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Up To Date

Summer Reading For Children & Youth


School’s out for summer, so keep your kids' brains busy, and develop that summer reading list.

Thursday on Up to Date, Steve Kraske welcomes Johnson County Library staffers Kate McNair, Debbie McLeod (ret.) and Bradley Debrick to share their favorite picks, from No Sleep for the Sheep to The ABCs of Baseball.

We’ll find out the best new titles for kids of all ages to pick up during your next trip to the local library.

The List: Best New Titles For Kids Of All Ages

No Sleep for the Sheep! by Karen Beaumont: All ages. A rhyming, tongue-twisty romp through the barnyard.

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe: Ages 12 & up. 16-year-old Kaelyn challenges her fears, finds a second chance at love and fights to keep her family and friends safe as a deadly new virus devastates her island community.

Bramble and Maggie: horse meets girl by Jessie Haas: Ages 6-9. Bramble, a bored school horse who needs her own person, regains her enthusiasm when she meets Maggie.

Where's Walrus by Stephen Savage: All ages. Follow an aloof zookeeper as he chases an escapee walrus all over town. The reader can find the walrus easily, but the zookeeper misses him every time. This is a wordless book, so the story can be different each time you "read" it.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: Ages 14 & up. In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence: Ages 8-12. After his foster parents are murdered, 12-year-old P.K. Pinkerton finds himself on the run from murderous Whittlin Walt and his gang, who are after the land deed in P.K.'s possession.

The Rumor by Monique Felix: Ages 4 & up. News of a savage wolf spreads fast through the forest, even falling upon the ears of the unknowing wolf himself.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Ages 12 & up. 19-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex: Ages 8-12. Scott, who may be part changeling, Erno and Emily - genius twins, and a leprechaun named Mick try to save the world from an evil cereal company whose goal is world domination!

Neville by Norton Juster: Ages 4 & up. A young boy is lonely after moving to a new town. While out for a walk, he comes up with an ingenious way to meet new kids.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Ages 12 & up. As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis: Ages 8-12. During the Great Depression, 12-year-old Deza Malone and her family leave their home in Gary, Indiana to search for their missing father. Companion book to Curtis’ Newbery Award winning book, Bud, Not Buddy.

I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs: Ages 4 & up. An interactive, non-fiction animal identification book. A snippet of fact and die-cut circles in some of the pages invite the reader to guess what animal is coming up next.

The Statistical Improbability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: Ages 12 & up. Hadley and Oliver fall in love on the flight from New York to London, but after a cinematic kiss they lose track of each other at the airport until fate brings them back together on a very momentous day.

Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It by Gail Carson Levine: Ages 6-9. A collection of false apology poems which imagines how the tricksters really feel about the mischief they make.

ABCs of Baseball by Peter Golenbock: All ages. An alphabetically-arranged baseball primer for new and old fans alike.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers: Ages 14 & up. In the 15th-century kingdom of Brittany, seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts--and a violent destiny.

The Moon Over High Street by Natalie Babbitt: Ages 8-12. 12-year-old Joe has to choose between his life-long dream of becoming an astronomer and the chance to become the adopted son of the town millionaire.

Wodney Wat's Wobot by Helen Lester: Ages 4 & up. Finally another Wodney Wat story 12 years after the original! All the familiar characters are back including pesky Camilla Capybara.

All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean Myers: Ages 14 & up. The summer after his absentee father is killed in a random shooting, Paul volunteers at a Harlem soup kitchen where he listens to lessons about "the social contract" from an elderly African American man, and mentors a seventeen-year-old unwed mother who wants to make it to college on a basketball scholarship.

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson: Ages 8-12. Hal and Fleck, a dog from Easy Pets rent-a-pet, have other plans when it is time for Fleck to be returned.

Blackout by John Rocco: Ages 4 & up. An ordinary night in the city until -- as the title suggests -- BLACKOUT! Nothing brings the family and the neighborhood together quite like it.

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert: Ages 10-14. The story of Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller's first years together is told in graphic novel format.

Crickets by Valerie Bodden: Ages 6 & up. Brilliant photos and easy text provide an introduction to several types of crickets. Part of a series of books called Creepy Creatures.

Titanic: Voices from the Deep by Deborah Hopkinson: Ages 8-12. Relates the last days of the mighty ship Titanic, as told through the voices of various survivors and witnesses.

After growing up on the east coast and spending his first professional years in classical music, Stephen moved to Kansas City in 1995 expecting to leave after a few years. (Clearly that didn't happen.) More than two decades and three kids later, he doesn't regret his decision to stick around. Stephen began his career in public radio as a classical music host. As the founding producer of Up to Date with Steve Kraske, he received a number of local and national awards for his work on the program. Since 2014 he's overseen KCUR's broadcast operations. When Stephen isn't at KCUR's studios, he's probably adding more stamps to his passport with his KU professor wife and their three kids. His son almost made him cry during a drive through the Rockies when he said at age 8: "Dad, can we listen to public radio?" Sniff sniff.
Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.