Edmonds Booktalk: Great summer reads for kids

Good news! Edmonds Bookshop is open. We are excited to have you back in the store. For the time being we will be open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. [Check our Facebook page, and our website, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. We will keep you updated as we attempt to go with the flow and roll with the punches…as we all have learned, things can change pretty quickly…]

Our most important priority is the health of our customers and staff, and consequently we ask that all customers wear face masks, that you sanitize your hands upon entry and that you keep 6 feet of space between yourself and other shoppers and staff. For now, we will permit only five shoppers in the store at a time. Families with small children must stay together, and, apologies, but our public restroom is closed.

We still are offering curbside pick-up, free shipping via USPS media mail, and free local delivery; inquire about details when placing your order.

As we get further into this very strange summer, we will continue to do our part to keep your entire family in books. Check my June column HERE for a great list of books for adults being published this summer. You may pre-order any upcoming titles on our website here.

Also, great news: back in stock are many of the titles that will help us on our journey toward becoming antiracist. Our blog post with a partial list recommended by Ibram X. Kendi, the National Book Award-winning author of “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” and “How to Be an Antiracist,” along with other trusted sources, here.

This month we feature a list of great books for kids to read this summer, from picture books to books for Young Adults. Organized loosely by recommended reading ages, which of course totally depends on the individual reader’s interest level, and attention span, among other things!

We are also including many titles from a list put together by the staff at Publisher’s Weekly, an amazing “Anti-Racist Children’s and YA Reading List.” [these titles have an * and a note about the sub-category…] A link to the entire list is here, and at the end of our list.


Summer reading for kids, up to about age 6:

“Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi, illus. by Ashley Lukashevsky. Understanding race and anti-racism, nonfiction.*  [ages up to 3]

“The Goose Egg” by Liz Wong. Local author. [ages 3 – 5]“There Are No Bears in This Bakery” by Julia Sarcone-Roach. [ages 3 – 5]

“There Are No Bears in This Bakery” by Julia Sarcone-Roach. [ages 3 – 5]

“Hair Love” by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison. Windows and Mirrors from Black #OwnVoices Creators, picture books.* A picture book about Zuri, a Black girl who is proud of her hair, which “kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” A bighearted ode to individuality and father-daughter collaboration. [ages 3 – 5]

“Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña.  2016 Newbery Medal Winner and 2016 Caldecott Honor Winner. [ages 3 – 5]

“Wolf in the Snow” by Matthew Cordell. 2018 Caldecott Medal Winner.  [ages 3 – 6]

“A Is for Activist” by Innosanto Nagara. Raise your voice: activism and protest, nonfiction.* [ages 3 – 7]

“Just Like Me” by Vanessa Brantley Newton. Windows and Mirrors from Black #OwnVoices Creators, picture books.*  Filled with poems about every type of girl you can imagine, this is a joyous celebration of girls who play outside, and those who read all day, and those with curly hair and freckles, and those who long to explore outer space, and all those in between. [ages 3 – 8]

“Double Bass Blues” by Andrea J. Loney and Rudy Gutierrez, Illustrator. After school orchestra practice, young Nic carries his double bass through rough neighborhoods to his grandfather’s home, where he and Granddaddy Nic play jazz music with friends, delighting the neighbors. [ages 4 – 8]

“We March” by Shane W. EvansRaise your voice: activism and protest, nonfiction.* This account of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom—identified only in a concluding note—drives home the emotion and the drama of that event. Evans spotlights a family of four, joining the march that culminates in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Though the day unfolds through the family’s perspective, what emerges is a communal voice that conveys a strong sense of solidarity and purpose.  [ages 4 – 8)

“Don’t Touch My Hair” by Sharee Miller. Understanding race and anti-racism, fiction.* [ages 4 – 8]

“Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice” by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, Ann Hazzard, and Jennifer Zivoin (Illustrator). Raise your voice: activism and protest, nonfiction.*  [ages 4 – 8]

“Hello Lighthouse” by Sophie Blackall. 2019 Caldecott Medal Winner. [ages 5 – 8]

