Kids Article

The Kid's Summer Reading Guide 2019 is Here!

Summertime means many things: swimming, ice cream, and our favorite, books! Check out Brazos' 2019 Summer Reading Guide to discover some great picks - and be sure to look out for the Treehouse stamp of approval, noting our favorite two books in the section! Download the form at the bottom of the page or click on the books below to order your copy today. Happy reading from your friends at the Treehouse!


Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants: The Questioneers Book #2 Cover Image
By Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781419734229
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - April 16th, 2019

Ada Twist is a scientist to her very core, but can her science help when Rosie Revere’s Uncle Ned gets literally carried away in his famous helium pants? Based off the beloved picture books, Andrea Beaty brings us a sweet early reader series filled with your favorite characters!

Nobody Hugs a Cactus Cover Image
By Carter Goodrich, Carter Goodrich (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781534400900
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - April 16th, 2019

Hank is the prickliest cactus in the world. He sits in his pot all day facing a barren desert, which is just the way he likes it … maybe. Perhaps this spiny succulent is really just searching for a friend. The only problem? Nobody hugs a cactus. Done in earth-toned watercolors reminiscent of its desert setting, this book is sweet, droll, and utterly charming.

Bear Came Along Cover Image
By Richard T. Morris, LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780316464475
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - June 4th, 2019

  Once there was a river flowing through a forest. The river didn't know it was capable of adventures until a big bear came along. But adventures aren't any fun by yourself, and so enters Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck. This delightful story is filled with cheeky characters, onomatopoeia, and a love of adventure.

Hum and Swish Cover Image
ISBN: 9780823442867
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Neal Porter Books - June 11th, 2019

Jamie and the beach are friends. Jaimie hums. The waves swish. And other people ask her questions. A lot of questions. Desperate to finish her sandcastle in peace, Jamie meets a like-minded friend who shows her the beauty of introversion and creativity. Done in heavy acrylic paints, the illustrations evoke a sense of peace known only at the beach in summer. 

Georgia's Terrific, Colorific Experiment Cover Image
ISBN: 9780762465248
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Running Press Kids - April 2nd, 2019

Georgia’s not like the rest of her artistic family. But when she longs to complete a science project of her own she finds she needs some help to think of an original idea. This beautiful, colorful picture book is a scientific adventure that is both emotionally satisfying and visually stunning.

Truman Cover Image
By Jean Reidy, Lucy Ruth Cummins (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781534416642
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - July 9th, 2019

 When Truman the Tortoise's owner, Sarah, leavers for her first day of school, his quiet life gets turned suddenly upside down. Despite his small size, he won't cower in the face of change. TRUMAN is smart and cute, complete with sketchbook-style illustrations and an unassuming hero.

Llama Destroys the World Cover Image
By Jonathan Stutzman, Heather Fox (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250303172
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - May 7th, 2019

We’ve all eaten just a little too much cake at some point in our lives - but none of us have gone on to accidentally tear a hole in the space-time continuum! This fun and silly picture book is full of laughs and lessons on the potential problems of too much cake!

Lottie & Walter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328470386
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books - May 7th, 2019

Lottie goes to swimming lessons every Saturday - she just doesn’t get into the pool. Why? Because there’s a shark swimming in the water intent on eating her and only her! When Walter the Walrus shows up he shows her just how courageous she can be. Walker’s illustrations are gorgeously done, perfectly complementing this heartwarming tale of facing your fears.


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus Cover Image
ISBN: 9781454932994
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sterling Children's Books - March 5th, 2019

Aven Green loves to tell people she lost both her arms wrestling a gator or in a wildfire in Tanzania, but the truth is she was born without them. When her parents move to run a western theme park in Arizona, Aven finds a new friend in her classmate, Connor. Together they must solve the theme park’s many mysteries in this funny, poignant, and exciting read.

The Chupacabras of the Río Grande (The Unicorn Rescue Society #4) Cover Image
By Adam Gidwitz, David Bowles, Hatem Aly (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780735231795
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - April 16th, 2019

The Unicorn Rescue Society is back, and this time they’re in our own backyard in the Rìo Grande! Friend of Brazos David Bowles joins Adam Gidwitz in authoring the latest of the fantastical and fun series! Elliot and Uchenna must team up with new friends and allies to save the mythical chupacabras!

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer Cover Image
By Lamar Giles, Dapo Adeola (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781328460837
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Versify - April 2nd, 2019

Nothing kills summertime fun like the looming first day of school. Of course, the way to solve this usually doesn’t involve a time-stopping camera wielded by a strange man. It’s up to Otto and Sheed (and their crew of oddballs) to re-start time and save the day in this zany, clever romp.

