Growing Reader



The Best Children’s and YA Books of October 2017

by the Brightly Editors

October is overflowing with great new children’s and YA books. Across picture books, middle grade, and young adult, there is plenty of excellent reading to look forward to this month. October’s standouts include reimagined fairy tales, much-anticipated sequels, exciting debuts, and new reads from some favorite authors. As the temps start to cool down, consider cozying up with one (or more) of these favorites.

  • Picture Books

  • After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)

    by Dan Santat

    We all know what happened to Humpty Dumpty. Or do we? Maybe the nursery rhyme was only part of the story. With poignancy and humor, Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat looks at Humpty after his tragic tumble, exploring how we go about fixing the "parts that couldn't be healed with bandages and glue," move forward, and find a way to get back up again.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • Dinosaur A to Z

    by DK

    Take your ABCs to the next level by getting to know all kinds of prehistoric creatures! Filled with dynamic images and loads of fun information about over 150 different creatures, this visual nonfiction read is perfect for any young fan of science, dinosaurs, animals in general, or all of the above.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably)

    by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim J. Miller

    The star of Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) is back — but don't expect him to be happy about it. Persnickety Snappsy is feeling quite irritated thanks to a chicken who insists he's Snappsy's BFF. Chicken wants to do all the things that best friends do — sleepovers, matching outfits, karaoke — but mostly he just wants to hang. Together. A funny and wry tale of the sometimes bumpy road to friendship narrated with a cleverness that will have parents chuckling right along with their kids.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • That Is My Dream!

    by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Daniel Miyares

    In this beautifully illustrated book, readers meet a young African American boy who experiences the day-to-day hardships of living with segregation and racism. Based on writer and activist Langston Hughes’s poem “Dream Variation,” this moving and empathetic picture book illustrates the power, beauty, and need for freedom and hope — in the past, today, and always.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • Vincent Can't Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky

    by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary Grandpre

    From the same duo behind the Caldecott Honor book The Noisy Paint Box comes a picture book biography of renowned artist Vincent van Gogh. Often unable to sleep, Vincent’s lifelong struggle with insomnia led to his masterwork, The Starry Night. Lyrical prose describes many nights spent walking under starry skies while illustrations in Van Gogh’s own style bring the artist’s story and art to life for young readers.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • Draw the Line

    by Kathryn Otoshi

    Two boys drawing separate lines on the ground realize connecting them is where the real fun begins. But when an accident occurs and emotions run high, the line is pulled taut in anger. Black and white drawings splashed with touches of purple and yellow beautifully communicate this story of friendship, fighting, and forgiveness without the use of words.
    (On Sale: 10/10/17)

  • The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

    by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

    When a mouse is swallowed by a wolf, he’s scared and doesn’t know what to expect. But when he reaches the wolf’s belly, he realizes that he’s not alone — a duck has already settled in! Life is better than expected inside the wolf, and much safer than the outside world. Just when everything seems to be going well, a hunter comes along and puts the wolf, the duck, and the mouse in danger!
    (On Sale: 10/10/17)

  • Malala's Magic Pencil

    by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoët

    This inspiring picture book, written by Malala herself, makes the Nobel Peace Prize winner's story accessible to young readers. As a girl growing up in Pakistan, Malala dreamed of owning a magic pencil that could solve any problem. She imagined using it to erase the smell of garbage and keep her brothers out of her room. Then she wished for the pencil to erase war, famine, and inequality. As she grew older, Malala realized that such wishful thinking would do no good. She must take action if she hoped to change the world.
    (On Sale: 10/17/17)

