This holiday season, or any time of the year, it’s wonderful to find picture books that share uplifting messages for young readers. Many picture books, fiction and nonfiction, allow young readers to think about issues such as fairness, inclusion, and just that it’s okay to be different. Here are some really thoughtful books that will open children’s horizons in wonderful ways.
A very sweet tale, “William’s Winter Nap” by Linda Ashman and Chuck Groenink, will warm the hearts of animal lovers everywhere. Told in a lovely rhyming cadence, the reader meets William, who has finished his hot cocoa, climbed into bed, and readied himself for a long winter’s nap. But as soon as he gets settled, there is a tap on his window. A chipmunk is cold and seeking shelter, and William welcomes him into the snuggly bed. But a knock on the door brings a porcupine begging for “a smidge of space.” Soon, more animals (who do actually hibernate) come to the door, but the last animal is a surprise. Can a bear fit into the bed with the other five? This is a sweet tale of friendship and helping animals in need. Children will love seeing how they all manage to fit. In this day of children having their own bedroom and sleeping alone, it’s fun to imagine sleeping with a posse of friends. (Disney-Hyperion Books)
With “Never Say Die,” the latest Alex Rider thriller, Anthony Horowitz reminds fans of the series how good the stories are. New readers will get caught right up in the stories because once begun, they are impossible to put down.
If there is one book that lovers of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” would love to own, it’s this book: “Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen, Building the World of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.” This weighty (literally, maybe five pounds) book is filled with photographs, information, architectural drawings, and quotes about the entire process in creating the Tolkien world.
Joanna Schaffhausen’s first novel, The Vanishing Season,” takes readers into the life of a young woman, Ellery Hathaway, who was kidnapped by a serial killer and was the only person to escape alive. She became a cop and works in a small town in Massachusetts, far from the Chicago neighborhood where she grew up.
Philip Pullman’s latest beguiling novel,“The Book of Dust, Volume One, La Belle Sauvage,” marks Pullman’s return to the strange, eerie, beautiful world of Lyra Belacqua. Readers all over the world (OUR world) who loved the previous Lyra trilogy, His Dark Materials, will surely be profoundly moved and satisfied by this volume — because the novel is, indeed, profoundly moving and satisfying. Continue reading