Great Books for Kids 2016 – Recommended and reviewed by the Hudson Library Youth Services Staff
As Claudette Colvin said, “I knew then and I know now that, when it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it…you have to take a stand and say, ‘this is not right.’” Claudette is one of thirteen women highlighted in this inspirational book for young girls by Chelsea Clinton. Drawing upon both famous and lesser known women trailblazers, Clinton highlights the challenges they each overcame by way of great persistence. The book’s message is clear: never let anyone silence or stop you for achieving your dreams.
The Wompananny Witches Make One Mean Pizza by Jennie Palmer (NEW jE)
The Wompananny Witches are connoisseurs of the deliciously delightful art of pizza-making. What they’re not so great at? Interacting with people–specifically children for that matter–they go together about as well as “pizza and peanut butter!” Scared out of their wits by children knocking at their door, the witches must bake to get their willies out. But instead of a lovely lunch, the pizza comes alive into one mean pizza! Rolling and tromping through town, the pizza causes chaos until one hungry child takes a taste of its cheese. As the children gang up to chomp down the gooey, hot pizza, the witches learn that sometimes the best combination of all is the one we least expect. With wonderful alliteration and a heart-warming story line that will have your tummy rumbling, Palmer cooks up a fabulous feast of a tale!
A song about myself is a light–hearted poem full of rhythm and rhyme that is sure to put a smile on any reader’s face. The illustrator, Chris Raschka, makes the poem accessible. The reader follows a mischievous young man in a red beret through the rolling verses. Romantic poet, John Keats, was only 26 when he died, but he accomplished quite a lot in that short amount of time. He began and finished a career in medicine and published two books of poetry. He was also great friends with other well-known poets of the time including Percy Shelley and Lord Byron. He wrote A Song about Myself, on a trip to Scotland, which he sent in a letter to his sister. Kids and parents alike will have fun reading this book.
When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Fight for an American Icon by Natasha Wing (NEW J720.9747 WI)
Jacqueline Kennedy was an accomplished woman and did a lot to save and/or restore some of America’s national treasures. Not only did she restore the White House’s interior as America’s First Lady, she fought hard to save the beautiful Grand Central Station in New York City from being demolished in favor of a more modern sky scraper. In Natasha Wing’s book When Jackie Saved Grand Central, she described the long and involved fight to save the beautiful building, and the restoration process that took place to bring the building back to its original beauty. Mrs. Kennedy used her social presence and platform to gain support for her cause. She founded the Committee to Save Grand Central and inspired citizens to donate money towards the cause. The story is also beautifully illustrated with water color pictures by Alexandra Boiger. This is a great read for any one planning a visit to the greatest city on earth or purely learning about NYC’s history.
Marigold Bakes a Cake by Mike Malbrough (NEW jE)
Marigold is a particular cat – he likes everything just right and put into place. His favorite days are Mondays because Mondays are baking days: perfect for whipping up tasty cakes. But his plan for pastry perfection goes awry when loons, pigeons and a finch destroy his careful creation. This hilariously delicious story touches on wanting to have everything just right, trying to cope with difficult situations, and that even with the best intentions, disasters are a part of life.
The Scariest Book Ever by Bob Shea (NEW jE)
A trend has developed in children’s picture books that, as the thespians would say, ‘breaks the fourth wall.’ The character in these stories speaks directly to the reader. Mo Willems and Bob Shea have done an excellent job at making these stories fun, engaging, and entertaining for both children and adults. Bob Shea’s new book, The Scariest Book Ever, follows the same format. The illustration takes the reader into the ‘scary woods’ that the main character, a ghost, imagines contains all sorts of scary things in. The suspense continuously builds, and the ghost tries to persuade the reader to stay with him in his home by offering all sorts of reasons. The book is full of classic Bob Shea–style illustrations that are an integral part of the story. Both parents and children alike will immensely enjoy reading the ghostly tale together.
Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies by Carmen Oliver, illustrated by Jean Claude (jE)
If you have an emerging reader at home then this book needs to be on your list! Young Adelaide explains to her teacher that the best reading buddies are bears! There is no reason to fear a bear, especially one that helps you read. Adelaide’s bear can sniff out excitement and adventure in books. Her bear can find the best places to read where no one will bother them. Adelaide’s bear is kind and patient when she needs to sound out tough words, or if she needs an encouraging hug to keep working on a frustrating one. Young readers should explore this delightful and colorful book.