Splash into Summer Reading with Bright USA Agents!

illustration by Yasmeen Ismail

illustration by Yasmeen Ismail

As you’re lounging by the pool or at the beach or sitting in front of your AC unit, I’m sure you’re itching for some summer book recommendations. Our agents offer their top picks for summer reads, both timeless classics and newer titles. So kick back, relax, and head on over to your favorite local bookstore for a haul that’s sure to please the whole family (and provide artistic inspiration to boot)!

Alli Brydon, Managing Agent

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The Magic Bone Series, by Nancy Krulik and illustrated by Sebastien Braun (Penguin)

When Kindergarten ended for my son, he immediately picked up this to start his summer reading list because of the adorable main character pup, Sparky, illustrated on the cover. The books are long (over 100 pages), but the text is funny and easy enough for him to read, and there is adorable black-and-white art on almost every page, making this a real page-turner for him. Thankfully there are 12 books in the series!

lizzy streart

There’s a Tiger in the Garden, by Lizzy Stewart (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)

This is one I keep picking off the shelf to read out loud to my kids. The book is lushly illustrated, and the story speaks to any child who has ever uttered “I’m bored!” (hint: all of them), reinforcing the power of imagination to take you to amazing places right in your own backyard. And at the end is a hilarious surprise…

Anne Moore Armstrong, Trade Picture Book Agent 


Southby Daniel Duncan (Abrams)

Daniel Duncan’s debut author-illustrated picture book is a heartwarming story of friendship between a lonely ship captain and a stowaway bird. I love the setting… imagining being out on the water and living on that boat is absolutely enchanting. Daniel’s work is full of intricate details that transport the reader into the story — the captain’s room, especially. I fell in love with the captain and the seagull he lets sleep in that little drawer below deck. The New York Times says, ‘like most seafaring books, this one both evokes deep, unaccountable emotions, and soothes them.’ I have to agree!

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Audubon: On the Wings of the Worldby Fabien Grolleau and illustrated by Jérémie Royer (Nobrow)

When I saw this graphic novel at the Nobrow booth at BEA this year, the art immediately caught my attention. Based on the adventures of 19th-Century wilderness explorer, bird enthusiast and artist John James Audubon, this gorgeous book tells the story of a man who truly captures the spirit of early America as it was still uncharted. Its graphic novel format was an unexpected surprise for me but makes it an accessible invitation to dive into this wonderful biography, and I love the subtle, natural color palate complimenting the theme of nature conservation. A fascinating and beautiful read!

James Burns, Senior Agent 

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The Tickle Book by Heidi Kilgras and illustrated by Chris Robertson (Little Golden Books)

My little nephew adores this book. Tickles come in from all sides of the family here… whisker tickles and whisper tickles, this book has it all! It flows so well and is great fun to read aloud. Little Golden Books never fails.

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PAXby Sarah Pennypacker and illustrated by Jon Klasson (HarperCollins)

I was originally drawn to this book because of the stunning cover art by Jon Klasson, but once I started reading, this beautiful story of friendship between a boy and his fox absolutely drew me in. Torn apart by war, the boy and his fox go on their own separate journeys to reunite with each other and learn so much about themselves along the way. Moreover Jon Klasson’s black and white spot illustrations throughout enhance the story even more.

Robbin Brosterman, Agent 


The Runaway Egg, by Katy Hudson (Random House Books for Young Readers)

Katy Hudson’s characters are just too cute! As Chick hops through the perilous farmland after his runaway little brother, you realize how much power this little guy has. Funny and visually stunning, this is a perfect read for big siblings!


Madelineby Ludwig Bemelmans (Puffin Books)

And oldie but a goodie! When I was a kid, I couldn’t get enough of little girls with big personalities. Little Madeline is absolutely fearless. And I always come back to the art — the primary color scheme is timeless. And the outfits!

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