Looking to lend a hand safely this summer? Many organizations are looking for volunteers—including opportunities for virtual assistance.
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Helping others, from wherever you are
By the LJ and SLJ editors
It's a difficult time to stay optimistic, to say the least. But one of the best ways to feel better is by helping others. Indeed, studies show that volunteering one's time for a good cause can reduce stress, combat depression, and improve overall well-being. Organizations around the country are in need of assistance, offering opportunities for safe, socially distant work as well as virtual ways to connect with and support those in need. Adults, teens, and even kids can find inspiration and resources in this week's roundup featuring in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities.
While many kids are not able to attend summer camp this year, readers can live vicariously through the rollicking adventures found in these excellent graphic novels selected by SLJ's resident comics expert. For kids and teens who tend to be a bit more reluctant when it comes to picking up a book, a hi-lo title might be the answer.
Adults looking for reading (or watching) suggestions will want to peruse our latest collection of the books, TV shows, and films our own staffers are enjoying this month.
Finally, LJ is launching an online book club, #LJReads. The first selection is Curtis Sittenfeld's Rodham, a unique work of alternative history in which the author imagines a world in which Hillary Rodham never married Bill Clinton and how her life's trajectory may have gone much differently as a result. Anyone can participate in discussions on Twitter throughout the next few weeks using the hashtag #LJReadsRodham.
image Step Up To Help Others This Summer: Virtual and In-Person Volunteer Opportunities for All Ages
By Melanie Kletter
As the country continues to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a growing need for volunteers across many sectors. The following roundup of ideas and resources, including online volunteer databases where you can search by activity and location, will help you get started.
AD: Mackin
image Graphic Novels for Armchair Campers
By Brigid Alverson
These graphic novels bring the camping experience to life, complete with campfires, cabins, and cliques. For kids who are stuck at home due to COVID-19, reading a good camping book is the next best thing to being there—and maybe better, depending on how you feel about spiders and outhouses.
image Dark Tales, Crime Stories, Rereads | What We’re Watching, Reading—and Weeding
By Liz French
The lockdown continues, but the “What We’re Reading & Watching” gang at LJ/SLJ keep expanding our interior spaces: figuratively, with forays into organized crime, 1950s noir, Houston neighborhoods, German villages, and “difficult conversation” guidebooks; literally, with a big book clear-out by SLJ & Horn Book production manager Julie Sheridan, go Julie! Make way for more books!
image July's Debut YA Authors Explore the Hidden Truths, Tropes, and Tragedies Behind Stories
By Katy Hershberger
Four debut YA authors discuss the images that gave way to their first novels and carefree childhood summers.
AD: SLJ Instagram Live
image 14 Novels Set in the Past for Middle Grade Fans of Historical Fiction
By SLJ Reviews
The Challenger explosion, the Chernobyl disaster, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Civil War are among the historical backdrops for these middle grade novels. Featuring vivid settings, relatable characters, and absorbing narratives, these moving titles will inspire readers to learn more about these eras—and to question whose stories still go untold.
image Reading with Horror Movies
By Adam Cesare
Adam Cesare, author of Mercy House, Video Night, and the upcoming Clown in a Cornfield, discusses his lifelong love of horror across an array of formats and recommends great films for horror book lovers—and creepy reads for scary film fans.
image Hi-Lo & Mighty Reads: 15 Engaging and Accessible Series for ­Reluctant and Striving Readers
By Kathryn Justus
With controlled vocabularies and short page counts, hi-lo (­high-interest, low-readability) books present engaging, age-­appropriate options for students reading below their grade level. This roundup of new and forthcoming series highlights a wide range of titles for collections serving elementary, middle, and high school ­audiences.
image Announcing #LJReads
By LJ Staff
This July, LJ launches # LJReads, an online, community-wide read; our first book will be Curtis Sittenfeld's Rodham.

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