2016’s Best Books for Kids

12 Dec

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By Janet Dawson

If books are on your list this holiday season, you are in luck, as there have been plenty of great titles in 2016. For the youngest, invest in picture books that can be savored by all ages. At this snowy time of year, readers will appreciate Before Morning by Joyce Sidman, beautifully illustrated by Beth Krommes (HMH Books for Young Readers). The scratchboard artwork perfectly captures the feel of a nighttime snowstorm that shuts down the city and sends an airplane pilot home to her family to enjoy a snowy morning.

Following your dreams and appreciating your friends are both celebrated in The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield (Clarion). A bear discovers a piano in the forest and becomes a self-taught virtuoso. When he goes off to the city to seek fame and fortune, he’s afraid his friends will be mad at him for leaving them behind. A different kind of “friend” tells the story in Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) by Julie Falatko (Viking). Snappsy talks back to the narrator who is haranguing him about his boring life. All Snappsy wants is some peace, but he’s forced to give a party … and invite the narrator. Both kids and adults will chuckle over the story and the cartoon-style illustrations.

Kids who are starting to read to themselves will enjoy some new takes on familiar series. Elephant and Piggie Like Reading! (Disney-Hyperion) features Mo Willems’ beloved characters at the beginning and end of each story. Each book that they read together is by a different author and illustrator. The first two are The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat and We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller, and have the same fun and humor as the Willems books. Fran Manushkin’s Katie Woo series expands to give her friend Pedro his own set of easy reader books. Five titles are available so far, four of which are included in the book, Pedro (Picture Window Books). viagra store generic cialis online

Another endearing boy character for slightly older readers is Max, featured in the chapter book Weekends with Max and His Dad by Linda Urban (HMH Books for Young Readers). Max isn’t sure how he feels about spending weekends at his newly-divorced dad’s apartment. Over the course of three weekends and three stories, he gets to know the neighbors and a new part of the city. By the end of the third one, he has learned to embrace his new life and appreciate his dad in a whole new way. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown (Little Brown) has the feel of an early chapter book, with lots of illustrations, but will be appreciated by kids through elementary school and into middle school. When Roz the robot washes up on an island inhabited only by animals, she’s not sure how to proceed. The animals think she’s a monster at first, but she gradually becomes part of their community. Roz has a tracking device, though, and one day some other robots show up to take her away, bringing war to the peaceful island.

Bullying of a different form is the central theme of Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan (Scholastic). Joe and Ravi could hardly be more different, but their first week of fifth grade forces them to connect with each other as they each confront the same bully. Older kids will appreciate the highly imaginative and impeccably researched The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz (Dutton). In 13th-century France, an inquisitor sits in a tavern, piecing together the story of three children and their dog from other travelers who have seen the group. Are the children saints or heretics? With its message of racial and religious tolerance, this is a timely book, beautifully illustrated by Hatem Aly.

Speaking of beautiful pages, be sure to look for Some Writer! Melissa Sweet’s ode to E. B. White. Sweet is an award-winning illustrator who has done extensive research on the beloved Charlotte’s Web author, and illuminated her work with gorgeous collages. Another biography to tuck in with the new Lego sets is Awesome Minds: The Inventors of Lego Toys by Erin Hagar (Duo Press), the story of three generations of the Danish family who has built the Lego empire. Lego fans will enjoy exploring the activities described in Smithsonian Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects by Jack Challonar (DK Publishing). From slime to planet models to balloon race cars, the fun will continue well past the holidays.

And finally, as the old year passes into the new, crack open the beautifully-illustrated When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano (Roaring Brook Press). The holiday season will move on, but these poems, arranged by date throughout the year, will help you enjoy and celebrate the other seasons that come along to take its place.

 

Janet Dawson is the K-8 librarian for the Hampden Wilbraham School District. She posts a daily book review on her blog, A Kids Book a Day at www.kidsbookaday.com. viagra generic available viagra generic

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