Sanity & Tallulah by Molly BrooksWelcome to: Wilnick space station, home of science genius Sanity Jones and her best friend Tallulah Vega.
What happens: While tracking down Sanity's illegal, escaped science project (a giant three-headed cat named Princess Sparkle), the girls uncover a dangerous threat to the space station.
You might also like: Craig Thompson's Space Dumplins, another offbeat graphic novel set in outer space and starring a brave, resourceful heroine.
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla MagoonStarring: ten-year-old Caleb, who's tired of spending every summer stuck in his boring Indiana town.
What happens: Styx Malone -- 16 years old and impossibly cool -- moves to the neighborhood and introduces Caleb and his brother Bobby Gene to a risky scheme that could earn them the freedom Caleb dreams about.
Who it's for: readers looking for a funny, realistic story about a summer full of excitement and trouble.
Aquicorn Cove by Katie O'NeillWhat it's about: While visiting the seaside town where she used to live -- and where her mom died -- a girl named Lana rescues a tiny orange aquicorn (imagine a cross between a seahorse and a unicorn) and discovers that her family's past could affect the future of these magical creatures.
Art alert: From cool coastal blues to candy-bright pastels, the imaginative art in this graphic novel brims with eye-catching color.
Inkling by Kenneth Oppel; illustrated by Sydney SmithWhat it's about: Grieving the loss of his mom and stuck with a school project he can't finish, Ethan Rylance is struggling. Luckily, help arrives in the form of Inkling, a living inkblot who can read, write, draw, and (most importantly) listen.
Why you might like it: With true-to-life characters, off-kilter humor (Inkling talks like whatever he's read recently), and interesting ideas about creativity and friendship, Inkling is a quirky and memorable read.
Knights Vs. Dinosaurs by Matt PhelanWhat it's about: Sent back in time by Merlin, the Knights of the Round Table must fight their way through a daunting line-up of dinosaurs.
Read it for: epic battles (complete with T. rex punches and triceratops jousting), surprising twists, and spectacular silliness.
For fans of: other not-so-historical illustrated fantasy books, such as Cressida Cowell's How to Train Your Dragon series.
Worms for Breakfast: How to Feed a Zoo by Helaine Becker; illustrated by Kathy BoakeWhat it is: an easy-to-browse guide to feeding zoo animals, packed with zany animal facts, photo collages, and interviews with real zoo workers.
Recipes include: gorilla cookies (add dried ants to taste), flamingo chick formula (egg yolks and shrimp, yum!), koala pesto (made with eucalyptus leaves and…baby formula?), tiger cakes (the secret ingredient is animal blood), and more.
Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere by Elise GravelWhat it is: the "observation notebook" of Olga, a kid scientist who likes animals more than people.
What happens: When Olga finds a strange creature -- it's potato-shaped, stinky, and has rainbow poop -- she decides to study it, leading to gross, goofy discoveries and a few new friends.
Series alert: For further cartoon-illustrated adventures with Olga, pick up the sequel, We're Out of Here!
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will MabbittStarring: Mabel, a pajama-clad girl who does something so disgusting (no spoilers, but it involves boogers) that it opens a portal to a future world where Mabel is kidnapped by the animal pirate crew of the Feroshus Maggot.
Read it for: swashbuckling action, gross-out jokes, and plenty of puns.
Series alert: The outrageous magical mayhem continues in Mabel Jones and the Forbidden City and Mabel Jones and the Doomsday Book.
Demon Dentist by David WalliamsWhat it's about: There's a new dentist in town…or is she actually a witch? Twelve-year-old Alfie can't think of any other reason why kids who expect coins from the tooth fairy are finding slugs, scabs, eyeballs, and still-flapping bat wings under their pillows instead.
Who it's for: readers who enjoy the over-the-top characters and creepy edge of Roald Dahl's books, and who like an extra splash of toilet humor.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!