Browse our regularly updated lists of staff picks, bestsellers, reading recommendations by grade, award winners, and more.
Great Graphic Novels
"Beautifully drawn, brutally funny, brilliantly honest. Vera is such a good cartoonist I almost can’t stand it.” —Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile
In Be Prepared, all Vera wants to do is fit in—but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there's one summer camp in her price range—Russian summer camp.
Vera is sure she's found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for all the "cool girl" drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares!
Lafayette! (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #8)
Gilbert du Motier became the Marquis de Lafayette at a young age, but he was not satisfied with the comforts of French nobility—he wanted adventure!
A captain at eighteen and a major general by nineteen, he was eager to prove himself in battle. When he heard about the Revolution going on in America, he went overseas and fought alongside Alexander Hamilton and George Washington for America’s independence. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales are graphic novels that tell the thrilling, shocking, gruesome, and TRUE stories of American history. Read them all—if you dare!
Following the overwhelming success of AWKWARD and BRAVE, Svetlana Chmakova's award winning Berrybrook Middle School series continues with its next installment - CRUSH!
Jorge seems to have it all together. He's big enough that nobody really messes with him, but he's also a genuinely sweet guy with a solid, reliable group of friends. The only time he ever really feels off his game is when he crosses paths with a certain girl... But when the group dynamic among the boys starts to shift, will Jorge be able to balance what his friends expect of him versus what he actually wants?
Out from Boneville
The cornerstone of Graphix, our new graphic novel imprint, Bone is the incredible comic book saga of the unwitting hero who must save an idyllic valley from the forces of evil.
The Bone adventures tell the story of a young bone boy, Fone Bone, and his two cousins, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, who are banned from their homeland of Boneville. When the cousins find themselves mysteriously trapped in a wonderful but often terrifying land filled with secrets and danger - and special new friendships - they are soon caught up in adventures beyond their wildest dreams.
In Out From Boneville, the three Bone cousins are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley where they come face to face with . . .
Oddly Normal Vol. 3
Meet Oddly Normal, a ten-year-old girl with pointed ears and green hair - a half-witch who will be the first to tell you that having a mother from a magical land called Fignation, also known as the Wicked Witch of the West and a father from Earth doesn't make it easy to make friends at school! On her tenth birthday, she blows out the candles on her birthday cake and makes a disastrous wish. Now, Oddly must travel to Fignation to uncover the mystery of her parents' disappearance. Join Oddly as she navigates a strange new school, teenage angst, monstrous bullies, and Evil itself on an unforgettable fantasy adventure through the vibrant world of Fignation in Oddly Normal.
Jack might be the only kid in the world who's dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's boring, too, because Maddy doesn't talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk—to tell Jack to trade their mom's car for a box of mysterious seeds. It's the best mistake Jack has ever made.
In Mighty Jack, what starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything...a dragon.
The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.
Cleopatra in Space
A funny, action-packed graphic novel featuring a young Cleopatra -- yes, THAT Cleopatra -- who's transported to the future and learns it's up to her to save the galaxy!
When a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo's style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, all while trying to figure out how she's going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!
"Hilarious and charming. The most lovable duo since Frog and Toad." --NYT-bestselling creator of the Dog Man and Captain Underpants series, Dav Pilkey
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.
A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever -- even though it doesn't have any words...or pictures!
Ben Clanton showcases the joys of friendship, the benefits of working together and the power of imagination in the delightful Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea.
Suee and the Shadow
"Meet Suee: Twelve years old, wears her hair to the left in a point, favors a black dress, has no friends--and she likes it that way! When Suee transfers to the dull and ordinary Outskirts Elementary, she doesn't expect to hear a strange voice speaking to her from the darkness of the school's exhibit room, and she certainly doesn't expect to see her shadow come to life. Then things start to get really weird: One by one, her classmates at school turn into zombie-like, hollow-eyed Zeroes. While Suee investigates why this is happening, her shadow gains power. Soon, Suee must confront a stunning secret that her shadow has been hiding under her own two feet--something very dark and sinister that could put Suee and her newfound friends at risk"--Provided by publisher.
The Mysterious Moonstone
Cleo and Evan have a secret. A collection of books so dangerous they are locked up tight. A friend has vanished inside the pages of one of them. It's up to them to find the key that will set her free.
A PRICELESS DIAMOND...STOLEN!
When Cleo and Evan go undercover to help a rookie detective interview a mansion full of suspects, nothing is as it seems. They must catch the crook -- and find the right key -- or they could be trapped inside this mystery forever...
How scared can you get in just thirty seconds?
