- Vita Nostra, Written by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
If you’re bored of the old variations on magic school books, Vita Nostra, written by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, turns the trope on its head. It is about a girl that is recruited after a series of increasingly threatening tests to attend a secretive and special university in the Ukraine. There, she gets enmeshed in a series of thought experiments and mind games which may/ may not involve very real magic, in which speaking up about the school’s dangerous activities may lead to the murder of all your loved people. The fact the characters of this book are all young adults at the age when mood and psychosis disorders sometimes become apparent is likely not a mistake. It is recommended to readers who are okay feeling vaguely nauseated when reading.
- Girls of Paper and Fire, Written by Natasha Ngan
Have you read YA fantasy and wish that it was more sapphic and more Asian? If yes, Natasha Ngan has you covered. Girls of Paper and Fire is a Malaysian inspired fantastic story of a girl that is taken to be a courtesan to a demon king… And there, she falls in love with another girl, also a courtesan who is vulnerable, mysterious, and dangerous in equal measure. Girls of Paper and Fire is a powerful story of feminism, resistance, queerness, and survivorship in the face of patriarchy. Moreover, the story’s prose is wonderfully poetic and transporting.
- In Other Lands, Written by Sarah Rees Brennan
This book is a humorous book and another twist on the magic school idea. It follows blunt nerdy bisexual Elliott when he gets drawn into a magic training program in a magical dimension which exists alongside our own. It has many queer badass kids with a variety of flaws and talents, including a girl from a fiercely matriarchal culture.
If your kid is athletic and/or a sports fan, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be a devoted bookworm, too. Watching and playing sports is fun, however, when your kids need a little downtime, it’s also nice to read books about sports. Here are ten books which combine the best of both worlds for sports fans, and those who love them.
- Rising Above: How 11 Athletes Overcame Challenges in Their Youth to Become Stars, by Gregory Zuckerman, Elijah Zuckerman, and Gabriel Zuckerman
This book gives an inspiring look at some of the challenging stories that 11 famous athletes faced early on in their lives – for example, the Tourette Syndrome diagnosis of soccer star Tim Howard. It’s important and necessary to show your kids that even a great athlete like Stephen Curry was told that he wasn’t good/tall/strong enough to play college basketball, however, he didn’t give up and let that discourage him but worked twice as hard.
- Weird but True Sports: 300 Wacky Facts About Awesome Athletics, by National Geographic Kids
If your kids have ever entered the Trivia Phase, this is exactly the book for them! They will head back to school with a huge collection of up to 300 fun sports facts that will help them wow their classmates.
- Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends, by David Stabler and Doogie Horner
Even the most famous athlete was once a child and this book of David Stabler and Doogie Horner is a poignant reminder of that. You might be surprised to know which football star had to do the tango in his play at school, or which baseball legend was sent to reform school. These touching tales are wonderfully entertaining, even for those who are not fans of sports.
- Sports Illustrated Kids Slam Dunk!: Top 10 Lists of Everything in Basketball, by The Editors of Sports Illustrated Kids
This book is the perfect gift for kids who are basketball fans! It’s jam-packed with a lot of trivia about the leagues, game, and players. In addition, there are full-color photographs from Sports Illustrated.