Children’s Book Club: – The Washington Post


Ivan Bao’s secret battle

Since he had a baseball coach who tried to hide how much he wanted his team to win, Evan Bao had a sense when people don’t quite tell the truth.

The 12-year-old moved his mother and sister from California to Haddington, Virginia, and he can tell if what people say matches how they feel. It’s a useful skill when you reach sixth grade towards the end of the school year and you don’t know anyone.

Evan has a lot to discover, including a mystery regarding his father, but it is his fellow students who grab most of his attention. He is also trying to convince his mother to get a dog for the family.

With the help of his mother’s brother (who has lived in Haddington for eight years), a friendly boy named Max (who has lived there his whole life) and a dog that seems to have no home, Evan slowly gets used to his new town. Through computer searches at the local library, he found a useful way to take part in his school’s Battle Day, which commemorates the Civil War, as well as his hometown discussion of the Confederate statue erected there more than a century ago.

Click here to join the summer book club

As the only Asian American in his school, Evan shows curiosity in some people and hostility in others. He didn’t experience any of that in his old school. When a classmate confesses to shooting his house, Evan, his mother and 15-year-old sister are shocked and upset. They wonder why the police don’t take the incident more seriously. Although Evan feels a lie when someone is lying, it is difficult for him to know the whole truth or why his colleague is acting like a bully.

Wendy Wan-Long Shang presents the book chapters from a variety of viewpoints, but Evan is the focus of the fast-paced story. He’s thoughtful and likable, and his ability to see through hypocrisy will make you think about your instincts. As eventful as “Ivan Paw’s Secret Battle” was, it’s also a good reminder that everyone has inner battles that we can’t easily see or understand.

Lucy Wu’s Great Wall (Ages 8-12), Wendy Wan-Long Shang’s first novel featuring another sixth-grader who must deal with surprising challenges.

In Melissa Dassori’s movieJ.R. Silver writes her world (ages 8 to 12), a sixth grade girl discovers she has magical power when the short stories she writes come true.

KidsPost reader Edith Dawson of Mount Vernon, Iowa recommends “on my honor(Ages 9 to 12) by Marion Dane Power. It is a Newbery Honor Award-winning story about a tragedy that occurs when two friends swim in a dangerous river. “It uses real-life characters with interconnected struggles to teach children that it is their duty to tell the truth and that they must transcend feeling. guilty of mistakes that are not entirely their fault.”

In the Kingdom of Mangkun, 12-year-old Sai tries to make her own. Her mother passed away years ago, and her father survives due to criminal acts that sometimes lead to his imprisonment. Sai worked on calligraphy and integrating with ordinary society, and was fortunate to get a job helping the prominent cartographer in the kingdom. When a chance arises to escape her father’s shady plans, Sy sets out on a fascinating expedition. Once she’s on board, she’ll have to figure out who to trust and the truth beyond the known world.

The Summer Book Club is open to children ages 6 to 14. They can read some or all of the books on our list. (Look for a blurb for every book in launch2022.) The first 600 children registered will receive a notebook and pen. To join the club, children must be registered by a parent or guardian by August 8. To register, this adult must fill out our form at If you have questions, contact

Do you have a suggestion?

The 2022 KidsPost Summer Book Club has the theme of Speaking the Truth, and we’d love to know your favorite books on the topic. Children between 6 and 14 years old are eligible to participate; One entry per person. Ask a parent or guardian to fill out the top of the form at Then share your suggestions by Thursday. We may include your favorites in KidsPost. At the end of the summer we will be sending a selection of books to three randomly selected children who have sent suggestions. Winners will be notified by August 30th.