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Family Life: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about family life?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to family life. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about family life.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about family life, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Little House in the Big Woods to popular sellers like Little House on the Prairie to some of our favorite hidden gems like On the Banks of Plum Creek.

We hope this list of kids books about family life can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Family Life

True (. . . Sort Of) book
#1
True (. . . Sort Of)
Written by Katherine Hannigan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Can friendship save you? The day Ferris Boyd moves to town, Delly Pattison is sure a special surpresent (a present that is a surprise) is on its way. Instead, Delly ends up in even more trouble than usual. The Boyds’ arrival in River Bluffs means big changes for Brud Kinney, too. He can’t believe who he’s hanging around with. Ferris Boyd isn’t like anyone Delly or Brud have ever known. Ferris is a mystery and a wonder. Through friendship, though, Delly, Brud, and Ferris discover truths that will change their lives. And bring them the best surpresent of all. Includes an all-new afterword featuring a short story, photographs by the author, and more

Baby's First Bank Heist book
#2
Baby's First Bank Heist
Written by Jim Whalley & illustrated by Stephen Collins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Move over, Bonnie and Clyde, because there’s a new criminal mastermind in town . . . Baby Frank! Baby Frank is dangerously cute, and he’s about to pull off the most daring baby bank heist ever. Why? His parents say that he can’t have a pet—“pets are for older kids,” “be happy with your teddy,” and “they cost too much to keep,” they say. What’s a baby to do . . . ? Rob a bank, of course! You have been warned . . . With eye-catching illustrations from Guardian cartoonist Stephen Collins, this laugh-out-loud rhyming text is Boss Baby meets Mission Impossible.

These Happy Golden Years book
#3
These Happy Golden Years
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary’s tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.

The Long Winter book
#4
The Long Winter
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.

Absolutely Almost book
#5
Absolutely Almost
Written by Lisa Graff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, most athletic, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself. Simultaneous eBook.

The Remember Balloons book
#6
The Remember Balloons
Written by Jessie Oliveros & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A 2019 Schneider Family Award Honor Book!

What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together.

But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice!

Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.

Bunny in the Middle book
#7
Bunny in the Middle
Written by Anika Denise & illustrated by Christopher Denise
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

When you’re in the middle . . . you’re not the oldest, and you’re not the youngest. You are right in-between. There’s someone bigger who helps you. And someone smaller who needs you. From the middle, you can see both sides. But being in the middle isn’t always easy—sometimes it’s hard to know what makes you special, or how to follow a path that’s just your own. But that’s okay. As one middle bunny knows, being in the middle means you are loved ALL around.

This classic picture book celebrates the remarkable empathy of middles and the joys of self-acceptance, glowingly illustrated by New York Times–bestselling artist Christopher Denise. Perfect for fans of Little Elliot.

Mama Seeton's Whistle book
#8
Mama Seeton's Whistle
Written by Jerry Spinelli & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Without even thinking about it,Mama Seeton puckered her lips and whistled.It was not a loud whistle.Or a fancy whistle. Just a simple two-note whistle. When Mama Seeton whistles, her children run home for chocolate cake, hugs, kisses, and shared memories. But as time passes, they travel farther and farther away from the familiar sound. Can mama’s whistle be heard all over the world, and bring her children home one more time? Newbery Award-winning author Jerry Spinelli’s sweet lyrical text and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham’s charming illustrations show the timeless love between a mother and her children.

By the Shores of Silver Lake book
#9
By the Shores of Silver Lake
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they move from their little house on the banks of Plum Creek to the wilderness of the unsettled Dakota Territory. Here Pa works on the new railroad until he finds a homestead claim that is perfect for their new little house. Laura takes her first train ride as she, her sisters, and their mother come out to live with Pa on the shores of Silver Lake. After a lonely winter in the surveyors’ house, Pa puts up the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the beautiful shores of Silver Lake. The Ingallses’ covered-wagon travels are finally over.

