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With fall in full swing and people soon shopping for gifts for various winter holidays (religious and secular), now is the perfect time to share some of my recent favorite children’s books! Like last year’s listI’ll be excluding the celebrity books, and these books were chosen for their ability to act as literary springboards for future feminists and geeks, books that I’m super jealous because I didn’t grow up reading and have also been recommended by librarians. !
Each selection of books points out some general themes and age recommendations. However, all of these books are aimed at children in elementary school or entering high school. While you know what’s best for the children in your life, this can be helpful if you’re looking for help or to donate a book to a family you may not know.
Run, little Chaski! by Mariana Llanos & Mariana Ruiz Johnson
This story follows a boy who has the opportunity to deliver a very important message from the Qoya (queen) to the Inka (king). Along the way, he encounters animals that need his help, which worries him that he won’t make it in time to deliver the message. This is an excellent introduction to Inca heritage and history in an adventurous setting.
This story touches on Mesoamerican indigenous heritage and values such as kindness. The recommended age range is three to seven years, or preschool through second grade. This book It is accessible in English and Spanish.
owl and penguin (I Like to Read® Comics) by Vikram Madan
owl and penguin It’s a great entry for early readers and early comic book lovers alike, as it follows a simple panel format. The duo find creative ways to address their difference, pulling a lot of pranks along the way.
This story touches on friendship, diversity and the (loose) science of birds. The recommended age range is four to eight years, or preschool through third grade.
There are few books that are capable of capturing the frustration of learning a new language at such a young age, and that also manage to tell a compelling story. merriment is one of those stories. Dat is in a new school, in a new country, and must learn a new language. In this story, she overcomes her fears and makes new friends while finding alternative ways to communicate.
This story touches on friendship, school and moving. The recommended age range is four to eight years, or preschool through third grade.
Inspired by the story of the author’s grandfather, Bonnie’s Rocket follows a girl’s dream of becoming an engineer while her father works on the Apollo 11 moon landing module. Through correspondence with her Baba, she builds and tests her own mini-rockets.
This story touches on history, failure and science/space. The recommended age range is four to seven years, or preschool through third grade.
This year I learned that celebrities YA author Yamile Saied Mendez He also writes children’s literature! I like it much, not just this warm story that serves as a great introduction to lyrical poetry. While adults (most of the time) use questions like “Where are you from?” otherwise, children often ask this unfiltered question with as little baggage as “Why is the sky blue?” because they have little concept of space, time, politics and more. While great, this makes the question quite difficult to answer. This story features a girl who asks her grandfather this question and gets a long and beautiful answer.
This story touches on migration, prejudice and family. The recommended age range is four to eight years, or preschool through third grade.
Drawing inspiration from Arabian folk tales, this story takes an important message and wraps it up in an adventure-filled tale. After learning about this mysterious and deadly “Ghoul” on the top of the mountain, Hassan decides that he will face this creature. Instead, what he discovers is that this creature is just as afraid of his neighbors as they are of him.
This story touches on fear and prejudice. The recommended age range is three to eight.
I’ll be the first to admit that these Christmas lists, and really, Maria suethey generally lack sports (except for the rare electronic sports article.) However, now, I present to you a book on motorsports and the historical Bessie Stringfield figure! She Became famous for avoiding danger and riding in style, alone, on a motorcycle across the country at the age of 18! Later in her life, she also served as a National Messenger for the US Army during World War II.
This story touches on lesser-known American history, courage, and geography. The recommended age range is five to eight years, or first through second grade.
I bought this months ago as a gift for children who will be spending much of their lives with doctors due to hereditary disease, however this is truly a must have for most children. From routine visits to more, children often perceive hospitals as a place where scary things happen. Written by a Johns Hopkins Hospital physician, this book demystifies this place by showing the variety of types of care and occupations in a hospital. Those kids who have 1000 questions that you don’t always know what to say? Yes, this is the book for them.
This book touches on anatomy, health and the family. The recommended age range is six to eight years, or first through third grade.
After a devastating blow destroys their family, a pair of royal twins are forced to adopt new identities to survive and join a magical order of women who become intertwined with reality. While in hiding, the brothers plan to avenge their families and make plans for the future. The only problem is that while one wants to resume her previous identity, the other discovers that living in hiding has finally given her the freedom to live like the girl she is.
This book presents fantasy/adventure and touches on gender identity. The recommended age range is eight to twelve years, or third to seventh grade.
Curly by Claribel A. Ortega and Rose Bousamra
Among ghost squad Y the witches, Claribel Ortega is a rising star in children’s literature. This graphic novel follows a young Dominican woman, Marlene, who disagrees with her mother’s insistence that she go to the salon and have her hair straightened every weekend. After all, every hour in the chair and under the hot iron is an hour where she could spend time with her funny aunt, her best friend, or reading. (Shout out to books about kids who love books!) As someone who wasn’t entirely comfortable with my hair texture until I was almost 19, I cannot recommend this book highly enough..
This book is about self-esteem. hair politics, and family relationships. The recommended age range is 9+, or grades 3-7.
On the 100th anniversary of the death of an infamous murderer in the town of Misery Falls, Oregon, a text message leads a group of girls to that murderer’s graveyard. What they find creates a bond between the girls and is the start of a spooky yet adventurous book series. This book is perfect for children who are fans of the troll hunters Y tales of arcadia (Kraus’ previous work with Guillermo del Toro) and is the first in a new series!
This book focuses on friendship and death. The recommended age range is eight to twelve years, or fourth to seventh grade.
The magical imperfects It’s a great choice for mature readers who love down-to-earth fantasy novels or reluctant readers, as the book is so intimate. The main character, Etan, has selective mutism since his mother left him, and everyone who loves him can’t help him. While running an errand, Etan meets another ostracized girl, Malia, whom many call “the creature.” Together, outcasts, they form a strong friendship.
This book focuses on friendship, identity, fantasy, and Jewish identity. The recommended age range is 10+, or fourth through sixth grade.
One thing that helped narrow down a huge list was the inclusion of books and book gifts throughout the year. Here are some articles that present great gifts for young readers.
(featured image: collage from various publishers)
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