Isn’t this the sweetest picture ever? If you have kids you sure know what I mean: your lovely child sitting quietly with a book in his/her hands.. Key word: quiet!
No kidding.. kids are cool! Hungry for knowledge and ready to experience the world. Super energetic –probably sugar fueled– and always on the move. But you know that can be quite hard to get them reading, and -let’s be honest- when comes to kids, it’s hard race to compete with the Internet, videogames, movies and social networks.
I’m not in the “parents league” but I know about kids. Matter of fact I still am one of them -at heart! I read children books, watch cartoons, I still go playing on the swings in Central Park (or wherever I see one of those), never pass up an opportunity to pop bubble wrap and I keep saying things like “when I grow up” even though I am grown up.
Does it make me a reliable source? Here some of the coolest stories I have found-read-loved!
Middle Graders (age 8-12)
Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in Tiger Trouble, by Grant Goodman
Agent Darcy is 13 years old and she’s an agent-in-training at the Bureau of Sneakery. Her rival, Agent Serena, is sharp competition and Darcy doesn’t deal well with failure.
Ninja Steve, 12 years old, lives in the village of Ninjastoria. His sister, Nora, is a ninja genius who graduated from college at the age of 16 (with a double degree in Ghost Studies and Spin-Kicks).
The Gallery, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
It’s 1929, and twelve-year-old Martha has no choice but to work as a maid in the New York City mansion of the wealthy Sewell family.
But, despite the Gatsby-like parties and trimmings of success, she suspects something might be deeply wrong in the householdâ€”specifically with Rose Sewell, the formerly vivacious lady of the house who now refuses to leave her room.
The other servants say Rose is crazy, but scrappy, strong-willed Martha thinks thereâ€™s more to the storyâ€”and that the paintings in the Sewellâ€™s gallery contain a hidden message detailing the truth. But in a house filled with secrets, nothing is quite what it seems, and no one is who they say. Can Martha follow the clues, decipher the code, and solve the mystery of whatâ€™s really going on with Rose Sewell?
Wish, by Barbara O’Connor
Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true.
That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways.
From award-winning author Barbara O’Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places.
Young Adults (age 13-18)
The Quantum Door, by Jonathan Ballagh (review)
The mysterious woods behind Brady and Felix’s house have been deserted for years. But things change when a fence goes up and the brothers notice strange things happening at night.
From the moment they dare cross the fence, the brothers enter a world of dark technological secrets that will rock the foundation of everything they know to be true.
And once they enter, there’s no turning back. Some places are better left alone…
Beware That Girl, by Teresa Toten (review)
As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. Sheâ€™s already found her â€œpeopleâ€ among the senior class â€œitâ€ girlsâ€”specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner.
As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend sheâ€™s always needed, the sister she never had.
When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the facultyâ€™s and studentsâ€™ livesâ€”becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact sheâ€™s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she canâ€™t revealâ€”and canâ€™t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?
Dreaming of Antigone, by Robin Bridges (review)
Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, including a drug problem.
Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she–the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe–is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.
Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect lifeâ€¦and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected.
Two Summers, by Aimee Friedman
ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . . ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . .
When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds.
In one, she travels to France, where she dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue but nothing is as it seems.
She will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. But a terrible family secret may break her.
From “New York Times” bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.”