Recommended Reads

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













The New LiBEARian by Alison Donald; illus. by Alex Willmore (New JE)

The librarian is late for storytime! Who will take her place? The children search for her and see ripped pages, an overturned honey jar and a series of paw prints through the book stacks and they find…a liBEARian! As the bear takes Ms. Merryweather’s place leading storytime, they fully embrace his story complete with roars, stomps and growls. When Ms. Merryweather returns from a lava eruption in the Ancient History section, the crew discover that their LiBEARian is none other than Baby Bear from Goldilocks and the Three Bears who must return back to the book so they can finish storytime. A charmingly imaginative tale about the magic of how stories transport us, The New LiBEARian is a must-read for any creative child, especially those who love storytime and the library.




They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki (New JE)

A beautiful book about wonder and curiosity, They Say Blue invites the reader to discover the many possibilities of looking at things from different perspectives. From thinking about blue whales to riding in a boat on an ocean of golden grass, a young girl goes on a journey of imagination. As she moves through her days, she finds herself appreciating the world and exploring what might be. Don’t miss this award-winning author’s first picture book, sure to delight and inspire any reader.





The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela (New J)

India Whimple loves watching The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee every Friday night with her family.  She always spells every word correctly. India knows though she may be an amazing speller, but she could never be on the show – her stage fright is too bad.  But urged by her family and with the help of her entire community, India decides to audition and is even selected!  Despite India overcoming her stage freight, her family faces a host of problems. India’s brother Boo has chronic asthma, the family lives in dread of serious attacks and money is tight. Sometimes, her father, a handyman, accepts clothes instead of cash as payment for jobs. Despite these challenges, the Whimple family comes together and show each other support when they need it the most. The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee is a sweet story containing magnificent vocabulary and spelling words. It reminds us that with love and support, goals which might seem out of reach can be obtainable. Overall, it is a splendiferous story that will have the reader rooting for India and her family long after the last round of competition.



Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? The Story of Ada Lovelace

by Tanya Lee Stone; illus. by Marjorie Priceman (New JB Lov)

This creatively illustrated biography honors the woman who earned her place in history as the first computer programmer. Who Says Women Can’t Be Computer Programmers? tells the story of Ada Lovelace (known by many different names throughout her life), the daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron. Born in 1815, she was raised during a time when women’s intellectual and creative gifts weren’t necessarily encouraged. Ada was quite ahead of her time, possessing both an independent personality and imaginative character, as she pursued her passions of mathematics and science. She collaborated in discoveries which predated computers by 100 years! Don’t miss this encouraging picture book biography, which will inspire young readers to follow their dreams.




Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy & Ali Fadhil (New Tween)

In 1991 Iraq, eleven-year-old Ali loves playing video games on his Atari and watching American TV. His family is well-off and he has nothing to worry about. Then his President, Saddam Hussein, starts a foolish and unwinnable war against the rest of the world with the United States leading the way. Ali and his family spend many nights in their “safe room”–his brother’s bedroom with the windows covered and rugs on the floor for sleeping, and Ali sees things he forever wishes he could forget. The real Ali Fadhil, now living in Ohio, tells this story of war with the help of his author-friend Jennifer Roy. Writing this devastating account for children’s appeal is no easy feat, but these two did a fantastic job. Tweens in grades 4 to 6 will benefit from this story of what it’s like to live with a war raging outside your door.






My So-Called Superpowers by Heather Nuhfer (New Tween)

Veri McGowan has the goal of becoming one of the “Ests”, the in-crowd, at Pearce Middle School. Despite failed attempts at acting, sports and other “Est” activities, Veri wants nothing more than to be noticed by the Ests. When Veri develops super-powers, or “stupid-powers” as she calls them, she finally brings attention to herself, but not as she’d hoped. Her emotions create physical manifestations–if she’s humiliated, she disappears; if she’s angry, she throws fireballs; if she’s envious, she turns green.  Along with her best friend Charlie, she tries to figure out where her powers came from.  Did they come from her mother who walked out on her and her father long ago? She’s not sure.  All she knows that when the Ests invite her to be a member of the Spring Formal Club, she jumps at the chance. But can she plan a dance in two weeks while hiding her “stupidpowers” and learning to control them?  My So-Called Superpowers is an enjoyable, coming-of-age novel; the first in a new series.  Veri is a relatable character and while most middle-schoolers won’t wake up with superpowers, her struggle to fit in is relatable. The book is fast-paced, funny and has a nice message about embracing what makes everyone unique.




Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond by Sam Hearn (New J)

John Watson is new to Baker Street Academy where he’s settling and meeting the crew: the class leader Martha Hudson, the class brain Sherlock Holmes, and Baskerville, the mascot of the school, among others. As John’s class takes a trip to the British Arts and Antiquities Museum, a robbery attempt spices up the day! A thief is caught, but was there really a robbery?  Logical thinking, highly observant Sherlock Holmes announces “the game is afoot” and begins an investigation.  Will the young detective solve the case and can John keep up with Sherlock and blog his exploits? Set in modern times, Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond is a clever re-imagination of the characters and adventures originally created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The mix of text and illustrations adds a level of fun engagement to the book that propels the story along. Recommended to readers 7-11, this story is a fun new series to add to Baker Street!



Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble  by Anna Meriano (New Tween)

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble has all that and a whole lot more! The Logrono family owns a bakery in Texas where they make delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion, but most importantly for the annual Dia de los Muertos festival (Day of the Dead). Leo Logrono is the youngest of four girls and she hopes this is the year she will be able to help prepare for the big celebration, but she is told once again that she is too young. Desperate to feel like she belongs and suspecting a family secret, she sneaks out of school and heads over to the bakery where she sees her mother, aunt and sisters perform a secret magic ceremony. What does it mean? The women in her family are brujas – witches of Mexican ancestry – who pour a bit of sweet magic into everything they bake. Girls are initiated at 15 but Leo just can’t wait any longer so when she discovers a very old recipe book in the bakery, she takes it home to try out. Leo discovers that she has magic too and when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possible go wrong? Love Sugar Magic: a Dash of Trouble is a charmingly sweet story with mischief, magic and a whole lot of love!


Thank You, Earth by April Pulley Sayre (New JE)

A tribute of gratitude to our planet, Thank You, Earth is an inspiring photographic collection. The collection focuses on many things big and small that contribute to and make up the vastness of our lovely world. From nature’s shapes to thunderstorms, from sunsets to crawling creatures – the pictures and text not only introduce important concepts, but also allow the reader to build an appreciation of the infinite number of things that are part of the bigger picture. This book would be an excellent way to introduce and discuss many ideas including gratitude, conservation, and Earth Day. This book is also perfect for one-on-one sharing or in a larger group format.  



The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld (New JE)

When something sad happens to Taylor’s impressive block structure, animals visit her one-by-one with their suggestions on how to make things right. But Taylor does not like any of their ideas. So the animals leave Taylor all alone until a warm, soft rabbit snuggles against the child’s side. As they sit together, the rabbit waits and listens to what Taylor needs. Finally, when ready, Taylor can grieve while the rabbit listens and supports the child’s emotions as they flow. Once the sadness is dispelled, Taylor is ready to rebuild and start again. Cori Doerrfeld beautifully captures loss, friendship and learning how to start anew. This wonderful picture book features simple sentences with delicately sweet illustrations created with digital ink and a whole lot of heart. The Rabbit Listened is a great lesson for all ages of how to be there for someone who is hurting.




Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz  (New Tween)

Betty Before X tells the story of civil rights activist Betty Shabazz’s early life (wife of activist Malcom X). Eleven-year-old Betty is sent to live in Detroit with her birthmother Ollie Mae after her aunt, who raised her, passes away. Betty is active with church, friends, and has a desire to volunteer for the Housewives’ League, who campaign for black people to stop purchasing goods from stores that don’t hire black employees. As Betty’s relationship with Ollie Mae becomes tumultuous, she is taken in by the Malloys, a kind couple who frequent her church. In this coming-of-age story set amidst the early civil rights era, Betty learns about friendship, family love and fighting for your own identity. A story about a young black girl navigating the social landscape of 1940s Detroit, Betty Before X touches on difficult topics such as police violence, lynching and riots but does so through a juvenile lens with conversations between children and caring adults. Recommended for Grades 4-9.




Just Like Jackie By Lindsey Stoddard (New J)

Fifth grader Robinson, named after the famous Jackie Robinson, is always helping her grandfather. She helps him boil the sap to make maple syrup, helps him fix cars at his garage and even helps with dinner. But lately, she is having to do a lot more, like keeping track of where he puts his clothes and making sure he doesn’t wander off. Her grandpa, the man who raised her from birth and is the only family she’s ever known, is starting to forget things. With a school genealogy assignment looming on the horizon, Robbie must confront her grandfather about her family tree before he forgets everything. With help from the school counselor and some unexpected friends, Robinson comes to terms with the changes she will need to make in the near future.







What’s On Your Plate? Exploring the World of Food by Whitney Stewart  (New J641.59 ST)

Everyone enjoys eating, and sharing meals together is an age-old tradition that connects us all. In Whitney Stewart’s What’s on your plate? Exploring the world of food, discover popular food from 14 countries around the world. Learn how each country’s history and location influenced their food culture today like why Spanish food shares flavors commonly found in South America and North Africa. Once you have read all about the traditional meals, flavors and crops, try your hand at one of the 14 kid-friendly recipes, one for each country. The simple recipes are kid-friendly, both in execution and flavor, and are iconic to the country it represents. Bright eye-catching illustrations and a map of each country fill the book alongside photos of popular food from each country. A must-read for any budding foodie and their family, these meals taste best when shared.



Neither by Airlie Anderson  (New JE)

If you’re searching for a sweet, simple story to teach your children about acceptance, look no further than Neither by Airlie Anderson. The “Land of This and That” has strict definitions, one where a rabbit-bird creature can’t fit in and is told to go “somewhere else”. When it arrives in the “Land of All”, it is immediately accepted by a myriad of diverse creatures who welcome it to their eclectic home. A bird and a rabbit from the “Land of This and That” trot in who don’t fit in at home either and are greeted with open arms. An explosion of color and a cast of adorable animals make this book a fun read, but the embracing of all identities is a perfect introduction to inclusion for little ones.




A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights

by Kate Hannigan; illus. by Alison Jay (New JB LOC)

Bold! Determined! Strong! This is the phrase repeated throughout A Lady Has the Floor that encapsulates Belva Lockwood. A feminist hero from the mid-19th century, Lockwood went to college despite her father’s wishes, pushed for girls to be taught public speaking, graduated from law school,  fought for her right to receive her diploma and even ran for President of the United States! As a college student, law student, lawyer and presidential candidate, Belva Lockwood was constantly shot down. Despite this pushback, Lockwood led an unending battle against injustice and should be remembered among other feminist icons of her time such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton as integral to the history of equal rights. The Lady Has the Floor takes a keen look into the unfair treatment of women and minorities in 19th century America and also shows the changes a strong woman can make in spite of it all. Recommended for Grades 2-5.