Quirk Books Summer Boardwalk: Quirkley’s Believe It Or Not

Posted by Quirk Books Staff

Calling all parents of middle graders: we have a stellar lineup of summer reads for kids 8–12! Learn about vampires, ghosts, and aliens with the Totally Factual Field Guide to the Supernatural series, get into the STEM mindset with the Nick and Tesla series, and inspire your kids to whip up some magic (and recipes) with A Spoonful of Time by Flora Ahn. Plus, get kids excited for the 2024 Olympics with Kid Olympians: Summer!


Kid Olympians: Summer

Triumphant, relatable, and totally true biographies tell the childhood stories of a diverse group of international athletes who have captured the world’s attention at the Summer Olympics and Paralympics, like Simone Biles, Jesse Owens, Naomi Osaka, Tatyana McFadden, and 12 other incredible olympians.

Athletes throughout history have dreamed of competing in the Olympics—and some were kids themselves when those dreams and plans began! In Kid Olympians: Summer, discover the childhood stories of legends such as:

  • Usain Bolt, who used to skip practices to go to the arcade and play video games.
  • Serena Williams, who sometimes hit her tennis ball over the fence on purpose!
  • Tatyana McFadden, who had to fight to be allowed on her school’s track team

Featuring kid-friendly text and full-color illustrations, you’ll be inspired to dream bigger, faster, and higher than ever before!

The diverse and inspiring group also includes Michael Phelps, Yusra Mardini, Dick Fosbury, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Gertrude Ederle, Nadia Comaneci, Ellie Simmonds, Tommie Smith, Wilma Rudolph, and Megan Rapinoe.

Looking for even more totally true and inspiring childhood stories? Check out Kid Athletes!

Download the educators’ guide and these trading cards for more fun!


The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook for Kids!

by David Borgenicht and Justin Heimberg

The best-selling (and wildly hilarious) Worst-Case Scenario series is back with 40 extreme survival tips for kids ages 8 to 12, great for adventurous fans of the I Survived series.

Erupting volcanoes. Ravenous sharks. Pooping in the woods.

The great outdoors is a weird, wonderful, and scare-your-pants-off terrifying place. Whether you’re freezing in the Arctic, escaping quicksand in the jungle, or befriending tarantulas in the desert, this guide has you covered. (Figuratively, not literally. We didn’t have the budget for a blanket-sized book.)

Bust this guide open and discover step-by-step instructions for surviving the most extreme situations that Planet Earth can throw at you. Learn how to:

  •  Dodge a charging rhinoceros
  • Ride out a sandstorm
  • Navigate by the stars
  • Build a snow cave
  • Cross piranha-infested waters
  • And much more!

Yeah, the outdoors can be scary, but you’ve got this indispensable, laugh-out-loud survival guide. So what are you waiting for? Get out there!



Hanging with Vampires: A Totally Factual Field Guide to the Supernatural

by Insha Fitzpatrick

Discover everything about vampires in this laugh-out-loud nonfiction handbook packed with spooky legends, fascinating history, and weird facts perfect for middle-grade readers and mythology fans!

Are vampires real? Who was Vlad the Impaler? Do vampire bats ever feed on humans? Find out in Hanging with Vampires, a field guide for the curious and the adventurous. Crack open the lid on this guide!

Hanging with Vampires is the first book in the Totally Factual Field Guide to the Supernatural series, a hilarious and haunting exploration of how myths and legends shape our lives. Sink your fangs into vampire lore and literature with enchanting illustrations and fun activities, like making garlic bread. It’s a spooky world out there–grab your guide, and let’s go!

Looking for Hanging with Vampires resources? Try the educator’s guide, scavenger hunt, and download the bookmark!



Chilling with Ghosts: A Totally Factual Field Guide to the Supernatural

by Insha Fitzpatrick

Discover everything about ghosts in this fun handbook packed with spooky tales, engrossing science, and fascinating history–perfect for middle grade readers and mythology fans!

Boo! Do you believe in ghosts? What’s up with haunted houses? And how exactly do you bust a ghost? Uncover the spooky and spectral world of ghosts in Chilling with Ghosts, a field guide for the curious and the adventurous. Step into the unknown—if you dare!

Make your own ghost story with this activity from the book!


