Back to Blog

Summer is here! And you know what that means… It’s Summer Learning Challenge time! You can find all of our amazing summer programs, along with how to sign up in Beanstack to get started earning points. We have programming for all ages and interests that ties into our SLC theme of “Tales and Tails”!

And to get you started off right, our library staff have curated four (yes, FOUR) book lists in Beanstack that we feel have not-to-be-missed titles on them. You can find them under Recommendations on your Beanstack dashboard. Selecting “View All” will show all of the 2021 Tales and Tales book lists. 

We will be featuring each of the book lists throughout Summer 2021, so be sure to check back often to see what’s next.  This week, let’s explore the 2021 – Tales and Tails Picture Book List! 

(All summaries are from the publishers. Staff picks are chosen by CCPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We’d love to hear your ideas too, so write to us and tell us what you’d recommend!)

Need a library card? Please visit Get a Library Card to sign up for one today!

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher

The world used to be crowded before all the people went away, but Gris and his parents were never lonely on their remote island. They had each other and their dogs. Then the thief came. There may be no laws left, but if someone steals your dog, you can expect someone to come after you, because what’s the point of love if you’re not loyal.

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts– until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world. Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. But there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The question is: which way?

American Betiya by Anuradha D. Rajurkar

Rani Kelkar never lied to her parents– until she meets Oliver. The same qualities that draw her in– his tattoos, his charisma, his passion for art– make him her mother’s worst nightmare. When Oliver’s troubled home life unravels, he starts to ask more of Rani than she knows how to give. When a twist of fate leads Rani from Evanston, Illinois to Pune, India for a summer, she has a reckoning with herself… and what’s really brewing beneath the surface of her first love.

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers. Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school’s junior year. But, everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment. Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it’s only Tavia and Effie’s unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

From age six through her high school valedictory speech, believing she and her mother are wizards helps young Echo cope with poverty, hunger, her mother’s drug abuse, and much more.

Chlorine Sky by Mahogany L. Browne

Picked on at home, criticized for talking trash while beating boys at basketball, and always seen as less than her best friend, a girl struggles to like and accept herself.

Dig by A.S. King

Five white teenage cousins who are struggling with the failures and racial ignorance of their dysfunctional parents and their wealthy grandparents, reunite for Easter.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Isabella Star LaBlanc brings an authentic-sounding narration to this powerful audiobook…Dialogue, including words in other languages, is handled with effortless transitions and clear depictions between characters. This audiobook should not be missed.

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel

In 1973, when a renowned Canadian behavioral psychologist pursues his latest research project– an experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills– he brings home a baby chimp named Zan and asks his thirteen-year-old son to treat Zan like a little brother.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

After her mother dies in an accident, Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape– until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. A young mage who calls himself a ‘Merlin’ attempts– and fails– to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw. His failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

Lobizona by Romina Garber

When her mother is arrested by ICE, sixteen-year-old Argentinian Manu — who thinks she is hiding in a Miami apartment because she is an undocumented immigrant — discovers that her entire existence is illegal.

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Every seven years there is a hunt offering mortal descendants of gods the opportunity to claim their divinity by killing any of nine immortals made mortal for one night. Lore Perseous has no desire to participate in the Agon, embittered because her family was killed by a rival who then ascended to godhood. When a childhood friend asks her to help, and a wounded god offers an alliance, Lore overlooks the steep cost of this decision in exchange for vengeance.

#MeToo and You by Halley Bondy

Author Halley Bondy explores the nuances of emotions, comfort, and discomfort in sexually charged and emotionally abusive situations. Tween readers will learn about consent, harassment, abuse, and healthy boundaries in all types of relationships.

Once & Future by Cori McCarthy

Resets the Arthurian legend in outer space, with King Arthur reincarnated as seventeen-year-old Ari, a female king whose quest is to stop a tyrranical corporate government, aided by a teenaged Merlin.

One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite

Although distraught, Happi is also unsettled by the way people have idealized the memory of her sister who was killed after attending a social justice rally — why do people have to be perfect in order to be missed? As a way to honor the memory, however, Happi and her other sister Genny go on a roadtrip using the original “Green Book” — but the trip reveals secrets neither sister knew about the dead Kezi.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

In a near-future society that claims to have gotten rid of all monstrous people, a creature emerges from a painting seventeen-year-old Jam’s mother created, a hunter from another world seeking a real-life monster.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

As World War II draws to a close, refugees try to escape the war’s final dangers, only to find themselves aboard a ship with a target on its hull.

She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

When seventeen-year-old Veronica’s photograph of her introverted girlfriend goes viral, they are sent into a spiral of fame and lethal danger as they navigate the turbulent waters of their relationship, secrets, acclaim, and the underground San Diego art scene.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning.

The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, on the Silk Road, which is currently protected by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, from attacks by the violent and ruthless Shayateen djinn–but Fatima was infused with the fire of the Ifrit who died saving her when she was four years old, and when one of the most important Ifrit dies she finds herself drawn into the intrigues of the court, the affairs of the djinn, and the very real dangers of a magical battlefield.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F. C. Yee

Sixteen-year-old Genie’s focus on getting into a top-tier college is destroyed when an enigmatic transfer student, Quentin, helps her transform into a demon-fighter.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

The blood ceremony will determine whether Deka will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony her blood runs gold, the color of impurity. A mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki– near-immortals with rare gifts. Accepting means leaving the only life Deka has ever known. Her journey holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be– not even Deka herself.

The Incredible Nellie Bly by Luciana Cimino

A visual biography of the groundbreaking investigative journalist Born in 1864, Nellie Bly was a woman who did not allow herself to be defined by the time she lived in, she rewrote the narrative and made her own way. Luciana Cimino’s meticulously researched graphic-novel biography tells Bly’s story through Miriam, a fictionalized female student at the Columbia School of Journalism in 1921.

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Real life isn’t a fairytale. But Tié̂n still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tié̂n, he doesn’t even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English.

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic. Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. The brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, don’t feel. When the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. The pair set into motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself.

Wanted by Jo Ho

Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

Half-god, half-human Rue is snatched from her Houston home to Ghazan, a secret land of gods, by her estranged father, then must face an evil determined to steal everything from her.