  • Middle Grade

  • The Adventurers Guild

    by Nick Eliopulos and Zack Loran Clark

    The Adventurers Guild has been dwindling in members since the world fell to monsters, many of its members dying young in the fighting. Best friends Zed Kagari and Brock Dunderfel must figure out what guilds they’ll join in the near future. Zed hopes to join the the Mages Guild, where his half-elf blood might work to his advantage. Brock, the handsome son of merchants, is confident that he’ll be a part of the Merchants Guild. But nothing goes as planned, and the two boys soon find themselves in the dangerous Adventurers Guild. The boys uncover a secret that threatens everything they hold dear, and they must work quickly to save what's left of the world. The first in this thrilling new series, The Adventurers Guild will win over readers with a love for fantasy, exploration, bravery, and heart.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • The Perfect Score

    by Rob Buyea

    State assessments are taxing for students, teachers, and even parents. Beloved author Rob Buyea explores the challenges that come with these tests, and the pressure young students face to perform well. In The Perfect Score, five classmates struggle to keep up with the craziness of middle school and meet high expectations — until one of them has a brilliant idea for acing the test. As anxiety soars and reality sets in, the students begin to realize that getting a perfect score isn't all it's cracked up to be.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

    by Karina Yan Glaser

    Former teacher and Book Riot contributor Karina Yan Glaser pens this middle grade story of family, fortitude, and fun. As the title suggests, the Vanderbeekers live on 141st Street, in Harlem, NYC, to be exact. That address, and its brownstone, have been their happy home for as long as they can remember. But now, five days before Christmas, their landlord is refusing to renew their lease. So the five Vanderbeeker kids will have to take matters into their own hands and convince him he's making a mistake. This sweet tale — that feels both classic and modern — will have tween readers flipping pages fast and rooting for the Vanderbeekers.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • The War I Finally Won

    by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

    Fans of Brightly's Book Club for Kids pick The War That Saved My Life will be thrilled to dive into this new novel about Ada, her younger brother, Jaime, and their newfound guardian, Susan. With a deft hand, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley once again explores complex themes — including familial dynamics, the effects of war and trauma, and love — in an age-appropriate way. In this installment, Ada continues to expand her trust and navigate new relationships as more characters move into her home in WWII England.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • Snow & Rose

    by Emily Winfield Martin

    Known for her sweet and striking picture books, Emily Winfield Martin tries her hand at middle grade with this reimagined version of the fairy tale, “Snow White and Red Rose.” When their father disappears into the woods, Snow and Rose are forced to leave their lavish home for a cottage in the woods. As the sisters become acquainted with their new home, they venture off the path and into the forest. There they make new friends, uncover magical places, and do their best to avoid the malicious creatures that lurk within. Will their sisterly bond be enough to keep them safe? Charming full-color illustrations make a wonderful addition to this enchanting read.
    (On Sale: 10/10/17)

  • HelloFlo: The Guide, Period.

    by Naama Bloom

    Puberty is a confusing and scary time for so many young women. Luckily, this new guidebook teaches readers all about the basics of physically growing up. With its bright illustrations (featuring a diverse cast of girls and women) and friendly tone, this highly designed resource reassures girls that the changes they experience, as embarrassing as they can feel, are totally expected. Growing up may be hard, but HelloFlo is here to make it a little bit easier.
    (On Sale: 10/17/17)

  • Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

    by Jessica Townsend

    This fantastical, fast-paced tale is part of a new series from debut author Jessica Townsend. At its center is Morrigan Crow, a girl who is cursed, blamed for all manner of bad things, and doomed to die on her eleventh birthday. Not easy being Morrigan. When a mysterious man whisks her away to a magical city named Nevermoor, Morrigan seems to have dodged her fate. But Nevermoor will ask much of Morrigan. Will she tap into her hidden talents to save herself?
    (On Sale: 10/31/17)

  • YA

  • Because I Was a Girl

    by Melissa de la Cruz

    This inspiring book, edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz, is comprised of true stories of women and girls who have faced challenges because of their gender and overcome them. The entries come from bestselling authors, pioneers, chefs, engineers, and many more, making this the perfect gift for girls around the world.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • Far from the Tree

    by Robin Benway

    Grace has always known she was adopted, but it isn’t until there’s a huge, unexpected change in her life that she begins to think about tracking down her birth mother. In alternating chapters, Benway presents the points of view of Grace and her biological siblings Maya, who was also adopted, and Joaquin, who has spent his life in foster care. Far from the Tree dives deep into themes of heartbreak and love, and presents a profound, emotional meditation on what it means to be family.
    (On Sale: 10/3/17)

