Parents (USA)

The Book Nook

Ten new series make summer reading feel fun—not obligatory.


1 The Carver Chronicles

Written by Karen English, illustrate­d by Laura Freeman The clever concept—each book is warmly told from the point of view of a different student at Carver Elementary School—exposes readers to a variety of family circumstan­ces. “The series tackles serious issues like prejudice and bullying with thought and care,” says children’s librarian Betsy Bird, who blogs at

A Fuse #8 Production. But its relatable references to soccer, video games, and other common kid activities keep it from feeling like a downer. Six books, ages 6 to 9

2 Dory Fantasmago­ry

Written and illustrate­d by Abby Hanlon

A modern Junie B. Jones, the 6-year-old title character charms young readers with the adventures of her make-believe friends and her relentless pursuit to get her older siblings to want to play with her, says Parents advisor and fifth-grade teacher Colby Sharp, cofounder of the Nerdy Book Club. Pencil illustrati­ons, some with speech bubbles, draw in readers. Five books, ages 6 to 8 3 The Questionee­rs

Written by Andrea Beaty, illustrate­d by David Roberts Wanna-be architects, scientists, and even presidents will find delightful role models in this Steam-focused picture-book series. While each book focuses on a different character, all have rhyming couplets and spirited illustrati­ons that show the fun process of problemsol­ving and the importance of trial and error: “Your brilliant first flop was a raging success!/ Come on, let’s get busy and on to the next!” Heads-up for older kids; there are fun chapter-book spin-offs. Four books, ages 4 to 8

4 Yasmin

Written by Saadia Faruqi, illustrate­d by Hatem Aly

In this joyful, reassuring series, a second-grader solves typical kid problems like getting separated from her parents when they’re shopping, and spilling on her clothes. Faruqi, who was born in Pakistan, integrates the country’s customs into the plots. Full-color illustrati­ons throughout make this series even more engaging, says Parents advisor Jennifer Serravallo, author of The Reading Strategies Book. 12 books, ages 5 to 8

5 The Witch Boy

Written and illustrate­d by Molly Knox Ostertag

In the main character’s family, boys are raised to be shapeshift­ers while girls become witches. But 13-year-old Aster challenges those gender constructs, striking a chord with nonconform­ists. Deep themes, social issues, and symbolism are embedded throughout but are not difficult to grasp, says Serravallo. Colorful, easy-to-follow panels make this series a good pick for comic newbies. Three books, ages 8 to 12

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