For Readers

Children’s books to add to your story time rotation

By: Hidden Gems on June 14, 2022

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on June 14, 2022


Are you looking for new stories to add to your nighttime reading routine? Maybe you’re looking for books to occupy young readers while traveling for summer vacation. Our Hidden Gems ARC readers loved the following titles, and we bet the young reader in your life will love having them added to their story time rotation as well.

Nelican’s Lemons

Nelican’s Lemons by Riya Aarini

Nelican’s Lemons by Riya Aarini is recommended for readers aged three to seven. This new release with cheery illustrations tells the story of Nelican, a pelican who lives on the island of Welican. Readers will enjoy following along with Nelican, as he and his friends try to find a way to enjoy the sour lemons which have appeared on their island.

Paul Y. highlights in his five star Amazon review, “There is an old saying about lemons and this engaging and delightful story by Riya Aarini plays on that theme…A rhyming picture book that is sure to enchant children of all ages. The story takes place on an island beach with beautiful and humorous illustrations by Mariana Hnatenko.”

Taryn S. concurs in her five star Amazon review, “This was absolutely adorable. Great rhyming and the illustrations were awesome. A cute story with a life lesson behind it…When life gives you lemons you indeed make lemonade.”

Reviewers also appreciated that this sweet tale not only has fun illustrations and rhymes to keep readers entertained, but also includes a lemonade recipe for readers to make on their own as a learning opportunity after story time has concluded.

Wizzy-Woo - Return to the Dragon Cats

Wizzy-Woo – Return to the Dragon Cats by Helga Hopkins

Wizzy-Woo: Return to the Dragon Cats by Helga Hopkins is also recommended for readers aged three to seven; it is the most recent addition to the Wizzy-Woo book series, a tale of adventure with colorful illustrations to entertain young readers as they follow Wizzy-Woo and his friends on their journey to visit their friend Buzzy.

Hidden in the adventure-filled pages are also life lessons. Crystal13 shares in her five star Amazon review, “This book is great for explaining how first appearances can be deceiving. Scary things can be friendly, problems can be solved, and what may not appear tasty actually can be.” 

Happily, adults enjoy this story just as much as their young readers. In her five star review, Hokusairocks raves, “Easy to read for established readers or great for a bedtime story. Lovely vibrant illustrations and imaginative storyline…my youngsters love it!”

Violet’s Voyages: Greece: The Dolphin Adventure

Violet’s Voyages: Greece: The Dolphin Adventure by Denise Kahn

Violet’s Voyages: Greece: The Dolphin Adventure by Denise Kahn is recommended for readers aged two to 12. This is the second book in the Violet’s Voyages series. Join Violet as she travels on a shooting star to Greece, or does she? Your reader may be so entertained while reading this tale that they won’t notice this story is as educational as it is entertaining.

Keith raves in his five star Amazon review, “I am a preschool teacher and I pretend to travel the world with my students. This book would perfectly fit into our program…One of my students saw a picture from it while I was reading it and said that it was beautiful! The information was well presented and will make it easy for children to understand the facts. Throw a dolphin into the mix and you can’t go wrong!”

Zalina also caught the travel bug while reading Violet’s tale with their child. They explained in their five star Amazon review, “After reading this with my 4 year old I feel more excited to visit Greece! This book has wonderful and creative illustrations, they really help you understand what Greece looks like! Recommend for parents and kids who love traveling around the world.”

Sadoni Squirrel: Superhero

Sadoni Squirrel: Superhero: A Dance-It-Out Creative Movement Story for Young Movers by Once Upon a Dance

Sadoni Squirrel: Superhero is part of the Dance-It-Out! Creative Movement Stories for Young Readers series. This series of books is written by an award-winning mother-daughter team, writing under the pen name Once Upon a Dance. Both have extensive ballet experience, and infuse their stories with dance/movement techniques and important lessons for the reader. As the series name implies, these stories will get your reader up and moving; recommended for readers aged four to seven.

Once Upon A Dance describes this series saying, “Movement journeys are ideal for dance, pre-ballet, creative movement, preschool, daycare, early learning, physical education, homeschool, kindergarten, or first-grade activities. The full collection features female, male, and nonbinary diverse characters. Books make great gifts for kids interested in dance, ballet, gymnastics, or yoga, or reluctant readers who enjoy getting up and moving.”

Christy shares shares in her five star Amazon review, “Sadoni’s story is perfect for little ones, and combined with the movements suggested by Ballerina Kanora, children and adults can bring the story to life with movement. This story is vibrant in which there are multiple ways to enjoy the story. Snuggle down before bed and enjoy the rich illustrations while reading the story. During the day, get your wiggles out by acting out the story with well-designed and explained movements.”

Lily M. raves in her five star Amazon review, “I found Sadoni Squirrel: Superhero: A Dance-It-Out Creative Movement Story for Young Movers to be a cheerful and endearing text. It creatively explores themes such as responsibility and helping others in an easy way that young minds can easily grasp. This inspiring book should be a staple in kindergarten classes.”

Ame Goes to Japan

Ame Goes to Japan by Mami Bacera

Ame Goes to Japan by Mami Bacera is the second travel inspired book on this list. Recommended for readers aged five to 12, this tale will help readers learn more about Japan, as they follow Ame as he returns to visit Japan, his birthplace. Readers will learn about food, festivals, important landmarks, and language.

Shandra B. shares her experience in her five star Amazon review, “An adorable and educational story about a little cat who travels to Japan. The book is very interactive with hidden objects, Japanese vocabulary, and fun facts! My daughter loved all of the beautiful illustrations and the fact that it was a cat that was having the adventure. Animals are fun, especially ones that travel!”

Her experience was seconded by Jessica H. in her five star Amazon review, “Super cute book! My kids and I enjoy learning about foreign places and different cultures and Japan has always been an interesting subject for my daughter. She really loved what this book has to offer and the illustrations were awesome as well. A great book for giving kids a glimpse of the world.”

Hidden Gems readers got to read these novels first, so if you want more stories to add to your summer story time reading list, sign up today! Subscribers to Hidden Gems receive invitations to read books like these – plus other titles from any of up to 15 other genres – for free. Authors send these out in the hopes that the readers will write an honest review on Amazon once they’re done.

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  • Love this idea. Can’t wait to start reading my free books tomorrow and sure my 1 year old will love the children’s books too! Also going it’ll give me some ideas of books too add to my personal library.