May Book Highlights

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

It's almost summer! May was a lovely month of delightful stories. I hope you find a new favorite among those listed below. They are alphabetical by title and labeled by age group for your convenience. Do you know another great book I should include in my blog? Please contact me here and let me know!

Adventure of the Shadows

By: Viraj Govind Mahatme

(Independent Request) - Early Middle Grade

How much does magic really exist in the world? Siblings Navya and Cheton are about to find out when mysterious shadows emerge from their home in the middle of the night from an unexpected source. Written in short chapters, this equally brief book is an enjoyable selection for newer middle grade readers because of its accessibility and straightforward plot. Set in India, readers will find themselves surrounded by Moringa trees, cricket, and chicken tikka masala as the story unfolds. Please see my full review here.

The Boy Who Knew How to Believe

By: Ashley Scott

(Independent Request) - Picture Book

This charming story is about a boy named Nicky who desperately wants a dog after seeing another boy playing with one in the park. Drawing up his ideal furry friend, Nicky carries the picture with him wherever he goes, believing with all he has that he will get a dog someday. I loved the facial expressions on the characters in this story, especially as they can be easily seen and enjoyed by a larger audience of children. It’s a delightful tale for preschool and elementary school readers alike. Please see my full review here.

Adventures of the Restless Youth: The Dunkirk Spirit

By: AXY Grace

(Independent Request) - YA

This story is on the shorter side and focuses on American high school students living in Brooklyn. The premise is unique in that it is presented as something like a reality TV show with asides from the many characters, but the writing style can use some improvement. I hope, after some revision, the dynamic friendships in this story can be more clearly communicated to readers. Please see my full review here.

Gods of Sound: The Perilous Path of Cameron Foster

By: QM Schaffer

(Independent Request) - Young Adult

Cameron Foster is a guitar prodigy. At only ten years old, he can play even very complicated pieces with little trouble, but his life is anything but enjoyable. Bullied at school and at home, Cameron finds little refuge aside from his guitar. However, his world begins to change when a woman clad in leather appears on a motorcycle and introduces him to a new world. Though moments in the beginning feel disparate, each one finds a way of working into the plot later on. Please see my full review here.


By: Kerat Jhaj

(Independent Request) - Young Adult

This cataclysmic story blends the destruction of Earth with aliens and werewolves. Fans of Twilight will recognize the love triangle element of this novel, especially as the protagonist finds herself falling for the enemy. Incorporating heavy subject matter like rape, violence, and occasional swearing, this book is best suited to a mature audience. Written by a high school student, the narrative needs some attention and writing maturity, but the idea is compelling and worth pursuing. Please see my full review here.

The Littlest Yak

By: Lu Fraser

(NetGalley) - Picture Book

I love this story so much! Being short in stature myself, I immediately connected with Gertie, the smallest yak in her herd. She struggles to accept herself for who she is until she sees the benefits of being small in a crowd of larger creatures. Delightful, rhythmic text and vivid, enticing illustrations create a book that is a joy to read aloud. I hope classrooms, libraries, and homes find this story and include it in their regular rotations. Please see my full review here.

Lola Sleeps Over

By: Anna McQuinn

(NetGalley) - Picture Book

Lola is up for another adventure; this time, she will be sleeping over at her cousin Hani’s house for the very first time! This lovely addition to the Lola canon is a delightful reassurance for young readers who may be off to their own first sleepovers, themselves. Lots of smiles, cheerful colors, and loving embraces fill the images of this story, and the plot is just as enjoyable as one would expect. Please see my full review here.

McKenna’s Crossing

By: A.E. Michaels

(Independent Request) - Adult Fiction

This book is somewhat outside my typical purview, but I am a sucker for time travel romances. Readers familiar with the Highlander TV series will recognize similar themes in this period story, though the approach here is slightly different from the norm. After a tragic car accident upends Jessica Lauren’s life, she travels to her grandmother’s manse in Scotland, where she learns about her family’s mysterious past. To help heal both her family’s decades-old wounds and her own fresh ones, Jessie must go on a quest to attempt to reunite her grandmother with her long-lost love. Please see my full review here.

The Moon Thief

By: Kristine Keck

(Reedsy) - Picture Book

This beautifully illustrated picture book reads like a modern fable about the phases of the moon. Lovely brush strokes and hues of nighttime make the setting come alive for young readers, and families and classrooms alike will enjoy reading this story aloud. I especially appreciate books like this that inspire imaginative creation because readers can use these ideas as a stepping stone for their own stories. Please see my full review here.

