Countdown to Summer: 4 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Young Adult Series

Looking for some more traditional, yet still action-packed series for you or your kids? The summer is the perfect time to dive into some action and adventure with these science fiction/fantasy young adult series. Much like the dystopian young adult series, these novels tend to have less romance and more action, so they are perfect for both boys and girls of all ages!
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, is a series about a 12 year old brilliant millionaire, who also happens to be a criminal mastermind. In this first novel, Artemis takes on the world of the Faerie and captures Holly Short for a ransom. A battle full of action and wit between Artemis and the Faerie world ensues. Artemis starts out as a pessimistic and cold boy, but turns into a rather charming young man throughout the series, who shows remorse for his previous bad actions. Delve into the series now, so that you and your kids can be ready when the eighth and final book is published later this year!
In the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John A. Flanagan, 15 year old Will wanted to be a warrior, but instead he was chosen to be Ranger’s Apprentice. At first Will is terrified, thinking that the Rangers are partially evil, but he soon discovers that the Rangers are the ones that have been long protecting their kingdom from other evil magic forces. Start with the first book in the series, The Ruins of Gorlan, for an action-packed ride with Will through the Kingdom of Araluen, which is loosely based on medieval Europe. At 11 books and still counting, this is one series that will keep you occupied for most of the summer!
The Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore starts with Graceling. Katsa is a Graceling, or a person who is extremely skilled. As rare as a Graceling is, her skill is even more unique. She has been able to kill people with her bare hands since she was eight. While being a Graceling is usually a blessing, for Katsa it’s a curse. Her uncle, King Randa, uses her to punish and scare people in his kingdom. One day Katsa meets a prince who just might match her in combat skills, and her entire world turns upside down. The two other books in the series, Fire and Bitterblue, follow other characters that have some of the same challenges that Katsa did.
The Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card is an oldie, but a goodie. Andrew “Ender” Wiggins is a brilliant kid who is chosen above his older brother and sister to attend the Battle School, where he can receive intense military training through mock battles against the aliens that are attacking earth. Ender flourishes at school and soon starts skipping grades. Because of his abilities, Ender is isolated and a rival of all his classmates. Towards the end of the first novel, Ender’s Game, Ender discovers that his training was not what he thought it was. This series can be fairly violent, but has a great message for kids, especially young men, that even those who are destined for greatness have many trials and tribulations along the way.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Young Adult novels aren’t exactly your cup of tea? Coming up in our final edition of “Countdown to Summer,” we’ll offer recommendations for 4 Fallen Angel Teen Fiction Series. Check back on the blog next week!
Also be sure to stop by your local Half Price Books to pick up a reading log for your kids. Kids 14 and under can earn $5 HPB Back-to-School Bucks for reading in June and July with the Feed Your Brain® Summer Reading Program.

— Kristen B.

Feed Your Brain Children’s Summer Reading Program is Back, with a Giveaway!

Ready…Set…Read! It’s time to FEED YOUR BRAIN with the HPB Kid’s Summer Reading Program! Children 14 & under can earn HPB Back-to-School Bucks by keeping an appetite for reading this summer. How does it work? Just head to your favorite neighborhood HPB store to pick up a reading log and start keeping track of how many minutes your children read during the summer months of June and July. Every child who reads 300 minutes or more each month is eligible receive $5 in HPB Back-to-School Bucks!

And why not start logging your minutes this Sunday at 2pm at your neighborhood HPB? All stores will be hosting a story time to kick off this year’s program.  Need some tips for fitting in 15 minutes of reading per day? Check out a few of our everyday ideas here – it’s easier than you think! Don’t forget, you can also count school summer reading towards the 300 minute goal (Psst…fill out our Reading Lists 101 form here and let us know your classroom’s required reading list so we can try and keep those titles in stock). Not sure where to begin? Julie’s post on 40 Books Every Child Should Read is a great place to start.

But kids shouldn’t have all the fun, right? Let’s kick off our children’s summer reading program with a little giveaway for our grownup readers.  Leave us a comment and let us know five books on your “must read” list for this summer. One lucky random commenter will win a $10 HPB gift card!

Happy (Summer) Reading!

— Kate (and BW)

What is 13,694 x 600? (BW Can Do Math Too!)

Now that all 13, 694 participants have turned in their Feed Your Brain Summer Reading logs (with at least 600 minutes each), BW was able to sit down to figure out the approximate total number of minutes read this summer by kids all across the country (see him concentrating?)

DRUMROLL PLEASE . . . . BW is thrilled to announce the GRAND TOTAL is:

OVER* 8,216,400 Minutes Read!!!

*(Because we know that many of you bookworms read well beyond the 600 minute minimum, but BW only has so many fingers to count on.)

