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All Ages

The Best Children’s and YA Books of July

by the Brightly Editors

best-books-of-july

We’re getting into the dog days of summer, and it’s more important than ever to have good books on hand to keep your kids occupied. Whether you’re trying to survive the remaining summer days or gearing up to send the kiddos back to school, here are the best books publishing this month.

  • Picture Books

  • I Forgive Alex

    by KERASCOËT, Sebastien Cosset, and Marie Pommepuy

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    This wordless picture book from the creators of I Walk With Vanessa delivers a powerful message about apologies and forgiveness. When Alex upsets a classmate, he knows he must apologize. Showing the story from both sides, young readers will learn when to say sorry—and when to forgive someone else.

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  • If You Find a Leaf

    by Aimee Sicuro

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    In this stunning picture book, a girl collects leaves and uses her imagination to create amazing things with them. The artist created the illustrations using actual leaves, making this book both beautiful to look at and a source of inspiration. Kids can use the included craft ideas to create their own original artwork with leaves.

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  • That's Not My Name!

    by Anoosha Syed

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    Everybody pronounces Mirha’s name wrong on the first day of school, and she gets discouraged. However, with her mother’s help, she learns that her name is exceptional—and decides to teach her classmates how to say it correctly. This adorable picture book encourages kids to celebrate their names and the names of others.

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  • Double Puppy Trouble

    by Danica McKellar, illustrated by Josée Masse

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    Math, magic, and puppies combine into an adorable counting-by-doubles picture book. A girl named Moxie finds a magical stick that doubles everything, and she doesn’t hesitate to use it. But when she gets the idea to duplicate her puppy, Moxie and her brother quickly find themselves drowning in dogs. This adorable book is perfect for kids learning the concept of doubling!

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  • I Am Amazing!

    by Alissa Holder and Zulekha Holder-Young, illustrated by Nneka Myers

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    What does it take to be a superhero? Ayaan loves helping others, but when someone tells him he isn’t a superhero, he feels crushed. Luckily, with some encouragement from Dad, Ayaan learns a valuable lesson in kindness and helping others. This sweet picture book shows kids what being a superhero is all about.

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  • Chapter Books & Middle Grade

  • Chester Keene Cracks the Code

    by Kekla Magoon

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    Send your middle grade reader on a code-cracking scavenger hunt with this exciting novel! Chester loves organization and structure, so when he teams up with a spontaneous girl named Skye to solve a mystery, his life gets turned upside down. These two kids must work together to follow the clues, crack a code, and stop a crime from happening.

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  • The First Rule of Climate Club

    by Carrie Firestone

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    From the author of the award-winning novel Dress Coded comes another book about pre-teens taking a proactive stance on important issues. Mary Kate learns how her community harms the environment and starts a podcast to promote change.

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  • She Persisted: Malala Yousafzai

    by Aisha Saeed and Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint

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    Introduce your reader to Malala Yousafzai, one of the most influential and inspiring role models for young people today. Kids will learn about Malala’s childhood, her desire for an education, the obstacles she faced, and her immense courage in this chapter-book biography. It’s the perfect book for anyone interested in equal rights for women in education.

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  • Be Real, Macy Weaver

    by Lakita Wilson

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    Fashion and friendship collide in this upbeat and funny novel about a girl whose little white lies snowball out of control. Macy needs a new best friend, but the perfect candidate already has one. That doesn’t stop Macy, and she reinvents herself into the most appealing BFF ever—even though she has to lie about herself. When the lies catch up to her, Macy must learn to embrace the truth and herself to save her new friendships.

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  • Twin Cities

    by Jose Pimienta

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    Family, peer pressure, and sibling relationships fill the colorful pages of this graphic novel from the creator of Suncatcher. It’s about twins who start attending schools in different cities. Readers see their struggles and triumphs as they navigate the unfamiliar terrain. This heartfelt graphic novel is perfect for kids who enjoy realistic fiction about school and family.

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  • King of the Ice #1

    by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Wayne Spencer

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    Kids who loved the Jada Jones chapter books will be thrilled to get their hands on this spinoff series by the same author. Miles learns about physics and friendship through a visit to the ice skating rink and a bet with his best friend. This series is perfect for young readers interested in STEM!

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  • Thirst

    by Varsha Bajaj

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    Thirst is a captivating story about bravery, corruption, and a valuable resource. Water shortages and theft threaten the supply of clean water in Minni’s neighborhood. So when she discovers plenty of clean water at the high-rise building where she works, Minni risks everything to expose the man responsible.

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  • awkward stuff.

    by Lisi Harrison

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    Middle grade readers love this series about friendship, first crushes, and growing up from the author of the #1 bestselling Clique series! In the third installment, best friends Fonda, Ruthie, and Drew want to experience their first kisses on the same night. But when their carefully thought-out night takes several unexpected turns, the friends learn some things can’t be planned.

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