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.






The Sequoia Lives On by Joanna Cooke (New J585.5 CO)

Giant Sequoia trees are not only the largest trees on our planet, they are the largest living things on planet Earth! Joanna Cooke’s book The Sequoia Lives On not only takes the reader through the life cycle of this magnificent tree – it gives very relatable examples for comparison and contrast so that its size and lifetime can be more easily understood by the young listener, and does so in an almost lyrical way. With gorgeous illustrations revealing the sequoia’s sheer vastness, Cooke teaches effectively that from seed to decomposition, the sequoia does indeed live on. Also find bonus facts in the back of the book for the non-fiction fan.





Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi, illus. by Hatem Aly (New J)

Meet Yasmin! – a second grade explorer, painter, builder and fashionista! In this short, beginner’s chapter book, Yasmin tackles her problems with energy and imagination that young readers will easily understand. Whether she’s nervous to create art for an art contest, or loses track of where her mom goes at the market, Yasmin finds creative solutions to troublesome worries. In addition to the short chapters, back matter with book questions, facts about Pakistan, Urdu words, a craft and a recipe provide relevant factual and cultural information on Pakistan. Faruqi’s depiction of the delightful Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani family along with Hatem Aly’s colorful illustrations will appeal to many beginning readers who want a story with big heart. Recommended for K-2nd graders.





Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh (New Tween)

Two boys, one from the United States and the other from Syria, find themselves in Brussels, Belgium, where they barely speak the language. Thirteen year old Max is the son of a defense consultant to NATO who is spending the year in Brussels with his family. Ahmed is a fourteen year old refugee who has lost everything and is now stranded in the same city. When their lives begin to inexplicably intertwine, they will learn the true meaning of friendship and bravery.  In this timely and poignant novel, Katherine Marsh explores the divisive refugee crisis and humanizes the young refugees fleeing towards a better life. Nowhere Boy is a gripping story that seamlessly weaves modern day issues with issues from the past while exploring difficult topics. This novel is a great contemporary read for fans of historical fiction grades 4 and up.






Goodbye to Goldie by Fran Manushkin (New Easy Reader)

Katie Woo endures a difficult loss – the death of her beloved dog Goldie. This easy reader tells the story of Katie’s grief and how she processes her grief with friends and family. Readers who have experienced similar loss will empathize with Katie’s range of emotions – from raw feelings of missing Goldie terribly to also smiling at the happy memories of her life with Goldie. Manushkin addresses in an honest way the very real sadness of this common human experience while also assuring the reader that happy memories will help ease Katie’s pain. Recommended for ages 5-7.