Summer Reading for Young Readers, about ages 8 – 12:

“The Undefeated” by Kwame Alexander, illus. by Kadir Nelson. Raise your voice: activism and protest, nonfiction.* 2020 Caldecott Medal Winner, and Newbery Honor Winner. Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more. [ages 6 – 9]

“The Wild Robot Escapes:  Wild Robot #2 by Peter Brown. Now in paperback. Staff recommended. [ages 8 – 11]

“Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History” by Vashti Harrison. Raise your voice: activism and protest, nonfiction.* [ages 8 – 12]

“Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History” by Vashti Harrison. Raise your voice: activism and protest, nonfiction.* [ages 8 – 12]

“New Kid” by Jerry Craft. 2020 Newbery Medal Winner. Understanding race and anti-racism, fiction.* [ages 8 – 12]

“The One and Only Bob” by Katherine Applegate. A sequel to Newbery Medal-winning “The One and Only Ivan.” Staff recommended. [ages 9 – 12]

“Clean Getaway” by Nic Stone. When his big spring break trip gets cancelled; 11-year-old Scoob heads out on an unplanned road trip with his grandma. The unconventional road-trip story takes readers through American race relations of the past and present. Real historical elements are woven in, making this an educational and powerful read. [ages 9 – 12]

“Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet” by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik. Omar and his family have just moved and his imagination is running wild: What if the work is too hard, or the kids are mean, or the teacher is a zombie alien? His imagination helps him get through it all in this funny, relatable story. [ages 9 – 12]

“When Stars Are Scattered” by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illustrated by Victoria Jamiesonand Iman Geddy. An unforgettable graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of “Roller Girl.”  [ages 9 – 12]

“Wink” by Rob Harrell. After recently being diagnosed with a rare eye cancer, Ross has lost all hope of blending in at middle school. Based on the author’s real-life experience, this story is both heart-wrenching and hilarious. [ages 9 – 12]

“A Whale of the Wild” by Rosanne Parry and Lindsay Moore.  In the stand-alone companion to “A Wolf Called Wander,” a young orca whale must lead her brother on a tumultuous journey to be reunited with their pod. Local author.  Coming September 1, 2020. Staff recommended. [ages 9 – 12]

“Merci Suárez Changes Gears” by Meg Medina. 2019 Newbery Medal Winner. [ages 9 – 12]

“Hello, Universe” by Erin Entrada Kelly. 2018 Newbery Medal Winner. [ages 9 – 12]

“The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill. 2017 Newbery Medal Winner. [ages 9 – 12]

“The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander.  2015 Newbery Medal Winner. [ages 10 – 13]

“Ghost Boys” by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  Understanding race and anti-racism, fiction.* [ages 10+]

“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson. Understanding race and anti-racism, nonfiction.* National Book Awards 2014 for Young People’s Literature. [ages 10+]

“This Book Is Anti-Racist” by Tiffany Jewell. Understanding race and anti-racism, nonfiction.* [ages 11 – 15]

Summer Reading for Teen Readers, from about age 12+:

“Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and Me” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi Understanding race and anti-racism, nonfiction.* Reynolds, the current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, distills Kendi’s National Book Award-winning adult book for teen readers. But this isn’t just a rewrite. Instead, Reynolds uses his considerable literary skills to create a book that will deeply resonate with teens who will find lots to think about and discuss. [ages 12 +]

“The Kingdom of Back” by Marie Lu. Historical YA fantasy about the other Mozart — Maria Anna, older sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. [ages 12+]

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins. The world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of “The Hunger Games.” [ages 12+]

“A Girl in Three Parts” by Suzanne Daniel. In this debut coming-of-age novel, set in 1970s Australia, Allegra Elsom grapples not just with the loss of her mother, but also the complicated relationships she has with the people who are left in her life. “This is both a story of self-discovery and one of family healing,” says Kirkus. [ages 13+]

“Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir” by Robin Ha. She was doing just fine as a typical teen in her native Seoul when her divorced mother suddenly moves them to Alabama, so she could marry a Korean American man. Eventually, she enrolls in a local comics class, which provides a lifeline and a future direction. [ages 13+]

