Thursday, April 12 is Drop Everything and Read Day, a national celebration of reading designed to remind families to make reading a priority activity in their lives.
Every year, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best in children’s books. The list is generated based on certain criteria—worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding—and includes “books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways,” according to the ALSC website. Additionally, Newbery, Caldecott, Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books automatically are added to the Notable Children’s Books list.
Just in time for your gift-giving consideration, here is a list of the 2017 Notable Children’s Books. For more information about these book, click here.
Preschool-grade 2 (age 7), including easy-to-read books
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer, Diane Stanley
Ada Twist, Scientist, Andrea Beaty
Before Morning, Joyce Sidman
Best Frints in the Whole Universe, Antoinette Portis
Counting, Fleur Star
Coyote Moon, Maria Gianferrari
Fabulous Frogs, Martin Jenkins
Go, Otto, Go! , David Milgrim
Good Night Owl, Greg Pizzoli
The Great Pet Escape, Victoria Jamieson
Horrible Bear! Ame Dyckman
A Hungry Lion; or, A Dwindling Assortment of Animals, Lucy Ruth Cummins
The Infamous Ratsos, Kara LaReau
Leave Me Alone! Vera Brosgol
The Night Gardener, Terry Fan
Old Dog Baby Baby, Julie Fogliano
Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! An Alphabet Caper, Mike Twohy
Over the Ocean, Taro Gomi
A Piece of Home, Jeri Watts
Puddle, Hyewon Yum
Rudas: Niño’s Horrendous Hermanitas, Yuyi Morales
School’s First Day of School, Adam Rex
Thunder Boy Jr, Sherman Alexie
We Found a Hat, Jon Klassen
Weekends with Max and His Dad, Linda Urban
When Andy Met Sandy, Tomie dePaola and Jim Lewis
Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? Kate DiCamillo
Grades 3-5, ages 8-10
The Best Man, Richard Peck
Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep, Abby Hanlon
Full of Beans, Jennifer L. Holm
Frank and Lucky Get Schooled, Lynne Rae Perkins
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill
I Am Not a Number, Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, Debbie Levy
Juana & Lucas, Juana Medina
Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, John David Anderson
Pax, Sara Pennypacker
A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day, Andrea Davis Pinkney
Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis, Jabari Asim
The Princess and the Warrior, Duncan Tonatiuh
Raymie Nightingale, Kate DiCamillo
The Secret Keepers, Trenton Lee Stewart.
The Sound of Silence, Katrina Goldsaito
Steamboat School, Deborah Hopkinson
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness, Donna Janell Bowman
The Storyteller, Evan Turk
The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk, Jan Thornhill
A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785, Matthew Olshan
Wet Cement, Bob Raczka
When Mischief Came to Town, Katrina Nannestad
When the Sea Turned to Silver, Grace Lin
The Wild Robot, Peter Brown
Grades 6-8, ages 11-14
As Brave As You, Jason Reynolds
The Ballad of a Broken Nose, Arne Svingen. Tr, Kari Dickson
The Bitter Side of Sweet, Tara Sullivan. Putnam.
Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights, Rich Wallace and Sandra Neil Wallace
Booked, Kwame Alexander
Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice, Susan Goldman Rubin
Cloud and Wallfish, Anne Nesbet
Cry, Heart, but Never Break, Glenn Ringtved
Garvey’s Choice, Nikki Grimes
Ghost, Jason Reynolds
In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives, Kenneth C. Davis
The Inquisitor’s Tale; or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, Adam Gidwitz
The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge
Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, Cathy Camper
March: Book Three, John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
The Only Road, Alexandra Diaz
Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West, Candace Fleming
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story, Caren Stelson
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune, Pamela S. Turner
To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party, Skila Brown
Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience during World War II, Albert Marrin
We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler, Russell Freedman
What Elephants Know, Eric Dinerstein
Wolf Hollow, Lauren Wolk
The Wolf’s Boy, Susan Williams Beckhorn
You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen, Carole Boston Weatherford
Has appeal and interest for children in all of the above age ranges
Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics, Steve Jenkins
As Time Went By, Jose Sanabria
Daniel Finds a Poem, Micha Archer
Du Iz Tak? Carson Ellis
Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist, Susan Wood
Freedom in Congo Square, Carole Boston Weatherford
Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan, Ashley Bryan
Giant Squid, Candace Fleming
Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph, Roxane Orgill
The Journey, Francesca Sanna
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood, F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell
¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest, Lulu Delacre
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Javaka Steptoe
Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White, Melissa Sweet
Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds, Jorge Argueta
They All Saw a Cat, Brendan Wenzel
The Water Princess, Susan Verde and Georgie Badiel
When Green Becomes Tomatoes, Julie Fogliano
By Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, FAAP
In today’s world, children and teens are bombarded with conflicting, ever-shifting standards of ethics and morality. At the same time, you are trying to teach and instill good values at home. Fortunately, a really great book has the power to counterbalance these outside influences and teach children important lessons as they grow.