Apocalypse Taco Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419733734
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - March 26th, 2019

After a late-night taco run Sid, Axl, and Ivan return to find themselves. Not in a deep, metaphorical sense: they find actual clones of themselves walking about pretending to be them. Chaos, humor, and adventure ensue in this newest graphic novel from acclaimed author Nathan Hale.

Midsummer's Mayhem Cover Image
ISBN: 9781499808889
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Yellow Jacket - June 11th, 2019

Can Mimi undo the mayhem caused by her baking in this retelling of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM? LaRocca’s novel is bursting with magic, mystery, and, of course, mayhem! This is the perfect read for fans of Anna Meriano’s LOVE SUGAR MAGIC series.

Hurricane Season Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616209063
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - May 7th, 2019

All Fig wants is to see the world the way her artistic father does. A once-renowned pianist, Fig’s father now has good and bad days. When Fig tries an art class to grow closer to him, she inadvertently brings social services to the door. In her novel about taking risks and facing fears, Melleby shows readers the power of art and love.

Maximillian Fly Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062571168
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - June 11th, 2019

  MAXIMILLIAN FLY is the middle-grade METAMORPHOSIS mash-up you didn't know you needed! The Lemony-Snicket-esque prose work perfectly to tell the strange and fascinating tale of Maximillian, a human with the features of a cockroach. Wacky, fun, and so satisfying, Maximillian will steal your heart!

Other Words for Home Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062747808
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - May 28th, 2019

  Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, across the sea in Syria. But with rising tensions threatening to break, Jude and her mother must travel to America to start over. A lyrical and moving novel told in verse, OTHER WORDS FOR HOME is a coming of age story for increasingly difficult times.


With the Fire on High Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062662835
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - May 7th, 2019

High School senior Emoni Santiago is a single mother who dreams of becoming a professional chef, but circumstance and culture stand against her. Told in short, vignette-like chapters, WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH takes difficult, often disenfranchised issues and makes them easy to empathize with. Printz and National Book Award winner Acevedo is a powerhouse of love, compassion, and raw talent.

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525646990
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - July 9th, 2019

Expected to marry for the good of her family, young Maia thwarts her fate and disguises herself as her brother to enter the palace and become the royal tailor. Lim reimagines the tale of Thousandfur in an epic adventure filled with beautiful, rich imagery and a stunning, breathless plot.

Nocturna Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062842732
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - May 7th, 2019

When the crown prince who was never meant to be unleashes a dangerous power he must team up with a cunning, face-changing thief to stop the end of days. This epic story is richly detailed with deep roots in Latinx culture - a complex tapestry woven with skill and magic.

Wilder Girls Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525645580
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Delacorte Press - July 9th, 2019

  The girls of Raxter Island are changing - some grow fins, some have bones of steel, and many have died. Seemingly abandoned by the outside world, the girls struggle to survive inside a harsh quarantine zone - that is until Hetty's best friend, Byatt, goes missing. WILDER GIRLS is unflinching when looking into the hearts and minds of adolescent girls - their wants, fears, and will to survive.

Patron Saints of Nothing Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525554912
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: Kokila - June 18th, 2019

When Jay discovers that his Filipino cousin was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, Jay travels to the Philippines to learn the real story. Told through lyrical prose, this coming-of-age tale shows the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.

This Time Will Be Different Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062473448
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperTeen - June 4th, 2019

CJ Katsuyama does not live up to her mother’s type A standards, but when CJ’s mother sells the family shop to the family that swindled CJ’s grandparents during the WWII Japanese Internment, CJ finally finds something to fight for. Sugiura tackles tough issues with finesse, telling a story filled with love, humor, and insight.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me Cover Image
ISBN: 9781626722590
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - May 7th, 2019

Laura Dean is the most popular girl in high school; confident, charming, and SO cute. She’s Freddy’s dream girl, but possibly not the best girlfriend. When a medium tells Freddy she must break up with Laura Dean, their relationship spirals out of control. With trichromatic panels and a romantic story, this graphic novel is a beautiful work of art perfect for summer.

The Grief Keeper Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525514022
Availability: Coming Soon - Pre-Order Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - June 11th, 2019

When seventeen-year-old Marisol is caught illegally crossing the US border, she is given a choice: be deported or become a grief keeper, someone who takes the grief of another into themselves. This tender tale explores the consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal.


Florence in Ecstasy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781944700171
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Unnamed Press - May 16th, 2017

In this poignant novel, a young woman named Hannah travels to Florence to outrun her old life and combat an eating disorder. Whenever she falters in her journey, the city, in all of its crumbling grandeur, is there to pull her out of the shadows. Chaffee presents a protagonist as flawed as she is beautiful.

Lanny: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555978402
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - May 14th, 2019

Porter's latest novel continues the beautiful, soul-searing work he started in GRIEF IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS. In LANNY, he delves into the intricacies of modern day life in a small village, all told through the eyes of a forgotten hedge-god. Simultaneously archaic and modern, this book entrances with lyrical prose and a creativity that cannot be denied.

