As school winds up for summer vacation, youths will have more spare time to read for pleasure — and hopefully not spend all their time with television and video games. Below is a collection of new releases set for this spring and summer that kids can delve into and enjoy.
The Newbery Honor author of "Ella Enchanted," Gail Carson Levine is introducing a prequel to her previous novel "The Two Princesses of Bamarre" with "The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre." A semi-Rapunzel retelling, the main character Peregrine was given her name for her wandering soul. She was taken from her Bamarre family as an infant to live with Lakti nobility — the people who long ago conquered the Bamarre in their own land and forced them into servitude.
When Peregrine discovers the truth about her heritage from a fairy named Halina, her life is flipped upside down and she must discover her destiny to free her true people.
Just in time for the film "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2" coming out May 5, "Rocket and Groot: Keep on Truckin'" by Tom Angleberger brings out the antics of a tree-like alien who only knows how to say "I am Groot" and his mischievous raccoon friend, Rocket, along with the sentient tape dispenser, Veronica. After running out of fuel, they are stranded on a strange planet, and pretty soon these guardians find themselves on a new adventure.
With enough illustrations to feel like a word-heavy comic book, this is the kind of goofy, fun story that can help children who are more resistant to reading start asking for more.
"5 WORLDS: The Sand Warrior," by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel; illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller and Boya Sun; Random House; $12.99; 256 pages (f) (ages 8-12); release May 2
"5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior" is a new fantasy graphic novel series from brothers Mark and Alexis Siegel. The Five Worlds will be destroyed forever unless a trio of poor, clumsy children can save them. Comparing it to "Avatar: The Last Airbender," Random House is calling it a series that "pushes boundaries … with deep themes that truly resonate." And the beautiful illustrations will have young readers flying through the pages.
"CLAYTON BYRD GOES UNDERGROUND," by Rita Williams-Garcia, Amistad, $16.99, 176 pages (f) (ages 8-12); release May 9
Newberry Honor and three-time Corretta Scott King Award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia's new book "Clayton Byrd Goes Underground," is all about the blues. When Clayton Byrd's grandfather dies, his mother takes away his instruments and forbids him from playing the blues on his harmonica the way his grandfather taught him.
In rebellion, Clayton runs away from home to join "the Bluesmen," and on the way learns many important lessons. This book could be a great way to teach children about diversity, music, loss and family.
Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for young adults and a National Book Award finalist, Laura Ruby takes on a slightly younger audience in "York: The Shadow Cipher."
In a different, more magical version of modern-day New York, Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz have to solve the Old York Cipher created by the architects who made their city what it is, or else their vision for New York might be lost forever.
Compared to "Fangirl," by Rainbow Rowell, "Geekerella" by Ashley Poston is a contemporary Cinderella retelling about a girl named Elle Wittimer who is obsessed with the classic sci-fi series "Starfield," and so enters a cosplay contest that could win her a night at the cosplay ball and a chance to meet the actor playing the Federation Prince. Ashley is also conveniently an employee of a food truck named the Magic Pumpkin.
This cute romance is fairy tale wrapped in a tribute to modern nerd culture. Teen readers are likely to fall in love.
Inspired by the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical, "Hamilton," comes the love story of Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler for young adults in "Alex & Eliza: A Love Story" by Melissa de la Cruz.
While Schuyler comes from one of the founding families of the colonies, Hamilton is a bastard orphan who has worked his way up during the war to become George Washington's right-hand man. Still, he's not quite good enough for the Schuyler daughter he's charmed, and their love story, as contained in this well-researched novel, is one for the ages.
From the best-selling author of "The Wrath and the Dawn," Renee Ahdieh, "The Flame in the Mist" is set in feudal Japan, mixing Japanese and Korean folklore. Mariko is the daughter of a samurai, already trapped in an arranged, political betrothal at the age of 17.
Then, Mariko narrowly escapes murder by bandits and ends up disguised as a boy in the Black Clan, trying to track down those who want her dead. Romance, action and magic intertwine in this novel likely to keep readers enthralled.
Though it's coming nearly three months after the major motion picture that's set to release June 2, it's likely many young adults will still feel high off of the superhero thrill in time to read "Wonder Woman: Warbringer" by Leigh Bardugo.
The back story of the Amazon princess with the Lasso of Truth and bulletproof bracelets is told as she rescues Alia Keralis, a Warbringer and descendant of Helen of Troy, and with her must set right the fate of the world.