ATPE News Magazine

Summer 2018 | Volume 38 | Issue 4


Turn the Pages into Summer

From picture books to nonfiction biographies, historical fiction to young adult, literature is both a mirror for our own culture and a window into another’s. Reading allows us to explore others’ stories and learn more about the world that surrounds us. With summer here, we’ve compiled a wide-ranging reading list. Now is the perfect time for educators and students to grab a book, avoid “summer learning loss,” and open their eyes to someone or something new. Happy reading!

ATPE asked the Seguin, Forth Worth, and Austin public libraries to share their thoughts and recommendations on books that promote diversity of all kinds and that would keep students (and educators!) reading over the summer.

For early readers, check out:

  • We Are Growing by Laurie Keller & Mo Willems, part of the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!
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  • Bad Guys series by Aaron Blabey
  • Sofia Martinez series by Jacqueline Jules
  • Eerie Elementary, Owl Diaries, and other Branches books
  • Dinosaurs Before Dark from the Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osborne
  • After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat
  • My Friend Is Sad by Mo Willems, from the Elephant & Piggie Series
  • Islandborn by Junot DÍaz
  • Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes
  • They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki
  • Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship by Jessica Kensky

For something different, Kathryn King, head of acquisitions at the Fort Worth Public Library, suggests nonfiction picture books, such as:

  • Michelle written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by AG Ford
  • Mr. Williams written and illustrated by Karen Barbour
  • Diego Rivera: His World and Ours written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Hiromi’s Hands written and illustrated by Lynne Barasch

For middle-grade readers, check out:

  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
  • The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Olympians graphic novel series by George O’Connor
  • Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
  • Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender
  • Granted by John David Anderson
  • The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman

“It is critical for children to see themselves represented in literature, especially at developmental milestones and when they are learning to read. Otherwise, why bother? It is the saddest thing ever to see a child say, ‘Well, none of these books are about me, they aren’t for me, why should I read?’ After years of struggle and dedicated voices pushing for it, the industry is making strides at taking up the flag of representation, as well we should.” —Austin Public Library staff

For young adult readers, check out:

  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
  • Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  • The Place Between Breaths by An Na
  • Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
  • Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

“We want to encourage teachers to ask their students what interests them and what they enjoy doing, so they can promote books that are fun! Ask the children what their favorite topics are, what they do for fun, what are their favorite TV shows, games, sports, etc., so you can recommend books in those areas. The purpose is to engage them and keep them reading for fun, so it doesn’t become a dreaded activity.”
—Seguin Public Library staff

For public school employees, check out:

  • The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  • The Power of Reading by Stephen Krashen
  • The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente
  • Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • March by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
  • Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
  • Keeping It Real and Relevant: Building Authentic Relationships in Your Diverse Classroom by Ignacio Lopez
  • Assessing Multilingual Learners by Margo Gottlieb
  • Ugh!?! Not Another Diversity Book by Justin Brown

“It is important that young readers are exposed to characters that reflect the world around them and that they see themselves reflected in fiction,” explains Hannah Farmer, youth services librarian for the Seguin Public Library.

All Three Libraries Agree …

Possibly one of the best young adult novels of the year, The Hate U Give kept popping up on every list we received. Described by the Austin library’s staff as “well written, timely, controversial, and highly thought-provoking,” this novel follows the story of protagonist Starr Carter after she witnesses the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager, her friend, by a police officer. Seguin library staff called the book an “honest, authentic portrayal of issues that many students have to confront at a young age.”


Data from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC). The CCBC receives the majority of new books published annually by US trade book publishers, some from educational and small presses, and other books from Canadian publishers distributing in the United States, or from or other countries outside the United States that are distributed by US publishers. The full report can be accessed at

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