  • All the Crooked Saints

    by Maggie Stiefvater

    Bicho Raro, Colorado, is home to an extraordinary family. As descendants of Los Santos de Abejones of Oaxaca, Mexico, the Sorias have the ability to perform miracles. But miracles come with a dark price. When Daniel, the acting Saint, comes face to face with his own darkness and flees into the desert, his cousins Beatriz and Joaquin join forces to bring him back home. Stiefvater’s whimsical prose effortlessly blends true history with fanciful folklore for a truly magical story.
    (On Sale: 10/10/17)

  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

    by Julie C. Dao

    Fast-paced and utterly enchanting, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns will hook readers from the very start. A reimagining of the Evil Queen legend (another side of the "Snow White" fairy tale), it follows 18-year-old Xifeng as she attempts to manifest her destiny and become Empress of Feng Lu. Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world beautifully rendered by Dao, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns tracks Xifeng's struggle to claim what's hers and keep the dark forces within her at bay. Brimming with magic, action, romance, and smarts, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns definitely casts a spell.
    (On Sale: 10/10/17)

  • Turtles All the Way Down

    by John Green

    Fans have been waiting five long years for John Green’s first new novel since The Fault in Our Stars. A nod to Green's own struggles with mental illness, Turtles All the Way Down follows Aza, a 16-year-old girl who suffers from OCD. With a $100,000 reward at stake, Aza and her best friend set out to find a missing billionaire and find that obsessive thought spirals don’t make for particularly good detective work.
    (On Sale: 10/10/17)

  • Dear Martin

    by Nic Stone

    With impressive grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, Justyce is practically packing his bags for the Ivy League college of his choice ... until he’s falsely accused of a crime, and his whole world turns upside down. Unsure of what to do in the face of prejudice and power, he turns to the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for guidance. With endorsements by bestselling authors Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas, Stone’s heart-wrenching novel is one you don't want to miss — just make sure to keep the tissues handy.
    (On Sale: 10/17/17)

  • The Sidekicks

    by Will Kostakis

    Sometimes all you have in common with someone is that you're friends with the same person. That's the case for Ryan, Harley, and Miles. The one thing these three very different guys share is their friend Isaac. But when Isaac dies, Ryan, Harley, and Miles are spurred to discover things about each other. Already a hit in Kostakis's native Australia, The Sidekicks has garnered praise for its funny, thoughtful exploration of friendship, grief, identity, and love.
    (On Sale: 10/17/17)

  • Calling My Name

    by Liara Tamani

    This debut coming-of-age novel showcases the complex relationship between family, spirituality, and self. It follows Taja Brown, a young African American girl growing up in Houston, Texas, as she struggles with figuring out who she wants to be. She faces high expectations from her family, a desire to fit in, and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty. On her journey to discovering herself, Taja learns the importance of recognizing self-worth and feeling like you truly belong.
    (On Sale: 10/24/17)

  • Long Way Down

    by Jason Reynolds

    Jason Reynolds, author of As Brave as You and the Track series, is back — this time with a stunning new free verse novel. Impactful and imaginative, Long Way Down spans 60 seconds in an elevator. Will is on his way down to avenge his brother’s death — but as different people step into the elevator from each floor, he begins to consider what’s at stake and wonders if his action could impact all of their lives, forever and irreparably. Once you pick this one up, you won’t be able to put it down.
    (On Sale: 10/24/17)

  • Beasts Made of Night

    by Tochi Onyebuchi

    Kos is no ordinary city — there are evil mages lurking around every corner, evoking sin-beasts that are created from feelings of guilt. Sin-beasts are dangerous, lethal creatures that can only be stopped by the aki, or sin-eaters. Taj is one of the best sin-eaters in Kos, and is very proud of it. But killing such dark beasts comes at a heavy price, and someone has to pay it sooner or later.
    (On Sale: 10/31/17)

What books are you looking forward to reading this month? Let us know in the comments below!