Orange World and Other Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525656135
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - May 14th, 2019

 Each of Karen Russell's short stories are masterpieces in their own right; achingly familiar and yet highly peculiar. ORANGE WORLD is her third and latest collection of short stories featuring a ghost-ship lodge, a drowned city, a tornado farm, and a local succubus. Russell is gifted with acute insights, compassion, and a daring imagination.

The Organs of Sense: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374227371
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 21st, 2019

In 1666, a blind astronomer makes a prediction shared by no one else in the world: at the stroke of noon on June 30 of that year, a solar eclipse will cast all of Europe into darkness for four seconds. Is he mad or is he a visionary? Sachs brings his unique comic and philosophical sense to his debut novel, an intricate fable about understanding ourselves and the world.

Conservation Ecology and Finding Your Pack: Joy Interviews Author Rosanne Parry

I have been a huge fan of Rosanne Parry’s work since her first middle-grade novel, HEART OF A SHEPHERD, arrived back in 2009, when she and I were both debut children’s authors and occasionally appearing together at book events. Rosanne’s books are frequently set in her home state of Oregon and are heart-warming, lovely, and honest. Rosanne beautifully evokes both character journeys and the landscape in which they take place. They’re perfect middle grade novels! A WOLF CALLED WANDER is just out and it’s based on the real story of the journey of wolf named OR7.

A Wolf Called Wander Cover Image
By Rosanne Parry, Mónica Armiño (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062895936
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - May 7th, 2019

Kids Summer Reading Program 2019

We’ve got a fantastic summer planned here at the Treehouse - from wildlife conservation to Drag Queens to constellation pajama parties and more! We couldn’t be more excited for the fun, nature-themed kids events we’ll be hosting alongside Brazos’ Summer of Walt Whitman so check out our awesome events below and be sure to stop on by!

Summer Reading Kick Off | Saturday, May 25, 3pm

Kid's Bookmark Contest 2019!

We give out a LOT of bookmarks here at Brazos, and we are always looking for new ideas for their design. This spring we’re asking kids to lend their artistic expertise to our annual Bookmark Contest! Download the official entry form here and return it to the store by Sunday, April 29, 2019. We’ll announce the winners at our summer reading kickoff party on Saturday, May 25 at 3 pm!


Forbidden Love, Blood Magic, & Brooding Boys: Joy Interviews Emily Duncan about WICKED SAINTS

We’re big fans of Emily Duncan’s debut YA Slavic folklore-inspired fantasy, WICKED SAINTS here. Laura G has a blurb for it featured in the current kids’ issue of INDIE NEXT. And I found it such a fun page-turner that I begged Emily’s publicists for an interview and was delighted when they said yes! WICKED SAINTS is the story of warring kingdoms, blood magic, unlikely heroes, and a girl who hears the voices of any number of gods, all of whom provide her with guidance and magic. And oh yes, a healthy dose of forbidden love, because really what is a YA fantasy novel without a bit of that?

Wicked Saints: A Novel (Something Dark and Holy #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250195661
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wednesday Books - April 2nd, 2019

Phoenix Lore and Slow-Burn Romance: Laura Interviews Author Nicki Pau Preto

I first came across Crown of Feathers back in October and let me tell you, it has been so difficult to wait for it to hit shelves! I read the book in one day, completely engrossed in the world building and characters. I am so thrilled I was able to interview the author, Nicki Pau Preto, about her gorgeous story of sisterhood, deception, and betrayal.

Crown of Feathers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534424623
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon Pulse - February 12th, 2019

Presenting Houston Reads: A Week of Spring Break Activities for the Whole Family!

The Brazos Treehouse presents a week of family-friendly fun at the bookstore! This Spring Break we’re exploring all the wonderful aspects of our literary city with Houston Reads! We’re bringing in people from all over Houston who make our city great to talk about the books they read and write and love.

Spring Break Houston Reads Kick Off

Saturday, March 9, 10:30 am

Joy Interviews Lynne Kelly, Author of SONG FOR A WHALE

I have known Houston author Lynne Kelly since her first middle grade novel, CHAINED debuted back in 2010, and I’m lucky to call her a friend. She is an amazing writer with books that are both funny and heartwarming and always memorable. She is also many other things, including a lover of animals and a sign-language interpreter, both of which led her to write her newest novel, SONG FOR A WHALE, which is getting both amazing buzz and phenomenal reviews. So it was my great honor and pleasure to get to interview her about SONG and the writing life and whales and more!

Song for a Whale Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524770235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - February 5th, 2019

Do You Know These Houston Kid Lit Authors?

