Liz Talbert

Liz cut her teeth as a bookseller in Seattle but recently settled back in Tallahassee with her husband. She enjoys painting, embroidery, and doting on her furry sons: two ginger cats and an Aussie mix. She loves reading middle grade fiction and picture books, plus sci-fi and fantasy.

Crimson Lake by Candice Fox

In a word: atmospheric. This page-turner set in Australia is heavy with humidity and the protagonist's desperate need to clear his good name. With characters worth rooting for and twists that will keep you guessing, this is a perfect summer read for any mystery fan!

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Fans of Avatar: the Last Airbender will love this magical, multicultural whirlwind of a tale! Set in an Asian-inspired group of kingdoms, this stand-alone fantasy checks so many boxes: a diverse cast of 3D characters, steady pacing with plenty of action, and endless sociopolitical intrigue.

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

Jeffers wrote and illustrated this fantastic book shortly after the birth of his son, and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes! This should be read by absolutely everyone. Its messages about kindness, acceptance, and environmentalism are more important now than ever. We're all here together on this one earth, and this book is a reminder of how incredible that gift is.

Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill

Wonderfully whimsical and gorgeously illustrated, this peaceful graphic novel is perfect for all ages. Readers will be enchanted by the sweet dragons and the diverse cast of characters! My personal favorite is the peppermint tea dragon. In a world so full of fear and uncertainty, here is an imaginative story to help us feel safe and calm for a while. 

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

The worldbuilding in this brilliant Nigerian-inspired fantasy is nothing short of epic. Onyebuchi deftly weaves together themes of justice, inequality, class struggle, and belonging in a coming-of-age story that will leave you wanting more. Beware: the cliffhanger is a doozy, so you'll want to have the second book close at hand!

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