Curated by Erin Wasinger,
ERB Contributing Editor
Specializing in Books for Young Readers
I want to give a child at Christmas the kind of book that’ll have dog-eared pages and a spine that lays flat by New Years. It’s a bonus if the title makes appearances again and again, in March, September; in conversations: “Hey, this reminds me of that one book ..!”
And to give a child that perfect book takes some insight. I’m here today to provide a guide to some great reads for kids up to middle-grade chapter books or so. If none of these sound just right, a gift card to a local indie bookstore is always a great option, too.
Starting something new
The Vanderbeekers series, including the latest: The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found (Book 4), by Karina Yan Glaser (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2020)
I wish I were a Vanderbeeker: this family’s children are empathetic without being saccharine, helping to solve realistic problems in their community.
- Twins by Varian Johnson, (Graphix/Scholastic, 2020.)
- Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover series (HMH Books for Young Readers).
- Track series by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books).
For younger readers:
- Dog Man fans may like InvestiGators by John Patrick Green (First Second, 2020);
- the Press Start series by Thomas Flintham (Scholastic); and
- the new Katy Farina versions of Baby-Sitters Little Sister books (Graphix)
For animal fans
Beastly Puzzles: A Brain-Boggling Animal Guessing Game, by Rachel Poliquin (Kids Can Press, 2019)
Each page starts with listing common items: great. Now, what animal could you make using these items? It’s more challenging than you think!
- Any and all of the “Life Size” animal books by Teruyuki Komiya;
- Who Am I?: A Peek-Through-Pages Book of Endangered Animals by Tim Flach, (Harry N. Abrams, 2019)