Heng Zeng for The Washington Post

If someone offers to share a secret, it’s hard to say no. It’s exciting to learn something other people don’t know. Once you know, however, you’ve got to decide what to do with that information. That decision can be complicated. This year’s Summer Book Club features eight books that include secrets — some are between friends, others involve neighbors or even characters from another world. The secrets themselves help hook readers, but it’s often what comes next in the story that’s more interesting. Will information stay secret? Will telling others help or hurt those involved? Wanting answers to those questions is one reason to keep reading. And we at KidsPost hope that’s how you will spend part of the summer — with a book you don’t want to put down. Have a parent sign you up (see below) and consider reading our selections, which we will explore more on eight Wednesdays this summer. If you know of similar books we should consider recommending, let us know. We promise not to keep it a secret.

June 3

A Girl, a Raccoon and the Midnight Moon

By Karen Romano Young

Ages 10 to 14

Pearl thinks of the Lancaster Avenue branch of the New York City Library as home. Her mom is the librarian, and the 10-year-old loves the place, even though it’s run down. What she loves most is a statue of a famous poet in the garden. When the statue’s head disappears, the city threatens to close the library if the crime can’t be solved. Pearl is determined to find the thief. In the process, she discovers another family that has a lot to lose if the library shuts down.

June 17


By Jen Wang

Ages 8 to 12

When a girl named Moon moves in next door, Christine is worried. Kids at school say Moon is odd, maybe even dangerous. But the two become fast friends, and Moon introduces Christine to new music, new food and a more carefree outlook. Others in their Asian American community see Moon as an oddball and not a great influence on Christine. This graphic novel explores the strength of friendship and how kids from the same culture can be vastly different.

July 1

By Michelle Kadarusman

Ages 8 to 12

Louisa, a Canadian middle-schooler with a passion for the violin, travels to the Australian island of Tasmania to spend her summer break with relatives she doesn’t know. The family lives in a rainforest, which has amazing animals, strange sounds and unusual people. Louisa learns that a mining company threatens to bulldoze the area and that a rare Tasmanian tiger, from a species that the world thought was extinct, would lose its home. Louisa may be able to help in a way no one expects.

July 15

By Kate Milford

Ages 10 to 12

Nagspeake isn’t your typical seaside city. Its quirks should make it exciting, but Marzana and her best friend, Nialla, call it the town where nothing happens. The two, who play detective in their spare time, are desperate for a real case. When her parents are asked to help solve a recent kidnapping, Marzana thinks it’s the perfect opportunity. However, her parents don’t want the girls involved, and the kidnapping isn’t as straightforward as it first appeared.

July 29

By Kim Baker

Ages 8 to 12

Twelve-year-old Newt is looking for a change. He survived a bear attack last year, but it left him with a scar, a limp and nightly nightmares. He considers leaving the island resort where his Mexican American family doesn’t fit in. Maybe life would be better staying with his abuela, or grandma, on the U.S. mainland. When he and a friend discover a large wooden bear washed up on the beach, the friend thinks that the bear might be the life-changer Newt seeks.

August 5

By Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian

Ages 8 to 12

Five kids at Camp Pathfinder seem to have little in common. But their skills — for drawing, magic, math, history and inventions — come in handy when they go on a treasure hunt. What starts out as a camp activity becomes an urgent quest — the camp needs money to stay in business. The story, the first in the Pathfinders Society graphic novel series, follows the kids as they learn about a quirky inventor-explorer who may be the key to finding the treasure.

August 19

By Henry Clark

Ages 8 to 12

Cal could use a magic spell to save his family’s farm. People aren’t buying the produce, and corn maze ticket sales aren’t enough to pay the bills. It appears that they will have to move. When Cal’s friend, Modesty, finds a binder of spells, they have a moment of hope. The spells seem useless, however, and they work only occasionally. The kids and a third friend meet the binder’s owner, who needs their help to save something bigger — a dragon and magic itself.

September 2

By Brenda Woods

Ages 10 to 12

In the summer of 1946, a man named Meriwether saves a boy, Gabriel, from being struck by a car. Gabriel helps the out-of-work World War II veteran get a job in the family’s auto shop in Birdsong, South Carolina. Tensions arise, however, because Meriweather is black; the other workers are white. Learning a secret about the man’s past makes Gabriel realize that the town’s black residents lead lives far different from those of the people he knows.


The Summer Book Club is open to kids ages 6 to 14. Children 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. Check the stores’ websites for details on online and telephone orders. E-books also may be available through your local libraries.

To join the club, children must be registered by a parent or guardian, who must fill out our form at wapo.st/kidspostbookclub2020 by August 1.

The first 500 kids to register will receive a KidsPost book light. Prizes will be sent out beginning in July.

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 inform us of that when they sign up.