Books for Independent Readers

Children’s World


KidsReadingUABIndestructible Books and board books for your youngest book lovers, books for reading aloud to children, books for beginning readers and beyond — there’s something for every young reader at Union Ave Books!

We have a special section for older children and young adult readers that includes both popular series and timeless classics as well as graphic books

 

KidStuffUABWe also have a great selection of gifts for children of all ages, including games, puzzles, stuffed animals, art supplies for young artists, and magnetic story sets. We wrap gifts, too!

 


Spring and Summer Favorites

 

Top Picks

 

Ghost Boys
Jewell Parker Rhodes
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; $16.99 (hardcover)
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Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he observes the devastation that’s been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing.

Soon Jerome meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but similar circumstances. Emmett helps Jerome process what has happened, on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended his life. Jerome also meets Sarah, the daughter of the police officer, who grapples with her father’s actions.

Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes deftly weaves historical and socio-political layers into a gripping and poignant story about how children and families face the complexities of today’s world, and how one boy grows to understand American blackness in the aftermath of his own death.


Children of Blood and Bone
Tomi Adeyemi
Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers; $18.99 (hardcover)
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Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.


Like Vanessa
Tami Charles
Charlesbridge; $16.99 (hardcover)
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In this semi-autobiographical debut novel set in 1983, Vanessa Martin’s real-life reality of living with family in public housing in Newark, New Jersey is a far cry from the glamorous Miss America stage. She struggles with a mother she barely remembers, a grandfather dealing with addiction and her own battle with self-confidence. But when a new teacher at school coordinates a beauty pageant and convinces Vanessa to enter, Vanessa’s view of her own world begins to change. Vanessa discovers that her own self-worth is more than the scores of her talent performance and her interview answers, and that she doesn’t need a crown to be comfortable in her own skin and see her own true beauty.


Hurricane Child
Kheryn Callender
Scholastic Press; $17.99 (hardcover)
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Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and 12-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She’s hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won’t stop following her, and — worst of all — Caroline’s mother left home one day and never came back.

But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline’s first and only friend — and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush. Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline’s missing mother — before Caroline loses her forever.


For Ages 4–8

 

Baby Monkey, Private Eye
Brian Selznick and David Serlin
Scholastic Press; $16.99 (hardcover)
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Who is Baby Monkey?

He is a baby. He is a monkey. He has a job. He is Baby Monkey, Private Eye.

Lost jewels? Missing pizza? Stolen spaceship? Baby Monkey can help … if he can put on his pants.

Baby Monkey’s adventures come to life in an exciting blend of picture book, beginning reader, and graphic novel. With pithy text and over 120 black and white drawings accented with red, it is ideal for sharing aloud and for emerging readers. Hooray for Baby Monkey!


Be Kind
Pat Zietlow Miller, Jen Hill (Illus.)
Roaring Book Press; $17.99 (hardcover)
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When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate wants to make her feel better, wondering:

What does it mean to be kind?

From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving story explores what kindness is, and how any act, big or small, can make a difference — or at least help a friend.

With a gentle text from Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor author Pat Zietlow Miller, and irresistible art from Jen Hill, Be Kind is an unforgettable story about how two simple words can change the world.


If You Had a Jetpack
Lisl Detlefsen, Linzie Hunter (Illus.)
Knopf Books for Young Readers; $17.99 (hardcover)
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Having a jetpack is fun — if you know what to do with one.

If you had a jetpack, you could:
* Teach your brother how to build one too.
* Demonstrate its usefulness at Show and Share Time at school.
* Give your principal a ride home.
* Fly south to visit your nana.
* Visit the astronauts on the space station and help with anything that needed fixing.

Join one inventive little rabbit as he and his brother put their new jetpack to good use.


Moon
Alison Oliver
Clarion Books; $17.99 (hardcover)
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Like many children, Moon leads a busy life. School, homework, music lessons, sports, and the next day it begins again. She wonders if things could be different. Then, one night, she meets a wolf.

The wolf takes Moon deep into the dark, fantastical forest and there she learns to howl, how to hide, how to be still, and how to be wild. And in that, she learns what it’s like to be free.

This simply worded and stunningly illustrated story reveals the joy to be found in play, nature, and, most of all, embracing the wild in us all.


