Chase Away the Winter Blues with Books

10 recommendations from the Philadelphia Free Library that celebrate fun, family and friends

With winter upon us and the daylight hiding, January is the perfect month for indoor family fun. You may be thinking about warmer weather and sunnier skies. Why not dive into some books about summer camp? January is also National Mentoring Month. How are you helping someone? Take a look at the books below and check them out from your local library.

Picture Books

The Great Indoors“The Great Indoors”
by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Ruth Chan

When the humans are away, the animals will play. This picture book is a great twist on the family vacation of going to the great outdoors. The animals live outdoors, and they are ready for their vacation in the great indoors. However, things quickly get out of control. Can the animals clean up in time so the humans are none the wiser?

Bruces Big Storm“Bruce’s Big Storm”
by Ryan T. Higgins

Bruce is a grumpy bear who likes to live alone, in peace and quiet. However, if you’ve met Bruce in his prior books, you know he is often not alone. When a bad storm rolls in, Bruce finds his home filled with neighborhood creatures. With everyone hanging out indoors, will Bruce be able to survive all his unwanted guests? Get ready to laugh with this installment of the Bruce saga.

Chapter Books

Princess Posey“Princess Posey & the Crazy, Lazy Vacation”
by Stephanie Greene, illustrated by Stephanie Roth Sisson

Posey is ready for spring break and vacation. She’s disappointed to find out that her mom has other ideas: a lazy, stay-at-home vacation. Posey is upset at first but finds fun in pancake dinners, sleepovers at her house and a new bike. This early chapter book is full of fun and laughs. It’s a great read for independent readers or a family
read-aloud session.

Counting Sheep“Counting Sheep”
by Jacqueline Kelly, illustrated by Jennifer L. Meyer

Callie loves animals and is determined to become a vet when she is older. With the help of local veterinarian Dr. Pritzker, her dream is getting closer to being fulfilled. When Callie finds tiny eggs on a leaf, she takes care of them. When the butterflies hatch, one has a broken wing; Callie makes it her mission to help it fly. With her determination, and the help of her granddaddy, Callie helps animals as best she can.

Sleepaway Champs“Sleepaway Champs”
by Brian Yanish

Shark and Bot are ready for summer vacation. They’re excited to go away to sleepaway camp for the first time, even though Shark is starting to feel homesick. Adventure awaits these two friends in this funny easy-to-read graphic novel. Dive into this summer adventure book to stay warm during the winter months.

Middle-Grade Books

Mystery Of Moon Tower“The Mystery of the Moon Tower”
by Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian, illustrated by Steve Hamaker

Kyle is new in town, and his parents send him to summer camp hoping he’ll make some new friends. On the first day, he’s paired up with four other kids and sent on a treasure hunt in the town of Windrose. Using all their individual skills, can these children solve the mystery of their town, and the spooky Moon Tower, before summer camp ends? This middle-grade graphic novel is filled with new friends, mysteries and fun.

Camp“Camp”
by Kayla Miller

Best friends Olive and Willow are excited to spend the summer together at camp. Olive is outgoing and immediately starts to make new friends. Willow is a bit shy and starts to cling to Olive. Stress and pressure mount between the two best friends, causing a fight and estrangement. Can these two friends make up in time to enjoy summer camp together? This fun, fast-paced middle-grade graphic novel is perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier.

Long Distance“Long Distance”
by Whitney Gardner

Vega was forced to move at the beginning of summer, and she is not happy. To help her adjust, and maybe make new friends, her parents send her to summer camp. At first, camp seems OK, even though there are some campers who seem a bit strange. After her phone won’t work and things get even stranger, Vega teams up with her bunk mates to figure out what exactly is going on at Camp Very Best Friend. This fun, upper-middle- grade graphic novel offers readers an unpredictable twist.

What The Hex“What the Hex?!”
by Sophie Escabasse

Effie is a witch, which we find out about in the first book in this series. What Effie doesn’t realize is that many witches are in her town. These witches will help her hone her own skills. When a new witch shows up in school, Effie isn’t exactly sure how she feels about her. Effie enjoys attending the witch meetings and learning all she can. This middle-grade graphic novel is filled with friendships, witches and learning new skills.

Creepy Case Files“The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo”
by Drew Weing

Charles is new to Echo City, but he realizes very quickly that something strange is happening. Once he meets Margo Maloo he understands: It’s monsters! Margo reluctantly takes Charles under her wings to teach him all about monster mediation. This action-packed lower-middle-grade graphic novel is a fun read for anyone who loves monsters.

This piece first appeared in the January 2022 issue of MetroKids

Categories: Book Reviews