Brianna’s Books: October Favorites 2023

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It’s time to settle into the wonderful fall weather and get cozy with a good book! Whether you’re reading under a snuggly blanket or sitting outside in the crisp air and sunshine, these new books will be perfect companions. This will be my last blog for a little while, so enjoy and I’ll see you again next year with some winter releases!

Picture Books

Turbo's Special Delivery coverTurbo’s Special Delivery” written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Eduardo Marticorena

I’m a little biased about this one because I have a toddler who loves trucks. Turbo is a delivery truck who loves to drive FAST! But today he has a very special delivery, and his supervisor tells him he needs to be extra careful with it. That means no zooming or zigging or zagging on the road. Turbo sets off at his usual speed before remembering to slow down. When he does, he’s bemused to see other cars actually passing him, but he’s delighted to notice the beautiful countryside and fresh air on his windshield. This is a reassuring example for little ones who want to go go go! Not only is it possible to rein yourself in, but there are definite benefits beyond just the approval of the grown-ups.

Mole Is Not Alone coverMole Is Not Alone” by Maya Tatsukawa

Mole is invited to a party! The problem is, Mole is not certain he wants to go. Rabbit is a good friend and kind to invite him, but what if Mole doesn’t know anyone else there? And what if Mole doesn’t know what to say? Mole wavers back and forth, but decides he might have fun, and makes cream puffs to share with the other guests. He sets off through the underground tunnels between his home and Rabbit’s but continues to struggle with indecision and anxiety. When he arrives, he changes his mind completely about going to the party but is relieved to find Skunk, who would also rather not go in. Rabbit assures the two that it’s perfectly fine and he still loves them, and the two introverts enjoy a quieter gathering together. The illustrations are full of fascinating underground details in the tunnels, and Mole’s thoughts are extremely relatable for anyone who has dealt with social anxiety. This sweet and cozy book will be wonderfully comforting for any anxious or introverted young readers.

Chapter Books

Three Tasks for a Dragon coverThree Tasks for a Dragon” written by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by P.J. Lynch

Prince Lir is fascinated by science and the natural world. He would be perfectly happy spending his days learning and inventing instead of ruling the kingdom. So when his father dies and his stepmother decrees that her own biological son will assume the throne instead of Lir, he’s content enough. But then he is exiled on a legal technicality, though in truth it’s because his stepbrother wants him dead. He’s given a quest to rescue a maiden from a notorious dragon, and all assume the bookish young prince will quickly get eaten. Lir meets the dragon in conversation instead of battle and offers to complete three tasks for the dragon in exchange for the maiden’s freedom and safe return to the kingdom. The three enter into an uneasy alliance as Lir works to solve the mold problem in the dragon’s cave, heal his wing, and restore the dragon’s fire-breathing skills. But will their alliance be strong enough to stop Lir’s stepbrother as he plots a dark future for the kingdom? This feels like a classic fairy tale, but it’s filled with surprises and traditional elements that get subverted. The expressive illustrations add a beautiful dream-like quality to the story, and fans of fantasy will be immediately drawn in.

Alebrijes coverAlebrijes” by Donna Barba Higuera

On the other side of the fantasy coin, we’ll finish up with a dystopian sci-fi. Leandro and his little sister live a harsh life in the segregated town of Pocatel. Latinx-cued Cascabeles like Leandro and Gabi live in the slums and work the fields for the Pocatelans, struggling to scrape together an existence. But life in the city’s walls is more certain than the deadly wilderness beyond, filled with monsters and desolation. When Gabi is caught stealing a strawberry, Leandro takes the blame for her. His sentence is exile beyond the city’s walls, but he’s surprised to find out that it’s only his mind that will be exiled. Using ancient Old-World tech that most people thought was lost, a scientist transfers Leandro’s consciousness into a hummingbird drone. She strikes a deal with him. If Leandro can find her lost daughter in the wilderness, she’ll help Leandro and Gabi escape. What he discovers beyond Pocatel’s walls could change everything — not just for him and Gabi but for their entire community.