Notable Children's Books
Donald Crews (Board Books)
Genre: Nonfiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Themes: Transportation, Color
"Freight Train" is a Caldecott honor book by Donald Crews. The picture book features a colorful train on the move. With simple words, bold colors and clean illustrations, "Freight Train" is one of the best books for toddlers. This board book will help toddlers learn color recognition and the names of train cars, such as a hopper car and a tanker car.
Maurice Sendak (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books
"Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak is an imaginative classic children's book with great illustrations. The picture book has won many awards, including Caldecott Medal, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Illustration and ALA Notable Children's Books award. After being put to bed without supper by his mother, Max imagines sailing off to where the wild things are, becoming the king of all wild things and eventually returning to his own room where hot supper is waiting for him. "Where the Wild Things Are" is a good book for preschoolers, kindergarteners and beginning readers.
Patricia MacLachlan (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Themes: Family, Frontier and Pioneer Life
In "Sarah, Plain and Tall", author Patricia MacLachlan tells a moving story about the creation of a family. In simple language, a little girl named Anna talks about how Sarah from Maine comes to the prairie to live with her, her brother, and her widowed father. This historic fiction has won many awards, including Newbery Award, Christopher Award, Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction for Children, Golden Kite Award for Fiction and Notable Children's Book. "Sarah, Plain and Tall" is one of the best children's books. Kids in second grade through sixth grade will enjoy this classic chapter book.
Elizabeth George Speare (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Themes: Friendship, Frontier and Pioneer Life, Native American, Survival Stories
"The Sign of the Beaver" by Elizabeth George Speare is one of the best children's books in the genre of historic fiction. Left alone to guard his family's home in the 18th century Maine, 12-year old Matt learns wilderness survival skills from a proud Native American boy Attean and teaches Attean to read. The two boys found friendship in spite of themselves. "The Sign of the Beaver" has won many awards, including the Newbery Award, ALA Notable Children's Book, Christopher Award and Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Children grade 4 and up will enjoy this wilderness survival story and learn about Native American culture as well as frontier and pioneer life.
Robert C. O'Brien, Zena Bernstein (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction - Animal Fantasy, Science Fiction
"Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" by Robert C. O'Brien, winner of the Newbery Medal, is one of the best children's books of the 20th century. Author Robert O'Brien effectively combines elements of animal fantasy and science fiction in this chapter book and tells a captivating story with believable characters and an interesting plot. A widowed field mouse, Mrs. Frisby, needs to move her family to their summer home quickly before a farm's plow comes, but one of her children gets seriously ill and cannot go out in the cold. She seeks help from the rats of Nimh, highly intelligent rats who live under the rosebush. These animals have been captured by the scientists at the Nimh lab and given injections that have vastly boosted their intelligence. They can read and write. The rat leader Nicodemus tells Mrs. Frisby the story of their escape from Nimh. It turns out one of the escapees is Jonathan Frisby, Mrs. Frisby's late husband. The rats now have a plan to grow their own crop and form a self-sufficient colony in Thorn Valley. "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" appeals to children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
E. L. Konigsburg (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Adventure Books; Book Theme: Family
"From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg is an adventure story that has delighted children for decades and is considered a modern classic. Two siblings, Claudia and her brother Jamie, run away from their family home and have an adventure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They uncover the mystery surrounding "Angel", a statue in the museum. Under E.L. Konigsburg's deft pen, the two main characters in the classic chapter book seem very real and likable. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" has won Newbery Medal and ALA Notable Children's Book award, and is often considered one of the best children's books.
Sharon Creech (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Realistic Fiction; Book Themes: Family, Emotions and Feelings
"Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech is a moving realistic fiction story for young adults. Sharon Creech's Newbery Medal award winner tells a story within a story that deals with themes of love, loss and family. The main character, 13-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, travels from Euclid, Ohio to Lewiston, Idaho with her eccentric grandparents to visit her missing mother. Along the way, Sal tells them the story of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom. Phoebe is a girl of wild imagination. She finds mysterious messages such as "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins" on her family's doorsteps. Phoebe's mother leaves her family unexpectedly but eventually returns; Sal has to deal with painful life changes and come to terms with her own loss. The characters in "Walk Two Moons" are interesting and well developed, from the protagonist with her complex emotions and feelings to the wacky and loving grandparents. "Walk Two Moons" is a good book for teens in 8th grade and up.
Lois Lowry (Mass Market Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Science Fiction
"The Giver" by Lois Lowry is a thought-provoking young adult science fiction novel. The protagonist of this powerful story is a 12-year-old boy named Jonas, who lives in a highly ordered community. The Elders assign jobs, spouses and families. Pain, poverty and war are non-existent. At the coming-of-age Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas was selected to become the new Receiver of Memory. As the giver transfers memories of the past to him, a whole new world opens up for the boy. After he discovers the terrible truth about his community, Jonas goes on a dangerous journey to escape. "The Giver" has received many awards, including 1994 Newbery Medal, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults and ALA Notable Children's Book. With original plot and believable characters, "The Giver" appeals to teens in 8th grade and up.
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