Children’s books to inspire students

It’s summer so it’s a great time for kids to read plenty of books!

For young kids, a great bedtime book with a twist is “When Mermaids Sleep” by Ann Bonwill with illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.

With lovely illustrations of mermaids, pirates, genies, dragons, unicorns, giants, goblins, griffins, fairies and more all slumbering, this is a fairy tale story of when the fairy tale creatures go to bed. It’s a perfect winding down story after a long summer day.

“When Mermaids Sleep” is published by Random House. It is $10.99 and for ages 3 to 5.


The classic “piggy” story stays on its toes with new things the piggies do in “This Little Piggy” by Tim Harrington.

Piggies just don’t go to town and have roast beef. On the other foot, piggies go dancing, fly planes, sell hot dogs, paint and explore space! In fact, the encourage more fun things to do rather than roast beef eating, like have a costume party, chew gum, race go-karts, play drums and become Super Toe! All before bedtime, of course. This is a cute story that will make young kids giggle.

“This Little Piggy” is published by HarperCollins. It is $15.99 and for ages 4 to 8.


A family gets stuck together in “Sticky, Sticky, Stuck!” by Michael Gutch with illustrations by Steve Bjorkman.

Annie’s family is always busy with their own thing – computers, video games and cellphones. No one pays attention to Annie, except to tell her she’s sticky from gum or marshmallows. So when no one will stop and help her make a peanut butter and honey sandwich, Annie decides to do it herself – with sticky consequences. Will the family learn something about togetherness and teamwork? This story may inspire parents to slow down and read a book or two with their young kids.

“Sticky, Sticky, Stuck!” is published by HarperCollins. It is $17.99 and for ages 4 to 8.


An owl doesn’t enjoy the scarf his mom makes him wear in Tatyana Feeney’s “Little Owl’s Orange Scarf.”

Owl enjoys eating ice cream, adding and riding his scooter, but he doesn’t love the orange scarf his mom gives him. It is itchy, too long and very orange. Owl keeps trying to lose it by using it as a bow for a package and mailing it to Peru, but Mommy always finds it. When he is forced to wear it to the zoo, it somehow disappears. His mom decides to make a new one with him, this time in blue. But who got Owl’s old scarf? The illustrations are colored with only black, orange and green-blue and adds to the simple charm of this story.

“Little Owl’s Orange Scarf” is published by Random House. It is $16.99 and for ages 3 to 6.


A young boy sets his sights on being class president but clashes with his nemesis in Gary Paulsen’s “Vote.”

Cash Levine has been Kevin Spencer’s nemesis since his arrival two weeks ago. He’s popular, good looking and seems to have his eye on Kevin’s girlfriend, Tina. So of course he wants to be class president too.

But Kevin’s determined not to go down without a fight. It’s going to be a week to win over the hearts of the class – and Tina’s. Who will win in the end? This is a good book for middle-grade readers with a relatable hero.

“Vote” is published by Random House. It is $12.99 and for ages 9 to 14. Look for the previous book, “Crush” available in paperback now.


A princess becomes a dragon slayer in Merrie Haskell’s “Handbook for Dragon Slayers.”

Princess Matilda’s lame foot makes people fear her and believe she and everyone around her is cursed. Finally having enough, she escapes her land with her servant and friend Judith and friend Parz to get away from her scheming cousin Ivo, who wants her lands. She decides to leave his grasp and help Parz at the same time write a book about dragon slaying. Can the group become unlikely heroes and face down the Wild Hunt?

This is a good story of an adventuring princess who doesn’t sit around waiting for the prince to show up and save her.

“Handbook for Dragon Slayers” is published by HarperCollins. It is $16.99 and is for grades 3 to 7.


Three friends struggle with life after high school in Lurlene McDaniel’s “The Year of Luminous Love.”

Ciana, Arie and Eden are friends in Tennessee who just graduated, but all are facing problems. Ciana is trying to keep her family’s farm going and falls for a handsome cowboy. Arie is training horses and struggling with her own health issues that she hasn’t told her friends or family about – but does confide in a horse trainer. And Eden’s been taking care of herself and her flighty mother. She has an older boyfriend, Tony, but their relationship is becoming more controlling and toxic. As the three girls move forward with their lives, uncertain though they may be, they also learn the importance of friendship and standing on their own. This is a tear-jerker story that is also warm and moving.

“The Year of Luminous Love” is published by Delacorte Press. It is $16.99.

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