Something Smells! book
#10
Something Smells!
Written by Blake Liliane Hellman & illustrated by Steven Henry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Elliot wakes up one morning to the most terrible smell. But what could it be? Find out in this gentle introduction to hygiene that’s stinkin’ adorable! One morning, Elliot wakes up and smells something awful. Is it the trash? No… The dog? No… Dad? His sister? The baby? Grandma’s famous gerfartzenschanffel? No, no, no, and no! Elliot searches high and low for the something that smells, but he just can’t find it, and it’s driving him and his nostrils crazy. Almost as bad, now his mother wants him to take a bath, which means taking off his super cool skeleton costume that he’s been wearing since Halloween! The funny thing is, after Elliot finishes his bath and Mom puts his costume in the wash, something doesn’t smell anymore…

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Family Life and...

Books About Family Life and Rural Living

These Happy Golden Years
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary’s tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.

The Long Winter
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books.

By the Shores of Silver Lake
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they move from their little house on the banks of Plum Creek to the wilderness of the unsettled Dakota Territory. Here Pa works on the new railroad until he finds a homestead claim that is perfect for their new little house. Laura takes her first train ride as she, her sisters, and their mother come out to live with Pa on the shores of Silver Lake. After a lonely winter in the surveyors’ house, Pa puts up the first building in what will soon be a brand-new town on the beautiful shores of Silver Lake. The Ingallses’ covered-wagon travels are finally over.

Honorable Mentions
  1. On the Banks of Plum Creek - The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as they leave their little house on the prairie and travel in their covered wagon to Minnesota. Here they settle in a little house made of sod beside the banks of beautiful Plum Creek. Soon Pa builds a wonderful new little house with real glass windows and a hinged door. Laura and her sister Mary go to school, help with the chores, and fish in the creek. At night everyone listens to the merry music of Pa’s fiddle. Misfortunes come in the form of a grasshopper plague and a terrible blizzard, but the pioneer family works hard together to overcome these troubles. And so continues Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

  2. Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls’s story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa’s fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep. And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

  3. The First Four Years - For the first time in the history of the Little House books, this new edition features Garth Williams’ interior art in vibrant, full color, as well as a beautifully redesigned cover. Laura Ingalls Wilder is beginning life with her new husband, Almanzo, in their own little house. Laura is a young pioneer wife now, and must work hard with Almanzo, farming the land around their home on the South Dakota prairie. Soon their baby daughter, Rose, is born, and the young family must face the hardships and triumphs encountered by so many American pioneers. And so Laura Ingalls Wilder’s adventure as a little pioneer girl ends, and her new life as a pioneer wife and mother begins. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America’s frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

  4. Little Town on the Prairie - For the first time in the history of the Little House books, this new edition features Garth Williams’ interior art in vibrant, full color, as well as a beautifully redesigned cover. The little settlement that weathered the long, hard winter of 1880-81 is now a growing town. Laura is growing up, and she goes to her first evening social. Mary is at last able to go to a college for the blind. Best of all, Almanzo Wilder asks permission to walk home from church with Laura. And Laura, now fifteen years old, receives her certificate to teach school.

Books About Family Life and Pets

Baby's First Bank Heist
Written by Jim Whalley & illustrated by Stephen Collins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Move over, Bonnie and Clyde, because there’s a new criminal mastermind in town . . . Baby Frank! Baby Frank is dangerously cute, and he’s about to pull off the most daring baby bank heist ever. Why? His parents say that he can’t have a pet—“pets are for older kids,” “be happy with your teddy,” and “they cost too much to keep,” they say. What’s a baby to do . . . ? Rob a bank, of course! You have been warned . . . With eye-catching illustrations from Guardian cartoonist Stephen Collins, this laugh-out-loud rhyming text is Boss Baby meets Mission Impossible.

Dory Fantasmagory
Written & illustrated by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Move over, Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean! Here comes a lovably energetic little sister with a BIG personality—and an imagination to match!

As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for.

With plenty of pictures bursting with charm and character, this hilarious book about an irresistible rascal is the new must-read for the chapter book set.

My Dog's a Chicken
Written by Susan McElroy Montanari & illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lula Mae wants a puppy, but times are hard and she’ll just have to make do. Her family has plenty of chickens, so she decides maybe a chicken can be a dog.

