Summer is winding down, making this the perfect time to discover some cool new reads to beat the heat. Read about a cunning alligator who opens a restaurant on his nose to lure in his prey, the return of a local ghost girl, a feminist follow-up to a popular book, and much more in our roundup.

Picture Books

Cat Problems

Jory John, illus. by Lane Smith. Random House Studio, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-593-30213-2. Ages 3–7.

In this third entry in the Animal Problems series, a pampered house cat has problems too. The sun spot he’s trying to bathe in won’t stop moving. He keeps getting served dry food instead of wet. And the vacuum is a menace. Is there a silver lining? See our In Conversation with the collaborators.

Chez Bob

Bob Shea. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-48311-7. Ages 4–8.

Welcome to Chez Bob, which seems like a real restaurant... until you realize it’s on an alligator’s nose. Bob has a hidden plan to eat his bird customers that fly in from all over the world to dine on his face. Then something starts to happen that takes the lazy, hungry reptile by surprise. The book received a starred review from PW.

Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez, Daughter of the Nahua

Gloria Amescua, illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. Abrams, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4020-6. Ages 6–10.

Luz Jiménez (1897–1965) was a “child of the flower-song people, the powerful Aztecs, who called themselves Nahua—who lost their land, but who did not disappear.” Amescua excavates the compelling story of the woman known as “the spirit of Mexico” through her appearance in works by artists including Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot, and Tina Mondotti. The book received a starred review from PW.

Doing Business

Shawn Harris. Norton Young Readers, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-324-01566-6. Ages 3–5.

Harris takes a time-honored toilet training euphemism and runs with it. Someone has done business where they’re not supposed to. But who was it? Suspense builds as suspects are methodically eliminated. The book received a starred review from PW.

The First Blade of Sweetgrass

Suzanne Greenlaw and Gabriel Frey, illus. by Nancy Baker. Tilbury House, $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-88448-760-9. Ages 6–8.

At a salt marsh, Musqon’s grandmother teaches her how to harvest purple-stemmed sweetgrass, as her own grandmother once taught her. Emphasizing the importance of conservation and tradition in Native culture, married authors Greenlaw (who is Maliseet) and Frey (who is Passamaquoddy) craft a sweet story that centers a Wabanaki grandmother and granddaughter. The book received a starred review from PW.

Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates

Cheryl B. Klein, illus. by Abhi Alwar. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-32423-3. Ages 3–7.

It’s been 205 days since Marvin has come to live with Henry. Marvin loves to talk, driving Henry up the cage walls. But when Henry finally loses his cool and gets exactly what he wanted, both hamsters have to figure out a way to live together and work through their communication mishaps. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess

Tom Gauld. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4698-8. Ages 4–8.

For years, the king and queen tried desperately to have a baby. Their wish was twice granted when an engineer and a witch gave them a little wooden robot and an enchanted log princess. There’s just one catch: every night when the log princess sleeps, she transforms back into an ordinary log. The book received a starred review from PW. Read our q&a with Gauld.

The Longest Storm

Dan Yaccarino. MineditionUS/Russo, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-66265-047-5. Ages 4–8.

No one knew where the strange storm came from, or why it lasted so long. The family at the center of this timely story has to hunker down together inside—and that’s hard when there’s absolutely nothing to do, and everyone’s getting on everyone else’s nerves. The book received a starred review from PW.

My Two Border Towns

David Bowles, illus. by Erika Meza. Kokila, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-11104-8. Ages 4–8.

A boy and his father prepare for a trip to The Other Side/El Otro Lado of the border, in Mexico, which is just down the street from his school. Their outings always include a meal at their favorite restaurant, a visit with Tío Mateo at his jewelry store, a cold treat from the paletero, and a pharmacy pickup. On their final and most important stop, they check in with friends seeking asylum and drop off much-needed supplies. The book received a starred review from PW.

Negative Cat

Sophie Blackall. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25719-3. Ages 4–8.

When a boy is finally allowed to get a cat, he has no doubts about which one to bring home from the shelter. But Max the cat isn’t quite what the family expected.

A Song of Frutas

Margarita Engle, illus. by Sara Palacios. Atheneum, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4489-8. Ages 4–8.

A girl loves visiting her grandfather in Cuba and singing his special songs to sell all kinds of fruit. Even when they’re apart, grandfather and granddaughter can share rhymes between their countries like un abrazo—a hug—made of words. The book received a starred review from PW.

Survivor Tree

Marcie Colleen, illus. by Aaron Becker. Little, Brown, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-316-48767-2. Ages 4–8.

Observing the 20th anniversary of 9/11, this nonfiction picture book follows a Callery pear tree, growing “at the foot of the towers” for almost 30 years, that was rescued from the rubble following the attacks. The book received a starred review from PW.

Ten Spooky Pumpkins

Gris Grimly. Orchard, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-338-11244-3. Ages 4–8.

Grimly returns with stylized macabre fun in this Halloween-centric counting book. Goblins, ghosts, witches, and others travel through the countryside and discover more creatures along the way in a rhythmic read-aloud. The book received a starred review from PW.