It might be a book on kindness after your child experienced or witnessed cruelty. It might be a book on expressing emotions after your child saw or heard scary news coverage, or maybe a book on understanding differences after your child saw someone who looked differently than they do.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Reach Out and Read have compiled the following list of books — organized by age and topic—to help you raise children who are aware of the world around them, curious, brave, kind, and thoughtful. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to review these titles in advance of sharing them with their children.
Then read together! Books are great conversation starters that can give you an opportunity to talk to your children about these issues and help them learn and understand your family’s values.
Books to Teach Kindness
Teaching kindness to children is an important skill to build and reinforce at all ages. Young children can learn how small acts of kindness help and please others, but teens can learn broader, larger concepts grounded in morals and ethics.
PRESCHOOLERS & EARLY GRADES
Stand in My Shoes: Kids Learning About Empathy, by Bob Sornson; illustrated by Shelley Johannes
Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
Kindness is Cooler, Mrs Ruler, by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa
What Does It Mean To Be Kind?, by Rana DiOrio, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed, by Emily Pearson, illustrated by Fumi Kosaka
Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Patrice Barton
Heartprints, by P.K. Hallinan
Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams
Wonder, by RJ Palacio
Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents, by Sarah Conover and Valerie Wahl
Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
Rules, by Cynthia Lord
Books About Expressing Emotions
Children may see anger, sadness, and loss in parents and other adults in their lives and be uncertain how to respond. Younger children may have difficulty naming their emotions, but find it easier to identify with a character in a book. Older children may have difficulty sorting through complex feelings and worry about burdening adults who are struggling themselves. Books can help children process, clarify, and put a name to their feelings.
PRESCHOOLERS & EARLY GRADES
Moody Cow Meditates, by Kerry Lee MacLean
That’s How I Feel (Asi Me Siento), by Rourke Publishing
Have you Filled a Bucket Today?, by Carol McCloud, illustrated by David Messing
What if Everybody Did That?, by Ellen Javernick, illustrated by Colleen M. Madden
I Was So Mad, by Mercer Mayer
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners, by Laurie Keller
My Many Colored Days, by Dr Seuss
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake
Queenie Peavy, by Robert Burch
Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens, by Sheri Van Dijk
A Still Quiet Place: A Mindfulness Program for Teaching Children and Adolescents to Ease Stress and Difficult Emotions, by Amy Saltzman MD
Learning to Breathe: A Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents to Cultivate Emotion Regulation, Attention, and Performance, by Patricia Broderick PhD
Books About Bullying & Harassment
Bullying and harassment are difficult topics for everyone, and they are an increasing issue in schools across the country. It’s common for younger children to repeat language they’ve heard without understanding the implications of what they’re saying. Those who are harassed (or are worried about being harassed) may have strong fear and anxiety. Children who are bystanders may not know how to respond, particularly if they fear being bullied themselves.
PRESCHOOLERS & EARLY GRADES
Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes
The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes, Illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
Edwardo: the Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World, by John Burningham
Say Something, by Peggy Moss, Illustrated by Lea Lyon
Babymouse: Queen of the World, by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm
Bully B.E.A.N.S., by Julia Cook, Illustrated by Anita DuFalla
Confessions of a Former Bully, by Trudy Ludwig, Illustrated by Beth Adams
Stitches, by Glen Huser
To This Day: For the Bullied and the Beautiful, by Shane Koyczan
Understanding Buddy, by Marc Kornblatt
Loser, by Jerry Spinelli
Veronica Ganz, by Marilyn Sachs
Blubber, by Judy Blume
Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories, by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
Freak Show, by James St James
Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
7 Days at the Hot Corner, by Terry Trueman
Books on Listening to Others’ Views
Learning how to listen well and respect different views are important life skills. While younger children find it difficult to take the perspective of others, they gain that ability over time. Older children may become great debaters—especially with their parents. Books can offer models for engaging with others who have different views in a respectful and productive manner.
