By: Christina Samek, Marketing Specialist.
We’re still a few weeks out before OverDrive Summer Read begins but I can’t help getting excited—and it’s not just because it means summer has arrived. We have such a great group of titles this year, thanks to a collaboration with our amazing publishers: Nickelodeon, Orca Book Publishers, Sleeping Bear Press, AudioGO, Ink Monster LLC, Pants on Fire Press and Harmony Ink Press. This year’s collection covers a wide range of topics and with a wonderful cast of characters.
If you haven’t yet, check out our OverDrive Summer Read website. New this month: we’re thrilled to unveil our marketing suite (which includes student activity guides, marketing resources, a letter to parents, and a staff email) and our special edition podcast, hosted by our very own Professional Book Nerds.
There’s a lot to be excited about but in case you need a little convincing (or perhaps your educators do), here’s a summary of our titles and why your students shouldn’t miss out:
The Wild World of Buck Bray: The Miss Grizzly Cubs By Judy Young. Buck Bray is an 11-year-old budding TV star, part of a new kid-oriented wilderness show. The book takes place in Denali National Park, home to amazing wildlife, like the Grizzly Bear. When Buck and his unexpected companion, Tony, a cameraman’s daughter, discover two grizzly cubs are missing they set out to solve the mystery. They end up on quite the adventure with Alaska as their backdrop and criminals hot on their tails. Great for children who love animals and adventure. It will teach them the joys of opening themselves up friendships outside their comfort zone. It will also encourage a love of nature and push kids to explore the world outside, beyond their screens.
Tig Ripley: Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel by Ginger Rue. Thirteen-year-old Tig Ripley has decided to start a band to propel her out of the background and into the spotlight at her middle school. After a few weeks of drum practice, she feels she has enough rock ‘n’ roll to get things started. Joined by her best friend and cousin, on keyboard and bass, and tough girl Robbie on lead guitar, all she needs is a lead singer. When popular diva Haley Thorton makes a vie for the coveted spot, Tig must learn what it takes to make perfect harmony. Excellent read for young girls as it promotes individuality, girl power, the power of friendship and proves that often, if it scares you, it’s worth the risk.
Happy Birthday, SpongeBob! by J-P Chanda. It’s our favorite little sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea and it’s his birthday! Though, it seems his lovable brood of marine life has forgotten all about his special day. It’s the hilarity that made the show a still-running classic on TV but with a few lessons along the way. It’s not the material stuff that makes our fondest memories, it’s the people (or creatures) who are there for it all.
Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Predergast. Ten-year-old Journey Strong is on a mission to rescue two pandas being held captive in a warehouse in her poverty-stricken neighborhood. The pandas were destined for a Washington zoo but have been caught up in a diplomatic spat between China and the United States. Journey’s love for her panda friends inspires her neighborhood and they work together to save the day! This is a feel-good read that also explores what life can be like when money is tight in a neighborhood that looks like several across the world. It also gives proof that compassion breeds compassion. It shouldn’t take cuddly pandas to teach us kindness, but they sure don’t hurt.
Meet Shimmer and Shine by Nickelodeon Publishing. Meet genie sisters, Shimmer and Shine and join them on a magical adventure in this read-along eBook. It’s a great option for your younger readers as it uses shorter sentences and basic vocabulary. The read-along narration also helps to sound out new words and enhance learning!
Mikey’s Monster by Nickelodeon Publishing. It’s everybody’s favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Join Mikey and his friends as they encounter a strange creature living in their sewers and determine if it’s a friend or new enemy! Another read-along adventure. Perfect for young boys. This read-along option is a bit more advanced than Meet Shimmer and Shine but has the same benefits for new readers.
Ray of Sunlight by Brynn Stein. Russ is a seventeen-year-old juvenile delinquent expecting to make his way to an adult penitentiary. He has no plans, except to drop out of high school. His most recent stint of community service has him working in a hospital where he meets CJ Calhoun. CJ has aspirations, big dream in fact, and stage 4 cancer. They are complete opposites but find they have more in common than they ever thought possible. A riveting and tragic LGBTQ teen romance that proves that while love can’t always cure us, it can save us.
Instant Winner by Gary Soto. Twelve-year-old Jason Rodriquez just won $3,700 in the lottery. He’s never been very lucky nor has his crazy Uncle Mike. Jason decides to change both their unlucky lots and spring Mike out of jail–as one can assume, chaos ensues. A fun, easy-going read for middle school aged students and up. Students will learn lady luck can be a bit of a jerk if you’re not careful!
Becoming Alpha by Aileen Erin. She might have been called ‘Freaky Tessa’ at her old school, given her strange, psychic ability, but her old classmates can’t even begin to imagine the ‘freakiness’ Tessa is experiencing now at St. Ailbe’s Academy. It might be the fact she kissed the wrong guy on a whim and he turned her into a werewolf. Or it could be the vampires attacking her new school… Who doesn’t love a paranormal teen romance with werewolves and vampires? Our heroine isn’t a shrinking daisy and her romance is a slow burn–the best kind!
The Pigeon Man by Joel Edward Stein. Danny Simon has seen a world of pain at thirteen years old. He lost his entire family in the Holocaust. Now, out of Poland and in America for the first time with an aunt and uncle he’s never met and nightmares that keep him up all night, he’s struggling to adapt. He finds an unlikely friend in Mike Delaney, a weary war veteran. Together they work to save an injured pigeon and repair wounds they both thought would never heal. Everyone should read this book. It’s as heartbreaking as it is beautiful. Danny and Mike are deeply flawed but the lessons they learn from one another can teach us all.
Audacious by Gabrielle Prendergast. Sixteen-year-old Raphaelle has never fit in. She says and does all the wrong things. The only thing she does right and seemingly well is drawing. When her father moves her family across the country, she decides to reinvent herself as Ella and it almost works. She finds herself falling for Samir, a Muslim boy in her art class, and as a way to cope with her confusing feelings she draws a rather explicit photo. When the photo ends up in the wrong hands, her life begins to feel all wrong all over again. Told entirely in verse, this is a unique, funny, and dark look into the life of a teenager. High school can simultaneously be the best and worst time of our life.
At the Edge of the World by Kari Jones. Maddie and Ivan have been best friends their whole lives. They love each other and protect each other. When Ivan’s life starts to spiral out of control, Maddie agonizes over how to save him. How do you keep a secret when it’s hurting the one you love? How far does friendship go? An intriguing and hard-hitting read. It tackles alcoholism and fractured home lives while also portraying the importance of friendship and how it’s sometimes the only saving grace in a young person’s troubled life.
Don’t miss any of these titles! Coming to a school website near you this June.