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KidsPost Summer Book Club: 8 books about ‘Speaking Truth’

Characters in these novels ask a lot of questions to get at the truth.

(Allison Colpoys for The Washington Post)
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That TikTok or Instagram post you just read was so weird or funny or scary, that you just had to share it with friends. Instantly. Before you had a chance to wonder whether it was true. But what if it wasn’t? What if you helped spread a hoax? That probably wouldn’t feel good, because no one likes to be tricked. It may seem impossible to sort through information from social media, websites, texts and real-life conversations. But it is possible by tapping into your natural curiosity and asking questions. That’s what characters in the books we selected for this year’s KidsPost Summer Book Club do. The club’s theme is “Speaking Truth,” and the stories — some realistic and some fantasy — feature kids who question community leaders, friends, family and even themselves to uncover the truth.

The book club is open to kids ages 6 to 14. A parent must sign you up online. Look for previews of each book Wednesdays starting June 15. The first 600 kids signed up will receive a notepad and pen set. If you have read other books that fit with this year’s theme, ask a parent or teacher to send your suggestions to wapo.st/kidspostYMAL. We may include them in our “You Might Also Like” picks. And if you or your parents have questions for us, send them to kidspost@washpost.com.

June 15

Loyalty

By Avi

Ages 8 to 12

Anger with Britain is brewing in Tullbury, the small Massachusetts town that Noah Cope, 13, calls home. His father is a minister with strong opinions and firm loyalty to King George III, ruler of the 13 American colonies. Local Sons of Liberty find out about his father’s views and brutally attack the man. The Copes escape to Boston, where British troops offer immediate protection. But as Noah learns more about the growing conflict, he wonders whether either side is as honorable as they claim to be.

June 22

Fast Pitch

By Nic Stone

Ages 8 to 12

Georgia native Shenice Lockwood is smart, funny and nicknamed “Lightning” on the softball field. A talented catcher and batter, the 12-year-old is also the captain trying to lead her softball team, the Fulton Firebirds, to a championship season. But a variety of challenges emerge for the only all-Black team in the Dixie Youth Softball Association. Can Shenice pursue her competitive dreams while trying to uncover the truth surrounding the first in her family’s long line of ballplayers?

June 29

Honestly Elliott

By Gillian McDunn

Ages 8 to 11

Elliott’s ADHD makes it hard for him to pay attention in school, but he’s super-focused in the kitchen, where he whips up delicious, complicated dishes. Elliott’s father dismisses this passion, though, and keeps harping on “The Incident.” This is something Elliott did a few months before that’s so bad he refuses to talk about it. When he partners for a school project (on cooking!) with a popular girl with her own challenges, funny, messy Elliott begins to think differently about his ADHD. But will he be able to tell the truth about “The Incident”?

July 6

A Duet for Home

By Karina Yan Glaser

Ages 8 to 12

June is not happy about moving to Huey House. An accident led to her family losing their home and relocating to the homeless shelter. Even worse, the sixth-grader can’t bring her beloved viola. But June meets Tyrell, who has been at Huey House for three years and shows her that it isn’t so bad. When a government policy threatens families at the shelter, will June and Tyrell be able to work together to stop it?

July 13

Pilar Ramirez and the Escape From Zafa

By Julian Randall

Ages 8 to 12

What happened to Mami’s cousin Natasha in the Dominican Republic 50 years ago? Twelve-year-old Pilar lives in modern-day Chicago, but she’s determined to ferret out the long-ago truth. Pilar is making a documentary about Natasha, who disappeared, like many others, during a brutal dictatorship. Fast-forward a bit, and Pilar finds herself on a strange island chock-full of fantasy creatures and demons from her abuela’s tales. Danger looms, and even if Natasha is hidden here, how can Pilar ever find her — and the way home?

July 20

Unfadeable

By Maurice Broaddus

Ages 8 to 12

Thirteen-year-old Bella hopes to start an arts program for teens in her neighborhood, but city officials dismiss the idea. That’s when she notices something funny: Money seems to be going to projects that the community neither wants nor needs. When she shares her suspicions, Bella is ignored. Grown-ups think she’s just a loud, nosy kid. Then she’s threatened and realizes: Someone is trying to shut her down. When she teams up with a retired private investigator, Bella makes mistakes that amp up tension — even as she learns how to speak truth so that others will listen.

July 27

The Secret Battle of Evan Pao

By Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Ages 8 to 12

Evan Pao has a sense for when people are lying. He has just moved from California to Virginia with his mother and older sister, and he can tell who is being friendly and who is faking it. While he adjusts to being the only Asian student in his new school, can he also figure out other things, such as how to live without his dad (who has disappeared) and how to navigate the difficult past of his new hometown?

August 3

The Last Mapmaker

By Christina Soontornvat

Ages 8 to 12

In the kingdom of Mangkon, 12-year-old Sai is trying to make it on her own. Her mother died years ago, and her father survives by criminal deeds that sometimes get him put in jail. Sai has worked on her penmanship and blending in to regular society, and has been lucky to get a job helping the kingdom’s preeminent mapmaker. When the opportunity arrives to escape her father’s shady schemes, Sai goes on a great voyage of exploration. Once onboard, she will have to figure out whom to trust and the truth of what’s beyond the known world.

JOIN THE CLUB

The Summer Book Club is open to ages 6 to 14. Kids may read some or all of the books on our list. The books are available through Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., Hooray for Books in Alexandria, Virginia, and One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia. Washington-area library systems also have been alerted about the selections.

To join the club, children must be registered by a parent or guardian, who must fill out our form at wapo.st/kidspostbookclub2022 by August 8.

The first 600 kids to register will receive a pen and notepad set. Prizes will be sent out beginning in late June.

KidsPost will publish a list of the club’s members at the end of the summer. Parents who do not want their child’s name published should indicate that when they sign up.