Parents and Grandparents: Are you looking for some perfect books for holiday gifts for the younger members of your family? Here are a few of my recent favorites.
BOOKS FOR TODDLERS & PRESCHOOLERS
1,2,3 Peas by Keith Baker (2012) – Busy little peas engage in their favorite activities as they introduce numbers from 1 to 100, in rhyme.
Jump! by Scott M. Fischer (2010) – From bugs and frogs to alligators and whales, frightened animals always move out of the way for a larger opponent.
Mice by Rose Fyleman, Illustrated by Lois Ehlert (2012) –Simple rhyming text celebrates what is nice…about mice.
Duck Sock Hop by Jane Kohuth, Illustrated by Jane Porter (2012) –Ducks exuberantly dance their socks off.
Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet (2014) –“What happens if” type of playing with color.
The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems (2012) – Pigeon is very angry when the duckling gets a cookie just by asking nicely.
PICTURE BOOKS FOR 5-8 YEAR OLDS
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett (2014) — Sam and Dave are sure they will discover something exciting if they just keep digging their hole. (To be truthful, I would recommend ANY book by Mac Barnett. You can’t go wrong.)
Alone Together by Suzanne Bloom (2014) — Goose, Bear, and Fox are friends through thick and thin.
Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt, Illustrated by Shane Prigmore (2014) — A young child imagines going off to Kindergarten as a journey to another planet.
Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle (2014) — In this wordless, lift-the-flap picture book, Flora and her new friend, the penguin, dance on the ice together and learn to treat each other with respect and kindness. This is a follow-up to the equally lovely Flora and the Flamingo (2013)
When Edgar Met Cecil by Kevin Luthhardt (2013) — A robot and an alien overcome obstacles to form an unlikely friendship.
Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett (See what I mean?), Illustrated by Matthew Myers – Alex, whose birthday it is, hijacks a story about Birthday Bunny on his special day and turns it into a battle between a supervillain and his enemies in the forest – who, in the original story, are simply planning a surprise birthday party.
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak — In this book with no pictures, the reader has to say every silly word, no matter what. A hilarious read-aloud!
BOOKS FOR OLDER READERS – 8 AND UP
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson — Jacqueline Woodson, one of today’s finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. A very fluid and beautiful read. 2014 National Book Award Winner
The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman — Jackson Opus has always been persuasive, but he doesn’t know that he’s descended from the two most powerful hypnotist bloodlines on the planet. He’s excited to be accepted into a special program at the Sentia Institute, but when he realizes he’s in over his head, Jackson will have to find a way to use his powers to save his friends, his parents, and his government. First in a series.
Paperboy by Vince Vawter — When an eleven-year-old boy takes over a friend’s newspaper route in July, 1959, in Memphis, his debilitating stutter makes for a memorable month. This is a beautifully textured coming-of-age novel that unfolds against the backdrop of the segregates south, offering a page-turning story of a boy and his struggles to speak. 2013 Newbery Honor Book
Doll Bones by Holly Black — Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl. This is just scary enough, without going over the edge.
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd — The Pickles are new to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a town which legend says was once magic– but Felicity is convinced the magic is still there, and with the help of her new friend Jonah the Beedle she hopes to bring the magic back. A charming story about finding your own strength and trusting your friends.
BOOKS FOR FAMILY READ-ALOUDS
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck — The smallest mouse in London’s Royal Mews is such a little mystery that he hasn’t even a name. And who were his parents? His Aunt Marigold, Head Needlemouse, sews him a uniform and sends him off to be educated at the Royal Mews Mouse Academy. There he’s called “Mouse Minor” (though it’s not quite a name), and he doesn’t make a success of school. Soon he’s running for his life. The smallest mouse in the palace has the biggest secret – he just doesn’t know it yet.
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo — She is a natural-born cynic, he is an unassuming squirrel. Together, Flora & Ulysses will conquer the villains, defend the defenseless, and protect the week. Or something. Holy Bagumba! 2013 Newbery Winner.
The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders — Eleven-year-old twins Oz and Lily are recruited by a talking cat to assist her and M16 in foiling the dastardly plans of their great-great-uncle, a chocolatier who used magic to make a candy that bestows immortality.
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm — Ellie’s scientist grandfather has discovered a way to reverse aging, and consequently has turned into a teenager–which makes for complicated relationships when he moves in with Ellie and her mother, his daughter.
Floors by Patrick Carman — Ten-year-old Leo’s future and the fate of the extraordinary Whippet Hotel, where his father is the maintenance man, are at stake when a series of cryptic boxes leads Leo to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and unexpected alliances. A terrific first book in a three-book series.
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes — Seven-year-old Billy Miller starts second grade with a bump on his head and a lot of worries, but by the end of the year he has developed good relationships with his teacher, his little sister, and his parents and learned many important lessons. Kevin Henkes is a Wisconsin author, and a treasure!