Growing Reader



The Best Children’s and YA Books of September 2017

by the Brightly Editors

Settle into September with some spectacular new reads. This month offers a bounty of beautiful, funny, and moving books. From a new tale from Mark Twain to timely words from our friends on Sesame Street to a wise wishtree, world-consuming video game, and more, there are all kinds of great stories to help you savor the change in seasons.

  • Picture Books

  • Come with Me

    by Holly M. McGhee, illustrated by Pascal Lemaître

    When a little girl is frightened by stories she hears on the news, she wonders what she can do to make the world a better place. Her parents respond, “Come with me,” and they lead her on adventures around their city, interacting with the people in their community. A timely tale about spreading kindness and hope.
    (On Sale: 9/5/17)

  • Good Night, Baby Moon

    by DK

    This sweet and simple board book isn’t just a wonderful bedtime story. In the informative fashion for which DK is known, Good Night, Baby Moon is also a lovely first introduction to the phases of the moon. A family of rabbits stops to admire the moon one night, full and bright in the sky. As time passes, the moon slowly fades into darkness only to return again to light up the night. A light-up LED moon on the front cover will enchant little ones almost as much as the real moon in the sky.
    (On Sale: 9/5/17)

  • In the Middle of Fall

    by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek

    Caldecott-winning author Kevin Henkes is back with a splendid seasonal tale perfect for educators or parents looking to share the sights, smells, and feels of all things autumn. Pair a storytime session with a nature walk or seasonal crafting activity for a full slate of fall fun.
    (On Sale: 9/5/17)

  • The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC's (the Hard Way)

    by Patrick McDonnell

    The Little Red Cat isn't your average alphabet book. With delightful illustrations and a wild plot, McDonnell infuses the ABCs with unexpected twists and LOTS of laughs. The text is sparse — each page represents a letter, from A through Z — but you'll love connecting the dots of this story about a cat who runs away from home and finds himself on a hilarious and unpredictable adventure.
    (On Sale: 9/5/17)

  • La Princesa and the Pea

    by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

    This bilingual retelling of la princesa, her prince, his mother, and the pesky little guisante is as beautiful as it is delightful. With clever rhymes that will enchant both little ones and those reading to them, soft, vibrant illustrations (evocative of illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal’s native Peru), and Spanish words playfully peppered throughout, expect requests for repeat readings.
    (On Sale: 9/5/17)

  • The Book of Gold

    by Bob Staake

    Young Isaac isn’t interested in anything. He could care less about the way the world works, and no matter how hard his parents try, they can’t pique his curiosity. But on a trip to the New York Public Library, Isaac meets an old shopkeeper who tells him about The Book of Gold. She tells Isaac that this magical book has the answers to every question and turns to gold when opened, and Isaac is so interested that he devotes his entire life to finding it. This story proves that sometimes the quest is more valuable than the treasure.
    (On Sale: 9/12/17)

  • In Your Hands

    by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

    A beautiful and powerful story about a black mother expressing her hope for her newborn son’s future. Poetic and poignant text pairs with vibrant watercolors and expressive ink drawings as the mother imagines the boy’s life and the difficulties he may face as a person of color and asks God to hold him in His hands.
    (On Sale: 9/12/17)

  • There’s Nothing to Do!

    by Dev Petty, illustrated by Mike Boldt

    From the creators of I Don't Want to Be a Frog comes a relatable tale of a frog who can't find anything to do. Looking for activities that will keep him entertained, Frog asks his dad and all his animal friends for suggestions. And you know what he finds? That sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all. A fun and funny tale with a great message to young readers about the beauty and freedom of downtime in an always busy world.
    (On Sale: 9/19/17)

  • We’re Different, We’re the Same

    by Bobbi Kates, illustrated by Joe Mathieu

    Elmo and his Sesame Street friends remind us that our differences are what make this world special and interesting, and that no matter where we come from or what we look like, we are all the same on the inside. This timeless and beautifully illustrated book teaches readers about being different, and helps us to remember to never treat someone differently based on their appearance. It is an engaging read for preschoolers and adults alike.
    (On Sale: 9/19/17)

