Be Prepared by Vera BrosgolStarring: nine-year-old misfit Vera, who's hoping that she'll finally fit in among the other Russian kids at a Russian American summer camp.
What happens: From mean girls to a terrifying outhouse, camp is nothing like Vera expected -- can she make even one friend before it's finally time to go home?
About the author: This funny, relatable graphic novel is based on the real-life summer camp woes of author Vera Brosgol.
The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines by Adam Gidwitz, Jesse Casey, and Chris Lenox Smith; illustrated by Hatem AlyWhat it's about: After a mischievous Jersey Devil follows Elliott and Uchenna home from a field trip, the two new friends team up with their eccentric teacher, Professor Fauna, to keep the not-so-mythical creature safe.
Series alert: This zany illustrated chapter book kicks off the Unicorn Rescue Society series.
For fans of: the Imaginary Veterinary series by Suzanne Selfors or the Pip Bartlett books by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater.
You Go First by Erin Entrada KellyWhat it's about: Charlotte and Ben live far apart, yet over the course of one week, their online Scrabble rivalry turns into a friendship that helps each of them deal with painful situations at home and at school.
Why you might like it: You get the inside scoop on the thoughts and feelings of both smart, awkward characters as they fumble their way towards friendship.
About the author: Erin Entrada Kelly won the 2018 Newbery Medal for her book Hello, Universe.
Following Baxter by Barbara KerleyStarring: eleven-year-old Jordie and her new neighbors, Professor Reese (a physicist) and Baxter (a shaggy, possibly magical dog).
What happens: After Professor Reese disappears in a teleportation experiment, Jordie and her brother TJ join forces with Baxter to search for the missing scientist.
Try this next: Jennifer Holm's The Fourteenth Goldfish, another amusing, offbeat read about the unexpected results of a cutting-edge science experiment.
Big Foot and Little Foot by Ellen Potter; illustrated by Felicita SalaWhat it's about: One day during hide-and-go-sneak class, young sasquatch Hugo accidentally reveals his existence to a human boy named Boone, and a curious, cross-cultural friendship begins.
Series alert: If you like the good-natured humor and cartoon art in this easy-to-read chapter book, you're in luck -- it's the 1st in a series about Hugo and Boone's adventures.
You might also like: Kevin Sherry's Yeti Files series, which also explores the hidden world of cryptids.
Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlanStarring: Lucy, who's good with words but can't sing like the rest of her family, and her brother Teddy, who can't speak in words yet secretly sings to Lucy every night.
What happens: When Teddy goes missing during a flood, Lucy realizes that her song might be the only way to find him.
Who it's for: If you're just getting into longer chapter books, this simple, heartfelt story might be right for you.
Lights, Music, Code!
by Jo Whittemore
Starring: Maya, who belongs to her school's coding club and is coding the lights and music for the winter dance, and Maddie, a friend of Maya's who gets her better than anyone - but who also gets them both in a lot of trouble.
What happens: When Maya starts spending a lot of time with Maddie, her friends from coding club worry she won't finish her part of the project, coding the lights and music for the winter dance.
Series alert: Lights, Music, Code! is book 3 in the "Girls who Code" series. Check out book 1, The Friendship Code.
The Sweetest Sound by Sherri WinstonStarring: ten-year-old Cadence, who's been hiding her amazing singing voice through years of extreme shyness. This year, however, she's determined to share her musical gift with her church...or at least that was the plan, before a leaked secret recording changed things.
Why you might like it: With her cozy hometown, uncertain friendships, and complicated family, Cadence is a down-to-earth character you'll root for even as she struggles to find her voice.