Forget everything you've heard about this being an "important" book, and if you're not the poetry type, pretend you don't know this is a memoir-in-verse. All you need to know is this story is fantastic. Woodson tells the story of her childhood, moving with her family (or part of it) from South Carolina to New York City and back again, sharing her observations through a young girl's eyes with a writer's sensibility. If you don't think it's for you, read the first two pages—and then decide. National Book Award winner.
A novel in verse, read by the author. A heads up to the kids who think they aren't poetry types: when read aloud, this story doesn't sound "poetic." It just sounds awesome. This coming-of-age story revolves around two twin boys, both basketball stars, raised by an ex-NBA star, and the plot features plenty of action on and off the court. Poetry doesn't waste words, which heightens the reader's emotional experience as the characters deal with the regular pains of growing up and the not-so-regular family issues. A Newbery Award winner.
In the summer of 1968, Delphine and her younger sisters journey to Oakland, California. They plan to spend the summer vacation with their mother, who abandoned their family years earlier. When the girls arrive, they find a mother who is radically different from the one they've imagined. Seemingly annoyed by their presence, Delphine's mother wants to send them off to a Black Panthers summer camp. From School Library Journal: "Emotionally challenging and beautifully written, this book immerses readers in a time and place and raises difficult questions of cultural and ethnic identity and personal responsibility. With memorable characters (all three girls have engaging, strong voices) and a powerful story, this is a book well worth reading and rereading."
I probably wasn't old enough to appreciate this instant classic when I first read it as a child, but that didn't stop me. (Thank goodness.) 10-year-old Milo comes home from school one day to find a tollbooth sitting in his bedroom. Since he doesn’t have anything better to do, he pays the toll and drives through–and embarks on a strange journey into a fanciful world where he encounters all sorts of strange characters. A satisfying and delightfully nerdy book that will engage both kids and adults, albeit on different levels.
Audible released a new audio version of Anne of Green Gables narrated by Rachel McAdams, and you can get the ebook plus the audio version for combined as a Whispersync deal. It's important that you get THIS version of the ebook in order to get the Rachel McAdams narration. You don't have to be an Audible member to get this deal. Read more about how Whispersync deals work here.
L’Engle begins her groundbreaking science fiction/fantasy work with the famous opening line “It was a dark and stormy night,” and plunges you headlong into the world of the Murray family, who must travel through time to save the universe. I wanted to be Meg, of course. Wrinkle is the first—and most famous—of the Time Quintet, but I read them all, again and again.
I just loved this and have been thrilled to see so many readers of all ages enjoy it. It’s a Newbery Honor Book, set during WWII, and the plot is set in motion when two children—one of whom is very much unwanted—are evacuated from London into the British countryside. (If you think this sounds like Everyone Brave Is Forgiven you’re exactly right.)
It’s just a few days before Christmas when the five Vanderbeeker children find out their landlord will not renew the lease on their Harlem brownstone apartment. The thought of leaving the home (and neighborhood) that they love puts a damper on their Christmas spirit, but the siblings come together with a plan: convince their Scrooge-like landlord to let the family stay. This perfectly heartwarming middle grade novel with diverse characters and a charming setting will bring the spirit of the season into your home.
“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” Scores of children respond to this newspaper ad, but only four are chosen to save the world. Don’t be intimidated by the bulging 400+ pages, your kid will whiz through it. Smart and fun and a thoroughly good read, for kids and grown-ups. (7-13, 10-13)
This is a contemporary novel but it feels like it could have been written fifty years ago, and is often recommended to fans of Louisa May Alcott, Noel Streatfeild, and Edward Eager. Four sisters spend their summer holiday at a beautiful estate called Arundel, where they have adventures of all kinds (and a few mishaps, of course). The sisters range from ages 4-12, making this a great series to read aloud with the whole family. Each of the four sisters typifies a character trait, often drawing comparisons to the March sisters. Each book takes place in a different part of New England, and the Penderwicks timeless adventures bring about a sense of nostalgia. First in a quartet, The Penderwicks follows the four sisters as they roam the gardens, attics, and have adventures with a very interesting boy named Jeffrey on a sprawling estate in Massachusetts. With five books in the series, there’s plenty of sweet childhood scenes to endear readers. Four of the books are available as a box set.
My 11-year-old doesn't typically choose fantasy novels, but she just devoured this series (which is four books right now). This middle grade novel has a bit of Hogwarts magic to it: every Tuesday, Castle Glower rearranges itself, growing a new room or adding a new hallway. The royal family is accustomed to its eccentricities. When disaster strikes, Princess Celie and her siblings team up to save the day. Their pranks will make you giggle even as the story deals with serious themes like grief and fear.
When an overprotected ten-year-old stumbles upon a boy her age drinking furtively from a spring near her home, she discovers what he's trying to keep secret: since his family began drinking the water, they haven't aged a day. There are so many middle grade stories that wrestle with death these days; in this novel, Babbit wrestles with the decidedly mixed blessing of living forever. The prose in this is really lovely (which is not a code word for boring).
Claudia Kincaid is bored with her suburban life, so she convinces her little brother Jamie to run away with her to nearby New York City. She’s carefully chosen a hideaway that is comfortable, beautiful, and elegant: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once they’re set up in the museum, Claudia finds herself transfixed by a statue—and the mystery behind it—and her fascination leads the two children on an incredible adventure.