Norman: Space Bat

By: Jake Evanoff

(Independent Request) - Early Middle Grade

This antic-filled story about a little bat who gets captured by the mysterious VIPD is a fun transition for children who are becoming more independent readers. Broken into very short chapters and dominated by illustrations, readers will gain confidence in reading with each page turned. Though it does not go into great detail and focuses primarily on action, this book’s design is a perfect fit for emerging readers looking for an amusing and accessible story. Please see my full review here.

Notes in the Night

By: Valerie Chamberlain

(Reedsy) - Middle Grade

This is a wholesome mystery that takes place at a summer music camp in Canada. After reading many Nancy Drew mysteries as a tween myself, I recognized common themes appearing in this story, as well. Readers will appreciate the accessible approach to this story as they learn important lessons along with the protagonists. By the end, readers will be ready to experience the next book in the series. Please see my full review here.

Ottilie Colter and the Master of Monsters

By: Rhiannon Williams

(NetGalley) - Young Adult

This is the second book in the Narroway Trilogy and continues the story of Ottilie Colter, the first female allowed to join the Narroway Hunt. Paired with her guardian Leo, Ottilie ventures out beyond the boundaries of Fort Fiory to protect the land from the frightening dredretches. As she finishes up her time as a fledge, strange occurrences cause Ottilie to turn her attention inside the Fort, where dangers begin to rival those on the outside. This cinematically written story is a great fit for young adult fantasy readers. Please see my full review here.

Prince Aiden: The Rising Darkness

By: Johnny Rouse

(Independent Request) - Early Young Adult

This science fiction adventure tells the story of Prince Aiden, the only remaining heir to the throne of the First Kingdom after the sudden and tragic death of his parents and twin brother. Protected by brave and selfless caregivers, twelve-year-old Aiden is brought to safety until he is prepared to face the evil that awaits him. A futuristic look at what unites and divides humanity, this story embraces the good in the galaxy, even when those who are good are not perfect. Please see my full review here.

Ship of Stolen Words

By: Fran Wilde

(NetGalley) - Middle Grade

Words have always been important to me, which should come as no surprise given my librarian background. This book looks at words from another perspective—as having power—and that if one isn’t careful, those words can be stolen away, never to return. Sam Culver has had the unfortunate experience of having a very important word stolen away right when he needs it most, and he must journey to a far away place to retrieve it in order for his summer vacation to officially begin. An action-packed portal narrative, this is a great fit for readers who enjoy a little fantasy with their reality. Please see my full review here.

Tiger and Tim’s African Jungle Adventure!

By: Tiger and Time Hague

(Independent Request) - Picture Book

The mission of Tiger and Tim is a valiant one of attempting to close the wide global literacy gap through stories and videos. This particular story features friends Tiger and Tim as they adventure to Africa together. Tiger wants to find someone who is just like him, but Tim doesn’t have the heart to correct Tiger’s geographically misguided assumptions. There are lots of ways to engage with this book, and fans of Blippi and Ryan’s World will appreciate the similar visual approach to this series. Please see my full review here.

Welcome to the Cypher

By: Khodi Dill

(NetGalley) - Picture Book

Rap is not a common way for children’s books to be presented, but it is an excellent medium, especially when read aloud. This book teaches about rap while demonstrating it directly, incorporating poetic and familiar language alongside chunky, colorful illustrations. A wizened narrator guides readers through the story, and by the end, readers will feel empowered to use their own voices to share their feelings aloud. Please see my full review here.

What Does a Caterpillar Do?

By: David McArthur

(Reedsy) - Picture Book

This cheerful garden adventure is a delight for preschool-aged readers. Colorful, dynamic illustrations featuring smiling faces adorn the pages of the book, while short, repetitive sentences encourage interaction. As the caterpillar encounters each of the other garden creatures, she tries to mimic their behavior, but to no avail. She even uses human tools to try to get the job done! But in the end, she learns exactly what she is meant to do. Please see my full review here.

Word Travelers: The Mystery of the Taj Mahal Treasure

By: Raj Haldar

(NetGalley) - Early Middle Grade

This is a book I would have loved reading as a kid! Filled with words and their origins, this story transports best friends Eddie and MJ to India, where they help a new friend Dev solve a mystery while learning where familiar words come from. It is a delightful and fast-paced adventure that is perfectly suited to young middle grade readers with a sense of adventure. It’s also a great precursor to Ben Gartner’s Eye of Ra series! Please see my full review here.

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