Beginnings and Endings: 25 New Reads for the Young & Young at Heart

Oh, autumn. How we’ve missed you! The leaves are changing, that first chill is in the air, and we can’t imagine anything better than getting cozy with a good book. Snuggle up with a new favorite read-aloud or snag a spooky book to read under the covers with a flashlight this month!

Recommended by Ann

Farmhouse By Sophie Blackall Cover ImageFarmhouse

Farmhouse is the story of a house where twelve children were born and grew up and moved away. Using bits and pieces from the actual property, Sophie Blackall creates the most extraordinary imagined memory of what life in the farmhouse must have been like. That memory is now my new favorite picture book.

Also loved by Chelsea, Sarah, Cheryl, & Patsy!

Recommended by Rae Ann

Beatrice Likes the Dark By April Genevieve Tucholke, Khoa Le (Illustrator) Cover ImageBeatrice Likes the Dark

By April Genevieve TucholkeKhoa Le (Illustrator)

Beatrice likes the dark, but her sister Roo loves the light. Their distinct personalities shine in this beautifully illustrated book about love overshadowing differences.

Recommended by Chelsea

Beginning By Shelley Moore Thomas, Melissa Castrillon (Illustrator) Cover ImageBeginning

Beautifully illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Beginning traces a father and child pair as they explore how the ending of one experience is the beginning of another. This is perfect for readers who may be embarking on new adventures.

Recommended by Madeline

Nine Color Deer By Kailin Duan, Jeremy Tiang (Translated by) Cover ImageNine Color Deer

By Kailin DuanJeremy Tiang (Translated by)

This is a special treat of a book, translated from Chinese and the carved murals created 1,500 years ago in the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang, China. A traditional tale reimagined by Kailin Duan about great kindness even when wronged.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Night Lunch By Eric Fan, Dena Seiferling (Illustrator) Cover ImageNight Lunch

By Eric FanDena Seiferling (Illustrator)

When the midnight lunch truck arrives, a mysterious cook whips up meals for busy owls while a hungry mouse looks on in this dreamlike picture book.

Also loved by Sarah!

Recommended by Cheryl

Maya’s Song By Renée Watson, Bryan Collier (Illustrator) Cover ImageMaya’s Song

By Renée WatsonBryan Collier (Illustrator)

Bryan Collier’s expressive art is easily recognizable in this story of Maya Angelou. The telling is lyrical and will be enjoyed by all ages.

Recommended by Rae Ann

MapMaker By Lisa Moore Ramée Cover ImageMapMaker

Walt has the magical ability to make maps come to life. When he gets stuck in a world he designed, he will need all of his new powers to battle an evil mapmaker, with the help of a flying dragon. A fun, magical adventure.

Recommended by Chelsea

The Vanquishers By Kalynn Bayron Cover ImageThe Vanquishers

Boog loves to hear the stories of the Vanquishers, a group of vampire hunters who wiped out the last coven in San Antonio years ago. When the new kid Aaron goes missing, Boog and her crew realize that vampires may not be a relic of the past. An adventure story with just enough eerie details, Bayron’s middle grade debut explores friendship, family, and the cost of protecting those we love. A spooky and sweet read.

Recommended by Sissy

The Black Slide By J.W. Ocker Cover ImageThe Black Slide

Ocker is back for another round of middle grade spookiness. The playground is NOT safe, for now… Kids are disappearing. Griffin and his friend Laila can sense it. Can they DO anything? Will THEY disappear next?

Recommended by Madeline

The Hanmoji Handbook: Your Guide to the Chinese Language Through Emoji By Jason Li, An Xiao Mina, Jennifer 8. Lee, Jason Li (Illustrator) Cover ImageThe Hanmoji Handbook: Your Guide to the Chinese Language Through Emoji

By Jason LiAn Xiao MinaJennifer 8. LeeJason Li (Illustrator)

Struggling to learn 汉字 (hànzì, Chinese characters)? Look no further than The Hanmoji Handbook! It compares different pictures and emojis to 汉字, making learning easy. What better guide to learning Chinese than an image-centered guide for a pictographic language!

Recommended by Ashby

Play Like a Girl By Misty Wilson, David Wilson (Illustrator) Cover ImagePlay Like a Girl

By Misty WilsonDavid Wilson (Illustrator)

The title reveals the story…but it doesn’t provide the details. Misty plays on the football team and faces all the things you would expect, BUT it is how she handles it that makes this story. This is the author’s story of her 7th grade experiences. It is genuine, funny, painful, but, mostly, real.

Recommended by Patsy

The Door of No Return By Kwame Alexander Cover ImageThe Door of No Return

You are only fine until you’re not, young Kofi Offin discovers in this novel in verse, the first in a trilogy of the Asante people in Ghana. It’s a coming of age story set in a fictional village in the 1860s, a lyrical tale that interweaves folk wisdom from Kofi’s grandfather, a tragedy during an inter-village festival, and the revenge neighboring villagers take. I predict this will become an instant classic.

Recommended by Sissy

Billion Dollar Girl By Megan Shull Cover ImageBillion Dollar Girl

The Swap by Shull is my favorite middle grade rec, and this book is SO different BUT – I could not put it down. A terrible day in a suburban middle school leads to a wild adventure on the coast in the Pacific Northwest. I did not want to leave Great Bear Island. Girl-power vibes.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Inaugural Ballers: The True Story of the First US Women's Olympic Basketball Team By Andrew Maraniss Cover ImageInaugural Ballers: The True Story of the First US Women’s Olympic Basketball Team

Inaugural Ballers is a fascinating look at the first women’s basketball team to compete in the Olympics, in 1976 Montreal. Pick this up for your sports fan or anyone who enjoys an inspiring story.

