The Best Children’s and YA Books of June 2017

by the Brightly Editors

Summer is right around the corner and the forecast calls for lots of sunshine and an abundance of great stories. June’s new releases for kids and teens offer plenty of unforgettable tales — from skeletons who sing to a wedding planner down on love to a book that promises (wink, wink) that it will not be fun, plus a very special story from Anna Dewdney. Here are some of the best children’s and YA books coming out this month.

  • Picture Books

  • Garcia & Colette Go Exploring

    by Hannah Barnaby, illustrated by Andrew Joyner

    Garcia loves space and Colette loves the sea — and it seems like they'll never agree. So the star-seeking bunny builds a rocket and the water-bound fox builds a submarine. As they launch away in their respective vehicles, they realize that both space and the sea can be kind of lonely without someone by your side. A sweet story about the power of friendship and recognizing that sometimes what we think are differences aren't differences at all.
    (On Sale: 6/6/17)

  • Little Excavator

    by Anna Dewdney

    Available from:

    A wonderful story from the beloved Anna Dewdney that reminds kids that you don't have to be big to make a big impact. Little Excavator, or Little E, isn't quite sure where he fits in amongst the big rigs like Bulldozer and Dump Truck. He can't do any of the things they can do. He's just too small. But there is one thing that he can do that the others can't, a job that's just the right size for him. With Dewdney's familiar illustration style and amazing ear for rhyme coupled with construction vehicles and scenes, Little Excavator is sure to scoop up tons of fans.
    (On Sale: 6/6/17)

    Also available from:
  • This Book Will Not Be Fun

    by Cirocco Dunlap, illustrated by Olivier Tallec

    Looking for a LOL-worthy read to pick up this month? Consider This Book Will Not Be Fun (whose title is most certainly a downright lie). Narrated by a spiffy mouse dressed in a bow-tie, this picture book takes readers on a whirlwind ride featuring things that even an anti-fun mouse can't deny are, you guessed it, loads of fun. From a flying whale to a zero-gravity dance party to lots of meta-book hijinks, This Book Will Not Be Fun is filled with giggle-inducing ideas.
    (On Sale: 6/6/17)

  • Blue Sky White Stars

    by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illusrated by Kadir Nelson

    Available from:

    Award-winning artist Kadir Nelson’s vibrant images pair beautifully with Naberhaus’s sparse yet powerful verse in this tribute to the American flag and all that it represents. A magnificent visual and verbal work of art.
    (On Sale: 6/13/17)

    Also available from:
  • Littles: And How They Grow

    by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by AG Ford

    Have the tissues on hand for this incredibly sweet read that's equally enjoyable for parents and kids. Little ones will love looking at AG Ford's expressive and inclusive illustrations of babies of all colors, from all kinds of families doing all of the things that babies do — from sleeping to eating to cuddles and bubble baths. Kelly DiPucchio's rhyming text is rhythmic and engaging and perfect for snuggling, with a last page that will make moms and dads misty.
    (On Sale: 6/13/17)

  • Claymates

    by Dev Petty, illustrated by Lauren Eldridge

    What happens when two blobs of clay are left to their own devices after the “artist” leaves the room? Lots of sculpting fun! One molds himself into a peanut, the other an elephant — both smashing, squishing, and sculpting into hilarious shapes as they try to outdo each other. When the competition gets crazy and the claymates have sculpted themselves into a mess, the two must work together to right themselves before the artist returns. With witty, fun banter and Claymation-style visuals, this is a picture book unlike any you've read before.
    (On Sale: 6/20/17)

  • Splat!

    by Jon Burgerman

    A messy adventure that doesn't require cleanup? Yes, please. Splat is a super fun, interactive picture book that's great for fans of books like Press Here. Kids are prompted, even egged on a little, to turn the page to see what will happen. Get ready for insect sandwiches and exploding water balloons and a whole lot of laughs.
    (On Sale: 6/20/17)

  • The Teacher's Pet

    by Anica Mrose Rissi, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

    Mr. Stricter’s class has just finished learning about the life cycle of frogs and decides to keep the smallest tadpole of the bunch, Bruno, as their class pet. There’s just one problem: Mr. Stricter is blind to the fact that Bruno is quickly growing into a giant, desk-eating, slime-sneezing, classroom-wrecking menace! Bright and bold illustrations bring this silly story to life as the students try to convince their teacher that Bruno isn't exactly the ideal class pet.
    (On Sale: 6/20/17)

