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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.
Jennifer Grant’s Maybe I Can Love My Neighbor Too and Maybe God Is Like That Too (illustrated by Benjamin Schipper; Sparkhouse Family, 2019 and 2017).
I could not love these books more for their wonderful, wondering observations of God in the midst of us.
- Jesus and the Very Big Surprise by Randall Goodgame and Catalina Echeverri (illus.) (The Good Book Company, 2020)
- Arya: The Protector by Burton Laine, (Xulon Press, 2020)
For cozy bedtimes
Night Wishes, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins; Jen Corace (illus.); (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2020.)
Poet Lee Bennett Hopkins (1938-2019) authored or collaborated on more than one hundred books for children, and this one lives up to the legacy he’s left. The poems are brief enough for the squirmiest listeners and engaging and concrete enough for young ears, too. Each poem is matched on a two-page spread by Jen Corace’s illustrations in gouache — and they’re whimsical and delightful.
- Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes and Elizabeth Zunon (illus.); (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2020)