Pizza and Potions: 16 New Reads for the Young & Young at Heart

Upon close, scientific inspection, we have identified two key themes in this month’s staff picks for the young and young at heart: (1) spookiness and (2) pizza. Frankly, we can’t think of a better combination. Serve up a slice and start spooky season off right with one of these staff favorites!

Recommended by Chelsea

A Friend for Ghost By Suzanne Kaufman Cover ImageA Friend for Ghost

Ghost is a bit lonely until a red balloon bobs past him one day. A sweet story about friendship, this charming picture book is perfect for those who want to embrace the fall vibe without the spooky side.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Pizza!: A Slice of History By Greg Pizzoli, Greg Pizzoli (Illustrator) Cover ImagePizza!: A Slice of History

A fun book full of facts about a favorite food. Pizza!

Recommended by Aly

Parfait, Not Parfait! By Scott Rothman, Avery Monsen (Illustrator) Cover ImageParfait, Not Parfait!

By Scott RothmanAvery Monsen (Illustrator)

A fresh take on a classic rhyming picture book. So simple, but will have you laughing until the end.

Recommended by Chelsea

King Kong's Cousin By Mark Teague, Mark Teague (Illustrator) Cover ImageKing Kong’s Cousin

Junior feels like he lives in the shadow of his famous cousin until one day Junior gets the chance to play the hero. The illustrations had me laughing out loud, and Junior’s story immediately lifted my mood.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Elephant’s Big Solo By Sarah Kurpiel, Sarah Kurpiel (Illustrator) Cover ImageElephant’s Big Solo

Elephant loves playing in the school band because it’s something she can do with her friends. When it’s time to solo, she must decide if it’s the best way for her to shine. Charming and relatable.

Recommended by Sissy

Stories to Keep You Alive Despite Vampires By Ben Acker Cover ImageStories to Keep You Alive Despite Vampires

By Ben Acker

Acker was a writer for Supernatural. Kids will love these hilarious stories that have a hint of spooky. Parents will CRACK UP while reading them aloud as well. Check out the viral video of Bobby Singer reading “The Chase!”

Recommended by Rae Ann

Pizza My Heart: (A Graphic Novel) (Norma and Belly #3) By Mika Song Cover ImagePizza My Heart: (A Graphic Novel) (Norma and Belly #3)

By Mika Song

Norma and Belly are back in a new food adventure. This time the squirrel friends will do whatever it takes to get a slice of delicious pizza in this fun graphic novel.

Recommended by Madeline

Lemon Bird: Can Help! By Paulina Ganucheau Cover ImageLemon Bird: Can Help!

A fun graphic novel for young readers who learn the power of kindness even when others aren’t so kind (which is especially hard when you’re lost!)

Recommended by RJ

The Sunbearer Trials (The Sunbearer Duology #1) By Aiden Thomas Cover ImageThe Sunbearer Trials (The Sunbearer Duology #1)

This spectacular start to a new duology features a vivid setting, exciting mythology, and a large cast of entertaining characters. Ten half-god teens compete in a series of challenges where the loser will be sacrificed to maintain the magic that protects their world. Perfect for anyone looking to get lost in a stunning fantasy world, where the friendships are delightful and the stakes are high.

Recommended by Jennifer

The Drowned Woods By Emily Lloyd-Jones Cover ImageThe Drowned Woods

Mer is a daring water diviner—a woman with the power to control water. Joined with a rag tag group of thieves, spies, and even a corgi, Merry hopes to obtain the treasure of a lifetime, with a little justice added in for good measure. When the quest proves to be more than she bargained for, Mer must summon the courage to become who she was destined to be. A tale full of adventure, action, love, and magic!

Recommended by Katie

The Dragon's Promise (Six Crimson Cranes #2) By Elizabeth Lim Cover ImageThe Dragon’s Promise (Six Crimson Cranes #2)

In a world that constantly wants to make us wait for a many-booked series to be complete, I cannot overstate how much I appreciate a duology. I loved reconnecting with Princess Shiori and her sweet paper bird best friend as they attempt to honor her step-mother’s dying wish and return the dragon’s pearl to its rightful place.

