By Guest Blogger Ellen Lloyd

I have always considered the month of July as “true summer.” Nestled between the months when school is still on everyone’s mind — either winding down or gearing up — it is the time reserved just for fun. Pool time, beach time, family vacations, relaxed schedules and lots and lots of reading are some of my favorite ways to spend the month. I hope you embrace the month of “true summer” and enjoy a few of the suggestions from this edition of Ellen’s Book Nook!

Preschool —Baby Beluga (board book) by Raffi

The catchy tunes of Raffi, the singer/songwriter of children’s music, are captured in a fun board book, perfect for preschoolers. Moms who aren’t familiar with the work of Raffi are encouraged to check out his music and add it to playlists — children love it! This book is part of his “songs to read” series.

Early Elementary — We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

This engaging new release by author/illustrator Ryan Higgins will help prepare early elementary students for the start of a new school year. Penelope Rex, an adorable dinosaur, is excited about the first day of school. However, she has a problem — she wants to make friends, but her classmates are so tasty! Warning — this book may tickle some funny bones!

Elementary/Middle School — Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

This exciting and suspenseful mystery is the first of a series by the author set in a famous NC home, the Biltmore Estate. In this tale, Serafina lives with her father, the estate’s maintenance man, in the basement of the massive home. Since the owners of the home don’t know and shouldn’t know that Serafina exists, she learns to explore her surroundings in the dark of night. When Serafina discovers that children at the estate are disappearing, she knows she must do something. She has spied a cloaked man stalking the Biltmore halls and is sure has something to do with the missing children. The journey to find answers and solve the mystery leads to much more than Serafina ever imagined. The author of the novel lives in Asheville, NC, home of the Biltmore. Serafina fans will be happy to know that the author has recently released the highly anticipated fourth book in the series, Willa of the Wood.

High School — Fading by Cindy Cipriano

This book is the first of a young adult trilogy by local author, Cindy Cipriano. She has penned multiple titles including an award-winning fantasy pre-teen trilogy and the first of an eleven title science mystery series. In Fading, Leath Elliott is a teenage competitive shooter who lives with her mother in Woodbine, NC. After her father was killed in a tragic accident when she was fourteen, her friend, Victor, stood close by her side. This friendship is complicated by several factors, including a new boy who comes into the picture. Teens will be interested to know that the next novel in the trilogy, Searching, will be released in February 2019.

Moms — The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

This is another wonderful book by well-known author, Mitch Albom. This story features Frankie Presto, a boy born with an extraordinary talent for music that influences his life and the life of those around him. After civil war in his country causes his guardian to smuggle him to America in the bottom of a boat with just his guitar and six strings, he learns to rely on his talent to survive. Frankie’s journey leads him to love and celebrity status, but also burden and loss. Frankie’s a Forrest Gump-like story that is sure to touch the hearts of all who read it. The author is quoted as saying, “Everyone joins a band in his l life, only some of them play music.”

Win a book of your choice from today’s blog! 
Remember to share your thoughts and comments, and you could be selected to win a copy of one of the books, compliments of Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro. The staff of Triad Moms on Main will choose a random winner one week after the blog runs. (Please be sure to enter your email address when you fill out your comment so they have a way to contact you.)

Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.