Books and reviews: Summer books for the intermediate level | Books and reviews

If you’re looking for some great books for your mid-level readers over the summer, here’s a list of fantastic graphic novels and chapter books that have popped up recently.

Grumpy Chicken Party Animals by Katherine Battersby (Simon and Schuster) – My 9 year old son has already read this book several times since we received it. I can hear him laughing all the time in his room, he can’t get enough of Cranky Chicken and Speedy Worm. In this second Cranky Chicken book, it’s Cranky’s birthday and since she doesn’t like surprises, Speedy Worm decides to throw her a no-surprise party full of non-cranky things. Hilariously written and illustrated, Grumpy Chicken Party Animals is sure to bring joy to any young reader. (6-9 years old)

Esme’s Birthday Conga Line by Lourdes Heuer (Penguin Random House) – It’s Esme’s birthday and her grandparents haven’t planned a birthday party. That’s no problem for Esme as she puts her problem-solving skills to work, ensuring the best party ever. This is a clever and fun chapter book, keeping readers on their toes as Esme works out all the details of her party. Expressive illustrations by Marissa Valdez add to the enjoyment of the story. (6-9 years old)

Scaredy Squirrel gets a surprise by Melanie Watt (Penguin Random House) – Scaredy Squirrel is back with another spooky adventure. This time around, a big surprise box appears at Scaredy’s house and after imagining all the potentially horrible things that could be in there, he concludes that it needs to be sent back. We’re big Melanie Watt fans in this house and Scaredy’s latest adventure didn’t disappoint. It’s funny as usual and full of amusing banter between Scaredy and his friends. (6-9 years old)

swim team by Johnnie Christmas (Harper Collins) – This is a fantasy graphic novel about middle school student Bree as she navigates a new school in a new state. Stuck with the only choice left to her, she is forced to take swimming class 101 and is ashamed that she cannot swim. With the help of an elderly neighbor, she manages to turn the tide and discovers a new passion. This novel has a strong story, covering issues such as bullying and anxiety, as well as incorporating history lessons. (8-12 years old)

Mona Hasan’s Secret Diary by Salma Hussain (Penguin Random House) – Written in diary form, Mona Hasan’s Secret Diary is a witty and moving novel that is sure to pique the interest of any young reader. In 1991, readers travel with Mona as the Gulf War breaks out and her family decides to move to the east coast of Canada. Along with taking care of the normal things the kids go through, Mona also has to take care of moving to another continent. Although serious subjects are covered in this book, Mona’s wit and sass are really the driving force behind the story. (10-14 years old)

Mr. Lemoncello’s very first game by Chris Grabenstein (Penguin Random House) – In this prequel to Grabenstein’s Mr. Lemoncello series, we learn how everyone’s favorite game designer got his start making games. A witty and whimsical read, this is a great book for children just beginning to venture into chapter books. You can’t help but love Luigi and his determination to not only make games, but to make sure his friends have fun along the way. (8-12 years old)

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by AF Steadman (Simon and Schuster) – Fantasy adventure fans will love this book. Every year, Skandar’s family watches the Chaos Cup, and every inhabitant of the continent dreams of being able to compete one day. All Skandar dreams of is leaving the mainland to go to the secret island where the unicorns live. One night, a mysterious figure appears and shakes the world of Skandar. If you are a fan of the adventures of “chosen” heroes, this book is for you. Steadman delivers an epic adventure where unicorns aren’t the cute and lovable mythical beings we’ve always thought they were. (8-12 years old)

Growing pains by Kathryn Ormsbee (Penguin Random House) – This is one of those books I wish I had read when I was a kid. Growing pains is a semi-autobiographical graphic novel that deals with mental health issues such as anxiety and OCD. Katie knows she’s different, she’s homeschooled, has freckles and crooked teeth, but with her best friend Kacey by her side, none of that matters. When they go to camp however, Kacey starts acting weird and they stop talking. Katie now has to deal with all of these big issues and insecurities without her best friend by her side. This graphic novel would be a perfect addition to any library. (8-12 years old)

Meredith is a Disney-obsessed stay-at-home mom. When she’s not planning a trip, you’ll find her with her nose in a book. Follow her on instagram.

Colin L. Johnson