Delights That Turn Pages, All New Books For Kids Of All Ages This Holiday Season

SQUARE BOOKS (0-3 years)

I don’t know how we’ve all lived without Steven Weinberg’s trio of hardcover books collectively called Big Jobs. “The big job of the dishwasher, “Heavy duty washer and dryer, and The big job of the fridge and the oven each explains, to the perfect toddler level, what your devices do for you. The facts are true and also funny, the illustrations are perfectly wacky, and each book comes with at least a pair of googly eyes embedded in the cover.

“What are you saying, little blue truck?” “ By Alice Shertle. Illustrated by Jill McElmurry. A new book in the ever-popular Little Blue Truck series is always great news, but this one really comes out of the, uh, firm. As we all know, Blue beeps, but what sounds do farm animals make? Do they send back a beep? This simple interactive story answers that question with extremely satisfying animal sounds. A perfect gift for very young children.

IMAGE BOOKS (4 to 8 years old)

“Fred is getting dressed” by Peter Brown. Any parent who has tried putting clothes on their squirming toddler who prefers to be “naked and wild and free” will relate to the hilarious story of little Fred, who ends up dressing up, but not with the clothes they do. his parents had in mind. This exuberant tale by bestselling author and Caldecott Prize winner Brown contains important messages about non-traditional gender roles, parental acceptance and the value of self-expression.

“Dream Street” is a joyful celebration of a tight-knit, multi-generational black community that resembles where the author and illustrator grew up.Provided

“Street of dreams” by Tricia Elam Walker; Ekua Holmes collages. A happy celebration of a tight-knit multigenerational black community that resembles the one where author Elam Walker and illustrator Holmes, themselves cousins, grew up. Local artist Holmes has been hailed for her dazzling collages, and Walker’s text is upbeat and a lot of fun to read aloud.

“Our table” by Peter H. Reynolds. Best-selling author and local bookseller Reynolds tells the story of a family who spends more time on their devices than with each other, and how the youngest child, “feeling pretty lonely,” hatches a creative plan to bring them together. A timely and lyrical reminder of what matters most in life.

“The little wooden robot and the princess of the log” by Tom Gauld. This fairy tale can start out quite conventionally (“Once upon a time there was a king and a queen who happily ruled a pleasant land”), but it quickly develops into a very unusual and magical tale of two royal siblings. improbable created from wood. Award-winning artist Gauld’s debut picture book is full of adventure, quest, determination, and a truly awe-inspiring example of brotherly loyalty. The artwork is both meticulous and fun to laugh at.

“Keeping the city going” by Brian Floca. A deep tribute from a Caldecott Medalist to the heroic essential workers who have kept us going during the pandemic. From bus drivers and food delivery people to hospital workers and garbage collectors, he celebrates the people who have protected us and helped us “not to feel so alone”. Inspired by his personal experience in Brooklyn, Floca is adept at describing detailed urban settings, and his soft, minimal text makes it an important book to remind us of what the pandemic was like and to be grateful to those who helped us through it.

A perfect place for young children to get their STEM is “The secret code inside you: everything about your DNA” an illustrated introduction to DNA – in verse, nothing less! – by local author Rajani LaRocca; illustrated by Steven Salerno. LaRocca is a practicing physician and a strong supporter of the use of STEM concepts in his children’s books. In it, she stands up for both nature (DNA) and education (your choices and behavior) to shape the person you will become.


2021 has been an exceptional year for non-fiction picture books. These are three biographies of people whose art was driven by activism. In addition to being enlightening, they are pleasant to read.

“The painter of the people: how Ben Shahn fought for justice with art” by Cynthia Levinson; photos of Evan Turk. Laureates Levinson and Turk are the perfect team to create this moving, timely and beautiful portrait of Jewish artist and activist Ben Shahn. Levinson’s skillful narrative and Turk’s expressive paintings provide readers with the perfect introduction to the brilliant artist for whom art has always been political and who “shed light on Americans who lived in the shadows.”

