When you hear the word “hero,” what image pops into your mind? Perhaps it’s the Black Panther or Iron Man, with their high-tech suits. Or maybe it’s a historical figure such as Abraham Lincoln, astronaut Sally Ride or the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. These heroes are fascinating but not always relatable — especially to kids. So this year’s Summer Book Club focuses on heroes who have more in common with KidsPost readers. These heroes don’t have super suits or decades of experience. They’re curious and persistent if not muscle-bound. They deal with peer pressure and annoying parents even when fighting crime or solving mysteries. And although they are made-up characters, they might inspire you to perform real acts of heroism. So join us this summer as we get to know eight unlikely heroes. (Scroll down to find out how to enter.)
By Marcia Wells. Age 9 and older.
The New York Police Department is looking for an art thief on the popular area of Museum Mile. They enlist the help of sixth-grader Edmund Xavier Lonnrot, code name “Eddie Red.” Eddie uses his photographic memory and incredible drawing skills to help the NYPD pursue the thieves known as the Picasso Gang. Can Eddie keep up with his homework and solve this dangerous mystery?
By Derek Landy. Ages 8 to 12.
When Stephanie Edgley’s uncle, a popular horror writer, dies, she is left with questions about the mysterious and dark world he left behind. Skulduggery Pleasant, a 400-year-old skeleton detective, helps Stephanie find justice by solving her uncle’s murder. But the duo is led to a far more dangerous path as they try to stop an evil general from getting the Scepter of the Ancients, a weapon that can bring back wicked gods called the Faceless Ones. Stephanie also discovers something magical about herself that opens the door to another world.
By Celia C. Pérez. Ages 8 to 12.
Twelve-year-old Malú is obsessed with all things punk. On her first day of school, she violates the school’s dress code with her punk-rock look and gets on the bad side of the most popular girl in school. But she continues to remember her dad’s first rule of punk: Be yourself. Eventually, Malú begins to find her place through her love of skateboarding and punk, and she sets out to fight for her right to express herself at school.
By Varian Johnson. Ages 8 to 13.
Her parents’ divorce and a temporary move to small-town Lambert, South Carolina, leave Candice Miller expecting a terrible summer. But then the 12-year-old hears a curious story about a treasure hunt that brought disgrace upon her now-dead grandmother, the town’s first African American city manager. When she finds an old letter, she and a neighbor boy dig into Lambert’s sometimes-ugly past in hopes of finding treasure and redemption for Grandma.
By Katherine Applegate. Ages 8 to 12.
For doglike animals called dairnes, life revolves around the pack. That’s especially true for Byx, the smallest in her family. After an enemy attacks their home, Byx finds herself alone. She’s an endling — not just the last of her family but the last of her species. But legend says there might be a distant colony of dairnes. With the help of several oddball characters, Byx realizes that finding the colony is crucial not only to her species but to creatures of all kinds.
By Gordon Korman. Ages 9 to 13.
Imagine you were accidentally placed in a school for the gifted. Donovan Curtis doesn’t have to imagine it. When one of Donovan’s many pranks goes wrong, he mistakenly ends up in a school filled with high IQs. Donovan has trouble hiding the error and fitting in to a school where he doesn’t think he belongs. But it turns out that his gifts are not what the school expects.
By Dave Eggers. Ages 8 to 12.
With his dad out of work, Gran and his family must move 1,000 miles to the town of Carousel, with the promise of a job. The place isn’t too welcoming, however. Gran feels invisible at his new school until he meets a mysterious classmate named Catalina. She disappears often. Gran follows her one day and discovers that she has access to a system of tunnels under Carousel. She tells him to forget what he has seen. But Gran is sure he can help with Catalina’s top-secret underground mission.
By Aisha Saeed. Age 10 and older.
Amal has dreams, as any young girl does. But her hopes of becoming a teacher are shattered when she runs into trouble with a ruling member of her Pakistani village. To pay her family’s debt, she must work as the ruling family’s servant. In that role, she uncovers truths about the family. Through her love of poetry and reading, Amal goes on a mission of resistance to seek justice and realize her dream.
HOW TO JOIN
The Summer Book Club is open to kids ages 6 to 14. Children may read some or all of the books on our list. We will take a closer look at each book Wednesdays from June 13 until August 1. The books are available at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Northwest Washington, Hooray for Books in Alexandria, Virginia, and One More Page in Arlington, Virginia. Most are also available at libraries in the Washington area.
To join the club, children must be registered by a parent or guardian by August 17. To register, a parent needs to fill out our form at wapo.st/kidspostbookclub2018 or send the child’s first and last names, age and address to KidsPost Summer Book Club, The Washington Post, 1301 K Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. (Immediate family members of Washington Post employees are not eligible to join.)
The first 650 kids registered will receive the drawstring book bag shown here. Those registered also will be entered for a chance to win four reserved seats at the National Book Festival on September 1 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW. Two book club members will be chosen at random on August 17.
KidsPost also will publish a list of the club’s members at the end of the summer. Any parents who do not want their child’s name published should inform us of that when they sign up.