I recently saw that there was a movement to send books to Trump-y because he doesn’t like to read. My initial instinct was “yeah, cool, send him a book’! But then I thought, shoot, no, don’t do that, the books will probably get burned, and you know he’s not going to read them. But still, I like the idea of sending people books, but who wants them?
Well, kids want them! And with Betsy DeVos as our new (I want to hiss every time I think about it) education secretary, children will need all the books we can send them!
If you know a teacher ask him or her if you can buy or donate books to their classroom! Also, school libraries lack funding to buy new books, so see if you can donate to the school librarian.
Also, women’s shelters, community centers, daycares… would be excellent places to donate.
So, what do kids want to read? Well I’m sure there are some kids out there still reading what we read when we were kids, like Judy Blume, Goosebumps, The Babysitter’s Club, Nancy Drew, etc. BUT, what they really want is new and contemporary titles that are relevant to their lives. They love graphic novels and comic books. They love animals and nature. They love to be engaged, so here’s some books you can buy and donate. I tried to sort them by age!
** Here’s a link to Seedlings, which is a website for braille books. Ask schools if they have blind or visually impaired students, because let me tell you- it’s hard getting book for kids with visual impairments, and they often don’t have access to the same amount of books as sighted students! (This one’s close to my heart)**
Baby- 5 (probably also 6, maybe even 7!)
Sandra Boynton– all of her books are wonderful, but my personal favorite is The Belly Button book. I ADORE this book soooo much! Also, kids like it too!
The Pout- Pout Fish, by: Deborah Diesen
We read this book to Norah so much when she was younger- I still have it memorized. Its rhythmic text and colorful pictures make it especially engaging for the wee- ones.
Bark, George, by: Jules Feiffer
George can cluck like a chicken and moo like a cow, but poor George has lost his bark! Can a veterinarian help him get this bark back? Any book involving goofy animals is on my radar!
Mini Myths, by: Joan Holub
A very early introduction to ancient Greek myths! My favorite: Brush Your Hair, Medusa. Totally fun, and they’re board books, so great chew toys as well.
Wolfie the Bunny, by: Amy Dyckman
I’m going to say this book would fit best in the younger age group, but my six- year old niece still loves it, so it would be appropriate for older kids too.
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!, by: Karen Beaumont
An overzealous little girl with paint and a paintbrush can’t help but paint everything. You must sing the rhyming text (you won’t be able to just READ it!), and I can’t help but get it stuck in my head whenever I “read” it, or think about it… like right now.
Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball, by: Vicki Churchill
Yeah, for real, who doesn’t?
Say Hello to Zorro, by: Carter Goodrich
I love dogs. Funny and short.
Interrupting Chicken, by: David Ezra Stein
I’m going to put this book in the younger age group, but like Wolfie the Bunny, this would definitely be appropriate for older kids too! This is one of my absolute FAVORITE picture books! Little chicken’s voice must be read with a lisp, and you MUST read her (?) him(?) enthusiastically! YOU MUST! Don’t ruin it!
Oliver Jeffers’ books, because they’re beautifully illustrated and they have a conscience.
Elephant and Piggie, by: Mo Willems (really anything by Mo Willems)
Great for beginning readers, or just early listeners! Fun, engaging, and check out this New Yorker interview with the author. Everything about Elephant and Piggie is a conscious effort to engage young readers.
Ordinary People Change the World (series), by: Brad Meltzer
This could be a first biography for many kids. Meltzer introduces kids to: Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, Jackie Robinson, Lucille Ball, Helen Keller, and Martin Luther King Jr. Meltzer’s books are short, but engaging, and highlight only the best parts of his subjects. No mention of assassination or plane crashes.
Naughty Kitty, by: Adam Stower
A loose Bengal tiger, and a small kitten find trouble in this sweet, picture book.
Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds, by: Marianne Dubuc
I think Norah liked this book so much because of the pictures. The writing is fine, but the pictures are finely detailed, and fun to look at.
I’m a Shark, by: Bob Shea
Okay, there’s no real substance to this book, but it’s super hilarious, and I think I’ve read it out loud like a thousand time! With a voice damnit!
Creature ABC, by: Andrew Zuckerman
Pictures, pictures, pictures!
Z is for Moose, by: Kelly Bingham
Another great, and funny, alphabet book.
The Perfect Nest, by: Catherine Friend
It’s been a while since I read this book, but I remember reading it over and over, and if I was willing to do that, I too must have found it funny.
I’m going to end with my FAVORITE PICTURE BOOK:
I Need My Monster, by: Amanda Noll
OMG this book. It knocks me out every time I read it, and that’s not because it’s like, THAT good, but because I do a voice throughout the entire book, and it requires way too much oxygen! You can tell just by looking at the cover how vibrant the illustrations are, which really lends itself to the whole monster under the bed thing. It’s kind of spooky, but ultimately sweet, and that seems complicated, but it’s not.
