10 Books to Love in 2016

This week was Read Across America Week, and in my classroom, I always take the week to read brand new books to my kids. "Brand new" meaning they are either newly published or published recently and I haven't tried them out yet.

I sifted through lots of new books, seeing a common theme between the award-winners. Lots of social justice and acceptance, stories about tough topics and stories with hilariously dry humor.

Last time I posted a book list during the holidays, you all seemed to enjoy it and some of you bought them as Christmas gifts. I hope this list is as useful for you (and maybe you can slip one into an Easter basket this month!)


10 Books to Love in 2016

1. Red- Within the first 2 pages, I knew this was a book I wanted all of my students to hear and that I wished all of their parents could read. In fact, every human should read it. The message is clear. We are not all cut from the same cloth, and it takes a special person to see the potential that everyone else has missed.

2. Boats for Papa- Well. This book may not be for everyone, but I will have to get up the guts to buy it one day. I'll just say it involved lots of tears on my part. If you and your children have ever lost someone special, you will want this book to help with the healing and remembrance process.

3. Wolfie the Bunny- The illustrations are vibrant and sassy, and the story will make the kids laugh. I liked how the story line builds anticipation and invites kids to predict what will happen next.

4. Please Mr. Panda- Hilarious. See if your kids can guess why Mr. Panda won't share the doughnuts. You can take turns reading the pages; one of you being Mr. Panda and one being the other animal. It encourages reading with (or without) expression to convey meaning.

5. Little Tree- Oh, for the fearful child or any child going through a transition, this is such a sweet story. Little Tree is afraid to drop her leaves in the fall, and kids eventually see that this prevents Little Tree from flourishing.

6. Beekle- This artwork is so deserving of the Caldecott Medal, and kids love inspecting each page for imaginary friends. It is a magical story that invites them to dream up their own imaginary friend like Beekle.

7. Nana in the City- Another story of a nervous child who is scared to visit Nana at her new house in the big city. She helps him see that the city is full of life and that he is safe with her. The illustrations are my favorite of this list, and it would make a great gift for any Nana on Mother's Day.

8. A Fine Dessert- This one is fabulous for older readers. There is SO MUCH to take in, and I think adults will find it fascinating as well. The story spans one recipe in 400 years, under backdrops that evolve with innovation and social structures. Family and gender roles change as well, and of course the recipe is at the end. A few of my little girls loved sitting with me and listening to this one, but I don't think my preschooler could sit through it yet. (just a note: some reviewers on amazon were horrified that slavery is presented in this book with happy characters. Read at your own discretion, but I think it is the perfect way to present a tragic past in a gentle way).

9. Toys Meet Snow- This reminded me a bit of Toy Story, with the humor for adults but the magic for the kids. The toys decide to go outside for their first snowstorm, and their conversations can lead to great snow explorations with your family.

10. The Most Magnificent Thing- This is an inspiring story about a little girl who just won't give up, even when she "fails" over and over. With the attention span and perseverance of children continuing to decline, this little girl shows that sticking with a job pays off.

Not all of these stories are perfect for you and your family, but if you get the chance to browse through one or reserve them from the library, I encourage you to try.

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