  • I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups

    by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith

    Warning: This may be one of the silliest books you’ll ever read. In the same vein as greats like Seuss, Silverstein, and Ogden Nash, Chris Harris’s extraordinary collection of poetry is hilarious fun for the whole family. From puns and riddles to wordplay and parodies, this rollicking read will delight even the most reluctant of poetry readers. Adding to the fun is Lane Smith’s aptly absurd art, toting visual jokes all his own.
    (On Sale: 9/26/17)

  • The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine

    by Mark Twain and Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead

    A new Mark Twain book? You read that right! Philip C. Stead and Erin Stead have teamed up to bring readers this never-before-published tale that’s inspired by a bedtime story Twain told his children. He jotted down notes for the story ... and now it’s a stunning picture book for middle grade readers to enjoy today!
    (On Sale: 9/26/17)

  • Middle Grade

  • Alan Cole Is Not a Coward

    by Eric Bell

    Alan wishes nobody would notice him, especially his mean older brother, Nathan, and his formidable father. When Nathan finds out that Alan has a crush on a boy at his middle school, he uses it as leverage to challenge Alan to a brother-against-brother contest. Alan knows he has to win because, if he doesn’t, Nathan will out Alan at school. As Alan strives to beat Nathan at his own game, he ends up learning more about himself than he’d ever expected.
    (On Sale: 9/5/17)

  • The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole

    by Michelle Cuevas

    Stella Rodriguez visits NASA to contribute a recording of her late father to Carl Sagan's Golden Record ... and ends up with a black hole following her all the way home. The black hole decides to be Stella’s pet, sucking up her belongings as it comes into contact with them. Sooner or later, Stella, her brother, and their dog get swallowed up too, launching them on a journey to get back home. A simultaneously touching and hilarious story of a girl overcoming grief.
    (On Sale: 9/12/17)

  • Saving Marty

    by Paul Griffin

    Lorenzo Ventura’s father died in war and was a hero, and his best friend Paloma is an extremely talented musician. Compared to them, Lorenzo feels very ordinary. But when he comes across a piglet in need of a home, Lorenzo sees his chance to do something great. He decides to adopt the young pig and name him Marty. Lorenzo and Marty go on many adventures, and share a bond unlike any other. Everything seems to be looking up for Lorenzo ... until Marty’s life is threatened. Can Lorenzo save Marty? This moving novel reminds us that more often than not, the animals that we rescue are actually the ones saving us.
    (On Sale: 9/19/17)

  • The Stars Beneath Our Feet

    by David Barclay Moore

    Deeply compelling and unapologetically authentic, Moore tells the story of 12-year-old Lolly as he deals with the loss of his older brother to the drug-hustling, crew-feuding streets of Harlem. Still very much kids, Lolly and his friends face dark but realistic circumstances that pressure them to grow up too quickly. Only by playing with LEGOs and building a fantastical city straight from his imagination does Lolly find solace from his grief, along with an unexpected new friend and hope for a brighter future.
    (On Sale: 9/19/17)

  • Wishtree

    by Katherine Applegate

    This new middle grade novel from Katherine Applegate (Newbery-winning author of The One and Only Ivan) has already racked up four starred reviews. At the center of this story is Red, a northern red oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree" who carries people’s wishes, written on pieces of cloth, on her branches. Red can talk, and tell stories, and has watched over the neighborhood for a long time. But when a new family moves into the neighborhood and prejudices are exposed, Red’s work and wisdom become more important than ever. With themes that will surely resonate with the topics and tensions of today, this is a timely and moving read for tweens.
    (On Sale: 9/26/17)

  • The Wonderling

    by Mira Bartók

    An adventure-filled fantasy filled with magic and heart, The Wonderling is a tale of daring and destiny. The Wonderling is a kind-hearted, one-eared, fox-like 11-year-old who has never been given a proper name and who has lived a miserable existence at the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. When he meets a young bird groundling named Trinket, he’s given a real name, Arthur, a new friend, and a path to escape the horrible home. Arthur sets off to find what’s meant for him in the wider world, and Bartok takes readers along for the magical ride with her detailed storytelling and imaginative illustrations.
    (On Sale: 9/26/17)