Recommended by Chelsea

A Scatter of Light By Malinda Lo Cover ImageA Scatter of Light

The summer of 2013 is a big one for both the United States (with California legalizing gay marriage) and Aria, though it is not going according to her plan. Instead of spending it with friends, she is sent to live with her artist grandmother. The friends Aria makes that summer change her life’s trajectory. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking novel that perfectly captures the exploratory growth that is adolescence.

Also loved by Sarah!

Recommended by RJ

Eternally Yours By Patrice Caldwell Cover ImageEternally Yours

This anthology of paranormal romance short stories features work from an all-star line up of authors writing swoony, diverse stories of vampires, mermaids, angels, and more. From sugary sweet meet cutes to love stories with a horror edge, this collection has an impressive range of approaches while remaining remarkably cohesive.

Recommended by Aly

Spells for Lost Things By Jenna Evans Welch Cover ImageSpells for Lost Things

Practical Magic meets David Levithan in this earnest and lovely romcom set in Salem. Family secrets and first love are the glue to this truly charming tale.

Recommended by Chelsea

Rust in the Root By Justina Ireland Cover ImageRust in the Root

Justina Ireland’s latest fantastical story is is set in 1937 America that is reeling from the Great Rust, an event that decimated the magical system and countryside. A young mage may be the key to restoring the balance needed to rebuild the country, but her mission is plagued by issues from the start. Ireland explores race, power, and technology in this alternate history that reminded me why I love all of her work.

Recommended by Hannah

Seoulmates By Susan Lee Cover ImageSeoulmates

By Susan Lee

I devoured this in a single sitting. If you love childhood-best-friends-turned-enemies romances, this will be your jam. Though it obviously appeals to those who are very into K-Pop and K-Dramas, as someone who knows only the barest of bare minimums about that whole world, I still enjoyed this sweet story!

Recommended by RJ

Bone Weaver By Aden Polydoros Cover ImageBone Weaver

This haunting epic fantasy is set in a world where monsters lurk on the edges of society, while political turmoil reveals the monstrous cruelty humans themselves are capable of. A girl driven to save her undead sister joins forces with a dethroned tsar and a boy accused of witchcraft. Aden Polydoros’s richly atmospheric writing brings both the setting and the emotions of this dark and heartfelt story to life.

Recommended by Sarah

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles By Julie Andrews Edwards Cover ImageThe Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

Written by THE Julie Andrews in 1974, this remains one of my most beloved childhood reads. Professor Savant and the Potter children go on a magical adventure to find the long lost Whangdoodle, who was once the kindest, wisest, and most peaceful creature in the land. The Whangdoodle isn’t easy to find, especially with the “oily” Prock standing in the way. It will take curiosity, wonder, and whimsy to track him down!

Also loved by Ashby!

Recommended by Rachel

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, Book 1) By Maggie Stiefvater Cover ImageThe Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, Book 1)

My favorite YA book of all time. A perfect blend of psychic powers, tarot cards, magical forests, found family, young love, dark academia, Latin class, small town diners, boarding school, ghosts, murder, dream creatures, treasure hunting, and a raven named Chainsaw.

Also loved by Ashby!

Sprout Book Club: October Selection

A Library By Nikki Giovanni, Erin K. Robinson (Illustrator) Cover ImageA Library

By Nikki GiovanniErin K. Robinson (Illustrator)

The October 2022 Sprout Book Club selection is A Library by author Nikki Giovanni and
illustrator Erin K. Robinson. This beautiful book invites us to accompany the main character to her neighborhood library where dreams abound. This book is a love letter to libraries, to storytelling, and family.

Early praise for the book:

“Vibrant, carefully composed digital illustrations, with bright colors that invite readers in… A lushly illustrated homage to librarians.” –Kirkus (starred review)

“Powerful… Playful and inspiring. Every lover of books, young or old, will see themselves in
this story.” –Booklist (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: October Selection

A Rover's Story By Jasmine Warga Cover ImageA Rover’s Story

The October 2022 Spark Book Club selection is A Rover’s Story by Newbery Honor-winning author Jasmine Warga. This is the story of Resilience, a Mar’s Rover who begins to develop human emotions while still in the lab on earth. This charming novel is narrated by both Res and the daughter of the lead NASA scientist on the mission to send him to Mars. The author’s research on NASA’s Mars Rover program makes this story soar.

Early Sparks for the novel:

“Warga follows her cybernetic narrator from first awareness to final resting place—and stony indeed will be any readers who remain unmoved by the journey. The intelligences here may be (mostly) artificial, but the feelings are genuine and deep.” –Kirkus (starred review)

“A touching, fact-filled novel [that] centers the maturation of gutsy Mars rover Resilience.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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: October Selection

After Dark with Roxie Clark By Brooke Lauren Davis Cover ImageAfter Dark with Roxie Clark

The October 2022 ParnassusNext selection is After Dark with Roxie Clark by Brooke Lauren Davis. Roxie Clark has turned her family’s curse into a lucrative ghost tour in her small Indiana town. A year after her sister’s boyfriend is murdered, Roxie is desperate to help everyone move on, ultimately teaming up with her sister to find the killer. This fast-paced mystery delivers twist after unexpected twist that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Early praise for the novel:

“Carefully building tension until the end.” –Kirkus

“This book is a wonderful change of pace for thriller lovers—a slower burn, but a rewarding
one.” –Booklist

“The narrative’s suspenseful ambiance and Roxie’s distinct, loyal-to-a-fault voice make for a
riveting meditation on generational trauma and fierce female relationships.” –Publishers Weekly

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.