Attack of the Stuff by Jim BentonWhat it’s about: Life can get noisy when man-made objects can talk to you. That’s why Bill Waddler is running away to the forest -- he’s tired of dealing with never-ending insults and complaints from his alarm clock, his hat, his blanket, and even his toilet. (Especially his toilet.)
Series alert: If you liked author Jim Benton’s Dear Dumb Diary or Catwad series, you won’t want to miss the high-energy cartoon art and wonderfully weird ideas in this graphic novel.
Layla and the Bots: Happy Paws by Vicky Fang; illustrated by Christine NishiyamaWhat it’s about: Layla and her robot friends Beep, Bop, and Boop aren’t just rock stars -- they’re also inventors. So when they find out that their concert at the amusement park is cancelled because everyone in town prefers the dog park, Layla and the band start brainstorming.
Who it’s for: This series-starter is for anyone who likes easy-to-read chapter books filled with colorful art, cool inventions, and characters you’ll want to read about again and again.
Stepping Stones by Lucy KnisleyWhat it’s about: As if it wasn’t bad enough that Jen and her mom moved from the city to Peapod Farm (where Jen is stuck with a whole mess of new chores), Jen also has to put up with her mom’s insensitive boyfriend and his too-perfect daughter Andy.
Don’t miss: the scribbly pages from Jen’s notebook, where she pours out her feelings as they change.
For fans of: the realistic graphic novels of Victoria Jamieson, Svetlana Chmakova, and Vera Brosgol.
Focus on: Cooking and Baking
The Doughnut Fix by Jessie JanowitzWhat it’s about: Feeling lost after his family moves from New York City to teeny-tiny Petersville, talented baker Tristan decides to hunt down the recipe for the town’s legendary, “life-changing” chocolate cream doughnuts and open his own doughnut stand.
Featuring: recipes and a business plan, in case Tristan inspires you to make and sell some delicious creations of your own.
Pie in the Sky by Remy LaiWhat it’s about: After the loss of his father, 12-year-old Jingwen immigrates to Australia with his family. Though his brother has no trouble fitting in, Jingwen feels like an alien. The only thing that makes him feel better is baking the cakes he dreamed up with his dad -- an activity he has to hide from his strict mother.
Read it for: an easy-to-read blend of words and crisp cartoon art (think Raina Telgemeier or Gene Luen Yang).
Midsummer's Mayhem by Rajani LaRoccaWhat it’s about: Determined to prove herself to her highly accomplished family, aspiring chef Mimi enters a kids’ baking contest. With help from Vik, a mysterious boy she meets in the forest, Mimi begins experimenting with unusual ingredients, leading to unexpected and outrageous results.
You might also like: Anna Meriano’s A Dash of Trouble, another fantasy featuring a big family, a small town, some out-of-control magic, and plenty of mouth-watering baked goods.
Nixie Ness, Cooking Star by Claudia Mills; illustrated by Grace ZongWhat it’s about: Can you be best friends with more than one person? Third-grader Nixie didn’t think so, but now that she’s bonding with the kids in after-school cooking camp while her BFF Grace hangs out with classmate Elyse, she isn’t so sure.
For fans of: Annie Barrows’ Ivy + Bean books.
Series alert: For more about Nixie and her friends, pick up Vera Vance: Comics Star, the next book in the After-School Superstars series.
Contact the Library for more great titles!