For Ages 9–12

 

Aru Shah and the End of Time
Roshani Chokshi
Rick Riordan/Hachette; $16.99 (hardcover)
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Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about 12-year-old Aru Shah, who has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them. The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?


Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World
Ashley Herring Blake
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; $16.99 (hardcover)
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When a tornado rips through town, 12-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed and her family of five is displaced. Ivy feels invisible and ignored in the aftermath of the storm — and what’s worse, her notebook filled with secret drawings of girls holding hands has gone missing.

Mysteriously, Ivy’s drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks — and hopes — that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings?

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World exquisitely enriches the rare category of female middle-grade characters who like girls — and children’s literature at large.

Read Chapter 16’s review of Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World here.


Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans
Russell Ginns, Barbara Fisinger (Illus.)
Delacorte Books for Young Readers; $16.99 (hardcover)
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Samantha Spinner’s Uncle Paul disappeared, and here’s what he left:
* Samantha’s sister got a check for $2,400,000,000.
* Samantha’s brother got the New York Yankees.
* And Samantha got a rusty red umbrella with a tag hanging off its worn handle. The tag says “Watch out for the RAIN.”

Thanks a lot, Uncle Paul. After all the strawberry waffles, stories, and puzzles they’ve shared, how could he just leave without saying goodbye? And what is the meaning of that mysterious message?

The answer is simple. Sam knows in her heart that Uncle Paul is in danger. And if he taught her anything, it’s that not everything is exactly what it seems. Which is why we should pay close attention to that rusty red umbrella, and never trust a monkey at a hula-hoop contest.

The RAIN is coming and Samantha Spinner is about to find herself mixed up in some super-important, super-dangerous, super-secret plans.


The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines
Adam Gidwitz, Hatem Aly (Illus.)
Dutton Books for Young Readers; $14.99 (hardcover)
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Elliot Eisner isn’t exactly excited about starting at a brand-new school in a brand-new town; he’d much rather stay at home and read a book. But things take an unexpected turn when he finds out his weird new teacher, Professor Fauna, has planned a field trip for Elliot’s very first day. Along with a new friend — brave, outspoken Uchenna Devereaux — Elliot gets caught up in a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose goal is to protect and defend the world’s mythical creatures. Together with Professor Fauna, Elliot and Uchenna must help rescue a Jersey Devil from a duo of conniving, greedy billionaires, the Schmoke Brothers.

The Unicorn Rescue Society is an exciting and hilarious new series about friendship, adventure, and mythical creatures from around the world by Newbery Honor-winning author Adam Gidwitz teamed up with Mixtape Club founders Jesse Casey and Chris Smith, and Hatem Aly, illustrator of The Inquisitor’s Tale.


For Teens

 

For Every One
Jason Reynolds
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books; $14.99 (hardcover)
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Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.

For Every One is just that: for every one. For every one person. For every one dream. But especially for every one kid. The kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to dream. Kids who are like Jason Reynolds, a self-professed dreamer. Jason does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. He expected to make it when he was sixteen. Then eighteen. Then twenty-five. Now, some of those expectations have been realized. But others, the most important ones, lay ahead, and a lot of them involve kids, how to inspire them. All the kids who are scared to dream, or don’t know how to dream, or don’t dare to dream because they’ve NEVER seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguish–because just having the dream is the start you need, or you won’t get anywhere anyway, and that is when you have to take a leap of faith.


Orphan Monster Spy
Matt Killeen
Viking Books for Young Readers; $18.99 (hardcover)
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Her name is Sarah. She’s blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish in 1939 Germany. And her act of resistance is about to change the world.

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, 15-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she’s the Nazis’ worst nightmare.


The Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo
HarperTeen; $17.99 (hardcover)
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Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers — especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.


Tempests and Slaughter (The Numair Chronicles, Book One)
Tamora Pierce
Random House Books for Young Readers; $18.99 (hardcover)
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Arram Draper is on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness — and for attracting trouble. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram realizes that one day — soon — he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.


Our book descriptions are excerpted from INDIEBOUND.ORG or from the publisher’s website.

 

 

 

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Union Ave Books

Union Ave Books
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