Pookie, as Lula Mae names her, is an ordinary chicken, but Lula Mae thinks she is very doglike indeed. With a bow in Pookie’s hair, Lula Mae declares her a show dog. When she runs circles around the other chickens, Pookie is a shepherd dog. And when Cousin Tater sneaks up with a snake and Pookie starts _bawk, bawk, bawk_ing, well, she’s a guard dog, too. Then Lula Mae’s brother, Baby Berry, wanders away, and who do you think comes to the rescue?

Readers will cheer for plucky Lula Mae and giggle over her beloved Pookie, who quite unknowingly saves the day.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Home for Goddesses and Dogs - A unique masterpiece about loss, love, and the world’s best bad dog, from award-winning author Leslie Connor, author of the National Book Award finalist The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle. It’s a life-altering New Year for thirteen-year-old Lydia when she uproots to a Connecticut farm to live with her aunt following her mother’s death. Aunt Brat and her jovial wife, Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord, Elloroy, are welcoming―and a little quirky. Lydia’s struggle for a sense of belonging in her new family is highlighted when the women adopt a big yellow dog just days after the girl’s arrival. Wasn’t one rescue enough? Lydia is not a dog person―and this one is trouble! He is mistrustful and slinky. He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past. Meanwhile, Lydia doesn’t want to be difficult―and she does not mean to keep secrets―but there are things she’s not telling… Like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important… And why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger… And why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past―but at what cost? Award-winning author Leslie Connor crafts a story that sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family, along with the world’s best bad dog. This uplifting story about recovery features strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him.

  2. Wish - A touching story about a girl and her dog, perfect for young fans of A Dog’s Purpose Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all. From award-winning author Barbara O’Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places. This title has Common Core connections.

  3. An Ordinary Day - An ordinary day in an ordinary neighborhood turns out to be quite extraordinary in this moving story about the circle of life. It’s an average day in the neighborhood—children play, roses are watered, and a crow watches over it all. But then two visitors arrive at two houses, one to help a family say hello to a new baby and one to help a family say goodbye to a beloved pet. This sensitive picture book takes a gentle look at life, death, the bonds of family, and the extraordinary moments that make ordinary days so special.

  4. Under the Lilacs - From Ezra Jack Keats Honor winner E. B. Goodale comes a celebration of nature, family, and building our own hands-on adventures_—_perfect for any reader who has ever craved a bit of independence . . . In this lush and playful picture book from E. B. Goodale, illustrator of Windows, Kate feels ignored by her mother and sister and so decides to run away. In a neighboring yard, she builds a fort and enjoys a sense of independence—until she finds herself making room for her family in her new home . . . Under the Lilacs is the perfect celebration of striking out on your own—while still making room for everyone.

Want to see books about pets?

Books About Family Life and Habits And Behavior

True (. . . Sort Of)
Written by Katherine Hannigan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Can friendship save you? The day Ferris Boyd moves to town, Delly Pattison is sure a special surpresent (a present that is a surprise) is on its way. Instead, Delly ends up in even more trouble than usual. The Boyds’ arrival in River Bluffs means big changes for Brud Kinney, too. He can’t believe who he’s hanging around with. Ferris Boyd isn’t like anyone Delly or Brud have ever known. Ferris is a mystery and a wonder. Through friendship, though, Delly, Brud, and Ferris discover truths that will change their lives. And bring them the best surpresent of all. Includes an all-new afterword featuring a short story, photographs by the author, and more

Simon at the Art Museum
Written by Christina Soontornvat & illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little boy visits an art museum for the first time in this fun, sweet picture book about first experiences and seeing things from new perspectives.

Simon is having a great time at the museum with his parents. There are slippery, slidey floors! Pigeons flying around the reflecting pool! And cheesecake in the café! But they’re not really here for any of that. No, Simon has to look at art.

And more art.

So. Much. Art.

There’s so much art that soon Simon needs to take a break and finds somewhere to sit. From his bench, he begins to notice how many different people are visiting the museum and the many different ways they react to the art they see. Some people are alone. Some are in groups. Some people smile. Some shake their heads. Some even shed a tear.

And Simon is right in the center of it, watching until he’s inspired to give all the art another try. By the end of the day, he may even find a piece that can rival a slice of cheesecake!

Ravi's Roar
Written & illustrated by Tom Percival
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

From the creator of Perfectly Norman and Ruby Finds a Worry comes a clever and engaging book about controlling temper tantrums.

