16 Reads We Love for Kids and Teens


Welcome to the season of chicken soup, hot chocolate, and lots and lots of time to read. We’re not doctors, but if we were, we’d prescribe BOOKS as your remedy for winter. Luckily, our staff’s latest favorites for tots, kids, and teens include a refreshing array of voices and perspectives guaranteed to warm your soul and lift your spirits. Take two and call us in the morning.

Recommended by Joy

P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever Cover ImageP Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever 

When a rapper writes a picture book about silent letters, not only do kids get excited about language, but bedtime becomes seriously fun. I love this book so much and have no doubts that your little budding word nerd will love it too.

Recommended by Katherine

Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth Cover ImageLovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth 

Perspective matters! An honest look at first impressions in the context of the animal kingdom. For fans of They All Saw A Cat.

Recommended by Kevin

Potato Pants! Cover ImagePotato Pants! 

Don’t let the cover mislead you — this is not just another silly book of potato-based humor. OK, it IS another silly book of potato-based humor. But it’s also a book about apologies, which are important. And it really is very funny.

Recommended by Stephanie

Chicken Talk Cover ImageChicken Talk 

I love every last wry and affectionate detail in this story of a farm family, their twelve chickens, and the mysterious messages that begin to appear scratched in the dirt. Chicken Talk deserves a special spot in the pantheon of children’s books in which farm animals communicate with humans, right next to Charlotte’s Web and Click Clack Moo.

Recommended by Kevin 

The Major Eights 1: Battle of the Bands Cover ImageThe Major Eights (A Series) 

If Jasmine and her friends win the Battle of the Bands, they can prove to everyone they’re a real band. But first they have to learn a real song — or do they? This is a sweet series about friendship and music that’s sure to nurture the inner rockstar of any child.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Pay Attention, Carter Jones Cover ImagePay Attention, Carter Jones 

A butler arrives unexpectedly when Carter’s family needs help the most, sort of like a non-magical Mary Poppins. In true Gary D. Schmidt fashion, this book is full of humor, heartache, and ultimately hope. (Available for pre-order now; comes out February 5.)

Recommended by Joy

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #2) Cover ImageWundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #2) 

A worthy sequel to the Nevermoor fantasy, book two delivers on everything that made the first book so loved: a likable and imperfect protagonist, a reminder that being who you are is everything, and a good bit of humor combined with magical fantasy elements that every kid will love.

Recommended by Katherine

The Whispers Cover ImageThe Whispers 

An exploration of love, loss, and self-discovery, The Whispers handles issues of identity in a new and refreshing way. A touch of magic and plenty of witty narration round out this winning novel about 11-year-old Riley, whose mother has gone missing and who fears his “difference” (he has crushes on boys instead of girls) may be the reason. An unforgettable and wholly unique reading experience. Signed copies available while they last!

(Read Katherine’s interview with the author here.)

Recommended by Rae Ann

1919 The Year That Changed America Cover Image1919: The Year That Changed America 

Headline news from 1919 is traced through the past 100 years to today. Fascinating stories and archival photos make this a great read for young history buffs.

Recommended by Stephanie

Stephen McCranie's Space Boy Volume 1 Cover ImageStephen McCranie’s Space Boy

When Amy’s dad loses his job on the interspace mining colony, she and her family have to move back to Earth. But lightspeed travel means that when they arrive, all her friends back home have aged 30 years — and she doesn’t know anyone on the planet. This is a beautiful and intriguing twist on a familiar story that left me eager to read the next volume.

Recommended by Devin

Genesis Begins Again Cover ImageGenesis Begins Again 

Colorism is infrequently discussed, but it exists even in the most subtle of ways (check out the lack of darker foundation shades in drugstore brand makeup). At 13, Genesis has been experiencing it her whole life. We watch her go through a cycle of self-loathing while making strides toward self-acceptance, with the help of a teacher who encourages her and two friends who challenge and accept her.

Recommended by Devin

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America Cover ImageBlack Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America 

I want each short story in this collection to be a full novel RIGHT NOW. Wishful thinking, but this anthology is one of my favorite books I’ve read in the last few months. Ibi Zoboi edited these stories — written by many of our favorite YA authors — of diversity within the black community to remind everyone that we are not a monolith.

Recommended by Devin

On the Come Up Cover ImageOn the Come Up 

Angie Thomas brings us back to Garden Heights with a story about 16-year-old Bri, who puts all her energy into being a rapper. Following in her father’s footsteps and sorting through the influences and situations around her, Bri must choose who she’s going to be on her come up. I’d 100% recommend this for the rap history alone, even if it’s not your thing. (Available for pre-order now; comes out February 5.)

Note: The Salon@615 series presents Angie Thomas for a special evening with readers on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, at 6:15 p.m. War Memorial Auditorium! For more details about tickets, click here.

Recommended by Stephanie

The Gilded Wolves Cover ImageThe Gilded Wolves 

Six of Crows meets The Da Vinci Code, with a dash of National Treasure, wrapped up in deliciously glittering Belle Époque Paris: Hotelier and thief Séverin and his crew must steal a magical artifact that could restore Séverin to his long-lost inheritance and place in Parisian magical society. Full of hijinks and heart, and completely unputdownable. Get your signed copy while supplies last!

ParnassusNext — Our Latest Subscription Selections

9780062824110In January, ParnassusNext subscribers received Ben Philippe’s The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, a hilarious fish-out-of-water story featuring one of the most memorable narrative voices we’ve ever encountered. It’s a perfect book for readers who love achingly funny but solidly crafted coming-of-age stories from writers like Morgan Matson, David Arnold, or Becky Albertalli. It’s the story of Norris Kaplan, who thinks he has it all figured out — until his mom tells him he’s moving from Canada to Austin, Texas, for his senior year of high school. At his new school, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. But as Norris gets to know the real people behind the labels, he’s forced to stop hiding behind his snarky opinions and start living his life beyond the labels.

9781250295521Our February selection will be Gita Trelease’s Enchantée, an intoxicating fantasy set during in the tempestuous world of Paris on the cusp of the French Revolution. Enchantée is one of 2019’s most anticipated debuts and will be published to a chorus of praise on February 5. Here’s just some of the great buzz it has generated:

“Deliciously addictive. Enchantée is a lit firework crackling with treacherous magic, decadent romance, and disguises that take on lives of their own. I adore this gorgeous book.” —Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

“A heady, sparkling dream of a book. I tumbled head over heels into Enchantée’s dark and sumptuous magical Paris and wanted to stay there forever. One of the best fantasies I’ve read in years.” —Margaret Rogerson, author of An Enchantment of Ravens

“Enchantée is a sparkling, decadent confection of a book, one with a hidden bite. Its sumptuous and evocative Paris has magical depths that will enthrall you. Be careful. Once you start reading, you won’t stop until the final page.” —Jessica Cluess, author of A Shadow Bright and Burning

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.

Want to get out of the house? Check out our events calendar online and take your pick of storytimes and author visits!