Tomatoes for Neela

Padma Lakshmi, illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal. Viking, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-20270-8. Ages 3–7.

Top Chef and Taste the Nation host Lakshmi lends her expertise to this picture book exploring how cooking can preserve both intergenerational bonds and summer’s bounty. Neela adores cooking with her amma, who pens recipes in a notebook passed down from Neela’s paati. See highlights from Lakshmi’s U.S. Book Show keynote.

What I Am

Divya Srinivasan. Viking, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-20401-6. Ages 3–7.

Based on a scenario that Srinivasan’s sister once faced, the author-illustrator offers an empowering, accessible response to the often racially motivated question, “What are you?” A young narrator describes herself: a girl, a granddaughter, Indian, and American. Soon, we see her as a plethora of things, all of which make her both a unique individual and an essential piece of the greater world around her. See our q&a with Srinivasan. The book received a starred review from PW.

Middle Grade

Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood

Edited by Kwame Mbalia. Delacorte, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-37993-6. Ages 9–12.

This anthology celebrates the wonders of Black boyhood with stories from 17 bestselling, critically acclaimed Black authors. See our In Conversation with Mbalia and anthology contributor Lamar Giles. The book received a starred review from PW.

Dead Wednesday

Jerry Spinelli. Knopf, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-593-30667-3. Ages 10 and up.

On Dead Wednesday, every eighth grader in Amber Springs is assigned the name and identity of a teenager who died a preventable death in the past year. Worm Tarnauer feels invisible every day, and is not expecting Dead Wednesday to feel that different. But he didn’t count on being assigned Becca Finch (17, car crash). And he certainly didn’t count on Becca’s ghost showing up to boss him around. See our q&a with Spinelli.

Erik vs. Everything

Christina Uss. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-358-12671-3. Ages 8–12.

Each member of Erik Sheepflattener’s modern-day Viking-heritage family has a motto to live by. Erik is developing a motto he can truly believe in: Avoid Stuff. But while spending the summer with his cousins and older sister, they get the idea to name and conquer all of Erik’s fears. The book received a starred review from PW.

Fast Pitch

Nic Stone. Crown, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-984893-01-7. Ages 8–12.

Shenice Lockwood is the captain of the Fulton Firebirds, the first all-Black team in Georgia’s Dixie Youth Softball Association. Shenice is determined to lead her team to the regional championship, but life has thrown some curveballs her way. The book received a starred review from PW.

Young Adult

Bad Witch Burning

Jessica Lewis. Delacorte, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-17738-9. Ages 12 and up.

Katrell can talk to the dead, and she wishes it made more money. To complicate things, Katrell has started to draw attention, not from this world—from beyond. And it comes with a warning: stop or there will be consequences. The book received a starred review from PW.

Dark and Shallow Lies

Ginny Myers Sain. Razorbill, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-5934-0396-9. Ages 14 and up.

Grey can’t believe that Elora vanished into thin air any more than she can believe that nobody in a town full of psychics knows what happened. But as she digs into the night that Elora went missing, she begins to realize that everybody in town is hiding something. The book received a starred review from PW.

How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4866-7. Ages 14 and up.

When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly sister. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible. See our q&a with Vasquez Gilliland here. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Last Cuentista

Donna Barba Higuera. Levine Querido, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64614-089-3. Ages 10 –14.

All Petra wanted to be was a storyteller like her abuelita. But a comet is going to destroy Earth and only a few hundred scientists and their children—among them Petra and her family—have been chosen to journey to a new planet. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet—and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. The book received a starred review from PW.

A Lesson in Vengeance

Victoria Lee. Delacorte, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-30582-9. Ages 14 and up.

The history of Dalloway School lives in the bones it was built on: five violent deaths in the first 10 years of its existence. Sometimes you can still smell the blood on the air. The book received a starred review from PW.

Rainbow in the Dark

Sean McGinty. Clarion, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-358-38037-5. Ages 12 and up.

High school senior Rainbow is trapped with three other teens in a game-like world. Together, they must complete quests and gain experience in order to access their forgotten memories, decode what has happened to them, and find a way home. The book received a starred review from PW.

This Book Is Feminist

Jamia Wilson, illus. by Aurelia Durand. Frances Lincoln, $14.99 paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-7112-5641-5. Ages 11–15.

The follow-up to the bestselling This Book Is Anti-Racist, this illustrated introduction to intersectional feminism serves as a guide for young people seeking to understand the world around them. The book received a starred review from PW.

In the Wild Light

Jeff Zentner. Crown, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-5247-2024-7. Ages 14 and up.

Cash lost his mother to an opioid addiction and his Papaw is dying slowly from emphysema. Dodging drug dealers and watching out for his best friend, Delaney, is second nature. But when Delaney manages to secure both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, Cash will have to come to terms with decisions he wasn’t prepared to face. See our q&a with Zentner. The book received a starred review from PW.

The Wild Ones

Nafiza Azad. S&S/McElderry, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8496-2. Ages 14 and up.

This feminist fantasy follows a group of teenage girls endowed with special powers who band together to save the life of a boy whose magic saved them all. See Azad’s Soapbox essay on faith and feminism here.