It’s that time again! Time for me to gush about some of the books I read this year in the hopes you will buy some.
Lucky for you, that makes gift giving easy. Books make great gifts for kids and with so many new and classic books, you can find something for every kid.
I’ve broken down the book recommendations into helpful categories. These let you find books that are appropriate for the age and reading ability of the child. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of how children’s books are classified, check out this post.
For independent readers, this guide will help you determine if a book is appropriate.
You can also check out the lists for 2015 and 2016.
BOOKS FOR BABIES AND EXPECTANT PARENTS
No one is too young for a book! Nothing says love more than cuddling up in the lap of a grownup and listening to a story. And since reading to children is the number one best thing you can do to promote school success, you’re also making an investment in their future success. These books have stiff, durable pages perfect for the littlest readers.
Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering
Goodnight Jesus (You just knew that was coming, right?)
FIRST PICTURE BOOKS
These picture books are perfect for kids that are ready to graduate from board books. They have shorter texts (to match short attention spans) but big humor. These are a great fit for preschool through lower elementary.
Sophie’s Squash and the sequel Sophie’s Squash Goes to School
PICTURE BOOKS FOR KINDERGARTEN – ELEMENTARY
These texts are a tad longer. Perfect for the slightly older kid that still loves picture books.
Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast
Great Now We’ve Got Barbarians
READ ALOUD CHAPTER BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOL AND KINDERGARTEN
Kids can begin listening to chapter books as young as preschool or kindergarten. These books have short chapters and pictures can help ease the transition. They’re also free of mature or scary content.
Winnie the Pooh and while you’re at it read about the true story behind the fictional bear in Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear
BOOKS FOR NEW READERS
These books are great for kids that are still learning to read. These are arranged from easiest to hardest. Choose the one that seems just right or a little ahead of where your reader is currently.
Is That Wise Pig? and Jan Thomas’s other books are always a big hit with my kids.
Ballet Cat: What’s Your Favorite Favorite?
BOOKS FOR KIDS THAT DON’T LIKE TO READ
Comics and graphic novels have been the gateway to reading for many kids. Apparently, I didn’t read many graphic novels this year, but what I lack in numbers I make up for with quality. I love all the books in this series (and stalk Drew Brockington’s twitter to find out when there will be more).
BIG BOOKS FOR BIG KIDS
The one category where I read significantly more than in any previous year: middle grade. Middle grade is the term for upper elementary to middle school readers. I tried to thin down this list. I really did. But…. I can’t. #sorrynotsorry To help you sort through, I’ve added the genre of each but these should be taken with a (large) grain of salt.
Wonder – Realistic
Book Scavenger – Realistic/Mystery
Refugee – Modern Historical Fiction
Amina’s Voice – Realistic
The Metropolitans – Fantasy/Historical Fiction
The Mysterious Benedict Society
The Girl Who Drank the Moon – Fantasy
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library – Mystery
The First Rule of Punk – Realistic
The League of Beastly Dreadfuls – Fantasy
The Detective’s Assistant – Historical Fiction/Mystery
The Case of the Missing Moonstone – Historical Fiction/Mystery
There is only one book on this list, but it was the most powerful book I read all year. If you’re only going to read one YA novel all year, let it be this one.
TRUE STORIES FOR TRULY AWESOME KIDS
It’s a great time for people that love nonfiction. There is some terrific nonfiction out there right now. This list was just as hard to thin down as the middle grade novels. After each book, I’ve listed the age category. PB = picture book and can range from preschool to upper elementary. MG = middle elementary to middle school. YA = middle school to teen.
I’m Trying to Love Spiders – PB
Kate Warne: Pinkerton Detective – PB
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness – PB
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code – PB
Spot the Mistake: Lands of Long Ago – PB
The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, A Young Civil Right’s Activist – older PB
Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower – MG
Hidden Figures Young Reader’s Edition – MG or YA
Bomb: The Race to Build – And Steal – The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon – YA
Radioactive! How Irene Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World – YA
Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The Story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA – YA
Still looking for inspiration? Check out these 500+ Great Kid’s Books.
Note: I get no compensation for making these recommendations. I just really, really like books.
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