Share 15 Great Books for Your Favorite Young Readers

15 Great Books for Your Favorite Young Readers

Sarah Jane Abbott is an assistant editor for Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.  She grew up having Nancy Drew books read to her by her father, and is now an avid reader of mystery, thriller, and horror, along with everything from literary fiction to poetry to personal essays.  She graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in English and a concentration in creative writing.  Sarah Jane is an advocate of quasi-destructive book love – her best-loved volumes are highlighted, scribbled in, dog-eared, and wavy from being dropped in the bath tub.  

This holiday season, think about giving the children in your life the gift of adventure, creativity, fresh perspectives, and new friends. What I mean, of course, is a book. When you think of children’s books, you may think of classics that you loved in your childhood. But if you’re looking for more suggestions, here are some wonderful books from recent years for children of all ages—from infants up through teenagers—sure to delight the young people in your life.

Boynton's Greatest Hits
by Sandra Boynton

This boxed set of board books is the perfect introduction to the beloved works of Sandra Boynton. Known for their quirky and humorous animal protagonists, Boynton’s books are sure to elicit giggles and pleas for a reread. This collection contains the perennial bestseller THE GOING TO BED BOOK—because what parent doesn’t love a bedtime book?

Lottie Paris Lives Here
by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Scott M. Fischer

Award-winning author Angela Johnson and illustrator Scott Fischer take you inside the mind of Lottie Paris, a spunky girl with lots of imagination. She may be precocious, but she still knows how to act like a kid. She dresses up, plays on the slide, and prefers to eat cookies instead of vegetables.

by Matthew Van Fleet

In this incredible multi-concept book, more than one hundred creatures and plants from A to Z hilariously demonstrate action words, synonyms, opposites, and more. Twenty-three textures plus foils, flaps, pull tabs, and even a scratch-and-sniff scent add to the interactive surprises on every page. There’s also a removable full-color alphabet poster for learning fun!

All the World
by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee

Following a circle of family and friends through the course of a day from morning till night, this beloved Caldecott Honor book affirms the importance of all things great and small in our world, from the tiniest shell on the beach to warm family connections to the widest sunset sky.

Press Here
by Hervé Tullet

Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey. Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, or tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! This unique picture book showcases the power of imagination and interactivity, and provides read-aloud fun for all ages.

Hug Machine
by Scott Campbell

Watch out world, here comes the Hug Machine! The irresistible pint-sized Hug Machine goes around his town hugging everyone he meets, whether they are big or small, square or long, spikey or soft. This is a delightfully tender, goofy, and sweet tale.

by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans

SPARKY! is a hilarious, touching picture book perfect for young animal lovers. When a little girl begs and begs her mother for a pet, her mom finally says okay—as long as it doesn’t need to be walked, bathed, or fed. Naturally, the child orders a sloth through the mail, but when the creature arrives, it isn't good at tricks or hide-and-seek . . . or much of anything. Still, there's something about Sparky that is irresistible.

by R. J. Palacio

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting fifth grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. This moving portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance is the most inspiring book I have read in years.

Doll Bones
by Holly Black

Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever and have been playing a game of make-believe that centers around a bone-china doll named The Queen for just as long. But as they enter middle school and feel pressured to give up make-believe, the trio goes on one last adventure to solve a mystery surrounding The Queen together. This Newbery Honor–winning book is an adventure, a ghost story, and a touching meditation on growing up.

El Deafo
by Cece Bell

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! Author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid in this poignant, humorous graphic memoir, which won a Newbery Honor.

Out of My Mind
by Sharon M. Draper

Melody has a photographic memory and is fiercely intelligent, but her classmates dismiss her as mentally challenged because she cannot walk or talk. However, Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy and she’s determined to let everyone know it . . . somehow. In this breakthrough story from multiple Coretta Scott King Award–winner Sharon Draper, readers come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

After a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, whose inhabitants may have been dangerous or at least quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And impossible though it seems, they may still be alive. This spine-tingling fantasy, illustrated with haunting vintage photography, will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

American Born Chinese
by Gene Luen Yang

This intelligent and poignant graphic novel follows three different characters: Jin Wang, a Chinese-American outcast who just wants to fit in at school; The Monkey King, a classic Chinese folk hero; and Danny, a white American boy who fears that a visit from his obnoxious Chinese cousin will ruin his popularity. Publishers Weekly calls it an “affecting story about growing up different.”

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison and Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common, but as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.

Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

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