Brianna’s Books: July Favorites 2023

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How’s your Summer Reading going? If you need some inspiration for new books to try, check these out. There’s some really excellent stuff coming out this summer!

Picture Books

The Red Jacket coverThe Red Jacket” by Bob Holt

Bob the seagull is feeling glum and disconnected from the other beach residents. So when a cheerful songbird gives him a swanky red jacket (with french fries in the pockets!) Bob is confused but delighted. Suddenly Bob is feeling confident and outgoing in his fancy red jacket and is making connections with all the animals around him. After a wave sweeps his jacket away, Bob’s new friends rally to find it and he realizes that he no longer needs the jacket to feel confident and valued. Parents will enjoy the opportunity to discuss self-worth, kindness and generosity, and kids will enjoy the snappy speech balloon dialogue and cartoon-inspired illustrations.

The Duck Never Blinks coverThe Duck Never Blinks” by Alex Latimer

Have I mentioned lately how much I love interactive books? At the start of the book, the narrator informs us that they’ve been watching the duck all day, and the duck never blinks. So the goal is to catch the duck blinking! As a likely gleeful audience watches, the narrator tries telling jokes, sad stories and shouting, but nothing works. The duck’s wide-open eyes are mesmerizing and hilarious, and the payoff at the end is wonderfully satisfying. Perfect for fans of the Pigeon.

Chapter Books

The Fire, the Water and Maudie McGinn coverThe Fire, the Water and Maudie McGinn” by Sally J. Pla 

Maudie always looks forward to spending summers with her dad in California, but this year she is especially looking forward to spending the summer away from her mom and stepdad in Texas. Maudie is autistic, and her influencer mom frequently exploits this for her YouTube channel. On top of this emotional abuse, her stepdad Ron always seems angry — and sometimes leaves bruises. Mom said that if Maudie tells anyone, she could get taken away from her family, so Maudie wrestles with keeping the secret even from Dad. When a wildfire destroys Dad’s cabin, the two of them relocate to a trailer on the beach near Dad’s hometown. There Maudie learns to surf and begins to find her confidence and self-worth. This book is beautifully written, and neurodivergent and neurotypical kids alike will identify with and cheer for Maudie.

The International House of Dereliction coverThe International House of Dereliction” by Jacqueline Davies

Alice is ten years old, resourceful, determined and extremely handy — she’s helped her father fix up the last eleven homes they’ve lived in. Alice is used to a challenge, so when she realizes the crumbling mansion next door is slated for demolition, she heads straight in with her tools. While she tackles repairing the fireplace, she senses that the house is watching her, and perhaps even has a heartbeat. Soon Alice has more than just the house to fix. Four ghosts need her help fixing their unfinished business so they can move on. Never one to back down, Alice dives into the history of the house and the ghosts as she works to restore it all. Though it has all the elements of a ghost story, this book exudes kindness and compassion. This would be an excellent choice for kids who like to read about ghosts without being scared.

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