Recommended Reads

Great Books for Kids 2017 – Recommended and reviewed by the Hudson Library Youth Services Staff












Hello Door by Alastair Heim; illus. by Alisa Coburn (New JE)

A sly fox greets everything he sees as he plunders his way through a stranger’s house. Being polite, the fox bids farewell to the ransacked house only to have the residents return. Three bears greet the naughty fox and hope to teach him his error. But will fox ever learn? Find out in Alastair Heim’s Hello Door, a delightful tale with simple yet sassy rhymes filled with beautifully light acrylic-painted illustrations by Alisa Coburn. The enchanting illustrations and simple rhymes provide great context clues for guessing the next line in the rhyme. This book is a wonderful choice for preschoolers practicing their pre-reading skills.




The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli (New J)

From Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli, comes an unforgettable coming-of-age story. During the summer of 1959 in Two Mills, Pennsylvania, Cammie O’Rielly, the warden’s daughter, lives on the prison grounds. The knowledge that her mother sacrificed her own life for Cammie when she was as a baby is often too great a burden to carry. To fill the void left by the death of her mother, Cammie attempts to turn the female inmate, Eloda Pupko, into a “replacement” mother. Yet, another loss only adds to Cammie’s sadness, anger and resentment. Spinelli’s masterful storytelling not only brings Cammie to life, but also her friends and the prison’s many inmates. Readers will be deeply moved by Cammie’s personal journey and self-discovery.






Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder (New Tween)

Nine children live on an island, happy and carefree. But once a year, a mysterious boat arrives carrying a small new child to the island, and the eldest of the nine children leaves, never to set foot on the island again. Orphan Island is a place of wondrous excitement and independence for nine children who rely on each other. The oldest child always takes care of the newest child, known as their “care.” But when the time comes for Dean to leave and Jinny to take up role as the “Elder”, she doesn’t want to say goodbye to her dear friend. Nonetheless, he leaves and Jinny finds herself scared with limited time left on the island. As she shares the joy of the island with her care Ess, Jinny fumbles through what it means to grow up and has to decide how important her own life is on the island versus the balance of how things are and should be. This incredible story will keep you thinking even after you turn the last page.







Littles and How They Grow by Kate DiPucchio and Illustrated by A.G. Ford (New JE)

With rhyming and lyrical prose, this book is a sweet tribute to little ones everywhere, gently reminding readers to cherish each moment as babies grow up so fast. This charming story follows infants through their first year, from little moments to milestones, with beautiful, colorful illustrations that depict all kinds of babies and families. This simple picture book is a true celebration of all things baby with artwork that perfectly captures emotions, expressions and the simple joys of life with an infant.






Zap!  by Martha Freeman (New Tween)

When the power goes out in Hampton, New Jersey on a Monday morning in October, nobody seems to know why. 6th graders Luis and Maura take a break from a science fair project to investigate why the lights went out. But investigating is difficult when gas stations can’t sell gas and cell phones can’t recharge.The friends go to the local bodega run by Senora Alvero to pick up snacks but the shelves are empty; the panicked population has bought everything. Senora sends Luis and Maura on an errand to take chocolate milk to a homeless teen known as the “Computer Genius.” By accepting the errand, the two are drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of why the lights went out and how to turn them back on. Zap sheds light on the chaos of losing power and how it’s secured and is an engaging read for children aged 8-12, but can also be valuable for adults interested in how power grids work.





The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff (New J)

Fifth-grader Winnie Malladi-Maraj is at her wit’s end with her feuding divorced parents who insist she spend exactly the same amount of time with each of them. Because there is an odd number of days in the week, Winnie spends every Wednesday by herself in a treehouse situated exactly between their two houses. Things spiral out of control when her mom and dad begin proclaiming every day a holiday so they can out-do each other’s celebrations – life becomes so crazy that Winnie doesn’t have time for homework and is in danger of failing 5th grade! That’s when she learns her treehouse is its own country – The Republic of Fittizio – and if she just stays there, she doesn’t have to follow anyone’s rules but her own. This hilarious and heart-felt story is enhanced with hand-drawn illustrations by Siobhan Gallagher. Children in grades 3 to 6 will definitely want to build a treehouse after reading this!







We Are Party People by Leslie Margolis (New Tween)

Middle-schooler Pixie Joes prefers to blend in rather than stand out. Her family owns a party planning business, and she manages to quietly stay in the background at the parties, preferring to fill party bags and help with the children’s crafts rather than performing. With her parent’s love of the limelight, her behind-the-scenes help has always worked perfectly. But when Pixie’s mom has to go and take care of her estranged mother, the team is one member short. Their father-daughter team works well until Pixie’s father asks her to be a mermaid at a party, and Pixie must decide if she can follow in her parent’s footsteps and embrace the attention. We Are Party People is a funny, sweet book that reminds all of us that taking charge and determining who you are and who you want to be can be scary but very rewarding. Middle school readers who are faced with new experiences and challenges will relate to Pixie and her struggle between helping family and friends and staying in her comfort zone.





Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar (New Tween)

Ruthie is a new resident of the United States after her family moves from Havana, Cuba to New York City. Set in the 1960s, Ruthie learns that while transitioning to a new culture can be hard, you can learn from others around you. A wonderfully multicultural story, Ruth befriends Danielle, a Belgian neighbor who introduces her to go go boots, cream puffs and dubs her the hopscotch queen. Ruthie begins to find school easier as she and her friend from India, Ramu, practice their English together and swap desserts from their home countries. But just as things begin to look up for Ruthie, she is in a car accident that breaks her leg, requiring a body cast that renders her immobile.

The charm of Lucky Broken Girl lies in its heart. This story shows the sadness and happiness of moving to a new country, spending nearly a year in bed in a body cast, and how friendships change and strengthen. Based on her own childhood, Ruth Behar shares how you can feel pain both emotionally and physically, but that scars help you grow, and ultimately, it is the people around you who help you heal.




Pete the Cat and the Tip-Top Tree House By James Dean (New Easy Reader: 428.6 De)

Looking for a new groovy reading adventure? Join Pete the Cat and his many friends in this beginning reader by beloved author James Dean.  When Pete the Cat invites all his friends to visit him in his tree house, they realize the tree house is too small to fit everyone inside! So, Pete and his friends work together to build the most amazing tree house ever—including a bowling alley, indoor wave pool, movie theater and much more!









Pup and Bear by Kate Banks, illustrated by Naoko Stoop (New JE)

Pup and Bear is an enchanting story about a young wolf cub who gets separated from his pack and is taken in by a polar bear. The bear teaches him to survive and thrive as the young pup grows up and is ready to face the world on his own. The circle of life continues when the wolf then finds a lost polar bear cub. Beautifully illustrated and written in captivating prose, this book is a touching story about nature, courage, and the power of love.