For Readers

5 Children’s Books to Kick Off the School Year

By: Hidden Gems on September 8, 2020

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on September 8, 2020


Each and every week, subscribers to Hidden Gems are offered FREE books to download, read, and review – from any or all of over 15 different genres. Today we’re going to highlight five children’s books that were a hit with our readers late this summer. Dive into these silly, action-packed reads as you kick off the new school yearwhatever that may look like for your family. Each would make a great addition to your child’s classroom or home library.

The Kung Pao Cow by C.T. Walsh

Farmer Walsh has a big problem. His animals are sick of grass and hay and want some variety. Parents will love the highly relatable theme of picky eaters and “what’s for dinner” while children will laugh out loud at the silly reactions from their favorite farm animals.

“A cute, funny read!” writes Becky in her 5-star review. “What do you feed farm animals when they tire of their usual cuisine? Certainly not meat! Illustrations are wonderful. Lots of discussion points. Great rhyming.”

“This books a win!” says Angeljoei in her 5-star review. “The lyrical farm book takes a different approach to food which had my kids giggling all although the book. They seriously fell in love when Chinese noodles where added in because that’s their favorite meal! Cute art work, great reading cadence and happy kids!”

The Tasty Treat: The Nocturnals by Tracey Hecht

Parents will love this Level 1 Early Reader children’s book as it not only has brilliant illustrations, but even includes a pronunciation guide aimed toward 4-6 year olds. In this story, Dawn, Tobin and Bismark come across a situation where bullying takes place. Join them as they diffuse the situation using only their words! Themes of friendship, sharing and problem solving are covered. As a bonus, you can visit the online Nocturnals World where you may download printable activities including games, crafts and more.

“The series addresses bullying and empathy in an easy, accessible way, and the books are meant to be read aloud.”―New York Post

In her 5-star review Sandy writes, “This book is a great start to an early reader series, with simple words and story progression for emerging readers. I love the engaging illustrations, and the fact that this features animals outside of the usual farm animals and cats and dogs. Another fun feature is the fact section at the end. I think my son will get a lot of use out of this book and the rest in this series.”

Annalynn the Canadian Spy: Terrible Tissues by Shawn P.B. Robinson

The first book in the AtCS Series, Terrible Tissues takes independent readers on an adventure full of twists and turns. Never a dull moment, the humor will have kids laughing out loud. Readers will join 10 year old spy Annalynn as she uncovers the mystery of the stolen box of tissues. A very important mission indeed!

“This author is a master of mirth and silliness!” writes Avid Reader in their 5-star review. “I loved this book and I think kids will too. It’s nonsensical mayhem, without any violence, and I must admit when I wasn’t laughing or chortling I was giggling.”

“I was looking for something to add to my classroom library and Shawn P.B. Robinson doesn’t disappoint!” says Mark Gunning in his 5-star review. “I must say the humour in it definitely made me laugh out loud. I love the fact that his main character Annalynn, is a young girl, who becomes a Canadian spy. (A great book to introduce to my class.) His Canadian references are hilarious as they pop up throughout the book. I look forward to buying the entire set, as he apparently is releasing at least 8 books in the series. A fun and entertaining read!”

The Gator in a Tux by Shannon Greenland

In this delightfully engaging children’s spy book, we join Penny-Ann as she traipses through swamps, creepy houses, and cemeteries, with her pal Diamond De Luca at her side. If Veronica Mars was 13 years old, this would be her! Young readers will enjoy the adventure, mystery and comedy while learning from Penny’s mistakes right along with her.

“Penny-Ann’s humor, sass, and tenacious attitude help give her a multifaceted personality. She’s fun to read, easy to picture, and engaging. This is a fabulous read for the young and the old.” Beckster77 says in her 5-star review. “I love how she learns lessons as she goes along. The ability to understand her mistakes and make amends is a great attribute. However, I enjoy hearing her idiosyncrises, seeing her prejudices against people she’s felt wronged by, and how difficult it can be for her to not be in control. She’s such a well-rounded and entertaining character; you immediately feel a kinship with her.”

“A great read for both boys and girls,” writes Nicole in her 5-star review. “Penny-Ann and Rocco’s antics as they pursue Maura make for engaging action and intrigue that have you trying to solve the case alongside them. The taxidermy shtick is priceless! A great choice for reluctant readers.”

7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner

7th Grade Revolution is an award-winning children’s book inspired by true events in which 7th grade turns out to be anything but normal. Intended for readers in grades 5-8, this story is a fun ride that combines treasure hunting, quick thinking, Revolutionary-era U.S. history, and teamwork. Imagine Spy Kids and the National Treasure movie combined. Readers will love the twists and turns as they read through this adventure.

“The hunt for the treasure is amazingly written and I honestly could picture myself right there with all the students. It was so fun to find the secrets with them, and I felt joy each time they discovered something new; whether it be about themselves, another classmate or just a new discovery in or around their school.” – Melissa in her 5-star review

“I love the pace she set as it holds your interest throughout,” writes Rose in her 5-star review. “Liana Gardner has done a wonderful job combining a fictional version of a real event with her exciting account of what could have occurred afterwards. It completely works.”

Embrace this school year and escape with fantastic reads. If you love books, and want to share your recommendations, you’re just the kind of reader we’re looking for. Sign up today!

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  • Thanks, Sheri Lynn, for the kind words! I have really found I appreciate Hidden Gems! Keep up the good work!