“March (Books 1-3)” by John Lewis, illus. by Nate Powell. Raise your voice: activism and protest, nonfiction.* A graphic novel trilogy based on the life of civil rights leader and congressman, John Lewis. Volume 3 earned a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. [ages 13+]

“I’m Not Dying with You Tonight” by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal. Raise your voice: activism and protest, fiction.*[ages 14+]

“Girls Save the World in This One” by Ash Parsons. When ZombieCon comes to their small town, June and her best friends battle long lines for photo ops, meet their favorite actors, and then things get real. [ages 14+]

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. Raise your voice: activism and protest, fiction.*[ages 14+]

“Dear Martin” by Nic StoneUnderstanding race and anti-racism, fiction.* [ages 14+]

“Clap When You Land” by Elizabeth Acevedo. The story of two teen sisters who have no idea the other exists until their father dies and his secret is exposed. [ages 14+]

“Kent State” by Deborah Wiles. Multiple viewpoints are used to relate the events of May 1970, when four Kent State University students were killed by National Guardsmen during a campus protest of the Vietnam War. Well-researched and riveting, this will speak to teens today who are working for social justice. [ages 14+]

“The Queen’s Assassin” by Melissa de la Cruz. The first in a new YA fantasy-romance series. [ages 14+]

“The Conference of the Birds: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #5” by Ransom Riggs. Jacob Portman must find V and deliver the newest peculiar to her, before a dark prophecy has the chance to, as Riggs told Entertainment Weekly, “turn the whole peculiar world upside-down.” [ages 14+]

“Wilder Girls” by Rory Power. A harrowing sci-fi horror story of three boarding school girls stuck on a remote island off the coast of Maine, under quarantine … This one may hit a little close to home right now, but NPR calls it “fresh and horrible and beautiful.” Now in paperback. [ages 14+]

*Books marked with a note and the * are from “An Anti-Racist Children’s and YA Reading List” put together by the staff at Publisher’s Weekly. The entire list with descriptions and reviews is here.

A few sources for more great recommendations:

Caldecott Medal Winners  and Newbery Medal Winners.

IndieBound Kids Next List, Summer 2020.

Kids’ Summer Book Bingo:

Download your card and get a few recommendations for some of the categories to get started, here.

The Book Club is back!

For the foreseeable future we are going virtual with Edmonds Bookshop Book Club via Zoom!

Send us an email here to register your email for Book Club and we will send you an invitation with a Zoom Meeting link as each book club meeting is scheduled. [More specific, expansive information on our website, here.

In July we will be discussing “Ordinary Grace: A Novel” by William Kent Krueger, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, at our usual time:

Wednesday morning July 15, 2020: 9 – 10 a.m. More details on our website here.

Recent book releases of note:

“Sex and Vanity” by Kevin Kwan.
“All Adults Here” by Emma Straub.
“Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking” by Bill Buford.  Staff recommended.
“Big Summer: A Novel” by Jennifer Weiner.
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins.
“Rodham: A Novel” by Curtis Sittenfeld.
“A Burning” by Megha Majumdar.
“Friends & Strangers” by J. Courtney Sullivan.
“Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters” by Jennifer Chiaverini.
“Red Dress in Black and White: A Novel” by Elliot Ackerman.
“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett.
“Last Train to London” by Meg Waite Clayton. In paperback.
“The Secrets We Kept” by Lara Prescott. In paperback.
“The Editor” by Steven Rowley. In paperback.

Some books of note being released in July:

“The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World” by Sarah Stewart Johnson. In this beautifully observed, deeply personal book, the Georgetown scientist tells the story of how she and other researchers have scoured Mars for signs of life, transforming the planet from a distant point of light into a world of its own. July 7, 2020

“Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Women’s Olympic Team” by Elise Hooper. Staff recommended. We really enjoyed this book – it is a great summer read!  In paperback. July 7, 2020.

