Great Books for Kids 2016 – Recommended and reviewed by the Hudson Library Youth Services Staff
Lulu Cerone was only 10 years old when she challenged her 5th grade class to a lemonade selling contest to raise money for the victims of a devastating earthquake in Haiti. The year was 2010 – now, at age 18, the award-winning activist runs a non-profit organization that inspires kids all over to hold what she calls PhilanthroParties for causes of their choice. Her new book features 36 ideas for parties to benefit everything from a local animal shelter to national charities. Kids can work to build a better world by throwing a “party with a purpose” just like this amazing teenage philanthropist.
100 Backyard Activities that are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever! by Colleen Kessler (507.8 Ke)
“Be Smart. Be Curious. Be Adventurous.” This book encourages kids to be all those things, and also encourages parents to let them. It is full of questions and answers, experiments, fun facts, and activities that can be done right in the backyard, and with or without an adult. Did you know that crickets are thought to bring good luck in China and are kept as pets? Or that frog races were once a popular pastime in the United States? Kids can educate and entertain themselves for hours with this handy guide to adventure in the backyard.
Noah Webster’s Fighting Words by Tracy Nelson Maurer, illustrated by Mircea Catusanu (jB WEB)
Noah Webster was a reader and a writer from a very young age, but his rural Connecticut school did not have the resources for him to really thrive in this regard. When he was old enough, he enrolled in Yale College and, after the American Revolution, became a teacher. He quickly realized that his students were still using a British dictionary! He published several books that established him as an expert on American grammar, spelling and pronunciation (he even attempted to invent new letters just for American English!), and eventually produced the first true American dictionary in 1983 that is still used in classrooms today. This biography for younger readers is beautifully illustrated and a fascinating tale.
Pig & Goose and the First Day of Spring by Rebecca Bond (J)
Pig & Goose and the First Day of Spring is perfect for any child beginning to read. This book has nicely-illustrated pictures to help readers imagine what is happening in each short chapter. In this story we meet happy, silly, and always very friendly Pig. She is joyfully on her way to the pond to enjoy a picnic. On her way she spots something in the sky, which is Goose flying toward her. Goose and Pig immediately become friends. Pig is amazed that Goose can fly and asks if she will teach her, but as Pig finds out she cannot fly. Pig then invites Goose to join her for a picnic and Goose agrees. They have a lovely picnic and a nap, but when Pig wakes up she cannot find Goose. Then she notices Goose swimming in the pond. Pig tells Goose that swimming is so graceful and beautiful, she wishes that she could swim. Goose tells Pig that she is great at other things. This is a lovely book for kids just stretching their reading muscles and venturing into the world of school with all the social challenges involved.
Full Moon Lore, by Ellen Wahi, is a story about the full moon during each month of the calendar year. This book has beautiful illustrations of a different night sky for each month. Children will enjoy the colors and images for each month explaining why the moon is a particular color or size. January starts the year with a Wolf Moon – this full moon lights the winter sky and appears smaller in size as the earth is tilted farther from the sun. Soon blossoms of pink show up in March as snow begins to melt and spring approaches. This March moon is much larger on the page. June’s moon is the Strawberry Moon. This month has the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. The illustrations show children out with fireflies in the nice summer evening. The autumn months come and the colors change to orange and brown. As winter approaches, the book ends on the Blue Moon. The author tells us, “once in a great while there are two full moons in the same month, both as full and bright as ever.” Don’t make this book be a “once in a blue moon” read!
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.
Mom . . . there’s an elephant in the living room! A young girl befriends a baby elephant in their new house on moving day, unbeknownst to her parents and grandmother. When she tries to alert them of the elephant’s presence the distracted grown-ups respond with “Ella-Who?” thinking it must be the girl next door. They spend the day playing and a friendship blossoms just as the little girl realizes that her elephant is named Fiona and she is missing from the animal sanctuary. Can she say good-bye to her new-found friend? This sweet and funny story has a lesson in making new friends and learning to say good-bye.
Lala may live in a remote village in Africa, but there are plenty of distractions for her to avoid bedtime. She has to say goodnight to everything, including the fish her father caught for dinner, a goat, a monkey, and even her favorite rock in the yard. When she finally settles in to bed, she says one last goodnight to her favorite book, a classic that children around the world will recognize. This sweet and simple bedtime story reminds us of how much we all have in common, especially the precious children of world.
It Charlotte would have been happy with a pet dog, hamster or even a pig for her sixth birthday, but her parents got her a pet rock. It didn’t eat much and was really hard to take for walks, but she loved her rock and named it Dennis. She only wished it could love her back! Then one day Dennis gives her the surprise of her life, and he becomes truly the pet of her dreams.