Anyway– Wahoo, guys! That’s a LOT of brain food! Said Maxwell, age  9, one of our Top Readers from San Antonio, “Thank you, Half Price Books, for the summer reading program. I’ve read lots of books with the gift cards. I’ve read the whole Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Captain Underpants and Magic Treehouse series. Thank you for the support. I can always find good books I like at a good price at your stores. P.S. We have to read 10-20 books every 6 weeks at my school, and Half Price Books always has what I want.”

Here are some of our Top Readers, who logged the most minutes in their stores’ age groups:



Clockwise from top left: Lorelei, Store 051 (Greenfield, WI); Kyanna, Store 041 (Madison, WI); Megan, Store 051; Peyton, Store 041; Jordan & Talia, Store 063 (Pittsburgh); Lydia Jay, Store 063.

We also had one very special reader, Kiara, whose dad is stationed overseas (first in Afghanistan, then Italy). Kiara was another Top Reader from our Madison store, and she and her mom Karen read over 7,000 minutes this summer! Karen said that she & Kiara read an average of 10 books per day, some of those being chapter books (and since Kiara is only 4, that’s a pretty big deal).

Give them a round of applause! (and one for you too– be sure to keep feeding your brains all school year!) 

 — Kate (and BW)

Kids, Reading, Bookworms, Summer & Rewards (Or, Top 5 Things Our Plano Store Loves)

Earlier this week, HPB heard that with the sad news of its closing, many Borders stores would be unable to honor completed reading logs for their “Double Dog Dare Challenge” Summer Reading Program. Luckily, our “Feed Your Brain” Summer Reading Program is wrapping up right now, so we decided to honor completed reading logs from both HPB and Borders customers.  

Ms. Watson with Crossroads Learning Center in Leonard, Texas was very glad to hear this. Every summer, Crossroads hosts its own Summer Reading Program linked with the Borders challenge, so they were most relieved to hear that they could still get credit for their reading minutes through HPB! Yesterday, 48 young bookworms from Crossroads traveled to the Plano, Texas HPB to turn in their completed Borders reading logs in exchange for a $5 HPB Back-to-School Bucks reward

BW, the Half Price Books bookworm, greeted the students on the bus and then directed them to Young Adult and Half Pint Books to shop for their rewards. Kyle Cotten, Assistant Store Manager (pictured below with BW), and Kara Griswold, Dallas North District Inventory Manager, helped the students find what they were looking for, including books about Star Wars and chapter books from Junie B. Jones and The Baby-Sitters Club. One pint-sized student was the last to leave because he was determined to find something “scary,” so HPB bookseller Tracie Miller helped him find Scary Stories by Alvin Swartz. Before the young bookworms loaded the bus to return to school, they posed for a picture with BW and yelled out, “WE LOVE HALF PRICE BOOKS!” (Thanks, kids! We love you too!)

During the Feed Your Brain program, kids 14 and under were encouraged to read at least 15 minutes a day during June and July.  If kids read at least 600 minutes during the summer, they can bring in their completed reading log to their local store through Sunday, August 7 to receive $5 Back-to-School Bucks. HPB stores will award one top reader per age group with a TOP READER prize, a $20 HPB gift card. Although Borders’ Double Dog Dare Challenge readers are not eligible for the Top Reader prize, they can receive the $5 Back-to-School Bucks, which expire August 31.

What do you do during the summer to keep kids reading? Any tips or tricks for keeping young readers excited about learning?

Happy Reading! — Emily

BW’s Summer Reading Tips

Hi, Kids! My name is Kate and I am the official correspondent for BW, our Half Price Books Bookworm! A few things you should know about BW:  

Birthday: July 27, 1972

Birthplace: Dallas, Texas

Height: 6 feet 9 inches

Features: Bright green body with the alphabet written down his sides, yellow freckles, red antennae, and big wobbly eyes.

Scent: Musty, Bookshelfy

Greatest Moment: Visiting Washington, D.C. for the White House Easter Egg Roll

Hobbies: Reading, teaching others how to read, and making new friends

BW loves the summer because he gets to help kids with their Summer Reading! Here are a couple ways kids can be sure to keep their reading skills sharp for when school starts again: 

1. The HPB “Feed Your Brain” Summer Reading Program is a fun way to get started. If kids read 600 minutes or more by August 7, they will receive $5 Back-to-School Bucks as a reward! there’s also a Top Reader prize up for grabs, a $20 HPB Gift Card! Click here to learn more. [Download a Feed Your Brain Reading Log] 

2. Create your own family reading goals this summer, and give rewards to your kiddos to keep them motivated. Help your kids select books to read with these reading suggestions and post a reading log on the fridge to chart their progress. [Download Reading Suggestions] [Download Reading Log]

3. Think of fun, creative family rewards. Here are some ideas:

 • Take a trip to the zoo or amusement park.

  • Camp out in the backyard with family or friends.

 • Have a special lunch at your favorite pizza place.

 • Take a trip to your favorite bookstore.

 • Present reading reward certificates. [Download Certificate]

Happy Reading! BW is off to spread his love & excitement for reading around America — so we’ll see you next time!

Sincerely, Kate & BW