The Tale of Angelino Brown by David AlmondWhat it's about: After Bert and Betty Brown adopt pocket-sized angel Angelino, their lives -- and the lives of almost everyone they meet -- become a bit better and a lot weirder. But who is Angelino? And why are villains trying kidnap him?
Read it for: goofy humor (it's hard not to laugh at a character named Professor Smellie from Blistering-on-the-Fen) paired with deep ideas about good and evil.
Out of the Wild Night by Blue BalliettWhat it's about: When greedy outsiders begin flipping the ramshackle old houses of Nantucket, the island's ghosts start fighting back with help from a gang of local kids.
Why you might like it: Similar to author Blue Balliett's other mysteries, this twisty tale takes you deep into the past and present of a fascinating real-life place.
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani ChokshiIntroducing: seventh-grader Aru, who accidentally frees an ancient demon and discovers that she's the reincarnation of a demigod -- which means it's up to her to stop the demon and save the world.
Try this next: For another funny, fast-paced adventure filled with Indian deities and demons, try Sayantani Dasgupta's The Serpent's Secret.
Series alert: This series opener is the 1st book from Rick Riordan Presents, a new collection of mythological fantasy series chosen by the popular author himself.
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 its own 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.
How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens by Paul NothWhat it's about: Desperate to be free of his cruel, controlling grandma, Happy "Hap" Conklin agrees to sell her to an alien reality show, not realizing that the fine print allows the aliens to take his entire family.
Who it's for: From his inventor dad to his uniquely talented sisters, Hap's family is odd yet lovable, and fans of zany science fiction will enjoy following Hap on his hilarious, cartoon-illustrated rescue mission.
Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderly and Marjory Wentworth; illustrated by Ekua HolmesWhat it is: an imaginative, inspiring collection of poems that celebrate 20 diverse poets from throughout history and around the world.
What's inside: attention-grabbing collage art, odes to long-departed poets (like Persian mystic Rumi and haiku master Bashō), and loving tributes to modern poets (such as Nikki Giovanni and Naomi Shihab Nye).
Who it's for: readers, writers, and poetry fans who want to try something new.
Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything by Calef BrownWhat it's about: Dinosaur barbecues, vampire gym teachers, and whiny vultures are just a few of the strange situations you'll find in this poetry book, alongside giggle-worthy puns and drawings.
Why you might like it: Weird word mash-ups such as "underwaterutabaga," "grouchyoungorilla," and "onenourmoustork" may tempt you into trying some wordplay of your own.
For fans of: the silly poetry and imaginative art of Shel Silverstein.
When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Julie MorstadWhat it's about: the turn of the seasons, as told through inviting artwork and quiet, wistful poetry.
Want a taste? "From a snow-covered tree, one bird singing, each tweet poking a tiny hole through the edge of winter…"
You might also like: Jon J. Muth's Hi, Koo!, another delicately illustrated and easy-to-read book of seasonal poems.
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko (editor); illustrated by Melissa SweetWhat it is: Grouped by seasons, the poems in this collection are only a few lines long, but when those lines are written by poets like Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, and Joyce Sidman, they cast a powerful spell.
Why you might like it: Just as powerful are the bold, vivid illustrations, which are sure to fuel your imagination.
Who it's for: Anyone who's ever felt like reading poetry was too slow or confusing.
Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob RaczkaWhat it is: Poet Bob Raczka offers up 21 clever concrete poems -- or, as he calls them, "word paintings" -- in which the shape of the poem reflects what the poem is about.
Why you might like it: After seeing how words on a page can be used to form dripping icicles, floating balloons, or a soaring airplane, you too might be inspired to mix up a few concrete poems.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 8-11!
Downers Grove Public Library
1050 Curtiss St.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515