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On the Shelf: Fun and Learning

From a sweet beach read to powerful lessons for all ages, we’ve got some beautiful summer books this month. Cuddle up for story time at home. Find these books through your library or order online from your favorite independent bookstore to help support local small businesses. 

“Jules vs. the Ocean” by Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, ages 4 – 8)

Everybody needs a good beach read for the summer – even early readers. With some sibling love, a little science, sweet illustrations and story that every little beachgoer will relate to, this one is a must, whether you visit the ocean or just read about it in the backyard.

“You’ve Got Dragons” by Kathryn Cave, illustrated by Nick Maland (Peachtree Publishing, ages 6 – 10)

Do you have a dragon? We all do. This excellent story with engaging illustrations is the perfect conversation starter for talking with elementary ages about their dragons – their fears, worries and anxieties. Talking about feelings helps, and this story allows kids and parents the freedom to do that. 

 “The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark” by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Henri Sorensen (Peachtree Publishing, ages 8 – 12)

This is a paperback reissue of a powerful legend, told in a way that is both moving and succinct. It’s a myth, but one that shows the strength of unity and the heroism that can come with just leadership. Any classroom discussions of justice can benefit from this tale. There’s even a teacher’s guide available for free download at

“Together We Grow” by Susan Vaught, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Simon & Schuster, ages 4 – 8)

This richly illustrated picture book explores compassion, acceptance and much more in a simple story. Even the youngest pre-readers will benefit from this one. There really is room for all.