Ravi is the smallest in his family, but most of the time, he doesn’t mind it. Until his short arms can’t reach the monkey bars, he can’t find anyone during hide-and-seek, AND he’s too little to ride the big slide. Ravi is so mad—so furious—that he can’t control his temper anymore . . . . . . and he becomes a ferocious, roaring TIGER! Being a tiger is great fun. Tigers can do ANYTHING they want! But who wants to play with a growling, wild tiger who won’t share or play nicely? Ravi is about to discover something very important about expressing his feelings and making amends.

This smart and vibrant new story from the author/illustrator of Ruby Finds a Worry is the perfect springboard for helping children learn how to express and understand their anger.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Heidi Heckelbeck Is So Totally Grounded! - When a cleaning spell goes awry, Heidi gets so totally grounded in the twenty-fourth Heidi Heckelbeck adventure! When Mom asks for help cleaning the house, Heidi takes her magic a little too far. After all, who really wants to deal with all that dust, dirt, and grime? Not Heidi, that’s who! So she creates a cleaning helper named Dusty to do her dirty work. There’s only one problem: Dusty isn’t the most careful cleaner, and when he accidentally breaks Mom’s favorite vase, Heidi gets so totally grounded. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

  2. Anna, Banana, and Monkey in the Middle - Anna is lucky to have two best friends—it makes everything twice as fun. She’s excited to go with Sadie and Isabel on their class trip to the zoo. But when Anna’s two best friends start choosing opposite sides on everything, Anna feels caught in the middle. Sadie wants Anna to see the spiny anteater with her, but Isabel wants to visit the tortoise instead. When Isabel pulls Anna toward the camel house, Sadie yanks her toward the giraffes. It’s like they’re playing a game of tug-of-war and Anna is the rope! How can Anna keep the peace without causing double trouble?

Books About Family Life and Feelings And Emotions

Love by Sophia
Written by Jim Averbeck & illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The precocious Sophia and her pet giraffe Noodle learn how to look at life, love, and art in this latest installment of the series that Kirkus Reviews calls “fun, clever, and empowering.”

Sophia loves her family and her wonderful pet giraffe Noodle, so when she gets an assignment to draw something she loves, she wants to make it extra special. Taking her teacher’s advice, Sophia uses a little perspective and creates a work she calls Love.

Before she can place her masterpiece on the refrigerator, her whole family has to approve of the painting. But this is the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Louvre of refrigerators. Can Sophia persuade them to take a chance on a new perspective, so they can see love from her point of view?

Black Dog
Written & illustrated by Levi Pinfold
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In a modern fairy tale about the power of fear and how it distorts our view of the world, the Black Dog that appears outside the Hope family’s home seems to grow larger and larger as each frightened member of the Hope family sees it, but the youngest member of the household is not afraid and is able to break the spell.

The Runaway Hug
Written by Nick Bland & illustrated by Freya Blackwood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“Mommy,” said Lucy. “Can I have a hug before I go to bed?” When Mommy jokes that she only has one hug left, Lucy decides she must keep Mommy’s last hug safe. As Lucy shares the hug with everyone in her large and loving family, she is always careful to get it back . . . until the canine member of the family refuses to play along!

Highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling picture-book creators Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood collaborate for the first time on this charming story, which celebrates the imaginative powers of children and the extraordinary love to be found in ordinary bedtime routines.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Families Belong - A rhyming, light-hearted celebration of families being - and belonging - together. Families belong
    Together like a puzzle
    Different-sized people
    One big snuggle
    This deliciously warm board book is an appreciation of the unconditional love and comfort shared within a family. Through a handful of specific yet universal scenarios, from singing songs together to sharing food together, from dancing together to lying still together, this book invites the youngest readers to celebrate what it means for a family to be truly together.

  2. A Chair for My Mother 25th Anniversary Edition - After a fire destroys their home and possessions, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save and save until they can afford to buy one big, comfortable chair that all three of them can enjoy.After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy. “A superbly conceived picture book expressing the joyful spirit of a loving family.”—Horn Book.

