Brianna’s Books: July Favorites 2024

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I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer! If you need a few more books to round out your Summer Reading, I’ve got some great options for you this month.

Picture Books

Dare to Be Daring coverDare to Be Daring” written by Chelsea Lin Wallace and illustrated by Lian Cho

I’ve seen plenty of picture books filled with affirmations about being brave, but this book exemplifies showing instead of telling. On each new page turn, a child faces a common fear with the phrase, “Today, I will dare to be daring.” Whether it’s joining in a dodgeball game, going to the dentist, trying an unfamiliar food or singing onstage, the kids all step out and overcome instead of being overwhelmed. The illustrations are expressive and show the progression from anxiety to joy. With easy rhymes and upbeat rhythm, this will make an excellent read-aloud to encourage kids to be brave in the face of anxiety.

Under the Table coverUnder the Table” written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Bruce Ingman

While our first book ably helps kids through challenges, this next book is pure, nonsensical fun. Elsie is sitting at the kitchen table while her brother and dad are washing the car outside when suddenly she discovers “a great big gray thing under the table.” It’s an elephant named Nathaniel, and he’s quickly enlisted to help with the carwashing. When a kangaroo appears next, she helps carry the groceries — in her pouch of course! As animals keep appearing, the fun and silliness keep ramping up. The conversational style somehow captures a child’s spontaneity and creativity. It feels like my toddler wrote this, in the best way possible.

Chapter Books

Gamerville coverGamerville” by Johnnie Christmas

Next up is a graphic novel! Aside from being fun, graphic novels are hugely beneficial for visual and emotional literacy, so please don’t hesitate to add them to your Summer Reading lists. Max is an accomplished gamer and has just qualified for the Gamerville championships in his favorite multiplayer game, “Lone Wolf of Calamity Bay.” Unfortunately, his parents decide he must touch grass and ship him off to a nature camp. Camp Reset is technology-free, and Max is desperate to escape. If Max can recruit some allies, surely he can use gaming strategies or even what he’s learning at camp to escape in time for the Gamerville tournament. A summer camp book that nicely balances the benefits of both nature and gaming, this will have broad appeal.

Fowl Play coverFowl Play” by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb

Chloe’s beloved uncle has died, and he’s left her his pet African Grey parrot, Charlie, in his will. Caring for Charlie is a welcome distraction as Chloe attempts to process her grief and feelings of betrayal that Uncle Will never confided that he was sick. Charlie keeps her entertained with eclectic Alexa requests for favorite songs, but soon Charlie starts saying things like, “cyanide” and “it was murder.” Chloe becomes convinced that Uncle Will’s death must have involved foul play, and she launches an investigation. Eschewing the lone detective trope, Chloe is tirelessly supported by her family, and her sleuthing activities bring them all together in their grief. This book could easily have come across as too heavy, but it’s perfectly balanced with humor and love.