Best Books of 2018
Young readers can’t go wrong reading any book, but opening a book they can’t put down – that’s ideal. These books will keep them turning pages until it’s time for lights out.
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
by Seth Fishman and Isabel Greenberg (Greenwillow Books)
Learn a lot about our universe and other interesting facts – did you know there are 37 billion rabbits in the world? – in this charming book that starts and ends with the stars.
A Parade of Elephants
by Kevin Henkes (HarperCollins Publishing)
A parade of elephants, pink, blue, yellow and green, march around all day and play and when it’s time for bed, well …
A Peaceful Garden
by Lucy London and Christa Pierce (HarperCollins Publishers)
In sweet words and illustrations, kids can learn how to grow a peaceful garden full of vegetables for a feast and nibbles for the birds, bees and butterflies.
All Are Welcome
by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Children will learn about kindness and diversity in this book that celebrates a classroom where all are welcome, no matter race, religion or background, and all can learn from each other.
Baby Monkey, Private Eye
by Brian Selznick and David Serlin (Scholastic Press)
When Baby Monkey is on the case, it’s a treat to read as he tracks down stolen jewels, a clown’s nose, a spaceship and more.
Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture
by Joshua David Stein and Julia Rothman (Phaidon Press)
Brick learns that great things begin with small bricks as she makes a journey to find her place in the world and visits iconic sites such as the Great Wall of China.
by James Yang (Viking Books for Young Readers)
When a young boy misses his bus, should he take the other ones that come along, even if they don’t look quite like a bus? Kids will enjoy this transportation adventure.
Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses
by Susan and James Patterson and Hsinping Pan (Jimmy Patterson Books)
The best-selling author of crime thrillers and his wife have penned a charming children’s book all about unusual critters, including the Potoo, a bird that looks like a tree branch when it sits still, and the markhor, a goat whose horns are so long it can scratch its own back.
Dad by My Side
by Soosh (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
“With Dad by my side, there’s nothing we can’t do.” And so begins a sweet tale of the bond between a daughter and her father, who always makes time for her, no matter how busy he is.
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Paris Rosenthal and Holly Hatam (HarperCollins Publishers)
Girls who read this affirming book will think they’re really great, just the way they are, and they won’t be afraid to ask questions or try something new.
by Il Sung Na (Chronicle Books)
If pigs could fly … a pig loves birds and wants to join them on their journey south, but can he? Maybe with the help of a flying machine.
The Dress and the Girl
by Camille Andros and Julie Morstad (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
A young girl loves the dress her mother made for her and wears it on the journey from their Greek island home to immigration in America. But soon the dress is lost – will they find each other again?
Gentle Hands and Other Sing-Along Songs for Social-Emotional Learning
by Amadee Ricketts and Ashley Barron (Free Spirit Publishing)
Kids will love singing these lyrics set to familiar tunes and will learn a few life lessons along the way, like when it’s appropriate to use a quiet voice or how to be a good friend.
The Golden Glow
by Benjamin Flouw (Penguin Random House)
A fox who loves nature sets off on a quest to find the Golden Glow, a rare plant that only grows in the mountains. Along the way, he learns about other plants and trees and makes friends with woodland creatures.
Hey, Wall, a Story of Art and Community
by Susan Verde and John Parra (Paula Wiseman Books)
A young boy is inspired to spruce up an old wall and bring a neighborhood together.
How to Be an Elephant, Growing Up in the African Wild
by Katherine Roy (Roaring Brook Press)
How does an infant elephant ever survive in the wild, with so many survival skills to learn and so many predators? This beautifully illustrated book will teach kids about elephants and herd behavior.
I Am the Boss of This Chair
by Carolyn Crimi and Marisa Morea (Sterling Children’s Books)
When a new kitten joins the family will the top cat, Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III, learn to share his chair? He might find sharing with a sibling can be fun!
I Lost My Tooth! (Unlimited Squirrels)
by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books for Children)
When Zoom Squirrel loses his tooth, his friends set out to help him find it, then they lose Zoom Squirrel as well. This is a happy story, though, full of squirrelly adventures.
Ladybug Girl and the Rescue Dogs
by David Soman and Jacky Davis (Penguin Young Readers)
Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad work together to help rescued dogs find homes and in the process learn that every dog, just like every child, has his own personality and needs.
Lena’s Shoes are Nervous, a First-day-of-School Dilemma
by Keith Calabrese and Juana Medina (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Lena’s eager to start kindergarten, but her favorite shoes are shy and not too sure they want to go. Can they be brave together?
by Matt de la Pena and Loren Long (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
The Beatles sang “All You Need Is Love,” and this poetic book with beautiful illustrations captures how love enriches our lives.
