Recommended Reads

Great Books for Kids 2018 – Recommended and reviewed by the Hudson Library Youth Services Staff













The Friendship War by Andrew Clements (New J)

6th graders Grace and Ellie have been friends forever. Ellie has always been the leader and Grace the follower. But when Grace visits her grandfather and finds a collection of buttons, she returns home with her treasures and shares them at school. Suddenly everyone in the class, then the grade, and finally the school is collecting, trading and learning about buttons. Buttons have taken over the school and for once, Grace is the leader of a new fad. But Grace’s newfound popularity casts Ellie in the shadows. Can their friendship survive the change in roles? Once again, Andrew Clements has created characters and situations that resonate with children of all ages. Who hasn’t taken part in a fad and been in the fight with a friend?  Clements turns button trading into an economics lesson, adding an appealing layer to the story. Whether you’re a familiar fan of Clements or new to his books, The Friendship War is a welcome addition to his much-loved collection of school-based stories.




Penguin Days by Sara Leach (New J)

Lauren is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and that is fine; it just means that her brain works differently. She gets help understanding facial expressions and ways to control herself when she wants to blow her top. But one of the things she has the hardest time with is change. Her family is traveling to her Auntie Joss’ wedding and Lauren gets to be a flower girl. She also has to meet a lot of new people. Will Lauren be able to be a flower girl, despite her scratchy flower girl dress, tons of new loud people to meet and having a run-in with cows? Lauren lives with her differences and sees them as neither an asset nor detriment, just a fact of life. She shows those not on the autism spectrum what life can be like with the disorder and allows those on it to meet a character who faces many of the same challenges they do. Fans of Lauren’s first book Slug Days will warmly welcome her back in this new tale, but new readers will be able to completely dive into this story as a standalone tale.




Dress Like a Girl by Patricia Toht, illustrated by Lorain Tu-Dean (New JE)

This adorable picture book instructs every young fashionista on how, when and what to wear – but – not as you’d expect! In the summer when you wear white, it’s best to wear during a long flight through outer space! Other fun tips shared include accessorizing using a doctor’s bag or wearing vibrant colors like a police officer’s or a fire person’s uniform. Tu-Dean’s illustrations pop with color expressing the unique and diverse girls and their vibrant imaginations. Pick up this book for a stand-out about individuality that proves each girl should dress how she wants to express herself.




My Heart by Corinna Luyken (New JE)

This deceptively simple picture book features quiet illustrations who’s emotions mirror the text perfectly. Displaying the various ways we can feel inside, My Heart explores the complexity our emotions can take on. Luyken acknowledges that sometimes your heart feels closed and that is ok because it can open up again. If it’s broken, it can be mended. There are many ways your heart may feel and it’s important to listen to it. Pops of yellow interspersed through the black and white illustrations adds warmth that gives depth to the story and echoes the changing of emotions. Don’t pass up this sweet, tender read about the power of emotions.






New Kid by Jerry Craft (New J Graphic Novel)

Jordan, a young, black kid from Washington Heights, NYC loves video games and drawing. When his parents send him to an elite private school for seventh grade, Jordan starts to feels very uncomfortable. Despite feeling of place because he isn’t a white, wealthy kid like the majority of his school, Jordan tries to put himself out there. By being authentically himself and being kind to others, Jordan makes new friends, learns more about himself and about race – all in a single school year. This book is a fantastic introduction into how white people tend to treat and perceive black people, how black people feel having to project two versions of themselves and explain race to the rest of the world, and how to treat all people with respect. Recommended for children for children 8 and up.





Spring After Spring by Stephanie Roth Sisson (New JB Car)

A beautifully illustrated picture book biography, Spring After Spring provides an overview of Rachel Carson’s childhood and the things that captivated her about the natural world. Rachel was inspired equally by bird and frog songs, by wonders large and small. Spring was her favorite season, and she marveled at the awakening flora and fauna – embracing the magic and beauty of the rhythm of nature. This biography follows Rachel into adulthood – and as she grew older, so did her fascination with the scientific world and the study of earth’s plant and animal creatures. Her zealous pursuit of knowledge and what she observed inspired Rachel to enlighten others about the very fragile world we live in, leading her to author Silent Spring. Her book has long been considered the start of the environmental movement, causing people to consider the impact of their own actions on our world and all living things. This book illustrates many lessons that are worth sharing with young readers, including following one’s passion for a cause and the fact that the actions of even one person can have a lasting legacy. This book is perfect to share with budding naturalists, in a classroom for Earth Day, or just a one-on-one read with a young enthusiast of the world around us. Don’t miss Spring After Spring, a thought-provoking and inspiring biography.



Under My Hijab by by Hena Khan, illus. by Aaliya Jaleel (New JE)

In this sweet and affirming picture book, Khan depicts six important women in the life of a young Muslim girl and how they style their hijabs. The little girl admires how her grandma, her mom, her troop leader, her aunt and others wear their hijabs in style—whether with a broach or neatly tucked in—and how they wear their hair at home. Cheerful, rhyming text complements the girl’s admiration of these women and how she will one day wear a hijab herself. In an author’s note, Khan discusses when and why some Muslim women choose to or not to cover their hair. This wonderful book is full of charm with its soft, colorful illustrations and important message of embracing one’s identity.