Whew! It has been a hot June. My brain doesn’t work so well when it is hot. I have been reading a number of junior room novels and plenty of picture books too. Two new paperback picture books that are quick fun reads are Lion Lion by Miriam Busch and Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp.

Jo Jo Makoons is a spirited seven year old who just so happens to live on an Ojibwe reservation. She is often out of tune or moving a little differently than everyone around her in her first adventure book The Used-to-be- Best Friend by Dawn Quigley. Another great story about friends for elementary students reading on their own is Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly. Some students have a hard time and Rusty is one of those students. He flunked math and will have to go to summer school. He finds refuge is caring for and learning to sail a small beloved sailboat. At least it is a refuge until a feisty, adult artist demands that he take her sailing and an unlikely friendship begins in Into the Wind by William Loizeaux.

A new graphic novel series for elementary students is called ‘5 Worlds’. The first book The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel tells of five worlds on the brink of extinction with three unlikely heroes trying to save the day when a devastating attack occurs. Oona Lee is a clumsy student with a destiny bigger than she can imagine, An Tzu has a surprising gift and knack for getting out of sticky situations and star athlete Jax Amboy may be beloved by the entire galaxy, but has no friends. When they three team up on an epic quest can even the five worlds contain all the adventure and magic that ensues.

I am always up for a good cat story. Honestly, just about any cat story is a good story and Cat Ninja by Matthew Cody was a lot of fun with sentences like “Your feeble feline brain is no match for Master Hamster!”

Do you have a kid who needs some encouragement? Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden might be just what’s needed as Libby sets off a chain of events to bring hope and encouragement to four individuals across the country who are dealing with bullies, grief, acceptance and homelessness.

The Republic of Birds by Jessica Miller is a beautiful fantasy story about magic, birds and kidnapping while The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim is another fantasy story about magic and adoption. And Da Vinci’s Cat by Catherine Gilbert Murdock features a mysterious wardrobe that allows two kids to travel through time. Federico is from the Italian Renaissance and Bee is from present-day New Jersey. They have to work together to prevent two great artists from changing the future with their bickering. Let’s end with a science fiction tale of shape-shifters on the run in Trouble in the Stars by Sarah Prineas.