Mae Among the Stars
by Roda Ahmed and Stasia Burrington (HarperCollins Publishers)
Mae dreams of being an astronaut, but does she have the right stuff? With hard work and encouragement, she may just get there.
Mama’s Business Trip/Bunny’s Staycation
by Lori Richmond (Scholastic Press)
When Mama bunny leaves for a business trip, Bunny doesn’t like it one bit so Papa Bunny devises a trip to the tropics, play in the snow, and they go on a safari, all in the living room.
Mapping Sam, A Book About What Is Where and How to Get from Here to There
by Joyce Hellelberth (Greenwillow Books)
Learning about maps, plants, cat anatomy and habits, the world and the universe was never so much fun as kids follow Sam the cat on nocturnal journeys.
Max Explains Everything: Grocery Store Expert
by Stacy McAnulty and Deborah Hocking (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Max knows all about the grocery store because Mom makes him go ALL! THE! TIME! Follow his pointers and you’ll have the best time, even if Mom doesn’t.
by Chris Raschka (Greenwillow Books)
When it’s time to buy new shoes, a few surprises await at the store.
by Karen Hesse and G. Brian Karas (Candlewick Press)
A child goes on an adventure with Dad as he does his night job cleaning the school. They share sweet moments together and a sandwich, then head for home with happy memories.
The Snow Lion
by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones (Peachtree Publishers)
Caro moves to a new home and is too shy to make friends, until her imagination comes up with the Snow Lion and he gives her the courage to venture out.
Snow Pony and the Seven Miniature Ponies
by Christian Trimmer and Jessie Sima (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Once upon a time, there was Snow Pony, a beautiful white creature everyone adored except the evil Queenie, who was jealous of Snow Pony and just happened to have a basket of apples … and the adventure begins.
Up in the Leaves, the True Story of Central Park Treehouses
by Shira Boss and Jamey Christoph (Sterling Children’s Books)
A New York City boy finds refuge from the traffic, noise and city life in Central Park and begins to build tree houses, a true and amazing story based on the life of Bob Redman.
What If …
by Samantha Berger and Mike Curato (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Nothing can keep a young African-American girl from creating, not if her pencil disappears and all her other supplies soon follow. She gets even more creative, finding other ways to tell stories.
by Julia Denos and E.B. Goodale (Candlewick Press)
When night begins to fall, take a walk and you’ll see all sorts of interesting things framed by the windows of your neighborhood.
Chapter Books, Graphic Novels and More
The Atlas Obscura for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid
by Dylan Thuras, Rosemary Mosco and Joy Ang (Workman Publishing Co.)
This book is packed with weird and wonderful facts about 47 countries, including an abandoned water park in Vietnam that’s more popular than ever now that it’s closed, and a natural wonder, the Root Bridges of Cherrapunji, India, living bridges that can last for centuries.
by Vera Brosgol (First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)
A girl’s first visit to summer camp turns into quite an adventure, but nothing like she expected, in this funny and touching graphic novel.
Black Panther the Young Prince
by Ronald L. Smith (Marvel Press)
T’Challa, young prince of a technologically advanced African nation, gets sent to middle school on the South Side of Chicago. To stop an ancient evil and protect his friends, T’Challa must be a hero and choose the path to becoming the Black Panther.
Louisiana’s Way Home
by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)
When Louisiana Elefante’s grandmother moves the family to a small Georgia town, Louisiana misses her friends and her former home. Can she find a way to love her new community or to overcome granny’s capriciousness and move back to her friends?
Love Like Sky
by Leslie C. Youngblood (Disney Hyperion Books)
G-Baby’s blended family moves from Atlanta to Snellville, and G-Baby tries to win the approval of her stepsister, Tangie. In the process, she doesn’t pay much attention to her little sister, Peaches. When Peaches gets terribly sick, G-Baby must find a way to help her.
You Go First
by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow Books)
Two middle-school kids who live 1,000 miles apart and play an online Scrabble game together are both struggling to fit in and make friends. Their lives, so different, intersect in unexpected ways.
The Journey of Little Charlie
by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic Press)
Twelve-year-old Charlie, the son of a white sharecropper, teams up with a slave catcher for a journey north in the 1850s to retrieve “stolen property.” Only as the journey progresses, does Charlie learn that the “property” are men and women who escaped slavery years before, and then he must decide what to do.
– Compiled by Laura Powell and Amanda Miller Allen