On Sale August 13, 2024

Sightseeing with Aliens: A Totally Factual Field Guide to the Supernatural

Discover everything about aliens in this funny and informative handbook packed with weird science, fascinating history, and plenty of trivia—perfect for curious and adventurous readers ages 8–12.

Are aliens out there? What’s the deal with Area 51? Can outer space support human life? Blast off to space with Sightseeing with Aliens and discover:

Cool science and eye-opening history! Learn about the past, present, and future of space exploration.
Strange accounts of alien encounters! Dig into the truth behind UFO sightings, crop circles, extraterrestrial events, and more.
Hands-on activities to try at home! Create a time capsule and learn how to advocate for the environment.

Engaging, offbeat, and educational, Sightseeing with Aliens is an illustrated exploration of the unknown and how it can shape our lives. The whole galaxy is out there—grab your guide, and let’s go!

For more on the supernatural, check out Hanging with Vampires and Chilling with Ghosts!


A Spoonful of Time

by Flora Ahn

“Full of twists, this middle grade story is a heartwarming mix of food and family.”—Kirkus Reviews

When You Reach Me meets Love Sugar Magic in this unforgettable middle grade novel where time travel, family recipes, and family secrets collide.

Maya’s grandmother, Halmunee, may be losing her memory, but she hasn’t lost her magic touch in the kitchen.  Whether she serves salty miyeok-guk or sweet songpyeon, her stories about Korea come to life for Maya.

Then one day, something extraordinary happens: one delicious bite transports Maya and Halmunee into one of Halmunee’s memories. Suddenly they’re in Seoul, and Halmunee is young.

This is just the first of many secrets Maya will uncover: that she and her grandmother can travel through time. As Maya eats her way through the past, her questions multiply—until a shocking discovery transforms everything she thought she knew about family, friendship, loss, and time itself.

Brimming with heart and interspersed with seven family recipes that readers can make themselves, this is a story to savor by rising Korean American author Flora Ahn.

Looking for more resources? Try A Spoonful of Time‘s educator’s guide, discussion guide, and cooking activity kit!


On Sale October 22, 2024

A Brush with Magic

What if an ancient ink brush, oceans away in Korea, could unlock long-buried family secrets?

A heartfelt, magical middle grade adventure—inspired by Korean folklore and set in modern-day Seoul—about sisterhood and belonging, perfect for fans of Kelly Yang and Janae Marks.

It’s finally summer break, and twelve-year-old Yumi is headed to Korea with her older sister, Minji, for the very first time. She can’t wait to explore the city of Seoul together—but Minji has other plans. The moment they land, Minji ditches Yumi to hang out with their cousins, who are more fashionable, better at soccer, and all-around cooler than Yumi. Lost and alone, Yumi is stuck at home painting with her grandfather.

Everything changes when she finds an intriguing ink brush in a neighborhood art shop—and she accidentally summons a creature straight out of her grandfather’s retellings of Korean fairy tales. With a new friend by her side and an ink brush that has the power to bring anything she paints to life, Yumi feels unstoppable. From bustling street markets and ancient palaces to riding the subway, Yumi and her friend explore everything Seoul has to offer.

But when the magic takes a dark turn, Yumi must dig deep to hear her own voice and protect the family she loves—even if they don’t always understand each other.


Nick and Tesla and the High-Voltage Danger Lab

by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

Solve mysteries using DIY science projects with twin sleuths Nick and Tesla in this zany, action-packed middle grade adventure by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder!

Summer break is about to get weird. After their parents disappear, twins Nick and Tesla are sent to live with their Uncle Newt, an eccentric inventor with his very own science lab. Soon, the young sleuths find themselves investigating a mysterious family right in their own neighborhood. As they race to uncover the truth, Nick and Tesla must build a bottle rocket launcher, a 9-volt battery burglar alarm, and an electromagnet picker-upper to save the day.

Now in paperback, the first book in the popular Nick and Tesla series features laugh-out-loud jokes, fun illustrations, and five DIY science projects with step-by-step instructions for readers to try at home.

Explore the entire Nick and Tesla series here!


Take me back to the Quirk Books Boardwalk!

More Middle Grade Beach Reads

Kid Athletes

True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends

Kid Artists

True Tales of Childhood from Creative Legends

Nick and Tesla and the Robot Army Rampage

A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself