22 New Favorites for Young Readers: From Picture Books to YA


Summer’s here, and you know what that means: time to read whatever you want! We’re happy to help kids gather all their school-required books — and our kid-lit experts can show you lots of new and exciting just-for-fun reads, too. We’d love to recommend a stack tailored specifically to your young reader’s taste.

So come visit! Meanwhile, take a look at the books we’re wild about for the littlest book lovers all the way up to teens and YA fans.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Poppy's Best Babies Cover ImagePoppy’s Best Babies 

A delightful picture book about adjusting to life with siblings.

Recommended by Carla

Prince & Knight Cover ImagePrince & Knight 

A prince, a knight, and a dragon! What more could you want? LOVE! This modern fairy tale proves that finding true love doesn’t always look the way we think it will. This is a story I needed as a child and I am so happy it exists for every little prince and princess alive today!

Recommended by Stephanie

A Lullaby of Summer Things Cover ImageA Lullaby of Summer Things 

This lovely picture book would be great to share together at bedtime at the beach. Natalie Ziarnik’s lyrical language paints a beautiful picture of all the fun to be had at the beach, juxtaposed against a little girl going through her getting-ready-for-bed routine. A Lullaby of Summer Things will have little ones drifting off to beachy dreams in no time.

Recommended by Stephanie

How Sweet the Sound: The Story of Amazing Grace Cover Image

How Sweet the Sound: The Story of Amazing Grace 

There is a lot to love about this picture book, so I’m going to limit myself to three things: First, Frank Morrison’s illustrations will simply take your breath away. Second, Carole Boston Weatherford’s language manages to be spare and musical while telling the story of John Newton and his most famous hymn — all in 32 pages! Finally, I really love that the story does not end with the composition of “Amazing Grace,” but follows the hymn through moments in history, such as during the Civil Rights movement and President Obama’s speech in Charleston. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Recommended by Katherine

Dad by My Side Cover ImageDad by My Side 

Every young child sees her father as a larger-than-life hero and companion. This heartwarming picture book is a perfect Father’s Day gift.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 3.20.49 PMPlay This Book and Pet This Book

Two great new interactive, rhyming books perfect for the youngest readers.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Ocean Meets Sky Cover ImageOcean Meets Sky 

A boy sets sail to find the place his grandfather told him about, where the ocean meets the sky. The illustrations in this picture book are magical!

Recommended by Devin

 Cover ImageJulián Is a Mermaid

Mesmerized by the beautifully dressed up women on his abuela’s subway ride home, all Julián can think about is being just like them. A beautifully illustrated picture book about self-acceptance and mermaids on parade.

Recommended by Kevin

I Got It! Cover ImageI Got It! 

Standing in the outfield, you’ve got a long time to imagine what it’ll be like when the ball finally flies your way. Wiesner captures this suspense and plays out the scenarios in a sequence of illustrations that somehow feel exactly like falling asleep. Absolutely mesmerizing.

Need a nice shady break from the blazing summer sun? Parnassus hosts a super-fun storytime every Thursday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Bring the kiddos and come enjoy picture books and cool air!
Recommended by Stephanie

Rosetown Cover ImageRosetown 

In a year in which we won’t have a new Kate DiCamillo novel until November, may I suggest that if you have a Kate DiCamillo-shaped hole on your bookshelf or in your reader’s heart, you pick up Cynthia Rylant’s quietly lovely Rosetown? Rylant unspools the story of Flora’s fourth grade year with straightforward elegance, and treats the things that happen in her life — a new boy moving to town, a girl beginning piano lessons, a snowstorm — with such wonderful respect for her perspective. (At less than two hundred pages, it’s also a simple read that would appropriate for first and second graders all the way up through sixth graders.)

Recommended by Stephanie

Bob Cover ImageBob 

Five years ago, Livy visited her grandmother in Australia for the first time and met Bob, a mysterious creature, in the backyard. When she left, she told Bob she would be right back. Bob has been waiting for her in a bedroom closet ever since. But what is Bob? Where did he come from, and how did he end up in the backyard? Why can’t Livy remember anything about their summer together five years ago? Can Livy help Bob find his way home? This sweet, slightly surreal tale would make for a perfect summer read or readaloud.

Recommended by Kevin

The Lifters Cover ImageThe Lifters 

The Lifters is an — ahem — uplifting story about building community, with a great mix of action, humor, and heart. The short chapters and straightforward style make this one an especially great book for a reluctant reader.

Recommended by Stephanie

The Wicked Deep Cover ImageThe Wicked Deep 

Every summer in the small seaside town of Sparrow, Oregon, the spirits of Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan, drowned as witches in the early 1800s, choose three girls in town to possess until they lure an unsuspecting boy to his death in the harbor. This spooky, atmospheric read was a perfect mix of Alice Hoffman meets Hocus Pocus. Combine with a chilly beachside fire and the gentle lapping of waves along the shore for a perfectly beachy summer read.