Dive into the shortest, scariest stories ever created, with more than seventy instant thrills from the likes of Lemony Snicket, James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, R.L. Stine, Holly Black, Brett Helquist, and Margaret Atwood. You’ll never look at your closet door, your cat, your sock drawer, or even yourself in the mirror the same way again!
Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods
Just for kids, twenty bone-chilling tales about the most dangerous fantastical beasts in American folklore. Meet the Snoligoster, who feeds on the shadows of its victims. The Hodag, like a spiny-backed bull-horned rhinoceros. The Hoop Snake, which can chase prey at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and then, with one sting of its tail, cause it to turn purple, swell up, and die.
Illustrated throughout, including eight drawings printed with glow-in-the-dark ink, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods is for every young reader who loves a good scare. The book was originally published in 1910 by William Thomas Cox and is now inspiringly retold by Hal Johnson, author of Immortal Lycanthropes. The creatures are all scales and claws, razor-sharp teeth and stealth, camouflage and single-minded nastiness. Straight out of the era of Paul Bunyan, they speak to an earlier time in American history, when the woods were indeed dark and deep and filled with mystery. The tone is smart and quirky. The illustrations have a sinewy, retro field-guide look. Read them around a campfire, if you dare.
Twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher was born into a family with a rich tradition of practicing folk magic: hoodoo, as most people call it. But even though his name is Hoodoo, he can't seem to cast a simple spell.
Then a mysterious man called the Stranger comes to town, and Hoodoo starts dreaming of the dead rising from their graves. Even worse, he soon learns the Stranger is looking for a boy. Not just any boy. A boy named Hoodoo. The entire town is at risk from the Stranger’s black magic, and only Hoodoo can defeat him. He’ll just need to learn how to conjure first.
Set amid the swamps, red soil, and sweltering heat of small town Alabama in the 1930s, Hoodoo is infused with a big dose of creepiness leavened with gentle humor.
“The Nest leaves a lasting mark on the memory.” —The New York Times Book Review
Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? Kenneth Oppel’s (Silverwing, The Boundless) haunting gothic tale for fans of Coraline, is one of the most acclaimed books of the year, receiving six starred reviews. Illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.
For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.
All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?
Celebrated author Kenneth Oppel creates an eerie masterpiece in this compelling story that explores disability and diversity, fears and dreams, and what ultimately makes a family. Includes illustrations from celebrated artist Jon Klassen.
Rudger is Amanda Shuffleup's imaginary friend. Nobody else can see Rudger--until the evil Mr. Bunting arrives at Amanda's door. Mr. Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumor has it that he even eats them. And now he's found Rudger.
Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. He needs to find Amanda before Mr. Bunting catches him--and before Amanda forgets him and he fades away to nothing. But how can an unreal boy stand alone in the real world?
In the vein of Coraline, this gripping take on imaginary friends comes to life in a lush package: beautiful illustrations (10 in full color) by acclaimed artist Emily Gravett, a foiled and debossed case cover, printed endpapers, and deckled page edges.
“Oh has crafted a truly chilling middle grade horror novel that will grab readers’ imaginations.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Even more impressive than the shiver factor is the way the author skillfully uses the compelling premise to present a strong, consistent message of not rejecting what you don’t understand.” —Booklist (starred review)
“This mystery thriller infused with diverse characters and intriguing themes will appeal to horror fans and to reluctant readers who enjoy a good scare.” —School Library Journal
We Need Diverse Books founder Ellen Oh returns with Spirit Hunters, a high-stakes middle grade mystery series about Harper Raine, the new seventh grader in town who must face down the dangerous ghosts haunting her younger brother.
A riveting ghost story and captivating adventure, this tale will have you guessing at every turn!
Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely.
The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?
New York Times bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn't think--she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with "the smiling man," a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.
Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she's been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn't have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: "Best get moving. At nightfall they'll come for the rest of you." Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie's previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.
Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver's warning. As the trio head out into the woods--bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them--the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: "Avoid large places. Keep to small."
And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.
Leo: A Ghost Story
Leo is a friendly house ghost--but when a family moves into his house, and tries to get rid of him, he leaves and roams the city looking for a friend.
The Wolves in the Walls
Lucy hears sneaking, creeping,
coming from inside
She is sure there are
wolves living in
of her house.
Get Reading for
- Kindergarten (PDF)
- Grade 1 (PDF)
- Grade 2 (PDF)
- Grade 3 (PDF)
- Grade 4 (PDF)
- Grade 5 (PDF)
- Grade 6 (PDF)
Illinois Kids Book Awards
National Kids Book Awards