Here, I’m afraid this list is going to become endless, so here’s a link to my picture book shelf on Goodreads. I try to rate the books I really like, so any of the five stars would be excellent buys!
Also, here’s a link to some of my favorite children’s books I read last year. All of these books would be appropriate too!
Also, ALA (American Library Association) knows what they’re talking about, and here’s a pretty comprehensive list of 2016’s best picture books.
Okay, so now here’s a list for 6-9 (maybe 10 and 11 too!) You’ll have to read the chapter books to the younger kids, but this is the age they start craving more complicated plots.
Rumpelstiltskin or Rapunzel, by: Paul O. Zelinsky
Beautiful, well- known, fairytales retold. They’re technically picture books, but definitely more appropriate for older readers.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn, by: Dana Simpson
I so meant to review this book last year, but I didn’t, and I regret that, because it’s sooo good. It’s like My Little Pony meets Calvin and Hobbes- what kid wouldn’t love this! Bonus: the author is transgender! Buy this and read it, and then pass it on, because it would be great for struggling readers.
Calvin and Hobbes, by: Bill Waterson
Yes, it’s been around for a while, but there was a study that said Calvin and Hobbes was perfect for struggling readers, or reluctant readers. Besides, the comic is timeless!
Roller Girl, by: Victoria Jamieson
A great book. I talked about it at the end of last year, but it’s a must read. (Graphic Novel)
The Wild Robot, by: Peter Brown
I love his picture books, and now I love his chapter books! This is all about the environment, and it’s sweet.
The War That Saved My Life, by: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Reminiscent of classic favorites like A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, this book is about two siblings who escape blitzed London, and find a new home in the English countryside.
Fly Guy, by: Ted Arnold
This seems to be THE introduction to chapter books. It’s funny, and kids love the series. Buzz!
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story, by: Caren Stelson
I haven’t read it yet, but it’s sitting patiently on a shelf at the library, waiting until I can pick it up. I am all up in the face of publishers to publish more engaging YA nonfiction, so I feel obligated to read any and all YA nonfiction that gets published. Also, this seems like a really powerful story that kids would love. I can still remember the first time I read The Diary of a Young Girl.
Don’t Call Me Grandma, by: Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
It’s a picture book, and a younger audience may enjoy it, but I think it would be more appropriate for older kids. I absolutely love the pictures in this book.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by: Kelly Barnhill
This won the Newbery this year. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s in my library basket, and I’m gonna read it.
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, by: Adam Gidwitz
Okay, I’m just going to start listing books, because this list is out of control!
Hamster Princess, by: Ursula Vernon
Again, great for struggling or reluctant readers
Raina Telgemeier– JUST GO BUY ALL HER BOOKS, AS MANY COPIES AS POSSIBLE, AND PASS THEM OUT TO ANY KID YOU SEE!
Sad Animals Facts, by: Brooke Barker
Because, did you know a wolf without a pack loses its howl?! OMG, that is sad!
What If I Had Animals Teeth? By: Sandra Markle
Umm, yeah. These are awesome books! Because you know, what if?! I want shark teeth btw…
Beetle Boy, by: M.G. Leonard
Ahhh, this book was so good, and full of science- related information. Plus, like an evil villain who happens to be part… BEETLE!
Now, YA, which can be ambiguous. You may have a third grader reading YA. I have seen a third grader reading A Fault in Our Stars, and I warned her that it was going to be very sad, and might be a little too depressing, but she was sure she could handle it, so she trudged on. Now, I find A Fault in Our Stars to be a bit too much, but it all comes down to taste, preference, and personality. So, that being said, here’s my list of YA:
We Are the Ants, by: Shaun David Hutchinson
A wonderful story about loss and abuse and surviving high school despite it all.
Challenger Deep– Neal Shusterman
A first hand account of mental illness. I haven’t liked all of Shusterman’s books, but this one was especially beautiful; almost poetic.
A great comic and graphic novel. Also try Nimona, which is also by Noelle Stevenson.
Anya’s Ghost, by: Vera Brosgol
Again, a graphic novel. Highly engaging
The Passion of Dolssa, by: Julie Berry
About the Spanish Inquisition. Everyone’s in danger. Unlike any other YA I’ve ever read. In fact, the only reason it’s YA is because the characters just happen to be young.
Frances Hardinge books.
I haven’t read these yet, but I really want to!
Still Life with Tornado, by: A.S. King
Rani Patel in Full Effect, by: Sonia Patel
Here’s a list of great YALSA books.
That’s it, I’ve had it with this list. It’s going to become a monster, so here’s another link to a few YA nonfiction titles!
Also, I just read a wonderful book called Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History… a great book for girls and boys! I will be writing more extensively about this book at a later date!
It may be my first installment of:
Anyway, geez this meandered off topic: if you’re feeling helpless right now, buying books for kids just might make you feel better, so use my list, or don’t, but I hope it helps!