PRESCHOOLERS & EARLY GRADES
When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt, by Molly Bang
I’m the Best, by Lucy Cousins
Chocolate Milk, Por Favor, by Maria Dismondy, illustrated by Donna Farrell
The Sandwich Swap, by Queen Rania of Jordan & Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Junkyard Wonders, by Patricia Polacco
The Conquerers, by David McKee
Zero Tolerance, by Claudia Mills
The Cat at the Wall, by Deborah Ellis
The Three Questions, by Jon Muth
This Side of Home, by Renee Watson
Books About Respecting Differences
Children are naturally curious about others (particularly other children) who fall into groups other than their own. Think of your child’s curiosity as an opportunity to teach him or her about respecting these differences. Remember, in order to raise kids to embrace diversity, you’ll need to give them access to a variety of different cultures and traditions—books are a great way to do that!
PRESCHOOLERS & EARLY GRADES
I Like Myself!, by Karen Beaumont, Illustrated by David Catrow
Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall
Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae, Illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
Strictly No Elephants, by Lisa Mantchev, Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
Two Speckled Eggs, by Jennifer K. Mann
Willow, by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan, Illustrated by Cyd Moore
Out of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper
Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai
The Ordinary Princess, by M. M. Kaye
Books on Social Change & Civic Engagement
Many children are drawn to helping others—even at young ages. Maybe it is raising money for a cause or having a passion for issue impacting their community. Books can help them understand the broader concepts of social justice and civic engagement. Younger children tend to thinking of things as “good vs. bad,” but as they get older they develop very sophisticated and nuanced moral reasoning.
PRESCHOOLERS & EARLY GRADES
Grace for President, by Kelly DiPucchio, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
A Chair for My Mother, by Vera B. Williams
Mama’s Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation, by Edwidge Danticat, Illustrated by Leslie Staub
House Mouse, Senate Mouse, by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes
Being Me, by Rosemary McCarney, Illustrated by Yvonne Cathcart
Zero Tolerance, by Claudia Mills
Paper Things, by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
The Kid’s Guide to Social Action, by Barbara A. Lewis
Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
The Great Greene Heist, by Varian Johnson
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
The Plain Janes, by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
Samir and Yonatan, by Daniella Carmi
The Lions of Little Rock, by Kristin Levine
March: Book One, by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
About Dr. Navsaria:
Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, FAAP is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and is director of the MD–MPH program there. He practices primary care pediatrics at a federally-qualified health center in South Madison and is the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin. Dr. Navsaria regularly writes op-eds on health-related topics, does radio and television interviews, and frequently speaks locally, regionally and nationally on early brain and child development, early literacy, and advocacy to a broad variety of audiences. Follow him on Twitter @navsaria, Facebook, and visit his website http://www.navsaria.com.
Editor’s Note: Our collective thanks to the following colleagues who also helped compose this list: Amy Shriver, MD, FAAP, Jenny Radesky, MD, FAAP, Perri Klass, MD, FAAP, Dina Joy Lieser, MD, FAAP, and the librarians at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2016). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
It’s not too late to join the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge to get started on your reading adventure!
• Discover book lists for kids of all ages
• Earn rewards for your reading
• Enter a summer sweepstakes
• Get weekly surprises (print outs, games, videos and more!)
Plus, check out the interactive map to see how your friends and neighbors are doing in the Challenge! Visit the Summer Reading Program website today to sign up!
National Poetry Month, celebrated every April, is a perfect time to teach your children about poetry! Here are “30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month” from the Academy of American Poets:
- Order a free National Poetry Month poster and display it at work or school.
- Sign up for Poem-a-Day and read a poem each morning.
- Sign up for Teach This Poem, a weekly series for teachers.
- Memorize a poem.
- Create an anthology of your favorite poems on Poets.org.
- Encourage a young person to participate in the Dear Poet project.
- Buy a book of poetry from your local bookstore.
- Review these concrete examples of how poetry matters in the United States today.
- Learn more about poets and poetry events in your state.
- Ask your governor or mayor for a proclamation in support of National Poetry Month.
- Attend a poetry reading at a local university, bookstore, cafe, or library.
- Read a poem at an open mic. It’s a great way to meet other writers in your area and find out about your local poetry writing community.
