Henry Heckelbeck Gets a Dragon by Wanda CovenWhat it’s about: Henry’s mom and sister are witches, but Henry is a regular kid who doesn’t know he can do magic until he tries out a spell that brings his toy dragon to life.
Series alert: This fun, easy-to-read chapter book is the 1st in the Henry Heckelbeck series. There’s a whole series about Henry’s sister, Heidi, too!
You might also like: For another book about a surprise pet dragon, try There’s A Dragon in My Dinner by Tom Nicoll.
Lily the Thief by Janne KukkonenStarring: Lily, a clever, strong-willed young thief who wants to prove that she’s just as talented as anyone in the guys-only Guild of Thieves.
What happens: Lily recklessly steals an ancient relic and finds herself caught up in an adventure involving a shady nobleman, a creepy cult, and a powerful secret.
Why you might like it: This graphic novel fantasy blends thrilling action with detailed, attention-grabbing artwork.
The Starspun Web by Sinead O'HartWhat it’s about: In 1941, 12-year-old Tess de Sousa is uprooted from her happy home at Miss Ackerbee’s orphanage when she’s adopted by the sketchy, scheming Mr. Cleat, who wants to take advantage of Tess’ newfound ability to travel between parallel worlds.
What’s inside: a tarantula named Violet; an uncanny device called a Star-Spinner; a twisty, cross-dimensional adventure; and a brave, curious heroine who’s determined to find her way home.
Donut Dreams: Hole in the Middle by Coco SimonIntroducing: Lindsey Cooper, who’s spending her summer serving donuts at her grandparents’ restaurant.
What happens: Though her mom died years ago, Lindsey misses her even more as middle school looms. Thank goodness she’s got her family and best friend to help her find the sweetness in life!
Series alert: Similar to author Coco Simon’s Cupcake Diaries series, Donut Dreams will feature feel-good stories starring a variety of main characters.
I, Cosmo by Carlie SorosiakWhat it’s about: Aging golden retriever Cosmo would do anything for his human brother, Max, but with Mom and Dad fighting all the time, Cosmo and Max worry that their family will be divided by divorce.
They say old dogs can’t learn new tricks... but Cosmo and Max decide to learn a routine for a dance contest, hoping that a big win will prove that their family belongs together.
For fans of: dogs (of course) and heartfelt family stories.
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan AuxierWhat it's about: As a chimney sweep in Victorian London, orphan Nan Sparrow is used to loneliness and grimy, dangerous work. Then one day she's rescued from an accident by a strange creature -- a golem -- who becomes her loyal companion.
Why you might like it: Blending fantasy, history, and Jewish folktales, Sweep has something for lots of different readers.
Try this next: Katherine Rundell's Rooftoppers, another historical tale offering a kid's rooftop view of a famous city.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian JohnsonWhat it's about: After finding intriguing clues in her grandmother's attic, bookish 12-year-old Candice and her new friend Brandon search for buried treasure in a small Southern town haunted by the ugly history of racism.
Why you might like it: Switching between Candice's present-day story and her grandmother's in 1957, this suspenseful puzzle mystery encourages you, just like the characters, to piece the clues together.
The House That Lou Built by Mae RespicioThe project: Although 12-year-old Lou loves her large Filipino family, she craves a space of her own, and has big plans to build a tiny house on the patch of land she inherited from her dad.
The problem: After Lou’s ownership of the land is challenged, she has to act fast and get creative to make her dream house a reality.
Why you might like it: You’ll be rooting for bold, capable Lou and her colorful collection of family and friends.
Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild by Catherine ThimmeshWhat it is: A fascinating, fact-filled book about how humans are helping to increase the threatened giant panda population by preparing panda cubs for life in the wild.
Art alert: Camp Panda is packed with photos of cute, fuzzy baby pandas, as well as memorable pictures of human scientists wearing panda costumes!
You might also like: Nancy F. Castaldo’s Back from the Brink, another hopeful book that explores efforts to save endangered species.
The Collectors by Jacqueline WestBe careful what you wish for: After Van, a hearing impaired kid with talent for noticing things, spots a strange girl and a silver squirrel diving for pennies in a fountain, he follows them back to the underground realm of the Collectors, who collect wishes and try to prevent their scariest consequences.
Series alert: This imaginative and fast-moving fantasy is followed by a sequel, A Storm of Wishes.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!