cake

    by Mike Malbrough

    Marigold the cat is a very serious baker. And Mondays are when he bakes the perfect cake. With just the right amount of very precise ingredients like ... pigeons? The birds have swooped in and taken control of Marigold's recipe and he is not happy about it! With sly humor, silly antics, beautiful watercolor illustrations, and a subtle nod to those times when things don't go according to plan, this one will earn chuckles from kids and parents.
    (On Sale: 7/18/17)

  • The Bedtime Book

    by Mary Engelbreit

    Having trouble getting your kids to settle in for the night? Make sure to check out The Bedtime Book, a brand-new and sleepytime-inspired picture book by bestselling author and illustrator Mary Engelbreit. Filled with sweet stories and the beautiful illustration style for which Engelbreit is famous, this book is a wonderful way to read your little one off to dreamland.
    (On Sale: 7/25/17)

  • Middle Grade

  • Cosmic Commandos

    by Christopher Eliopoulos

    Christopher Eliopoulos, a comic book creator who's well-known for illustrating the books in Brad Meltzer's Ordinary People Change the World series, is the talented artist and author behind this fun graphic novel for middle grade readers. Jam-packed with extraordinary hijinks, Cosmic Commandos stars a pair of identical twins who stumble upon a magic ring that allows them to live out a favorite video game in real life. It's an adventure story that will hook tweens from beginning to end.
    (On Sale: 7/4/17)

  • Lights, Camera, Middle School!

    by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm

    Middle school is all about fitting in, but Babymouse was born to stand out! What better way to do that than to join film club? With a script in hand, Babymouse sets out to direct their first film ... and quickly finds that being a director isn't as easy as she imagined. Can Babymouse pull it off? With a seamless blend of graphics and prose, this first in a new series promises kids who have grown up loving Babymouse many more hilarious adventures with the lovable character.
    (On Sale: 7/4/17)

  • Walking with Miss Millie

    by Tamara Bundy

    Alice isn't at all happy about moving from Columbus, Ohio to boring old Rainbow, Georgia. To make matters worse, she's been tasked with walking her elderly neighbor's dog, Clarence, who stubbornly won't go anywhere without his owner, Miss Millie. Set against the backdrop of the late '60s, a friendship forms as Alice learns about Miss Millie's life, including the tragedy and loss she has suffered at the hands of racism. As Miss Millie unravels her story, she shares the ways in which she has overcome pain and anger; sets an example of kindness, generosity, and positive spirit; and inspires Alice to address her own feelings of loss along the way.
    (On Sale: 7/4/17)

  • It All Comes Down to This

    by Karen English

    This middle grade novel, set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1965 and inspired by real-life events, is already earning a host of starred reviews from the likes of Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. Twelve-year-old Sophie's life changes when she and her family become the first African Americans to move into their new neighborhood. When riots erupt in nearby Watts, Sophie is forced to think about her place in the world in a whole new way. Balancing humor and a host of relatable issues, English has written a thoughtful and moving coming-of-age tale for tweens.
    (On Sale: 7/11/17)

  • The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide

    by Chris Colfer

    See how it all wraps up in the final tale in author Chris Colfer's bestselling Land of Stories series. Things are chaotic — all of the Land of Stories fairy tale characters are no longer confined to their world. Connor and Alex will have to try to win their biggest battle yet and restore order. Expect laughs, plenty of action, and a little sadness that this is the end.
    (On Sale: 7/11/17)

  • Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win

    by Rachel Ignotofsky

    From the author of the New York Times bestseller Women in Science comes an awesome new anthology featuring fearless females. This time the focus is pioneering female athletes. Ignotofsky highlights the stories of 50 women from the 1800s through today who soared to great heights and broke new ground. Tweens can read about all kinds of athletes — from the well-known gymnastics star Simone Biles to the lesser-known skateboarding pioneer Patti McGee. A great addition to any tween's bookshelf.
    (On Sale: 7/18/17)

  • Spirit Hunters

    by Ellen Oh

    Ellen Oh, the author of the YA Prophecy series and cofounder of We Need Diverse Books, launches a new mystery series for middle grade readers with this riveting first installment. Harper Raine's family just moved into a new house that she's starting to think is haunted. When her younger brother begins behaving oddly, she knows she has to step in and figure out what ghosts might be hiding in their home.
    (On Sale: 7/25/17)

  • YA

  • The Disappearances

    by Emily Bain Murphy

    After their mother passes away, Aila and her little brother are sent to their mom's hometown of Sterling to live with her childhood friend, Matilda. When the siblings begin to notice eerie things about their new town — for example, they can't see the stars and the flowers seem to have no scent — Matilda tells them about the "Disappearances." Every seven years, something randomly disappears from Sterling ... and the suspicious townspeople seem to think Aila's mom was somehow connected to the Disappearances. Full of captivating mystery, compelling characters, and historical references, Bain Murphy's debut novel has early readers raving.
    (On Sale: 7/4/17)

  • Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy

    edited by Ameriie

    It's time to give some favorite villains the spotlight! Because You Love to Hate Me, an anthology for teens that's edited by author and musical artist Ameriie, takes classic fairy tales and turns them on their heads. Featuring contributions from YA authors (including Renée Ahdieh, Soman Chainani, and Nicola Yoon) and influential BookTubers, each short story reconstructs a fairy tale with a villain, such as Medusa, at its center. Wicked fun!
    (On Sale: 7/11/17)

  • The Lake Effect

    by Erin McCahan

    It’s the summer after high school graduation and Briggs is off to work at a lake house as live-in help for an elderly rich widow. Briggs believes in “the lake effect” and its ability to wash away his worries — an ex-girlfriend, money problems, and he and his family’s exceedingly high expectations for his future — and is expecting a summer of fun. But his new boss has other ideas ... like attending her own funeral. And crashing many, many others. Fans of Nick Hornby will delight in this hilarious and heartwarming reminder that all we have in life is here and now.
    (On Sale: 7/11/17)

  • What to Say Next

    by Julie Buxbaum

    This is the charming story of two teens — both struggling in their own ways — who form an unlikely and engaging friendship. David's loner-at-the-lunch-table status is shattered when Kit decides to sit with him one day. She's not sure why she does it, other than maybe she needs a different view, another perspective, especially after her dad's death. And she gets that with David, who's blunt and honest in a way Kit hasn't experienced. When she asks David for help figuring out what happened to her dad, it'll test the limits of their new friendship.
    (On Sale: 7/11/17)

  • The Library of Fates

    by Aditi Khorana

    Princess Amrita isn't looking forward to her impending political marriage to Macedonian ruler Sikander. When her family uncovers the dark depths of the dictator's hunger for power, Amrita escapes the palace (and the marriage) and sets out on a journey to save her kingdom from her former fiancé, accompanied by a wise oracle, Thala. Inspired by Indian folklore, Khorana builds a vivid world of fantasy, magic, and romance, and her plot twists will keep you hooked.
    (On Sale: 7/18/17)

  • Little Monsters

    by Kara Thomas

    Kacey Young has just escaped her volatile mother to go live with her father, a man she’s never even met, and his family in the little town of Broken Falls. Her new step-family and Broken Falls welcomingly accept her as one of their own. That is until Kacey’s new friend Bailey doesn’t return home from a party one night. Fingers quickly start pointing toward the new girl and her mysterious past. This intense thriller will have you flying through the pages, breathlessly in suspense as Kacey struggles to unravel a dark and twisted web of lies. Think you know who did it? Guess again.
    (On Sale: 7/25/17)

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