A Dozen Magnificent Books for Young Readers (Plus a Scavenger Hunt for Waldo Fans)


What to do on a rainy summer day? Read! What about when it’s too hot to play outside? Read! During rest time at camp? On road trips? At grandma’s house? Read, read, read! 

These are our staffers’ latest favorite books for young readers:

Recommended by Devin

I'm Sad (I'm Books) Cover ImageI’m Sad (I’m Books) 

It’s so important that we talk about our feelings. I’m Sad tells the reader that not every day will be happy. It’s OK to feel sad, and having friends who listen makes all the difference.

Recommended by Devin

What If... Cover ImageWhat If… 

Though things might not go your way at first, creativity reminds you that there are no limits. Let your imagination go wild with this beautiful picture book told in a series of what-ifs.

Recommended by Carla

We Don't Eat Our Classmates Cover ImageWe Don’t Eat Our Classmates 

Making new friends at school is hard, especially when they are so delicious! This book is the perfect conversation starter about making friends and just being a nice human (or dinosaur).

Recommended by Rae Ann

The 5 O'Clock Band Cover ImageThe 5 O’Clock Band 

The 5 O’Clock Band meets after school and homework is done. One day Shorty misses practice and finds inspiration in his neighborhood. This beautiful book is a companion to the Caldecott Honor book Trombone Shorty.

Recommended by Jackie

Adventures to School: Real-Life Journeys of Students from Around the World Cover ImageAdventures to School: Real-Life Journeys of Students from Around the World 

I have always loved books about the ways kids do the same things in different ways around the world. This one is about how kids in different places get to school. (I also love the Authors’ Note, which reminds the reader that “no single child represents all the students in a particular village, region, or country.” Always good to keep in mind when reading this type of book!)

Recommended by Jackie

The Big Book of the Blue Cover ImageThe Big Book of the Blue 

A big, beautiful book about the ocean! Learn fun facts about all sorts of sea creatures while enjoying the lovely illustrations. Perfect for a trip to the beach.

Recommended by Katherine

Pie Is for Sharing Cover ImagePie Is for Sharing 

This book transported me straight back to childhood. You will not find a better summer picture book than this sweet story about sharing.

Can’t get enough picture books? Bring the kiddos for storytime every Thursday at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.
Recommended by Ginger

Refugee Cover ImageRefugee 

I think everyone should read this book and get a glimpse of what it’s like when you have to flee with the hope of something better.

Recommended by KatherineThe Language of Spells Cover Image

The Language of Spells

This tale of the unlikely friendship between a dragon and a child in post- World War II Vienna delivers a thoughtful story full of magic. I was struck by the beauty and depth of the writing and want to read more books by this author.

Recommended by Devin

From Twinkle, with Love Cover ImageFrom Twinkle, with Love 

Twinkle is a movie fanatic and young filmmaker who considers herself to be a “groundling” at her school — until she gets the opportunity to direct her first film. If you loved the fun romance and strong female lead of Menon’s preceding novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, you will find the same qualities in Twinkle.

Recommended by Ella

The Smoke Thieves Cover ImageThe Smoke Thieves 

The Smoke Thieves follows five characters as they all cross paths due to the strange, purple “demon smoke” that has special powers. This is a great story with evil kings, thrilling demon chases, and romance. Perfect for anyone who loved The Cruel Prince or Throne of Glass.

ParnassusNext — July Selection

Wild Blue Wonder Cover ImageWild Blue Wonder 

By Carlie Sorosiak

Carlie Sorosiak’s sophomore novel, Wild Blue Wonder, is the perfect book for lazy, hazy summer afternoons. It’s the story of Quinn, whose family owns a summer camp in Maine, and her journey from grief to healing after a life-changing loss. With touches of magical realism grounded in hard-won emotional truths, fans of Emily Henry, Morgan Matson, and Courtney Stevens will find much to love in Wild Blue Wonder. Check out some of the advance buzz below:

Wild Blue Wonder is a glittering dream of a book. It captured my heart with its equal strokes of grief, beauty, and hope.” – Emily Bain Murphy, author of The Disappearances

“This depiction of first love, collective loss, and the complicated nature of sibling relationships . . . surges with emotion, and Quinn’s developing relationship with Alexander provides lightness to the story. Sorosiak has created a family with whom readers will connect in all their messy, genuine sincerity.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Filled with science, summer camps and secrets, this is an uplifting and touching look at grief, guilt and giving yourself permission to love again.” – Lauren James, author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

“A striking examination of love — of friends, of family, of self — as well as of grief. This is a soft and lovely exploration of how life can freeze at the point of tragedy, and of a girl who learns to thaw.” – Booklist, starred review

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.

Reminder: If your young readers still have school-required summer reading to complete, we can help! Order online for shipping to your door or in-store pickup, or come browse our special school reading section.


Meanwhile, don’t forget to look for Waldo at our neighboring businesses throughout July! How to play: Come to Parnassus Books and get your free Find Waldo in Nashville passport, which contains the names and addresses of all the participating locations where you can find Waldo. Visit as many locations as you can and look for Waldo at each one; when you find him, collect the initials or signature of an employee at the location on your passport.

After you collect 10 signatures on your passport, return to Parnassus Books to collect your reward and a coupon to Parnassus Books. If you manage to find Waldo at all 20 participating locations, return to Parnassus for those rewards PLUS be entered in a drawing to win great prizes. Then, mark your calendar for July 31 at 3 p.m. and join us for the Where’s Waldo grand celebration!

Click here for all the details on how to play Where’s Waldo, the local edition.

Many thanks to these wonderful Green Hills businesses! (Remember: Where’s Waldo passports are only available at Parnassus Books.)

Ash Blue
Brilliant Sky Toys and Books
Chinatown Restaurant
The Dotted Line
Fleet Feet
Fox’s Donut Den
Great Harvest Bread Company
Green Hills Grille
Jet’s Pizza
Little Gourmand
Lonnie Young’s Children’s Shoes
The Painted Cupcake
The Paper Place
Paul LeQuire & Company
Stitch-It & Co. Alterations
Ten Thousand Villages
Tennessee Bank & Trust
Which Wich