Bigger Kids

Hot picks: Books for early readers

Make summer reading fun again with these awesome books for early readers. Plus, check back in every week for a new reading challenge to try with your kid!

By Today's Parent
Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt Book Cover Photo: Tundra Books

1. Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt Written and illustrated by Ben Clanton, Tundra Books (AGES 6-9) Follow happy-go-lucky Narwhal and his partner-in-crime Jelly as they find their inner superheroes in three new awesome adventures.

Make it fun: Create your own super hero, complete with a super name, a super power, a super habitat and a super sidekick.

Book cover of Rise of the rusty robocat with illustration of a robot cat

2. The Rise of the Rusty Robocat Written and illustrated by Mike Lowery, Workman Publishing (AGES 8+) Part game, part graphic novel, this interactive story—about Carl the Duck and his quest to find out why all the cats in town are acting like jerks—requires kids to use their imaginations to complete the tale.

Make it fun: Try to find all the cats held within the pages. For an extra challenge, try to only draw things that rhyme with “cat” when adding your own illustrations to the page.

Book cover for Heartwood Hotel that depicts a tiny mouse sitting in a tree at night


3. Heartwood Hotel Written by Kallie George and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, Harper Collins (AGES 7-10) When Mona the Mouse lands at Heartwood Hotel during a storm, she finds refuge from the weather and a new job. In fact, the hotel might even become home. This two-in-one read features the first books in a charming new primary series.

Make it fun: Ask your kid to discuss what he thinks is the most important message of the book and give three reasons why.

Book cover of The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library depicting a tiny bug between the pages of a large book in a library

4. The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library
Written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, Tundra Books (AGES 7-10) Eddie is a little green bug who lives in the grade four classroom at Ferny Creek Elementary. When his Aunt Min goes to the school library and never returns, Eddie must save her—and the entire library.

Make it fun: See how many references to classic literature your kid can catch when reading this book.

Book cover for Hilda and the Black Hound. Illustration of Hilda in a dark forest with her dog.

5. Hilda and the Black Hound
Written and illustrated by Luke Pearson, NoBrow Ltd. (AGES 6 and up) Hilda’s been pretending to camp in the fjords (she’s really in her room), but she wants real adventure. So, she joins the Sparrow Scouts. But her efforts to earn badges hit a roadblock in the form of Tontu, a house-spirit who’s lacking a house.

Make it fun: For each illustration of the Black Hound, as your kid to try to describe what he’s thinking and explain how the image portrays this.

book cover with a dog on stage doing stand up

6. Dog Night at the Story Zoo Written by Dan Bar-El and illustrated by Vicki Nerino, Tundra Books (AGES 7-10) It’s dog night at the Story Zoo, and these pups have plenty of hilarious, touching tales. Think, a poodle whose annoying yapping actually saves the day or a bulldog who doesn’t want to be judged for his looks.


Make it fun: Ask your future author to come up with his own story that he would tell if he were given the mic at the Story Zoo

cover of a book about Einstein

7. Einstein and the Time Machine Written and illustrated by Luca Novelli, Chicago Review Press (AGES 7 AND UP) This engaging portrait tells Albert Einstein’s life story, from his childhood to his marriage, his groundbreaking theories to his disappointments. His revolutionary Theory of Relativity makes an appearance, as does his pacifism.

Make it fun: For each of Einstein’s discoveries, ask your budding scientist to make a list of things that we wouldn’t have today if it weren’t for Einstein’s work.

Cover of Mort Ziff Is Not Dead with flamingo wearing a top hat


8. Mort Ziff is Not Dead
Written by Carey Fagan, Puffin Canada (AGES 8-12) When Norman wins $1,000 in “Count-the-Doozy-Dots Contest,” his parents let him decide how to spend it. His pick? A trip to Miami Beach. Once there, he meets a once-famous comedian at the pool, and becomes determined to revive his career.

Make it fun: For each character in the book, ask your kid to share a lesson that they taught him about what it means to be a good person.

Check back next week for more great picks!

This article was originally published on Jun 16, 2017

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