Recommended by Ella

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe Cover Image

Cliff is big — so big he is nicknamed Neanderthal, and everyone at his school makes fun of him. The star football player, Aaron, is one of these people, until he falls into a coma and wakes up, claiming he has a list from God to make Happy Valley High School a better place. For some reason, God told Aaron that Cliff is the best person to do this. This book is great because it unpackages a mystery, romance, and classic high school drama all into one fantastic story. Everyone can find themselves in this story, so this is a perfect book for any and every person looking for a beautiful, compelling story about loss and recovery.

Recommended by Stephanie

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 3.23.00 PMThe Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) — Audiobook on Libro.fm

For going on four summers now, I listen to Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle, starting with the first book, The Raven Boys. I don’t know what it is about these books that ties them inexplicably to summer for me. Maybe it’s narrator Will Patton’s languid Southern drawl, maybe it’s all the traipsing about in the lush, magical forest of Cabeswater that Stiefvater’s characters spend so much time doing, or maybe it’s just that it was summer the first time I encountered these books, and the season imprinted on me as much as the books did. But it’s summer in Tennessee, and that means I’m listening to — and marveling anew at the perfection of — these books.

Recommended by Stephanie

Monday's Not Coming Cover ImageMonday’s Not Coming 

In a word: haunting. Claudia and her best friend, Monday, are more like sisters than best friends, so when Monday doesn’t show up on the first day of eighth grade, Claudia knows something is wrong, but she can’t get any adults to take her concerns seriously. Alternating chapters between “The Before” and “The After” tell the story of just how easy it is for a person — especially an African American girl from the DC projects — to simply slip through the cracks and vanish.

Recommended by Katherine
Neverworld Wake Cover Image

Neverworld Wake 

The Secret History meets Groundhog Day with a touch of A Wrinkle in Time. This psychological thriller from literary master Marisha Pessl (Night Film, Special Topics in Calamity Physics) will appeal to teens and adults. I dare you to enter the Neverworld Wake.

Recommended by Katherine

This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record Cover Image

This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record 

It’s the summer of 1989 in Nashville and aspiring photographer Vaughn is content to beat the heat with her camera at Dragon Park until school starts again. Then wild, charismatic Sophie moves into the neighborhood and everything changes.

Recommended by Stephanie

Girl Made of Stars Cover ImageGirl Made of Stars 

Mara and Owen are twins; they know each other inside and out. So when Owen’s girlfriend — and Mara’s friend — Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara must make an impossible decision. Ashley Herring Blake’s novel isn’t so much timely as timeless, an exploration of the ways trauma can break us and the truth can begin to put us back together. Gorgeously written and perfectly told, this is a must-read.

Recommended by Kevin

Dread Nation Cover ImageDread Nation 

Part alternative history fiction, part social critique, part zombie-slashing adventure, part mystery, part romance — the book does it all well and was a blast to read. You’ll be rooting hard for Jane McKeene as she squares off against “shamblers” and people who are — incredibly — even worse.

ParnassusNext — June Selection



Furyborn (Empirium Trilogy #1) 

By Claire Legrand

Claire Legrand’s epic fantasy saga Furyborn tells the stories of two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world … or to doom it. It’s one of 2018’s most anticipated fantasy novels, and has garnered rave revews from early readers! Check out some of the buzz:

“Beautiful, brutal, heart-stopping, and epic, Furyborn is a world to lose yourself in — just bring weapons. It’s dangerous there.” – Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author of the Printz Honor-winning Strange the Dreamer (the April 2017 ParnassusNext selection!)“Immersive and intricate, Furyborn is a kick-you-in-the-teeth and grab-you-by-the-heart tale.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen

“In an epic that spans a millennium, Legrand serves up a veritable feast of magic: mystical beings, ruthless power struggles, and gorgeously cinematic writing that will sweep you off your feet.” – Traci Chee, New York Times bestselling author of The Reader (the September 2016 ParnassusNext selection!)

“I tried to stop reading Furyborn and go to bed … then I got up and kept going. Epic in scope, endless in imagination, this book will grab hold of you and refuse to let go.” —Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Illuminae Files

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ParnassusNext is the book subscription box for YA lovers. Every member of ParnassusNext receives a first edition hardcover of each month’s selected book, signed by the author. There is no membership fee to join — and no line to stand in for the autograph. Not only will you have one of the best YA books of the month when it comes out, you’ll have it straight from the author’s hands, with an original, authentic signature! Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite YA reader for 3, 6, or 12 months.



The Parnassus Summer Bookout is still cookin’! Click here for more details, and join us at these upcoming YA events:

Monday June 11 at 6:30pm – Stephanie Garber (Legendary) in conversation with Kerri Maniscalco

Thursday June 14 at 6:30pm – Morgan Matson (Save the Date)

Tuesday June 19 at 6:30pm – Zoraida Córdova (Bruja Born), Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles), Julie Murphy (Puddin’) & Victoria (V.E.) Schwab (Vicious)