Recommended Reads

Great Books for Kids 2020 – Recommended and reviewed by the Hudson Library Youth Services Staff








Welcome Flower Child: The Magic of Your Birth Flower by Brigette Barrager (New jE)

“Each child is a different kind of flower, and all together make this world a beautiful garden.” With vibrant watercolor illustrations by the author, this catalog of flowers is presented month by month in poetic descriptions that can also be applied to children born in that month – a sort of horticultural astrology. From the carnation in January – big and bold – to the poinsettia in December – sweet and courageous – the drawings of the flowers are detailed and lively, and they are danced upon playfully by fairies and butterflies. The fold out, 3-page spread at the end soars with color and warmth – this is a beautiful book for parents to share with their children and talk about the qualities that make them special.



Starla Jean V.1: Which Came First: the Friendship or the Chicken?  by Elana K. Arnold, illustrated by A.N. Kang (New J)

Meet Starla Jean, the rambunctious and determined heroine of her own new early chapter books series. In this first installment, Which Came First: The Chicken or the Friendship?, Starla Jean proves that she can do anything she sets her mind to by catching a chicken she finds roaming in the park. Having been told by her dad, “If you can catch it you, you can keep it,” Starla Jean believes herself to have acquired a new house pet. Her parents and the family cat don’t quite agree, though.
While her parents try to find the chicken’s owners, Starla Jean insists its name is Opal Egg and her baby sister, Willa, learns her first word: Bawk! Joining Starla Jean, her family, and Opal Egg on this adventure is a true delight for all ages. With lots of repetition, humor, and a sweet, surprising ending, this self-assured little girl’s story will help newly independent readers build their own confidence and skill. The warm, kind family dynamic and silly tone will make Starla Jean’s adventures a new favorite read-aloud, too.

Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Giselle Potter  (New jB)

Have you ever tried mushrooms, dragon fruit, blood oranges, or donut peaches? If so, you have Frieda Caplan to thank. Her wholesale produce stand, the first in the U.S. to be owned and operated by a woman, is responsible for introducing American shoppers to the likes of kiwi, sugar snap peas, seedless watermelon, habanero peppers, baby corn, and many more fruits and veggies from all over the world.
When she started out, American grocery stores carried about sixty-five different types of fruits and veggies. Today, you can find up to seven hundred varieties while shopping, thanks to Frieda. Her love of trying new things and knack for getting others to do the same truly changed the way we eat and think about food. Try It! How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat is sure to delight adventurous and picky eaters alike with its colorful illustrations and playful language to match Frieda’s passion. Extolling the joys that can be found through an open mind, this biography is a must-read for anyone with a love for food. Who knows? It may even inspire you to pick up some jicama, cherimoya, or lychee from the grocery.

The In-Between by Rebecca K.S. Ansari (New J) (New jB)

It seems as if Cooper’s world is coming apart when he learns his father, who moved out 3 years ago, is going to have a baby with his new wife. This means he will never come back, and Cooper has been embarrassed and ashamed enough already, without piling on a new half-sibling. His younger sister Jess is diabetic, and his mom works an extra job in the evenings to help support them all, so he takes on a lot of the adulting in the house. And, there’s a strange, pale and mute rich girl living across the street who stares at him all the time.
When Cooper and Jess notice something odd about the girl and begin to investigate, he sets off on his own to get to the bottom of it and discovers something very wrong with the girl and her house. There will be no spoilers here, but this suspenseful and emotionally charged story is sure to draw in readers who enjoy fantasy and like to be just a tiny bit scared – Cooper will win their hearts and teach them a little something about coping and being brave.

The Lion on Mars by Jennifer L. Holm (New TWEEN)

This is the life of Bell, an eleven-year-old cat lover who lives on Mars. Daily chores – collecting the extremely fine Mars dust from all the vents in the underground compound – lessons, helping the community gardener, Phinneus, with the algae and vegetable farm, and taking care of Leo, the only cat.
The Americans on Mars are not alone – there are also French, Chinese, Norwegian and Russian communities. But because of wars and disagreements on Earth, they have been told not to communicate with the others. The children of the US colony have only heard that the others are dangerous and not to be trusted. When all the American adults come down with a mysterious illness, Bell becomes an unlikely hero and manages to reach the French colony and enlist their help. He and the other children are very surprised to learn that … well, we won’t spoil the story here.
Holm has once again woven a unique and compelling tale for the adventurous middle grade reader. There is just enough intrigue to keep the pages turning, and more than enough sentiment for us to welcome Bell and his comrades into our hearts. Its speculation about what life on Mars would be like for earthlings is funny, informed, inventive – all the elements of a great book for kids!