“The Golden Cage” by Camilla Läckberg. An exhilarating new novel from a global superstar–a sexy, over-the-top psychological thriller that tells the story of the scorned wife of a billionaire and her delicious plot to get revenge. July 7, 2020.

“Survivor Song” by Paul Tremblay. In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. .. Dr. Ramola Sherman must try to get her 8-months pregnant friend, whose husband just got attacked and killed, to a hospital. Staff recommended. July 7, 2020.

“Murder in Chianti: A Tuscan Mystery #1” by Camilla Trinchieri. Mourning the loss of his wife, a former NYPD homicide detective moves to her hometown in the wine-soaked region of Chianti, Italy. Early one morning, he hears a gunshot near his cabin and walks out to discover a dead body in the woods…   July 7, 2020.

“A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor: The Carls #2” by Hank Green. This bold and brilliant follow-up to “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” is a fast-paced adventure that is also a biting social commentary, asking hard, urgent questions about the way we live, our freedoms, our future, and how we handle the unknown. July 7, 2020.

“Night Boat to Tangier” by Kevin Barry. In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two aging Irishmen, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs–sit at night, none too patiently. This is a superbly melancholic melody of a novel, full of beautiful phrases and terrible men. In paperback. July 7, 2020.

For young readers  “The Bad Guys in Dawn of the Underlord: Bad Guys #11” by Aaron Blabey. In paperback. July 7, 2020.

“The Lost and Found Bookshop” by Susan Wiggs. Chosen for July IndieNext. July 7, 2020.

“Chances Are . . .” by Richard Russo. In paperback. July 7, 2020.

“Utopia Avenue” by David Mitchell. The new novel from a literary superstar follows the career of a fictional British psychedelic rock band in 1967. July 14, 2020.

“The Order” by Daniel Silva. Allon is headed back to familiar haunts in Italy, where a papal death drives him to the legendary Vatican archives. There are going to be conspiracies, art, rare books, and even more conspiracies! Staff recommended series!  July 14, 2020.

“The Pull of the Stars” by Emma Donoghue. Spanning just three days, this novel captures the chaos and devastation inside a Dublin hospital maternity ward during the 1918 flu pandemic. July 21, 2020.

“The Answer is…Reflections on My Life” by Alex Trebek. Finally we get all the answers! Or will it be the questions? July 21, 2020.

“Malorie: A Bird Box Novel” by Josh Malerman. The next chapter in the riveting tale. This time she will confront the dangers of her world head-on. “Bird Box” is staff recommended, can’t wait to read this one.  July 21, 2020.

“The Geometry of Holding Hands: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel #13” by Alexander McCall Smith. Once again she will have to call upon her powers of deduction and her unflappable moral code to unravel a new philosophical mystery. July 28, 2020.

For teen readers  “Today Tonight Tomorrow” by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Throughout the years both Rowan and Neil have been at competition with one another on everything from who has the best ideas for school functions to which one will be their graduating class’s valedictorian. In the twenty-four hours they have left in their senior year, during a game that takes them all over Seattle, the two learn they share something much deeper than a rivalry. July 28, 2020

Keep in touch with us. We will keep posting our latest favorite reads, along with links to all kinds of book-related interesting things! In all the places: on our website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

You may pre-order any forthcoming title by visiting our website.

Stay safe. Stay sane. And as always: Happy reading

Elaine Mattson

— By Elaine Mattson

Edmonds native Elaine Mattson has worked at The Edmonds Bookshop off and on since she was 12 years old, and has also worked at a book wholesaler, a book publisher, and for the book publishing division of a large local software company (yes, that one). “I was raised a book lover [thanks, Mom!],” Mattson says. “We got book lights by our beds as soon as we were old enough to read. And then I probably got in trouble for reading too late the very next night. And I still read too late!



One Reply to “Edmonds Booktalk: Great summer reads for kids”

  1. I love reading and think it is vital for all ages. However, this book list for young children is most disturbing. The activism and protest reading for young ages (e.g., 3-8 and 8-12) sounds like brainwashing…get them young and mold their thinking.


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