  3. The Bold, Brave Bunny - A Junior Library Guild Selection “An enjoyable tale of the marvels of adventuring and the comfort of home.” ―Kirkus Reviews Hop along with Teetu, the bold, brave bunny, as he finds his way in this imaginative tale from New York Times bestselling author Beth Ferry (Stick and Stone) that reminds us that it’s splendid to see the world, but that it’s even more wonderful to go home, and share it with the ones you love. B is for brave. B is for bold. B is not only for…bunnies. After his brothers and sisters ruin his favorite alphabet book, Teetu the bunny has had enough of his big bunny family! When he sneaks off into the night, what he discovers is more marvelous than he ever dreamed. He sees animals and trees and beauty and moonlight, and puts his adventures into a new book he creates all by himself. But soon Teetu tires of being alone, and just as it gets to be too much…a big fluffy surprise comes to save the day! This heartwarming picture book from Beth Ferry and debut illustrator Chow Hon Lam makes for a perfect Easter and year-round gift. Plus, hidden animal surprises in the art will delight readers as they discover them in every repeat reading.

  4. Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm - Will Judy’s lucky penny lead her to the nation’s capital — or to third-grade C-A-L-A-M-I-T-Y? And what do her spelling-bee nemesis and a potbellied pig have to do with it? The lucky penny in Judy Moody’s pocket sure does seem to be working. She can’t stop winning — at bowling, spelling, the unbeatable Prize Claw, everything! For sure and absolute positive, she’ll ride that wave of good fortune all the way to Washington, D.C. Watch out, District of Cool, here comes Judy Moody, the luckiest kid ever, until . . . oh, no! Her lucky penny just did a belly flop into a porcelain bowl of yucky, blucky UNluck. Has the coin’s magic gone kerflooey?Are some people, like Jessica Finch or Stink, destined to have all the luck, while she, Judy Moody, gets stuck with a yard full of three-not-four leaf clovers, a squealing potbellied pig in an elevator, and a squashed penny with cooties? ROAR!

Books About Family Life and New York

Blackout
Written & illustrated by John Rocco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When a busy family’s activities come to a halt because of a blackout, they find they enjoy spending time together and not being too busy for once.

Absolutely Almost
Written by Lisa Graff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, most athletic, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself. Simultaneous eBook.

Farmer Boy
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

While Laura Ingalls grows up in a little house on the western prairie, Almanzo Wilder is living on a big farm in New York State. Here Almanzo and his brother and sisters help with the summer planting and fall harvest. In winter there is wood to be chopped and great slabs of ice to be cut from the river and stored. Time for fun comes when the jolly tin peddler visits, or best of all, when the fair comes to town. This is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story of how her husband Almanzo grew up as a farmer boy far from the little house where Laura lived.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Echo's Sister - From critically acclaimed author Paul Mosier, a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, comes a stunning story about the beauty of family, the power of community, and ultimately the strength of the human spirit. Twelve-year-old El has planned on making her first week at a new school fantastic. She won’t go by her given name, Laughter. She’ll sit in the back of the classroom where she can make new friends. She won’t even have time to think about all the fun her old friends are having without her. Everything will be great. But when her dad picks her up after school and tells her that her younger sister, Echo, has a life-threatening illness, her world is suddenly turned upside down. And with her parents now pressed for time and money, El feels lost and powerless. Then she befriends Octavius, the only other kid in school who gets what she’s going through. As El begins to adjust to her new life, she soon finds that maybe a little hope and a lot of love can overcome any obstacle.

  2. Raffie on the Run - “The Cricket in Times Square” meets “Finding Nemo” in this Pixar-style adventure in which a subway rat must cross New York City to bring his lost little brother home. Illustrations.

  3. The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found - New York Times best-seller Karina Yan Glaser brings everyone’s favorite Harlem family back in this poignant fourth novel in the “delightful and heartwarming” (New York Times Book Review) Vanderbeekers series. When autumn arrives on 141st Street, the Vanderbeekers are busy helping Mr. Beiderman get ready for the New York City Marathon and making sure the mysterious person sleeping in the community garden gets enough to eat. But when they discover the true identity of the person making a home in the community garden’s shed, their world turns upside down as they learn what it means to care for someone in an impossible situation. In this fourth book in the Vanderbeekers series, return to 141st Street with Isa, Jessie, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney as they attempt to make their neighborhood a better place, one heartfelt plan at a time.

