june 2018 Best Children's Books

Updated May. 23, 2019
Grandad Mandela book
#13
Grandad Mandela
Written and illustrated by Zindzi Mandela, Ziwelene Mandela, Zazi Mandela
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Two great-grandchildren ask their grandmother 15 questions about the man they remember as Grandad, and the world remembers as Nelson Mandela, the global icon of peace and forgiveness who spent 27 years in prison. They learn that he was a freedom fighter who put down his weapons for the sake of peace, and who then became the President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and realise that they can continue his legacy in the world today. Seen through a child’s perspective, and authored jointly by his great-grandchildren and daughter, this amazing story is told as never before to celebrate what would have been Nelson's Mandela 100th birthday.

A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune book
#14
A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune
Written by Jan L Coates and illustrated by Marijke Simons
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Travel back in time with this magical tune that takes readers to Halifax in the 1950s. This dreamy and whimsical story visits Point Pleasant Park, the Halifax Public Gardens, Citadel Hill and other historic Halifax landmarks, showing off all the sights and sounds of the city

Astrophysics for Babies book
#15
Astrophysics for Babies
Written by Julia M. Kregenow, Chris Ferrie and illustrated by Chris Ferrie
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Simple explanations of complex ideas for your future genius! Written by an expert, Astrophysics for Babiesis a colorfully simple introduction to the study of how physics and chemistry affect heavenly bodies in space. Babies (and grownups!) will learn all about our universe. With a tongue-in-cheek approach that adults will love, this installment of the Baby University board book series is the perfect way to introduce basic concepts to even the youngest scientists. After all, it's never too early to become an astrophysicist! Baby University: It only takes a small spark to ignite a child's mind.

I'm New Here book
#16
I'm New Here
Written and illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Three students are immigrants from Guatemala, Korea, and Somalia and have trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English in their new American elementary school. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity. Young readers from all backgrounds will appreciate this touching story about the assimilation of three immigrant students in a supportive school community.

Off & Away book
#17
Off & Away
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

How would you get mail if you lived in the middle of the sea? It's Jo's dad's job to deliver it, taking bottles wherever they need to go. He always comes home with exciting stories to tell-but Jo is far too afraid to go out on the ocean herself. Until Dad gets a bad sea cold, that is. With no one but Jo to deliver the bottles, she must find her courage and set sail alone. As she embarks on her mission, her fears just might be replaced with new friendships . . . and grand stories of her own. With beautiful, atmospheric art and endearing new characters by author-illustrator Cale Atkinson, this picturebook is a treasure.

Ocean book
#18
Ocean
Written by Ricardo Henriques and illustrated by André Letria
board book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Half of our planet is covered by the ocean, yet we've only explored 5 percent of this vast underwater realm. Originally published in Portugal, and awarded a highly coveted BolognaRagazzi Mention by the Bologna Book Fair, this visually compelling miscellany offers readers a tsunami of aquatic facts. Which ocean is the largest? Who was the first explorer to sail around the world? Is the ocean truly blue? Beautifully designed and rich with information, Ocean will satisfy enthusiastic readers who enjoy taking a deep dive into a subject as well as more reluctant readers who prefer to dip in and out of a book.

Up & Down book
#19
Up & Down
Written and illustrated by Don Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Swept up by the European ballooning craze of the 1780s, Dr. John Jeffries longed to become the first person to fly across the English Channel. But first he had to outwit a rascally co-pilot, keep the balloon from bursting, and avoid crashing into the sea. The good doctor’s quick-thinking solutions will surprise young readers—and keep them giggling when “lightening the load” is a relief in more ways than one. Don Brown tells this quirky true story with his usual accuracy and heart.

Cars and Trucks on the Road book
#20
Cars and Trucks on the Road
Written and illustrated by Alessia Girasole
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

This charming and witty "can-you-find-it" large-format board book follows one purple car from road to road while a succession of other vehicles joins it. Each spread also features a certain number of hidden items for children to find. Will kids be able to find the 10 bluebirds alongside the lone purple car? What about the two black limousines and nine potted plants? It all culminates in the final gatefold spread, which reveals a tremendous traffic jam with every car from the previous spreads! Children will spend hours poring over this book as they search for their favorite vehicles and reoccurring characters on every page. They’ll also find mini-stories within the main story (will the giraffe bike messenger find his lost wallet?), and several hidden items on every page. Numbers and colors are clearly indicated on each spread, and although certainly busy, each spread is carefully designed to provide just the right amount of challenge to young children.

Marty Frye, Private Eye book
#21
Marty Frye, Private Eye
Written by Janet Tashjian and illustrated by Laurie Keller
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Broken into three short stories of poetry and petty crime, this charming chapter book will have young readers in search of a rhyme in no time. Book 1 in the Marty Frye series! Marty Frye is not your ordinary sleuth. Marty Frye is a poet detective—he makes up rhymes as he solves small crimes. When his friend Emma's diary is missing, Marty is on the case. When Katie's flour is nowhere to be found, Marty tracks it down. And when the brand-new Action Chuck figures mysteriously vanish from the toy store, Marty unravels the mystery. Will there ever be a case too hard for Marty to solve? Or a word too impossible to rhyme? A poet detective saves the day in this first book in the illustrated Marty Frye, Private Eye series. A Christy Ottaviano book Titles in the Marty Frye, Private Eye series: Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Missing Action Figure Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Stolen Poodle More from Janet Tashjian: The Einstein the Class Hamster series: Einstein the Class Hamster Einstein the Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show Einstein the Class Hamster Saves the Library The Sticker Girl series: Sticker Girl Sticker Girl Rules the School The My Life series: My Life as a Book My Life as a Stuntboy My Life as a Cartoonist My Life as a Joke My Life as a Gamer My Life as a Ninja My Life as a Youtuber More from Laurie Keller: The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut: Arnie, the Doughnut Invasion of the Ufonuts The Spinny Icky Showdown The Scrambled States of America: The Scrambled States of America The Scrambled States of America Talent Show Do Unto Otters Open Wide Grandpa Gazillion's Number Yard Birdy's Smile Book Toys! Fooled You!

The List book
#22
The List
Written by Patricia Forde
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world. On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark's citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it's up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.

My Grandfather's War book
#23
My Grandfather's War
Written and illustrated by Glyn Harper, Jenny Cooper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The award-winning team of Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper share this poignant story about a Vietnam veteran and his relationship with his granddaughter. While the relationship is a positive one, the young girl senses her grandfather’s pain and is curious to find out the cause of it. As she innocently seeks answers, she unknowingly opens old wounds and discovers her grandfather’s sadness is a legacy of the Vietnam War and his experiences there. This is a sensitive exploration of the lingering cost of war and of the PTSD so many returned servicemen experience. Released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Khe Sanh (the Vietnam War’s longest battle), My Grandfather's War also sheds light on a war that is not always remembered in the same way that the world wars and other conflicts are. Many who served experience a sense of betrayal at the treatment they received on their return, as the conflict came to be regarded as the ‘unpopular’ war, and this is covered in a child-friendly way in a note at the back of the book.

Ready to Ride book
#24
Ready to Ride
Written and illustrated by Sébastien Pelon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A little boy is told to play outside by his mom, and bumps into an imaginary friend with whom he goes for a bike ride. At first he finds it difficult to keep up, but with the imaginary friend’s help he takes off the bike’s stabilisers and learns to freewheel—all the way home. A marvelous book with a can do attitude.

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