At Brazos, we LOVE supporting authors. And it’s particular fun to promote Texas authors (especially but not limited to Houston authors!, first because they are awesome, and also because they often pop in even when they don’t have a new book out! Texas has a phenomenal and huge literary community, so there are far more amazing kidlit authors in the state than I can feature in one article. So I thought I’d introduce you to some (but certainly not all!) of my Houston favorites--in alpha order!-- and encourage you to discover them, buy their books, and spread the word.

The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Mya in the Middle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062839398
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - October 16th, 2018

Crystal Allen writes award-winning, funny, heartwarming early reader and middle grade fiction featuring African American characters. Her books blow off the shelves and her school visits are prized events all over the country. Start with her debut, HOW LAMAR’S BAD PRANK WON HIM A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY (which won the coveted Sid Fleischman Award for humorous writing), and then read on from there. She’s going to be helping us kick off Spring Break Houston Reads week, where we’ll be featuring her early reader MYA TIBBS series.

The Home Builders Cover Image
By Varsha Bajaj, Simona Mulazzani (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780399166853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - February 12th, 2019

Varsha Bajaj’s HOW MANY KISSES DO YOU WANT TONIGHT is consistently one of our bestselling board books. Her ABBY SPENCER GOES TO BOLLYWOOD is also a hit in our middle grade section. And her THIS IS OUR BABY BORN TODAY sells and sells as a perfect new baby and shower gift! Varsha’s got more on the way, including a lovely picture book titled HOMEBUILDERS, which she’ll be reading at a special story time on 3/2 at our usual 10:30.

Word Burglar Cover Image
By Chris Cander, Katherine Tramonte (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781936474967
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Bright Sky Press - October 2013

Chris Cander writes both children’s books and adult novels. Her adult novel WEIGHT OF A PIANO is out soon, getting many starred reviews and lots of acclaim and buzz, and we are hosting an event on 1/22 that you should definitely attend! And check out her picture book WORD BURGLAR next time you’re in the Treehouse!

Song for a Whale Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524770235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - February 5th, 2019

Lynne Kelly writes amazing middle grade novels. Her SONG FOR A WHALE is getting fabulous trade reviews and enormous buzz (Newbery, anyone?) and will be out next month! We are thrilled to be hosting her on school visits in HISD, and we’re crossing our fingers that she can join us in the coming months for Middle Grade Book Club. I’ll be doing an interview with Lynne for a future newsletter so you can learn more about her (she’s also a sign language interpreter and SONG’s main character and her grandmother are both Deaf). Pre-order SONG FOR A WHALE here.

In Another Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062459916
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - August 28th, 2018

Caroline Leech is a friend of the store, our favorite Scottish ex-pat, and a full part of Houston’s arts community because not only is she an author of wonderful, historical-fiction YA novels, she’s also married to Perryn Leech, the managing director of the Houston Grand Opera! Caroline has launched two of her novels right here at Brazos, both of which are set in WII-era rural Scotland, and both of which are delightful, romantic reads. Here’s a link to her most recent, IN ANOTHER TIME, can be ordered right here.

Moxie: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250104267
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - September 18th, 2018

YA novel, MOXIE--the story of a girl who, tired of the sexism in her high school, creates a protest zine and ends up starting a feminist revolution-- is consistently one of our store bestsellers! It’s a great read for ages 12/13 and up, a great read for adults, too. Jennifer is a prolific, award-winning writer, and also an English teacher at Bellaire HS. We adore her and can’t wait for her next novel, coming this fall! You can grab a copy of MOXIE here.

Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits Cover Image
By Anna Meriano, Mirelle Ortega (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062498496
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Walden Pond Press - February 5th, 2019

Anna Meriano’s LOVE SUGAR MAGIC middle grade series is a wonderful, magical delight. Think small town Texas bakery, a family of brujas, and a girl who’s still trying to figure out her place in the family--and her magic! It’s fun, funny, and heartwarming and Anna will be launching the second book right here at Brazos! Pre-order LOVE SUGAR MAGIC: A SPRINKLE OF SPIRITS and join us on 2/9 for the launch party!

Those are enough to get you started discovering Houston’s many, wonderful kidlit authors! (I’m one of them, too, so feel free to ask me next time you’re in the store!) And stay tuned for other articles in which we branch out to the rest of Texas!

Magic and Grit: Joy Interviews Kendra Fortmeyer

One of the most intriguing books I read in 2018 is Kendra Fortmeyer’s HOLE IN THE MIDDLE, which, as the title reflects, is about a teenage girl named Morgan who was born with a hole in her middle-- this perfect, round, empty space that somehow has no other effect on her body other than being this strange, at times almost mystical deformity. She has spent her whole life hiding it, until one day she doesn’t. What happens after that is engine that drives this fascinating contemporary with a little bit of magical realism intersecting.

Hole in the Middle Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616959562
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Teen - September 4th, 2018