The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows; illustrated by Sam RicksWhat it’s about: Fourth-grader Iggy doesn’t want to keep getting in trouble. But he also doesn’t think before he acts, and he rarely regrets his actions...unless someone gets hurt. For real, though, that desk-racing injury was an accident!
Why you might like it: Easy-to-read chapters and cartoon art will help you speed through this laugh-out-loud funny story, the 1st in a series.
About the author: You might recognize author Annie Barrows from her popular Ivy + Bean series.
Cub by Cynthia L CopelandWhat it’s about: It’s 1972, and while mean-girl bullies make 7th-grader Cindy doubt her friendships, her job shadowing a female newspaper reporter gives her a new kind of confidence.
Read it for: Based on the real life of author Cynthia L. Copeland, this graphic novel memoir is filled with middle school struggles you can relate to, as well as 1970s details that might give you a new view on history (or at least make you smile -- bell-bottom jeans, anyone?).
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae MarksStarring: twelve-year-old Zoe, whose summer plan (practicing for the Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge) is derailed after she receives a letter from the father she’s never met, and she decides to prove that he’s innocent of the crime that sent him to prison.
Who it’s for: readers who like realistic stories that are both fun and deep.
Try this next: C.C. Payne’s The Thing About Leftovers, another believable, moving book about a foodie kid dealing with complicated family stuff.
Jinxed by Amy McCullochImagine: a lifelike robotic pet with the features of a smartphone. Such devices, known as bakus, are common in Lacey Chu’s world, and she dreams of someday building them for the powerful Moncha Corp.
What happens: After Lucy rescues and repairs a damaged cat baku named Jinx, she’s allowed to attend Moncha’s elite Profectus Academy, where she finds plenty of competition and uncovers secrets about Jinx’s unusual abilities.
Read it for: cool robotics, a gripping mystery, and Pokémon-style Baku Battles.
The Dungeoneers by John David AndersonWhat it’s about: After his pickpocketing skills draw the wrong sort of attention, Colm Candorly is forced -- er, invited -- to Thwodin's Castle, home to a guild of treasure-stealing dungeoneers. As an apprentice rogue, Colm is matched with a team of fellow trainees (a warrior, a mage, and a druid) and schooled in how to pick locks, escape deathtraps, and battle monsters.
For fans of: fantasy strategy games or humorous heist stories.
The Castle in the Mist by Amy EphronWhat it’s about: For siblings Tess and Max, a boring, internet-less summer in the English countryside takes an extraordinary turn after Tess discovers a hidden castle and makes friends with the boy who lives there.
What’s inside: enchanted sculptures, carnival rides that run on wishes, sinister trees, and a historical mystery.
Who it’s for: readers who like modern fantasy stories that blend magic and reality.
Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain by Zac Gorman; illustrated by Sam BosmaIntroducing: Thisby, gamekeeper for Castle Grimstone’s Black Mountain dungeon, where she literally feeds the trolls (as well as the wyverns, goblins, and wereplants). When a prince is kidnapped in the dungeon, Thisby joins up with his sister the princess to take on a new job: rescuer.
Series alert: Thisby’s adventures continue in Thisby Thestoop and the Wretched Scrattle.
You might also like: Ursula Vernon’s Castle Hangnail, another clever, funny fantasy about a girl in charge of creepy creatures.
The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie HaskellWhat it’s about: Surrounded by razor-sharp thorns, the Sundered Castle is a cursed place in which every object has been broken. When apprentice blacksmith Sand finds himself trapped inside the castle, he discovers that he has the power to mend it -- and that includes reviving the long-dead princess, Perotte.
Why you might like it: Secrets, lies, revenge, and forgiveness all play a part in Sand and Perotte's journey towards escape, while authentic medieval details make their world come alive.
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula VernonIntroducing: Princess Harriet Hamsterbone, who’s no Sleeping Beauty -- for one thing, she's a hamster. For another, she refuses to hide just because she's been cursed to fall into an enchanted sleep on her 12th birthday.
What happens: Harriet rides forth to have adventures before her fateful birthday, and when the curse finally strikes...well, you'll have to read it to find out!
Series alert: This witty, cartoon-illustrated chapter book is the 1st in the Hamster Princess series.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!