  • YA

  • Genuine Fraud

    by E. Lockhart

    Is there a difference between the truths we tell ourselves and the lies we tell others? From the author of We Were Liars, this psychological thriller follows the relationship between two girls, Jule and Imogen. Over the course of their friendship, they have grown extremely close and have become freakishly similar. Both girls have reinvented their identity several times, and as readers travel back in time, they learn that not everything is as it appears to be. Genuine Fraud demonstrates how deceit can create chaos, and even lead to murder.
    (On Sale: 9/5/17)

  • They Both Die at the End

    by Adam Silvera

    The latest from Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not, History Is All You Left Me) is already garnering much critical praise. A heart-wrenching but hopeful story of two individuals who are brought together by the most awful of coincidences: they are both going to die today. Looking to make a new connection on their End Day, Rufus and Mateo meet up, hoping to pack as much living into their final hours as they can. Themes of friendship, love, loss, and fate combine in this novel that should be read with a box of tissues close at hand.
    (On Sale: 9/5/17)

  • Too Shattered for Mending

    by Peter Brown Hoffmeister

    Things aren’t going well for “Little” McCardell, who lives in an impoverished rural town. His grandfather “Big” has disappeared, his older brother has been arrested, and he’s crushing on his brother’s girlfriend — then, to make matters worse, the sheriff starts asking him questions about what Big was up to before he vanished. He wants no part of the investigation, but he can’t say no, and he’s not sure if he can keep everyone’s secrets safe.
    (On Sale: 9/12/17)

  • Warcross

    by Marie Lu

    The first in a two book series, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu’s new sci-fi thriller Warcross may just be her most exciting work yet. Teenage hacker and bounty hunter Emika Chen is struggling to make ends meet. Desperate for cash, she hacks into the opening ceremony of a worldwide virtual reality game known as Warcross. When Emika gets caught, instead of going to jail, she’s offered a position on one of the top professional Warcross teams. Action-packed and fast-paced, what follows is a roller coaster of events too good to put down.
    (On Sale: 9/12/17)

  • Jane, Unlimited

    by Kristin Cashore

    Jane is grieving the death of her Aunt Magnolia when she is invited by Kiran Thrash, an old acquaintance, to her family's glamorous island mansion called Tu Reviens. Once there, Jane faces unexpected twists, hidden identities, and unfolding secrets as the story splits into five distinct narratives, each a different genre (mystery, thriller, horror, fantasy, and science fiction). A thought-provoking and compelling mystery, readers will enjoy piecing together clues from the various scenarios as Jane works to figure out why she’s at Tu Reviens.
    (On Sale: 9/19/17)

  • Murder, Magic, and What We Wore

    by Kelly Jones

    The title alone may be enough to entice you to pick this one up! Fans of period tales, mysteries, and dashes of magic will love following along with 16-year-old Annis Whitworth. Determined to solve the mystery of her father’s death, and find out where all his money went, Annis decides there’s only one thing to do: become a spy. England’s current spies are not quite on board with Annis’s plan, however, even after she tells them she has the ability to sew garments that can disguise the wearer completely. So Anna does what all good spies do — she sets up a double life for herself. Part time Annis Whitworth, country girl, and part time Madame Martine, spy and owner of a magical dressmaking shop. Let the intrigue and magic unspool!
    (On Sale: 9/19/17)

  • Release

    by Patrick Ness

    One day can change everything — it’s certainly true for Adam Thorn. He’s experiencing the most challenging day of his life, and nothing is working in his favor. His ex-boyfriend is leaving town for good, things at work are going horribly wrong, and on top of all that, Adam must hide his sexuality from his homophobic family. Adam reaches a breaking point as he deals with these hard-hitting issues, and finds his release when he learns to forgive and embrace himself. This compelling coming-of-age story will resonate with readers of all ages, and will remind everyone that the sun always rises again tomorrow.
    (On Sale: 9/19/17)

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