The Curiosity Cruiser has so many books to offer, meaning it might be hard to choose, so the Cruiser Team put together a list of some of our suggested reads! Can’t make it to the Cruiser? No worries! I have linked all the titles directly to the Harris County Public Library catalog, where you can request the book for check out from your local branch!
Board books are short books made of cardboard to withstand the behaviors (chewing, drooling, hard page turning) of babies and young toddlers. The illustrations are usually bright and colorful to pull your young one’s attention.
Suggested Age: 0-3
The Family Book
By: Todd Parr
The Family Book, written and illustrated by Todd Parr, is a board book for babies as growing readers, but can be read by the whole family, as the name implies! From the outside cover to the last page, Parr’s illustrations are full of colorful and playful diverse bonds. Parr pairs these illustrated families with explanations of how there are differences in families but that love and care are at the center of each of them. The Family Book is an awesome example of helping teach children about diversity and how differences make us unique, but that we are all equally loved.
Picture books tend to be referred to as “everybody books” as they are enjoyable to everyone. They are best used, however, for story time with preschool children and up until the child starts to read on their own.
Suggested Ages: 3-6
What Do you Do With An Idea?
By: Kobi Yamada
What do you do with an idea? Ideas can come in many forms, in this inspiring story by Kobi Yamada, an idea comes to a young child in the form of an egg with feet! The child then wonders- what exactly do you do with an idea? At first, they are reluctant to take notice of it but soon they nurture and take care of their idea. They wonder how others would see it, and for a moment they doubt their idea is any good at all… until they realize it’s THEIR idea after all! Of course, it’s wonderful and fantastic! They watch their idea grow and grow until one day, HATCH! It’s everywhere and permeates the world in color shown through beautiful illustration by Mae Besom
Towards the end of the book the author asks again, what do you do with an idea? That open ended question is up to the reader to imagine. I would recommend this book for all ages as it teaches an important lesson that all ideas are unique and important and given the time to grow and learn can become wonderful realities.
Early Readers are designed to help children who are starting to read to expand and improve those skills. There are different levels, as your child improves, the books increase in difficulty. They usually involve limited word counts per page and fun illustrations to help the child with story comprehension.
Suggested Ages: 6-8
My Friend Is Sad
By: Mo Willems
My Friend Is Sad is another book in the Elephant and Piggie series written and illustrated by Mo Willems. What do you do when your best friend is sad? Well, if you’re Piggie, that means going out of your way to cheer up your best friend Gerald, whether its dressing up as a clown, a cowboy, or a robot. But what if all Gerald really wants is to see Piggie? A wonderful book for all ages with a lovely message for everyone. My Friend is Sad teaches you that sometimes what all your friends need, is you. And maybe a new pair of glasses. I recommend this series for beginner level readers grades Kinder through 2nd. With a cute art style, this is a great series to get your child into reading.
Beginning Chapter Books
Beginning Chapter Books are short chapter books designed for newly independent readers. They are the perfect transition books from Early Readers to chapter books. Each book has several short chapters and has several illustrations throughout the story.
Suggested Ages: 7-9
The Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book O’ Fun
By: Dav Pilkey
You may know Dav Pilkey from writing Dog Man, Cat Kid, Dumb Bunnies, Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot, and much more.
Today I am reviewing the Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book O’ Fun that we have stocked on the Cruiser. I have read many of Pilkey’s books and love the silly, ridiculous humor. One theme that I love across many of his books is that Dav makes writing stories and creating comics super approachable. The main characters are two young kids, George and Harold, who just love making up fun stories! It is just such a fun outlet for creativity!
In this short graphic novel, I would recommend for grades 3rd-5th, Pilkey has given us readers tons of lessons on how to draw his characters and show action, word searches for funny words, how to prank a stinky principal, stickers, and a short comic called Hairy Potty! If your kid likes to laugh and/or draw, I highly recommend The Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book O’ Fun.
*This title is not available for check out through Harris County Public Library*
Middle Grade Chapter
As suggested by the heading, these books are written with our middle graders in mind. Their concepts and writing styles are more ideal for children who have proved they can read completely on their own (although words occasionally come up in books that I even need a dictionary for ha-ha). These books will have few to no illustrations, but their stories dive deeper than those of a Beginning Chapter Book.