The illuminating children's biography of writer Joanna Ho of international cellist superstar Yo-Yo Ma.
The illuminating children’s biography of writer Joanna Ho of international cellist superstar Yo-Yo Ma.Provided

“Playing at the border: a story of Yo-Yo Ma” by Joanna Ho; by Teresa Martinez. This enlightening biography of international cellist superstar Yo-Yo Ma focuses on the concert of Bach’s cello suites that he performed on the US-Mexico border on the Rio Grande, “accompanied by a wind orchestra and orchestra. ‘water “. He interweaves Ma’s life, the story of his cello, Petunia, and the way he uses music to bring people from different cultures together, transforming his concerts into inspiring displays of harmony and hope.

“Nina: A story of Nina Simone” by Traci N. Todd; images by Christian Robinson. A visually stunning introduction to the life of Eunice Waymon, a small town North Carolina kid who grew up to be the indomitable protest singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone. Simone learned to sing before she could speak and grew up performing “all of black American history for everyone to hear.” A story of resilience, triumph and history still in the making.


As JRR Tolkien pointed out, “Not all who wander are lost.” With “The Ultimate Waldo-Watcher Collection” by Martin Handford, a luxury gift box containing the seven “Where’s Charlie?” »Books, you’ll know exactly where to look for your favorite loafer.

AVERAGE YEAR (Ages 8 to 12)

“Beatryce’s Prophecy” by Kate DiCamillo; illustrated by Sophie Blackall. It’s no surprise that when a double Newbery medalist and a double Caldecott medalist team up for the first time, the result is extraordinary. In this sweet medieval feminist epic, DiCamillo’s precise and elegant language and Blackall’s lustrous black and white illustrations combine to create Beatryce, an unforgettable heroine who demonstrates the power of knowledge, kindness, determination and purpose. what it takes to change a sometimes dark world. and confused world. For Beatryce, the answer is simple: “Love. Love, and also the stories.

“Frankie and Bug” by Gayle Forman. In her mid-level novel, best-selling author Gayle Forman has created a heartwarming and impactful story about family (both given and chosen), self-discovery, and the attempt to make the world a better place. The summer of 1987 didn’t start well for Bug, 10, when her beloved older brother’s “need for space” translated into a need to spend time away from her. But a visit from Frankie, an intelligent and unusual child from Ohio, sets off a series of events involving days at the beach, a serial killer, subtle and overt racism, and important lessons for Bug and his new friend.

Jason Reynolds’ “Stuntboy, in the Meantime”, featuring designs by Raul the Third, brings a new superhero to life.Provided

“Stuntman, while waiting” by Jason Reynolds; drawings by Raul III. In his first graphic novel, Newbery medalist and best-selling author Jason Reynolds teams up with award-winning local artist Raul the Third. Protagonist Portico Reeves (alter ego: Stuntboy) has one main superpower: to keep everyone who matters to him safe. But whenever he is faced with a call to action, his parents ask him to visit a neighbor “while waiting”. That’s enough to give Portico / Stuntboy an ever-growing case of “frets,” his mother’s name for her anxiety. Raul the Third’s bright and colorful drawings and Reynolds’ treatment of a young man grappling with a lot of things make for a hilarious, energetic and thought-provoking read.

YOUNG ADULT / ADOLESCENT (14 years old and over)

“The last night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo. Best-selling local author Malinda Lo has written a compelling and courageous coming of age story on issues of gender, sexuality, immigration and discrimination. It centers on Lily Hu, a 17-year-old teenage girl in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s, as she falls in love – dangerously – for the first time. This beautifully written novel won the National Book Award for Young Peoples Literature this year and, as an added bonus, has one of the most gorgeous book covers I’ve seen in ages. A must read for teens.

“Graceling (graphic novel)” by Kristin Cashore; adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds. The perfect gift for any fan of the hit fantasy series Graceling which exploded onto the scene over ten years ago. Dazzling illustrations by award-winning artist Gareth Hinds bring local author Kristin Cashore’s beloved Katsa story to life in a whole new way.

Betsy Groban is a columnist for Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf and has worked in book publishing, public broadcasting and arts advocacy.

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