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 April roundup includes THE GRASSHOPPER & THE ANTS by Jerry Pinkney, a stunning rendition of the famous fable that reminds young ones not to procrastinate; MY FOOD, YOUR FOOD by Lisa Bullard, illustrated by Christine M. Schneider, a book from the new Alike and Different series from Millbrook Press that explores how everything from outfits to language vary around the world; and CHANGES: A Child's First Poetry Collection, which sets a collection of seasonally-themed poems by the late Charlotte Zolotow against bright illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke.
Our April roundup includes KRISTY’S GREAT IDEA by Ann M. Martin and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier, the graphic novel version of the original Baby-Sitters Club book, available in full color for the first time; THE WATER AND THE WILD by Katie Elise Ormsbee and illustrated by Elsa Mora, where Lottie discovers a door in an apple tree and goes on a quest to cure her best friend’s illness; and THE 39-STORY TREEHOUSE, the third book in the popular The Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton about the coolest treehouse in the world, complete with the world’s highest trampoline and a chocolate waterfall.
In paperback this month we have TIMMY FAILURE: Mistakes Were Made, the first Timmy Failure book by New York Times cartoonist Stephan Pastis about a young spy and his polar bear sidekick; MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH by Paula J. Freedman, in which Tara questions how to balance her Jewish and Indian identities amidst other middle school dramas; and MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM by Roald Dahl, with plenty of tricks inspired by the legendary author’s most beloved books, as well as excerpts and other extras.
Finally, Amira is twelve. Old enough to wear a toob, old enough for new responsibilities. And maybe old enough to go to school in Nyala-- Amira's one true dream. But life in her peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when the Janjaweed arrive. The terrifying attackers ravage the town and unleash unspeakable horrors. After she loses nearly everything, Amira needs to dig deep within herself to find the strength to make the long journey-- on foot-- to safety at a refugee camp. Her days are tough at the camp, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind-- and all kinds of possibilities.
When Pablo gets separated from his new schoolmates during his first field trip in New York City, he doesn't know how he'll be able to find them again. Luckily, he has a little knowledge, a new friend, and the surprisingly approachable city itself to guide his way. This story features maps, archival photos, and fascinating facts to help readers explore the subway.
Eleven-year-old Nell Warne arrives on her aunt's doorstep lugging a heavy sack of sorrows. If her Aunt Kate rejects her, it's the miserable Home for the Friendless. Luckily, canny Nell makes herself indispensable to Aunt Kate...and not just by helping out with household chores. For Aunt Kate is the first-ever female detective employed by the legendary Pinkerton Detective Agency. And Nell has a knack for the kind of close listening and bold action that made Pinkerton detectives famous in Civil War-era America. With huge, nation-changing events simmering in the background, Nell uses skills new and old to uncover truths about her past and solve mysteries in the present.
It's the summer of 1963, and something strange is afoot in the quiet town of Farro, Iowa. The school district's most notorious bully has gone missing without a trace, and furthermore, seventh grader Henry Nilsson and his friends have just found an odd book stashed in the woods by Longbelly Gulch --- a moldy instruction guide written to teach the art of "subtle travel," a kind of out-of-body experience. The foursome will soon discover that out-of-body life isn't so subtle after all --- there are some very real, and very dangerous, things happening out there in the woods.
All work and no play makes Jack extremely bored. And when Jack gets bored, he makes mischief. It’s not that he’s bad; he just longs for adventure. One day, adventure finally arrives in the form of giants, and soon Jack is chasing them to a land beyond the clouds, with his little sister, Annabella, in tow. But Jack and Annabella are on a mission. The king of the giants has taken something that belongs to them, and they’ll do anything to get it back.
Both torn from their homes in Laos, a boy and a moon bear cub form a deep bond in this piercing tale of impossible odds and resilient hope, based on true conditions in Eastern Asia. Deeply and powerfully moving, MOON BEAR is an unforgettable story of compassion, hope, and bravery against overwhelming odds, and brings to light the real-life, heartwrenching plight of Asia’s endangered moon bears.
The signs are everywhere, Jory's stepfather, Caleb, says. Red leaves in the springtime. Pages torn from a library book. All the fish in an aquarium facing the same way. A cracked egg with twin yolks. Everywhere and anywhere. And because of them, Jory's life is far from ordinary. He must follow a very specific set of rules: don't trust anyone outside the family, have your work boots at the ready just in case, and always, always watch out for the signs. The end is coming, and they must be prepared.
School is Jory's only escape from Caleb's tight grasp. With the help of new friends, he begins to explore a world beyond his family's farm. Then Caleb notifies the family that the time has come for final preparations: digging in their backyard canyon at night. Every night.
As the hole gets deeper, so does Jory's doubt about whether Caleb's prophecy is true. When the real reason for their digging becomes clear, Jory must choose between living his own life or following behind Caleb, shutting his eyes to the bright world he's just begun to see.
Moving from Texas to Hawaii in 1960, 12-year-old Peggy Sue faces a difficult transition when she is bullied as one of the few haole (white) students in her school. But when her parents take a trip to Hilo, life takes an unexpected twist in the form of a tsunami.
It's 1926 and one spunky girl, Kitty Evans, joins the thousands of well–trained waitresses providing first -class service in Harvey House. She faces the often funny and painful experiences she and fellow waitresses Cordelia and Emmy endure. As Kitty writes about her escapades, a loveable teenager emerges; she embraces adventure, independence, her position as a Harvey Girl, and a freelance writing career.
For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school…in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.
Hallelujah Wonder wants to become one of the first female scientists of the nineteenth century. Her father was a scientist and explorer, but his life was cruelly cut short by an evil Navy captain who coveted his cache of artifacts. Hallelujah feels a great responsibility to protect the objects --- particularly a mesmerizing (and dangerous) one called the Medicine Head --- before the captain can succeed. Now she and her best friend, a slave boy about to be sold, must set out on a sweeping adventure by land and by sea to the only place where no one will ever be able to find the cursed talisman: the forbidding land of Antarctica.
She dreams of being a writer, but how can she pursue her passion when her mother schedules every minute of her life? Then one day, Penelope discovers a hole in her schedule --- an entire day completely unplanned! --- and she mysteriously falls into it. What follows is a mesmerizing journey through the Realm of Possibility where Penelope sets out to find and free the Great Moodler, the one person who may have the answers she seeks. Along the way, she must face an army of Clockworkers, battle the evil Chronos, take a daring Flight of Fancy, and save herself from the grip of time.
The kids have been drawn in by the very mysterious Mrs. Sharpe, who may be playing her own kind of game with the clues. And it's not just Mrs. Sharpe who's acting suspiciously --- there's a ghost who mingles with the guards in the museum, a cat who acts like a spy, and bystanders in black jackets who keep popping up.
What if your favorite characters came to life? Billy’s spending the summer in a lakeside cabin that belongs to the mysterious Dr. Libris. But something strange is going on. Besides the security cameras everywhere, there’s Dr. Libris’s private bookcase. Whenever Billy opens the books inside, he can hear sounds coming from the island in the middle of the lake. The clash of swords. The twang of arrows. Sometimes he can even feel the ground shaking. It’s almost as if the stories he’s reading are coming to life! But that’s impossible...isn’t it?