  4. All-of-a-kind Family - Portrays the joys and troubles of five high-spirited Jewish sisters as they grow up in New York City.

Want to see books about New York?

Books About Family Life and Parents

Dad By My Side
Written & illustrated by Soosh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A heartwarming celebration of the special relationship between a father and daughter from Instagram sensation Soosh. Whether they’re playing make-believe, making you smile, or warding off monsters under the bed, dads are always there when you need them. Debut picture book artist Soosh celebrates fathers with a gorgeously illustrated and moving story about the parent-child bond. When Soosh first posted her initial series of images of a larger-than-life father and his adorable daughter on Instagram, fans from across the world immediately took notice with over 2 million views on a popular viral content website in a single week. These illustrations now come together in a universally relatable story of familial love for parents and children to share.

Running Wild
Written by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Twelve-year-old Willa and her twin brothers have survived with their father in the Alaskan wilderness for five years. But Willa knows this can’t go on—they must escape.

Since their mother died five years ago, Willa, her younger brothers, and her father have lived in the wilderness, in a log cabin they built. They survive on food they grow and animals they hunt. Every year they have struggled a little bit more to survive. Now, with winter approaching and her father becoming more reckless, Willa wonders if they will live to see spring. She also knows her father will never agree to leave. When her father goes on a hunting expedition by himself, Willa convinces her brothers that they must make the four-day journey down the Yukon River to Fort Yukon to get help. But first, they’ll need to survive the treacherous trip…and all the while, their father is on their trail. Perfect for middle grade readers looking for adventure stories with strong female protagonists, Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s Running Wild is a page-turner that hooks you from the beginning and doesn’t let go.

The Willoughbys Return
Written by Lois Lowry
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

It’s been 30 years and with rising temperatures melting icy mountain tops the previously frozen Willoughbys have thawed out and are about to return! From living legend and Newbery medalist Lois Lowry comes a hilarious sequel to New York Times bestseller The Willoughbys – soon to be an animated film starring Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, Terry Crews, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, and Sean Cullen on Netflix!
 Although they grew up as wretched orphans, the Willoughby siblings also became heirs to the the Melanoff candy company fortune. Everything has turned out just splendidly, except for one problem: Richie Willoughby, son of Timothy Willoughby, is an only child and is quite lonely.

Winifred and Winston Poore have long admired the toys of their neighbor Richie Willoughby and finally befriend the mysterious boy next door. But just as Richie finally begins to make friends, selling sweets is made illegal, and the family’s fortune is put in jeopardy. To make matters worse, Richie’s horrible Willoughby grandparents—frozen atop a Swiss mountain thirty years ago—have thawed, remain in perfect health, and are making their way home again. 

What is the point of being the reclusive son of a billionaire when your father is no longer a billionaire? What is the future without candy in it? And is there any escaping the odiousness of the Willoughbys? These are the profound questions with which Newbery medalist and ignominious author Lois Lowry grapples in The Willoughbys Return.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Colossus of Roads - Eleven-year-old Rick Rusek is determined to improve the traffic conditions in Los Angeles— his parent’s failing delivery catering service, Smotch, depends on it. Rick Rusek’s stomach has a lot to say. It’s got opinions on tasty foods, not-so-tasty foods, and how driving in traffic-jammed Los Angeles makes it roil, boil, gurgle, and howl. It never meant to earn its owner the nickname Carsick Rick or make him change schools for fifth grade. It’s doing the best it can. Rick has a lot to say back to his stomach. In fact, his stomach is the only one he can talk to about his favorite subject: the mighty power of road signs. Rick sees how shifting these bold, beautiful signs announcing STOP, LEFT TURN ONLY, SPEED LIMIT 35, and ROAD WORK AHEAD could improve all the traffic problems in Los Angeles. Too bad his talent for sketching maps that show how to fix everything doesn’t seem to interest or impress anyone else. When his parents’ catering business teeters on the verge of ruin, Rick wants to prove his talent for noticing small details can make a big difference. He’ll need help from his unicorn-loving Girl Scout neighbor, the Department of Transportation, a renowned street artist, plus the best driver in LA. He’ll have to fight back against snarled streets, graffiti vandals, and other people’s very wrong ideas about traffic. If Rick can successfully move the 330,000 slow-moving cars standing in the way of his family’s future, maybe everyone will see that he’s not Carsick Rick. He’s one of the seven wonders of Los Angeles. He’s the Colossus of Roads.

