Kids’ Books Highlight # 2

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Here is another installment of our top children’s book picks!  This is something that I get excited about because I love good children’s literature.  I sit down on the couch with the kids crowded around me and we have bonding time over a stack of kids books.  Something so simple, yet it will produce lasting memories.  *Sigh*

All of these books came from the local library.  A few you may recognize because they’ve been around for a long time.  Here they are…

  • Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg — This book has been around since I was a kid.  I still love it and enjoyed sharing it with my kids.  The illustrations are fantastic, as are all of Chris’ books.  Also of note, it won the Caldecott Medal back in 1982–the year I was born!  Must have been a good year!  The story is about a couple of kids who are bored and find an intriguing board game in their local park.  They bring it home and play it only to find out that it is not a light-hearted game, but a try-to-stay-alive game.  If you haven’t read it, you need to.
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman — Apparently this book has been around for quite some time, but I had never read it before.  It is the sweet story of a little girl named Grace who loves to tell stories, dress up and act them out.  At school her class is going to put on the play Peter Pan and Grace wants to play the leading part.  One child tells her she can’t because Peter Pan isn’t black.  Another says she can’t because she’s a girl.  Grace is crestfallen, but when she gets home and tells her mother and grandmother about it, they encourage her to try out anyway.  Grace gets the part and does an outstanding job.  I love how this book pushes against the stereotypes of gender and race, while still maintaining a storyline that is interesting to children.  The illustrations are really fantastic, too.
  • The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola — Here is another book that was new to me.  For anyone who is a fan of Tomie’s books, this is a must-read.  It is the story about how he came to be an artist, tracing the roots through his childhood.  It also has messages about what art is, and about not letting others box you in with their arbitrary rules.  My kids and I just loved this book.
  • LEGO NINJAGO: The Visual Dictionary by Hannah Dolan — I included this one not because I particularly care for it, but because my son is obsessed with it.  Both of my boys love Ninjago.  My second son loves books with lots of pictures and short captions of text.  He is all about the details.  This book is the best of both worlds for him.
  • Math Curse by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith — I also remember reading this book when I was a kid.  A boy starts to have problems with math when his teacher tells the class that everything can be thought of as a math problem.  Suddenly he can’t think about anything without it becoming a math problem in his head.  If you take the time, you can even get your kids to try to figure out some of the problems.  I like how this book relates math to normal life–it isn’t just a textbook endeavor.  The illustrations are a bit off-the-wall.

I hope you get a chance to check out our picks this week.  Let me know what you think of them!


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