- Start a poetry reading group.
- Write an exquisite corpse poem with friends.
- Chalk a poem on the sidewalk.
- Deepen your daily experience by reading Edward Hirsch’s essay “How to Read a Poem.”
- Ask the United States Post Office to issue more stamps celebrating poets.
- Recreate a poet’s favorite food or drink by following his or her recipe.
- Read about different poetic forms.
- Read about poems titled “poem.”
- Watch a poetry movie.
- Subscribe to American Poets magazine or a small press poetry journal.
- Watch Rachel Eliza Griffiths’s P.O.P (Poets on Poetry) videos.
- Watch or read Carolyn Forche’s talk “Not Persuasion, But Transport: The Poetry of Witness.”
- Read or listen to Mark Doty’s talk “Tide of Voices: Why Poetry Matters Now.”
- Read Allen Ginsberg’s classic essay about Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”
- Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day today! The idea is simple: select a poem you love, carry it with you, then share it with coworkers, family, and friends.
- Sign up for a poetry class or workshop.
- Get ready for Mother’s Day by making a card featuring a line of poetry.
- Read the first chapter of Muriel Rukeyer’s inspiring book The Life of Poetry.
Don’t forget to add books to your holiday shopping list! Not sure what to select for your loved ones? Check out Goodreads’ lists of books. With each listing you’ll find a book description and reviews by fellow readers. Here are some of suggestions:
• Chapter Books (Ages 7-10)
• Young Adult Fiction (Ages 13-18)
It’s almost summer – a great time to encourage your kids to read!
A quick Google search on “summer reading list” reveals a myriad of choices, from Bill Gate’s top five, to Goodreads and Amazon suggestions. Check out the Association for Library Service to Children’s lists for different age groups here.
If you want to make a game if it, the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge offers reading lists, online activities, and ways to chart your progress over the summer. This year’s theme of “Be a Reading Superhero” makes it fun for kids of all ages.
Be sure to stop by your local library to see what they’re up to this summer, too. For example, the New Haven Public Library has a Summer Learning Challenge, and the Blackstone Library in Branford has two summer reading opportuntities for kids and teens.
Do you know of local reading challenges in your town? Share them on our Facebook page!
In the spirit of making both good eating and reading a part of every healthy childhood, the following is a quick book-related look at the well-defined developmental milestones of early literacy.
Younger Than 6 Months: Never Too Young
Unlike solid foods, it is never too early to start reading with your baby. Who cares if it’s the sports page or Elmo — it will be the time you share together that counts, so have fun with it!
6–12 Months: Developing a Taste for Books
Whatever babies are interested in at this age, they predictably put straight in their mouths. Books are no exception. Now that your baby can sit in your lap; grab for a book; and show her interest by batting at, turning, or gumming the pages, you’ll find yourself especially appreciative of board books for their drool-proof nature.
1–2 Years: Becoming Routine
As with food, your child will now figure out there’s a lot more she can do with books than just put them in her mouth. As she makes a point of holding them, turning them right-side up, and carrying them to you to read time after time, you can start relating what’s in her books to her real-life experiences—pointing to pictures and asking simple yet pointed questions like, “Where’s the pea? Can you find the pea?” Before you know it, she’ll be answering your questions, filling in the ends of each sentence, and reciting her VeggieTales back to you. As with meals, don’t expect a long attention span, since it’s the quality of the time spent that really matters, not the quantity.
2–3 Years: Read, Read, and Read Again
Two-year-olds thrive on routine and love to master the power of predictability, so don’t be surprised if yours is less than willing to try something new and instead wants to read the same story over and over (and over) again. If bedtime books have now become a habit—great! This is one habit you’ll never need to break.
Author Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP. Last Updated 4/4/2012. Source Heading Home With Your Newborn, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Are you looking for some last minute gift ideas for the holidays? Give the gift of reading!
Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.
• CLICK HERE for suggestions that include books for Younger Readers (Preschool-grade 2, age 7), Middle Readers (Grades 3-5, ages 8-10) Older Readers (Grades 6-8, ages 11-14) and All Ages.
The lists are full of book titles to keep children engaged in reading throughout the summer. Three Summer Reading book lists are available in PDF form for K-2nd, 3rd- 5th, and 6th-8th grade students. Titles were compiled and annotated by members of ALSC’s Quicklists Consulting Committee.