Today I want to talk about some great books, and I don’t want to limit it to the few genres that I love reading, but truly expand on other genres as well. As that will just be too much in one post, I’ll be going through the genres, using my experience as a bookseller to offer some great books that I know are super enjoyable.
Of course, you can be an adult and love these too! I personally love Middle Grade fiction!
Let’s get to the books!
Baby Books / Cardboard Books
1. Alphablock OR Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli
Alphablock has thick pages cut into the shape of each letter, children and parents will enjoy this peek-through guessing game around the letterform itself. Sprinkles, hot fudge, and cherries hint at I’s ice cream sundae, while aquarium accessories hint at F’s fish. As readers interact with the pages, they will familiarize themselves not only with the 26 letters and associated words, but also with each letter’s physicality – angles, holes, and curves, both front and back.
Countablock features thick pages cut into the shape of each numeral, creating a peek-through guessing game around the number form itself. One acorn becomes . . . one oak tree! From snowmen to puddles and eggs to chicks, quantities are illustrated twice: both before and after their “transformations.
2. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
As the sun sets in the big construction site, all the hard-working trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest so they’ll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play.
3. You Are Light by Aaron Becker
Open this beautiful book to find a graphic yellow sun surrounded by a halo of bright die-cut circles. Now hold the page up to the light and enjoy the transformation as the colors in those circles glow. In an elegant, sparely narrated ode to the phenomenon of light, Aaron Becker follows as light reflects off the earth to warm our faces, draws up the sea to make the rain, feeds all the things that grow, and helps to create all the brilliant wonders of the world, including ourselves.
4. 8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie and Lizzie Doyle
Age range 3 to 6 8 little planets with the sun at the center, each one wishing it were a little bit better… Old slow Neptune felt he was behind. 165 years to circle the sun is an awful long time. But the 8th little planet didn’t need to worry. It spins on its axis in a really big hurry! To the tune of “Ten Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” comes a new bedtime story from bestselling author Chris Ferrie that’s sure to get little ones excited about the solar system while learning new facts about each planet!
1. Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Baety and David Roberts
Some kids sculpt sand castles. Some make mud pies. Some construct great block towers. But none are better at building than Iggy Peck, who once erected a life-size replica of the Great Sphinx on his front lawn! It’s too bad that few people appreciate Iggy’s talent-certainly not his second-grade teacher, Miss Lila Greer. It looks as if Iggy will have to trade in his T square for a box of crayons . . . until a fateful field trip proves just how useful a mast builder can be.
2. Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
Pig was a Pug and Im sorry to say, he was greedy and selfish in most every way. Pig is the greediest Pug in the world. He is ill-tempered, rude and unreasonable. When Pig the Pug is asked to share his toys, something unexpected happens … Hopefully Pig has learned a lesson!
3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (such a classic!)
A much-loved classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has won over millions of readers with its vivid and colourful collage illustrations and its deceptively simply, hopeful story. With its die-cut pages and finger-sized holes to explore, this is a richly satisfying book for children.
4. Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
How do you make a magical children’s book about a young girl changing the world even better? By having Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai write it. This gem of a story is inspiring and the fact that it’s true makes it all the more incredible.
Junior Fiction (6+)
1. Ella and Olivia: #1 Cupcake Catastrophe
Ella and Olivia are sisters. Ella is seven years old. Olivia is five-and-a-half years old. They live with their mum and dad and little brother Max. Ella and Olivia are making cupcakes for Dad’s birthday. All the family will be there! But when a cooking disaster strikes, will the party be ruined?
2. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey
George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are injured on the job, a life-saving surgery changes the course of history, and Dog Man is born. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?
3. The Tales of Mr Walker by Jess Black and Sara Acton
On a brilliant autumn’s day, Mr Walker arrives at the grandest hotel in town. While things get off to a wobbly start, this charming labrador is determined to put his best paw forward. And it’s just as well because the most unexpected adventures await . . .
The Tales of Mr Walker contains four delightful stories inspired by the real-life Mr Walker, a Guide Dog Ambassador who now calls Park Hyatt Melbourne home.
Royalties from sales of this book go to Guide Dogs Victoria.
4. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli
What if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls reinvents fairy tales, inspiring children with the stories of 100 heroic women from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams
Middle Grade (9+)
1. Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Delsie loves tracking the weather–lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She’s always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she’s looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a “regular family.” Delsie observes other changes in the air, too–the most painful being a friend who’s outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he’s endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved. And that, together, they can weather any storm.
2. Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman
Everyone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragons are sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives. So when twelve-year-old orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he wonders whether they are even related. Still, whether or not they’re family, Rayna is Anders’s only true friend. She’s nothing like the brutal, cruel dragons who claimed her as one of their own and stole her away. In order to rescue her, Anders must enlist at the foreboding Ulfar Academy, a school for young wolves that values loyalty to the pack above all else. But for Anders, loyalty is more complicated than obedience, and friendship is the most powerful shapeshifting force of all.
3. Wings of Fire: Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T Sutherland
Clay and his friends have grown up under a mountain, secretly raised by the Talons of Peace to fulfil a mysterious prophecy. The five young dragons are destined to end the war that’s been raging between the tribes of Pyrrhia-but how they’ll do this, none of them knows. But not every dragonet wants a destiny. When one of their own is threatened, Clay and his friends decide to escape. Maybe they can break free and end the war at the same time-or maybe they’ll risk everything…
4. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Being in sixth grade is hard enough — but it was made worse for author Raina Telgemeier when she fell and knocked out her two front teeth. Smile recounts her painful and hilarious adventures of orthodontic treatments and the other struggles she overcomes throughout middle and high school. Kids literally line up to check out this über-popular book from the library.
Young Adult (12/13+)
(There will be a post made in the near future that expands on some great YA reads, but this is a small suggestion. This selection is recommended for younger YA readers, and the future post will cover a broad range of ages.)
1. Akarnae by Lynette Noni
With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes – literally.
Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities.
Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.
While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.
An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?
Will Alex risk her entire world – and maybe even her life – to save Medora?
2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved-five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.
3. Alex Rider: Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
In the first book in the number one bestselling Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz, fourteen-year-old Alex is forcibly recruited into MI6. Armed with secret gadgets, he is sent to investigate Herod Sayle, a man who is offering state-of-the-art Stormbreaker computers to every school in the country. But the teenage spy soon finds himself in mortal danger.
4. Path to the Stars by Sylvia Acevedo
The inspiring memoir for young readers about a Latina rocket scientist whose early life was transformed by joining the Girl Scouts and who currently serves as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA. A meningitis outbreak in their underprivileged neighborhood left Sylvia Acevedo’s family forever altered. As she struggled in the aftermath of loss, young Sylvia’s life transformed when she joined the Brownies. The Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world and nourished her love of numbers and science. With new confidence, Sylvia navigated shifting cultural expectations at school and at home, forging her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and going on to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Simultaneously available in Spanish! AGES: 10 to 12 AUTHOR: Sylvia Acevedo is a rocket scientist and award-winning entrepreneur who served on the White House Commission for Educational Excellence for Hispanics and is currently the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the US.