Suggested Ages: 10-14
Sal & Gabi Break the Universe
By: Carlos Hernandez
The Rick Riordan Presents imprint is back at it! Rick Riordan’s series about Greek, Roman, and Egyptian gods are beloved by readers. So much so, they began to ask him if he could write stories about their cultures too. Riordan decided to, instead, launch an imprint where authors from those cultures could write new tales! While most of the entries in the series are mythology-based, this one has a sci-fi bent. The book follows Sal, aspiring magician and new kid at Culeco Academy of the Arts.
Culeco’s classes are creative and its teachers encouraging, but some problems stay the same. One, bullies are a constant even at nice schools. Two, Sal’s ability to open portals to alternate dimensions is also a constant. And three, he should probably stop doing that since it inevitably involves bringing forth some alternate version of his dead mom.
Everything from how the novel matter-of-factly portrays Sal’s diabetes to its considerate exploration of grief, is special. Each character is infused with warmth, including Gabi—a quick-witted girl who bursts into the principal’s office to defend Sal’s bully. It makes sense in context, we promise. So, does the bloody chicken Sal summoned from another world for a “prank” on said bully.
Young adult novels are geared towards high schoolers and older. These books may have content not suited for children of a younger demographic. At this point children are reading fully independently.
Suggested Ages: 15-18
You Should See Me In A Crown
By: Leah Johnson
After the blooming flowers and allergies of spring, comes prom season! If you’re a fan of sweet romances and the realistic throes of a teen stressing out about financial aid and relationships, then check out this read. Liz Lighty is a great student, first chair clarinet in her school orchestra, and altogether someone who should handily win the music scholarship she applied for, right?
If only. Losing out on that scholarship hits Liz hard, as her grandparents can’t afford to send her to college without selling their house. Then, her younger brother points out she can run for prom queen and snag the $10,000 prize that comes with the crown. Prom season is a big deal in their small, affluent, mid-western town. Liz is skeptical about entering the spectacle, even setting aside her anxiety and shyness. She’s black, not wealthy, and queer—not the kind of queen their school usually crowns. But higher education is a powerful draw, and Liz does end up running.
Her prom campaign is rife with adventures and pitfalls, including crushing on fellow prom queen candidate Mack and spending time with Jordan, the best friend who dumped her the minute they started high school. It’s a fun ride, despite the pushback Liz faces—from others and herself.
You Should See Me in a Crown is about a wallflower coming into her own, and well worth the time of any romance lover. And if you’re not a fan of the genre, try it anyways! As Liz shows, stepping out of your comfort zone can be a wonderful thing.
Graphic novels are today’s version of a comic book. Dynamic illustrations with dialogue bubbles and the works. These are a particular favorite of independently reading children. We have Graphic Novels from Beginning Chapter through Young Adult.
Suggested Age: Varies- See following review for the book level and follow the book level standard age suggestion
The Stonekeeper: A Graphic Novel (Amulet #1)
By: Kazu Kibuishi
(Middle Grade Graphic Novel)
Written by Kazu Kibuishi Amulet is a graphic novel great for readers 3rd grade and up! Amulet tells the story of Emily and Navin, two siblings who discover a magical amulet that kickstarts their adventure into a parallel world. When their mother is kidnapped by a tentacle monster Emily and Navin must head off into the unknown braving all manner of danger as well as learning the secrets of their new amulet powers. With wonderful art, interesting designs, and a cast of relatable characters, the first volume is sure to hook your child, and maybe even a parent or two, and take you on an exciting journey.
The Cruiser and HCPL also have a wide range of Spanish books for all age levels!
Suggested Age: Varies- See following review for the book level and follow the book level standard age suggestion.
Oso panda, Oso Panda, ¿qué ves ahí?
By: Bill Martian Jr.
This board book, perfect for ages 0-3 years old, is the delightful Spanish translation of Bill Martin Jr.’s Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? While savvy readers are aware of the pitfalls that come with any translated work, never fear! The rhythmic writing of the original holds up wonderfully in Spanish, and with Eric Carle’s illustrations—this book is a solid choice for any parent.
Oso panda, oso panda, ¿qué ves ahí? opens with the reader asking the panda bear from the cover, what do you see? The panda bear tells the reader, they see a bald eagle. The reader asks the bald eagle, what do you see? The bald eagle tells the reader, they see a water buffalo, and so it goes. From spider monkeys to red wolves, this board book offers readers a look at special animals you don’t tend to see in children’s books. Every character is expressive and set against a vivid background.
Beautiful to read and beautiful to look at, you won’t regret picking this one up!
WOW! What a great batch of books! Find these and tons more on the Curiosity cruiser or from your local library! Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you soon!
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