  • Visual Guide to Grammar and Punctuation

    by DK

    If you're looking for a go-to reference book to keep on the shelf during your child's elementary school years, this is a great one. DK brings grammar and punctuation to life with simple, straightforward text and helpful pictures. Kids can scope out info and rules for everything from prepositions to progressive tense, coordinating conjunctions to commas. Don't be surprised if you find yourself referencing it, too. You can dazzle your friends with your revamped knowledge of auxiliary verbs.
    (On Sale: 6/20/17)

  • YA

  • Once and for All

    by Sarah Dessen

    Helping blushing brides plan their perfect day is the last thing Louna wants to spend her summer doing, especially since her own first love ended so tragically. Cynical of happily-ever-afters, she brushes off serial dater Ambrose and his flirty charms. But Ambrose is convinced Louna is the one for him. True to form, Dessen expertly recounts the gut-wrenching events that led to the protective walls around Louna's heart as well as Ambrose’s humorous attempts to break them down.
    (On Sale: 6/6/17)

  • This Impossible Light

    by Lily Myers

    With her parents' recent divorce, her brother moving out, and her best friend acting distant, Ivy’s life is falling apart and there’s nothing she can do about it. The one thing she feels she still has control over? Her body and what she puts — or doesn’t put — into it. A novel written in deeply powerful and poignant verse, YouTube slam poetry star Lily Myers hauntingly captures the downward spiral of someone developing an eating disorder and their struggles with body image and self-worth.
    (On Sale: 6/6/17)

  • Wildman

    by J.C. Geiger

    Things have gone pretty much as planned for Lance — he has a beautiful girlfriend, he's going to graduate as valedictorian of his high school class, and he's received a big scholarship for college — until his car breaks down in a random town where he doesn't know anyone. When a local resident nicknames him "Wildman," Lance realizes he has an opportunity to reinvent himself in whatever form he chooses and finds himself on an adventure that could change the course of his life. With a real-feeling teen voice and a touch of magical realism to boot, this debut novel will resonate with young adult readers still trying to figure out who they are.
    (On Sale: 6/6/17)

  • Words in Deep Blue

    by Cath Crowley

    Available from:

    Rachel is still grieving the death of her brother when she decides to move back to Melbourne, where she grew up, to get away from the painful memories of him that haunt her. She gets a job at a little bookstore owned by the parents of her former best friend (and former crush) Henry, whose own life has begun to unravel. Told from both characters' points of view, Words in Deep Blue follows Rachel and Henry as they work alongside each another at the bookstore, sifting through the words of wisdom and searching for answers in the books that surround them. Book-lovers will eat up this moving new teen novel about friendship, grief, and love.
    (On Sale: 6/6/17)

    Also available from:
  • Midnight at the Electric

    by Jodi Lynn Anderson

    This latest from New York Times bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson is already racking up rave reviews. Anderson weaves a story that spans time and place, creating three remarkable characters that will stay with readers: Adri, who's living in Kansas in the year 2065; Catherine, whose family is facing hardship in 1934 Oklahoma; and Lenore, who is grieving her brother, killed in World War I, in 1919 England. The fates of these three women are entwined and Anderson brings their connections, and our greater human connections, to life through her quietly powerful and captivating prose. A great read about the power of the past and the future to get lost in this summer.
    (On Sale: 6/13/17)

  • The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

    by Mackenzi Lee

    In its starred review, Kirkus described The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue this way: "Austen, Wilde, and 'Indiana Jones' converge in this deliciously anachronistic bonbon." Sounds fun, right? A rollicking ride that also turns a keen eye to issues like class, racism, homosexuality, and identity, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue follows Henry “Monty” Montague, a young bisexual British lord who sets off on a Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush, Percy. When his hedonistic ways and relationship with Percy are threatened, Monty will have to reevaluate what he truly holds dear.
    (On Sale: 6/27/17)

What books are you excited for this month? Let us know in the comments below!