Valerie Koehler, owner of Houston’s beloved Blue Willow Bookshop, and her staff hand-pick the best reading selections for kids.
by Rosie Reeve
When Tallulah gets a new kitten, she goes out of her way to make him comfortable, putting out milk, making him toys and showing him around their home. Tom the cat becomes so comfortable that he decides he should be the owner and Tallulah the pet. This role reversal combined with charming illustrations make this picture book a pleasure to read!
Rooting For You
by Susan Hood
A little seed is in the ground just working his way up to the surface, but he is fearful about the big, big world. This is a good way to talk about fears that all children face. The rhyming verse make this perfect for reading aloud to a group.
Pete The Cat: Old McDonald Had A Farm
by James Dean
If you haven’t met Pete The Cat yet, you must give your family the pleasure of one of the most asked-for series of picture books in the last five years. In the latest book, Pete goes to the farm for some fun singing and animal sound-making. There’s something about Pete that makes you want to dance and sing along!
by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Mrs. Doreen Randolph-Potts is on a mission: to visit her second cousin twice removed who’s just welcomed 157 babies. But when she spies what she thinks is a yummy dragonfly—and is actually bait—poor Doreen is lifted out of the water on a fishing pole. Luckily, Doreen is, shall we say, a wee bit clueless about the dire situation. Kids will love being in on the joke as our oblivious heroine arrives, in a roundabout way, at her final destination.
I Am Amelia Earhart
by Brad Meltzer
Meet Amelia Earhart in this new series about heroes from a familiar thriller. Amelia is like many little girls with dreams of doing something big when they grow up. Meltzer has also penned I Am Abraham Lincoln, with plans for an entire series about real heroes written for the beginner reader.
Bad Kitty Drawn to…
by Nick Bruel
Nick Bruel steps out of the traditional storytelling of Bad Kitty (which are cleverly written using a vast vocabulary aimed at introducing young readers to new words) to explain to the reader how to write a story with Bad Kitty not happy about the plot. It’s great for emerging writers as well.
Ophelia and the Magnificent Boy
by Karen Foxlee
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful but evil Snow Queen. She yearned to dominate the world and only The Marvelous Boy, chosen and trained by the good wizards, stood in her way. She imprisons the boy. 300 years later, Ophelia is exploring the museum where her father is mounting an exhibition. She’s lonely and wandering on her own when she discovers a boy trapped in a room. He begs her to help him defeat the Snow Queen and what follows is a truly marvelous story. For grades 3 and up.
by M.M. Vaughan
Vaughan creates quite the cast of characters in her debut novel. All are clever, complex and even a bit quirky. The story centers around Christopher Lane just before his 12th birthday. He is invited to attend a very prestigious and exclusive school where he will be trained to use his “ability” with five other kids. All the other children have a special gift, too. Vaughan paints a magical picture of the school and all the different areas of living and training.
Knightley & Son
by Rohan Gavin
In this Hardy Boys meets Sherlock Holmes, Darkus Knightley must conquer evil, save his father, and solve the most improbable cases. It is funny, fast paced, and engaging. Darkus is a very smart young man whose wits may be the only thing that saves him.
by Sally Green
Nathan hasn’t lived in a cage ALL of his life, but it still hasn’t been easy being the son of a White witch and the most feared of the Black witches. His half-siblings either love or hate him, and the White witch community in which he has grown up wants only to contain and control him—hence the cage, the beatings, the physical training. Nathan’s 17th birthday is nearing. It’s the day upon which all young witches receive the blood of their family and three gifts. He will have to brave the Hunters, including the sister who hates him, if he is to escape his cage and find his father – whom he’s never even met. But not to receive his birthday legacy could be far worse.
by Len Vlahos
In his college essay, Harry details his past: the horrific bullying incident that left him scarred, and how music and his new friends Johnny and Cheyenne helped him heal. It’s a great read; Harry’s voice is pitch-perfect and debut author Len Vlahos hits on many themes universal to teen novels: being different, struggling through friendships, acceptance, and girls.
by Bethany Hagen
The United States is now ruled by the gentry—the luxuriously wealthy. Seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to college, but as the heir to her family’s vast fortune and due to proper etiquette, girls aren’t to be educated. When she learns that those who serve the gentry are mistreated in a way that has horrible, long-term effects, she begins to question her lifestyle and her future. Think Downton Abbey meets the Hunger Games.