It’s officially hot in Texas, and while we encourage kids to run outside and explore the wonders of our world, we also appreciate the gift of a shaded, comfortable spot to enjoy an awesome book. You know where we’re going with this: summer reading season is here! The BookKids team celebrated with a summer kickoff extravaganza filled with great friends, adorable costumes, prizes, and (of course) BOOK TALKS from people who love books! Plus, a couple of our favorite displays for June, including bilingual books for young readers and a round-up of some of our top picks for Pride Month!
Our partners at Zilker Theatre Productions brought the cast of the summer musical The Wizard of Oz to host storytime and judge a costume contest at BookPeople. We welcomed Dorothy and her friends Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, along with the play’s director J. Robert Moore, to share the story of their journey to Emerald City.
We spotted quite a few young Dorothys, Glindas, scarecrows, and even a winged monkey in the audience, looking ridiculously cute and ready to accept their prizes! Winners got reserved seating for their whole family to see the July 15 performance of The Wizard of Oz at Hillside Theatre, where BookPeople staff will be giving out paperback copies of this beloved classic to kids in costume or wearing green! (Seriously, a free book. Come see us.)
Our friends at Austin Independent School District joined the party to talk about the 5 Book Dive reading challenge and recommended a few of their favorite books for the summer, like Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt and Adam Rex, and Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins and Tim Hopgood. Amanda, from literacy nonprofit BookSpring, talked about some of her top picks too, including a couple of Spanish titles: Estamos en un Libro by Mo Willems, Bravo! Poemas sobre Hispanos Extraordinarios by Margarita Engle and Rafael Lopez, and Iggy Peck, Architect by David Roberts and Andrea Beaty. Local volunteer group Austin Allies joined forces with BookSpring for their Buy a Book, Give a Book program and we were thrilled to see so many of our wonderful customers donate books, which go to children in Central Texas with little to no books at home.
During the booktalks, BookPeople staff couldn’t help but jump in with a few suggestions of our own! Kids buyer Meghan talked about her love for Jenni Desmond’s The Blue Whale and the hilarious Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri’s. She also recommended My Father’s Dragon, which she is currently reading with her son, as an introduction to chapter. Our Kids marketing coordinator Eugenia talked about one of her favorite Spanish translations, El Dia que los Crayones Renunciaron by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers, and Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza (fun fact: Eugenia’s grandfather was a luchador!). The 5 Book Dive challenge includes reading lists with both English and Spanish titles, so whether you are fluent or trying to learn the language for the first time, there are plenty of beautiful books to discover!
Some of our favorite bilingual books for young readers come from Lil’ Libros, which we have on display this month. We are in love with these gorgeous first concept board books that take iconic Latinx figures like Frida Kahlo and Celia Cruz, and traditions like lucha libre and la lotería, to teach numbers, shapes, anatomy and history in both English and Spanish. We also carry Lil’ Libros prints and pins, and the response has been fantastic! We have so many booksellers excited about this display, and parents and kids love them too.
We also put together a Pride Month display with some fantastic titles for all ages, including gorgeous picture books like Michael Hall’s Red: A Crayon’s Story, graphic novels like Drama by Raina Telgemeier, and inspiring nonfiction such as Abby Wambach’s Forward. Then there are those irresistible YA books that even feel like summer, like Julie Murphy’s Ramona Blue and Benjamín Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
If you are a parent who is looking for great board books, we recommend Mis Primeras Palabras, with beautiful illustrations by Christiane Engel or Mommy, Mama, and Me and Daddy, Papa, and Me by Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson.
We hope you come visit us and explore our displays, discover new titles, pick up your 5 Book Dive bookmark, and tell us what books you’re excited to read this summer!