Recommended by Aly

The Weight of Blood By Tiffany D. Jackson Cover ImageThe Weight of Blood

This retelling of Stephen King’s Carrie, set in small town Georgia, is beautifully grim and horrifyingly believable. You won’t be able to look away.

Recommended by RJ

The Gathering Dark: An Anthology of Folk Horror By Erica Waters, Chloe Gong, Tori Bovalino, Hannah Whitten, Allison Saft, Olivia Chadha, Courtney Gould, Aden Polydoros, SMP Alex Brown, Shakira Toussaint Cover ImageThe Gathering Dark: An Anthology of Folk Horror

At turns atmospheric and gruesome, heartfelt and terrifying, this collection of horror short stories is the perfect way to kick off your fall. With a spectacular line-up of talent, readers can hope to find some new favorite authors among the nightmares and chills.

Sprout Book Club: September Selection

Farmhouse By Sophie Blackall Cover ImageFarmhouse

By Sophie Blackall

The September 2022 Sprout Book Club selection is Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall. This month’s picture book invites us inside a farmhouse and introduces the reader to the family who lives there and their daily life. The book was inspired by a real family who lived in the farmhouse in the book.

Two-time Caldecott medalist Sophie Blackall used salvaged objects and artifacts from the farmhouse in the art for this stunning book.

RSVP for a free in-store event with Sophie Blackall, in conversation with Ann Patchett, on September 16th at 6:30 pm.

Read Notes from Ann: An Interview with Sophie Blackall to learn about the process of making Farmhouse.

Early praise for the book:

“A lovely, tender reimagination of people in a long-past time and place.” – Kirkus, starred review

Sprout Book Club is the book subscription box for picture book lovers. Every month members will receive a first edition picture book. Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite picture book lover for 3, 6, or 12 months. 

Spark Book Club: September Selection

The Vanquishers By Kalynn Bayron Cover ImageThe Vanquishers

By Kalynn Bayron

The September 2022 Spark Book Club selection is The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron.

The Vanquishers, masked vampire hunters, wiped out the last of the undead years ago. These heroes are legend in twelve-year-old Malika “Boog” Wilson’s town. But what if the vampires are back? And what if the school counselor knows more than he’s willing to share? This is a fun adventure story and the start of a new series.

Early Sparks for the novel:

“Combining mythology and science to produce a fresh take on modern vampire lore, Bayron erects a fantastical San Antonio that is as chock-full of personality as each of the story’s characters. Pithy dialogue and sensational description make this a speedy, eerie read.” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review

“This warm, witty friendship story with a healthy dose of vampire adventure is a page-turning read . . . A lively, appealing addition to the genre.” – Kirkus

Spark Book Club is the first editions club for middle grade readersEvery month members will receive a first edition middle grade novel — plus a letter written by the author especially for club members. Makes a great gift for the independent reader! Sign ups are available for 3, 6, or 12 months.

ParnassusNext: September Selection

My Second Impression of You By Michelle I. Mason Cover ImageMy Second Impression of You

By Michelle I. Mason

The September 2022 ParnassusNext selection is My Second Impression of You by Michelle I. Mason.

Maggie expects a promposal, but gets a breakup instead. When she leaves the disastrous non-date, she breaks her leg. In a post-anesthesia daze, she clicks on a DO OVER app that promises to let her revisit her Best Day Ever. It comes with a new perspective on “best” and reveals new friends and possibilities.

RSVP for a FREE in-store event with the author on September 21st at 6:30 pm. Michelle will be in conversation with Jennifer Lynn Alvarez.

Early praise for the novel:

“Equal parts sweet romance and thought-provoking story of self-discovery.” —Kirkus

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.