Keeping your kids reading this summer couldn’t be more important! Research shows kids who read 3-5 books over the summer, combat the dreaded “Summer Slide”. However, the “COVID-19 Slide” is going to be even bigger this year as children have been home, remotely learning for the past 6 weeks and mostly missing out on access to great books from their school librarians. So now more than ever, parents are tasked with helping their children find books they want to read. We hope our monthly Book Nook recommendations will assist you finding some exciting, school librarian approved books to motivate your child to read this month and throughout the summer!

This month we are highlighting a local picture book author, Justin Kane, and 3 titles from each of the new, 3-5 & 6-8, 20/21 SSYRA and K-2, SSYRA Jr. nominees.

SSYRA stands for Sunshine State Young Readers Award. Both SSYRA and SSYRA Jr. are statewide reading motivational programs for students in grades K through 8. You can find the full list of all 15 titles on each of the current K-2, 3-5, or 6-8 lists by visiting and

The Goat and the Witch by Florida writer/illustrator Justin Kane

The Goat and the Witch is a picture book that tells the heroic story of a brave goat who becomes the prisoner of a cruel witch. The goat must use cleverness, bravery, and a little magic to have any hope of escape! Presented with vivid illustrations, this story is suitable for all ages.

** Check out his family photo in our Father’s Day gallery.


Smell My Foot, written and illustrated by Cece Bell

Meet Chick and Brain. And their friend Spot. Chick likes to follow the rules. Brain might not be as smart as he looks. And Spot just wants to eat lunch. In a graphic reader loaded with verbal and visual humor, Cece Bell offers a comical primer on good manners gone awry.

Dandy, written by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Charles Santoso

Daddy is proud of his perfect lawn and is ready to remove the dandelion weed ruining it until his daughter Sweetie names it and tells Daddy it is her best friend. Every time Daddy thinks he can sneak past Sweetie and destroy the dandelion, Sweetie is there to stop him. What happens when Sweetie goes to school? Read this hilarious book to find out.

Pencil: a Story With a Point, written by Ann Ingalls, Illustrated by Dean Griffiths

Pencil and his boy Jackson are a great pair: they draw, they sketch, they scribble. But then Jackson gets Tablet and Pencil finds himself dumped in the dreaded junk drawer! How will Pencil ever reclaim Jackson’s attention? With the help of some new pun-loving friends , Pencil sketches out a plan to draw Jackson back into their friendship.


Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

The Rylance family is stuck. Dad’s got writer’s block. Ethan promised to illustrate a group project at school– even though he can’t draw. Enter Inkling. Inkling begins life in Mr. Rylance’s sketchbook. But one night the ink of his drawings runs together–and then leaps off the page! This small burst of creativity is about to change everything. It’s not until Inkling goes missing that this family has to face the larger questions of what they– and Inkling–truly need.

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes

Beatrice does her best thinking upside down. She was definitely upside down when she and her best friend, Lenny, agreed to wear matching ninja suits on the first day of third grade. But when Beatrice shows up at school dressed in black, Lenny arrives with a cool new outfit and a cool new friend. Even worse, she seems to have forgotten all about the top-secret operation they planned! Can Beatrice use her topsy-turvy way of thinking to save the mission, mend their friendship, and flip things sunny-side up?

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat by Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth

Klawde is not your average cat. He has sharp claws. Fine fur. And, being the High Commander of the planet Lyttyrboks, has an entire world of warlike cats at his command. He’s an emperor from another planet until he is exiled to Earth. He’s cruel. He’s cunning. He’s brilliant… and he’s about to become Raj Banerjee’s best friend.


Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo

After sprouting horns and feathers, Charlie Hernandez realizes that all those myths his grandmother has told him might just be real. This happens right at the same time that his home burns down and his parents have gone missing. Charlie and his friend Violet embark on a journey discovering that Charlie’s life is linked to the balance between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead. Charlie encounters characters from Mexican-American, Guatemalan, and Brazilian myths and he travels through parts of Florida and the mythological world. He is trying to hide all the things changing about himself from his friends while searching for his parents, code switching his language between monsters, translating for Violet, and trying desperately to find and save his parents.

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey

When the last humans from Earth need a new home, it looks like Planet Choom would be perfect. There’s only one problem, the Zhuri already live there! One family is chosen to represent humanity to the Zhuri to evaluate if the two species can live together. Unfortunately, that means Lan and Ila will have to go to Zhuri school! Will they be able to fit in? Can they make a good impression on the Zhuri? And what if there are some Zhuri who don’t want them there in the first place? Find out all the answers in this sci-fi story from Geoff Rodkey!

City Spies by James Ponti

Puerto Rican born, Sara Martinez (real name, Brooklyn) finds herself in jail after hacking into the city’s computer system in order to expose her foster parents as abusive frauds. Her inept court-appointed lawyer is no help, but she is offered a wild proposition she honestly can’t refuse—join Britain’s M16 as a kid operative. After her release from prison, she is flown to Scotland, where she meets the rest of the City Spies…kids from around the world who have their own unique set of skills in logic, puzzles, sneakiness, etc. Of course, there’s also Mother, a white Englishman who has taken in the “city spies” sending them to boarding school part of the day and helping them fine tune their “skills” the rest of the time. He has a special mission for them in Paris involving a competition they need to do just well enough to make the top ten. Their real objective is to protect the eccentric billionaire sponsor from an evil villain. Fun book for thrill seekers looking for adventure!