Here are some books to start your school year, according to the kids of Michigan Radio

The school year has begun, and so has the push for kids to read more each day. One English teacher said, “There are no kids who don’t like to read. There are kids who haven’t found the right book yet.”

Books open our eyes and minds to new ideas and perspectives. They allow a reader to transport to new worlds and far-off places. For kids, a simple car ride could become an adventure, waiting for a sibling to finish at practice could become an opportunity, and a bedtime story could be just a moment away from dream world.

We asked Michigan Radio kids to think of a book to share with other readers. The following recommendations include some of their own words.

Teen reads

The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo
Recommended by Kate, age 14

“It’s an adventure series about a gang of teenagers pulling off a daring heist. It has a great plot that has a lot of suspense, and also has great characters and representation.”

Your Life Has Been Delayed by Michelle Mason
Recommended by Isabelle, age 13

It’s a book about a girl living a happy, normal life in 1995. She boards a plane home from visiting her grandparents. When the plane lands, this aspiring journalist is suddenly 25 years in the future. A lot has changed, including technology and music, and her school paper – well, not paper. Now it’s all online. How would you feel if everyone and everything you knew aged 25 years and Your Life Has Been Delayed?

Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland
Recommended by Olivia, age 9

“Every book is a new exciting adventure.” There are 27 books in this collection of stories, including six graphic novels. In a world where dragons rule, there was peace between the dragon tribes, but now they’re at war.

Graphic novels for all ages

Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Fourth Closet by Kira Breed-Wrisley and Scott Cawthon
Recommended by Kayleigh, age 11

“This book has a lot of lore so people can do theories about it. And because it’s a graphic novel.” This is the third and final book in the Five Nights at Freddy’s book trilogy. Bound together by their childhood loss, John reluctantly teams up with Jessica, Marla, and Carlton to solve the case and find the missing children.

Bunnicula by Stephen Gilpin
Recommended by George, age 11

“A dog and a cat are trying to solve the mystery of the strange new pet bunny in the house. Most bunnies eat their vegetables, but not this one. They think it’s a vampire.”

The Olympians Series by George O’Connor
Recommended by Felix, age 9

“The Olympians is really good because it teaches you about Greek mythology and it shows one myth in it per book.” These books are a spin-off of the Percy Jackson series by the same author. There are six graphic novels created in the style of a super-hero comic book, described as action-packed and vibrant.

Bone by Jeff Smith
Recommended by Felix, age 9

“Bone is funny.” Three cousins are run out of town and go on an adventure through uncharted deserts and valleys, not knowing what danger lurks around each corner.

Dog Man by Dave Pilkey
Recommended by Felix, age 9

“Dog Man is super funny.” Written by the author of Captain Underpants and Dumb Bunnies, these graphic novels are silly and sure to make you laugh within the first few pages.

Pictures worth a thousand words

Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
Recommended by Elena, age 8

“Elephant and Piggie is really fun, and easy for new readers.” There are 25 Elephant and Piggie books, where the two friends work to solve a problem or address big feelings.

The Tree Keepers: Flock by Gemma Kooman
Recommended by Nyah, age 4

This is a picture book about tiny people who live in trees, a baby starling and the joys of nature and making friends.

Three Billy Goats Gruff
Recommended by Arthur, age 7

“This is a good story about how bullies don’t always get their way.” This classic tale has many variations. At it’s core are three billy goats looking to cross a bridge, and a hungry troll, who guards the bridge.

The Paper Kingdom by Helena Ku Rhee
Recommended by Elena, age 8

“The Paper Kingdom is super fun, and his imagination goes wild with his parents.” It’s about a boy who goes to work with his parents, who are night janitors in an office building, and they create an imaginary “Paper Kingdom” world to keep him entertained while they work. The author’s note explains that it was inspired by her parents who were once night janitors, and the book is very sweet and heartfelt.

Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
Recommended by Louis, age 5

“Beekle waits a long time to be imagined. Then, he goes on a journey to the real world to find his friend.” This story is a Caldecott winner.

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard
Recommend by Elena, age 8

“One of my favorite books: It’s about how Mary Walker, who was born into slavery, learned to read at 114 years old.” That’s not a typo–she lived to 121, though it’s possible that’s not quite correct since she wasn’t sure of her birth year. At any rate she lived a VERY long life. It’s a really well done, moving story, and it’s also beautifully illustrated.

Poems and collections

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Recommended by Olivia, age 9

“I like the unusual poems.” This is a collection of poems. It was the first children’s book to break onto the New York Times Bestseller List. It stayed there for a record-breaking 182 weeks.

Tell Me A Story by Louise deForest
Recommended by Nyah, age 4, and Ilo, age 2

A collection of over 80 stories to connect us to one another, give us a sense of who we are, and can help to guide us into the future.

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