This is the time of year when “Best Of” lists are everywhere. Although we at Kidsreads.com don’t have a “Best Of” list of our own, we’ve compiled a number of them for you here. See which of your top picks appear on these lists and which titles you feel should've been included but weren't. Perhaps you’ll even find some books to add to your reading list as we head into the new year!
Our March roundup includes THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK edited by Andrew Lang, a beautiful rendition of classic tales like “The Story of the Three Bears” and “The Three Little Pigs”; SPECIAL DELIVERY by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Matthew Cordell, abouta girl on her way to deliver an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine; and MY PEN by Christopher Myers, which uses rich black-and-white illustrations to bring a sketchbook to life.
In March’s Cool and New roundup, we have THE PENDERWICKS IN SPRING by Jeanne Birdsall, the last book in The Penderwicks series; THE IMAGINARY by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Emily Gravett, the story of Amanda and her imaginary friend, Rudger; and BLUE BIRDS by Caroline Starr Rose, a tender story of friendship and the meaning of family on the historic island of Roanoke.
In paperback this month we have A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle and illustrated by Hope Larson, the new graphic novel version of the classic science fiction story; THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA by Tom Angleberger, the first case file in the blockbuster bestselling Origami Yoda series; and THE FINISHER by David Baldacci, about a town called Wormwood where nobody is allowed to leave.
When 12-year-old Talia --- still reeling from the recent death of her mother --- is forced to travel with her whale-researcher father to the Arctic, she begins to wonder if the broken pieces inside of her will ever begin to heal. Everything about life in Churchill feels foreign, including Sura, the traditional Inuit woman whom Talia must live with. But when Sura exposes her to the tradition of storytelling, she unlocks something within Talia that has long since been buried: her ability to hope, to believe again in making wishes come true.
Kenny Wright is a kid with a secret identity. In his mind, he's Stainlezz Steel, super-powered defender of the weak. In reality, he's a chess club devotee known as a "Grandma's Boy," a label that makes him an easy target for bullies. Kenny wants to bring a little more Steel to the real world, but the question is: can he recognize his own true strength before peer pressure forces him to make the worst choice of his life?
Welcome to Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions, the premier trainer of minions for Evil Overlords everywhere. No student is prouder to be at Dr. Critchlore’s than Runt Higgins, a twelve-year-old werewolf. He loves his classes --- like History of Henchmen and Introduction to Explosives. He loves his friends --- like Darthin the gargoyle and Syke the tree nymph. And he loves his foster family, who took him in when his wolf pack couldn’t. After a series of disasters, each worse than the next, it’s clear that someone is trying to shut the school down. It’s up to Runt, who knows the place better than anybody, to figure out who’s behind the attack...and to save his home, and Dr. Critchlore himself, from total destruction.
Kara never met her birth mother. Abandoned as an infant, she was taken in by an American woman living in China. Now eleven, Kara spends most of her time in their apartment, wondering why she and Mama cannot leave the city of Tianjin and go live with Daddy in Montana. Mama tells Kara to be content with what she has…but what if Kara secretly wants more?
Twig lives in Sidwell, where people whisper that fairy tales are real. After all, her town is rumored to hide a monster. And two hundred years ago, a witch placed a curse on Twig’s family that was meant to last forever. But this summer, everything will change when the red moon rises. It’s time to break the spell.
Enjoy this beautiful companion book to the extensive Exploring Calvin and Hobbes exhibition at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library. Includes an in-depth, original, and lengthy interview with Bill Watterson.
Eli Frieden lives in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. Honesty and integrity are valued above all. The 30 kids who live there never lie --- they know it's a short leap from that to the problems of other, less fortunate places. Then one day Eli bikes to the edge of the city and something unexpected happens. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one --- least of all their own parents.
Gilly's sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School where all of the teachers are former (super-scary) villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella's Wicked Stepmother. Harsh. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there's more to this school than its heroic mission. There's a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder: can a villain really change?
After a slight misunderstanding involving a horrible governess, oatmeal, and a jar of tadpoles, siblings Tobias and Charlotte Eggars find themselves abandoned by their father at the gates of a creepy reform school. Evil mysteries are afoot at Witherwood, where the grounds are patrolled by vicious creatures after dark and kids are locked in their rooms. Charlotte and Tobias soon realize that they are in terrible danger --- especially because the head of Witherwood has perfected the art of mind control.
Rudger is Amanda Shuffleup's imaginary friend. Nobody else can see Rudger --- until the evil Mr. Bunting arrives at Amanda's door. Mr. Bunting hunts imaginaries. Rumor has it that he even eats them. And now he's found Rudger.
Soon Rudger is alone, and running for his imaginary life. He needs to find Amanda before Mr. Bunting catches him-and before Amanda forgets him and he fades away to nothing. But how can an unreal boy stand alone in the real world?
When Horace finds the Box of Promises in the curio shop, he quickly discovers that ordinary-looking objects can hold extraordinary power. From the enormous, sinister man shadowing him to the gradual mastery of his newfound abilities to his encounters with Chloe --- a girl who has an astonishing talent of her own --- Horace follows a path that puts the pair in the middle of a centuries-old conflict between two warring factions in which every decision they make could have disastrous consequences.
Blue Boy, the alpha male of his pack, is the largest wolf many have ever seen, and his dream is to have a firstborn son who will take after him in every way. But Lamar is not turning out the way his father hoped. Lamar likes to watch butterflies. He worries if his younger siblings fall behind in the hunt. He has little interest in peacocking in front of other clans. Blue Boy grows increasingly dismayed at Lamar’s lack of wolf instincts, and then Lamar does the intolerable: he becomes attracted to a coyote. While the other infractions can be begrudgingly tolerated, this one cannot, and the unity of the pack is in jeopardy. Lamar wants to make his family happy, but is doing what is expected of him worth losing the only true friend he’s ever had?
Trouble always seems to find thirteen-year-old Julian Twerski. First it was a bullying incident, and now he’s been accused of vandalizing a painting. The principal doesn’t want to suspend him again, so instead, he asks Julian to write a 200-word essay on good citizenship. Julian writes 200 no’s instead, and so begins an epic struggle between Julian and his principal.
It’s 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldn’t be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.