The summer is a great time to relax and take life less seriously … which is why this month’s column is all about Let’s Play! books for girls. Whether you want to make your own slime, strengthen your athletic skills, or imagine a different world, you’ll find inspiration here.

The Big Book of Experiments

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Looking for something to do? How about making your own puffy slime, blowing a “bubble snake,” or building a balloon rocket? All play is experimentation, and the experiments in “Kate the Chemist’s” book will keep you amazed for hours.

One Day, So Many Ways

Book cover image for One Day So Many Ways by Laura Hall and Loris Lora

No matter where you live, relaxing, sports, and playtime are an important part of everyday life. This book shows you how kids around the world play, as well as how their meals, school life, or family time might look similar or different from yours.

Breaking Through: How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties

Cover image for Breaking Through: How Female Athletes Shattered Stereotypes in the Roaring Twenties by Sue Macy

Do you play a sport? Joining a team, getting on the field, and competing hasn’t always been easy for girls and women, but that hasn’t stopped them from breaking barriers again and again. This book looks at how women pushed for their right to be included in soccer, swimming, track, and other sports after they won the right to vote.

Pages and Co.: The Lost Fairy Tales

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 Have you ever imagined disappearing into a fairy tale? Bookwanderers Tilly and Oskar can travel into any book, and their second adventure finds them inside a book of fairy tales. But strange things are happening … characters are disappearing, plot holes are opening up, and villains are not staying confined to the page.

The Candy Mafia

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In a city where candy is outlawed, 12-year-old detective Nellie takes a case from a notorious candy gangster searching for a missing teddy bear. But when she uncovers the bear, the gangster disappears. Soon, she finds herself in a shady underworld of sweets smugglers, looking to unmask the true faces behind it all.

More Let’s Play! Books for Girls

Twins Min and Max must put aside their differences in Cats vs. Robots by Margaret Stohl and Lewis Peterson when Max adopts two cats that could interfere with Min’s entry in a robot competition … and they unknowingly become part of an ongoing war between cats and robots!

When Kate becomes assistant director of her school’s musical, she needs to use her science skills to stop someone from sabotaging the show in Dragons vs. Unicorns by Dr. Kate Biberdorf and Hillary Homzie.

Rejected by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League because she was Black, Mamie Johnson instead made a name for herself as a pitcher with the men’s Negro Leagues. You can read her true story in Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues by Leah Henderson and George Doutsiopoulos.

If you like sports, make sure to check out the Jake Maddox Girl Sports Stories, a 42-book series featuring girl athletes making their way in almost every sport imaginable.

Part of the fun of imaginative play is deciding what happens next, which you can bring into your reading life with the You Choose series of books featuring Wonder Woman.

What about you? Have you read any of the books above? What are your favorite books about play? Let me know in the comments below.

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Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently a freelance writer and editor and stay-at-home parent of a little boy. She has also been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author of “Rumpled,” a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin for ages 14 and up, and the co-editor of “Hungering & Thirsting for Justice: True Stories from Young Adult Catholics.”

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