  2. Mango Moon - When a father is taken away from his family and facing deportation, his family is left to grieve and wonder about what comes next. Maricela, Manuel, and their mother face the many challenges of having their lives completely changed by the absence of their father and husband. Moving to a new house, missed soccer games and birthday parties, and emptiness are now the day-to-day norm. Mango Moon shows what life is like from a child’s perspective when a parent is deported, and the heartbreaking realities they have to face, but Maricela learns that her love for her father is sustained even though he is no longer part of her daily life.

  3. A Fairy's Courage - Being a fairy is a lot more dangerous than you think… Ever since Rowan was transformed into a fairy, her life has been filled with perilous adventure. And when her mom is kidnapped by an evil fairy called Vulpes and his army of foxes, Rowan sets off on her most dangerous mission yet. With the help of her fairy friends—plus a tiger released from London Zoo!—she’s sure she can rescue her mom and save the fairy realms. But Vulpes is cunning and sly. And he’s luring Rowan right into a trap.

  4. Through Your Eyes - From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Take Heart, My Child and popular FOX news anchor Ainsley Earhardt comes a sweet new book that celebrates everyday wonders and miracles. Ainsley Earhardt reflects on her experiences as a mother and viewing wonders of the world through a child’s eyes in this stunning follow up to Take Heart, My Child. So often as we race through life, we need the wisdom and perspective of a child to remind us what is important and what should be celebrated and remembered: the everyday joys and miracles and simple pleasures of life. Our children teach us and awaken our own inner child.

Books About Family Life and Death

One Wave at a Time
Written by Holly Thompson & illustrated by Ashley Crowley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After his father dies, Kai experiences all kinds of emotions: sadness, anger, fear, guilt. Sometimes they crash and mix together. Other times, there are no emotions at all—just flatness. As Kai and his family adjust to life without Dad, the waves still roll in. But with the help of friends and one another, they learn to cope—and, eventually, heal. A lyrical story about grieving for anyone encountering loss.

The Remember Balloons
Written by Jessie Oliveros & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

A 2019 Schneider Family Award Honor Book!

What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together.

But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice!

Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.

Escape Galapagos
Written & illustrated by Ellen Prager
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Before she died, Ezzy Skylar’s mother made Ezzy’s father promise to take his two children on trips to some of the world’s most exotic places, starting with the Galapagos Islands. There’s just one problem: while her little brother Luke is in animal heaven, Ezzy has a paralyzing fear of wild animals. That’s why she’s aboard the cruise vessel when hijackers take over. Forced to find depths of bravery she never knew she had, Ezzy has to flee across an island with her brother and seek to rescue a ship full of tourists under siege.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Space We're in - Ten-year-old Frank has trouble navigating his relationship with his younger brother Max who is autistic. Frank loves soccer, codes, riding his bike, and playing with his friends. His brother Max is five. Max only eats foods that are beige or white, hates baths, and if he has to wear a t-shirt that isn’t gray with yellow stripes he melts down down down. Frank longs for the brother he was promised by his parents before Max was born—someone who was supposed to be his biggest fan, so he could be the best brother in the world. Instead, Frank has trouble navigating Max’s behavior and their relationship. But when tragedy strikes, Frank finds a way to try and repair their fractured family and in doing so learns to love Max for who he is. In her debut novel, Katya Balen uses her knowledge of autism and experience working with autistic people to create an intriguing and intense yet always respectful family story. For readers of Counting by 7s and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.

  2. Cancer Hates Kisses - Mothers are superheroes when they’re battling cancer, and this empowering picture book gives them an honest yet spirited way to share the difficult experience with their kids. Author Jessica Reid Sliwerski was diagnosed with breast cancer four months after giving birth to her daughter. And through all the stages of treatment—surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, losing her hair—she thought about how hard it would be to talk to your child about cancer while coping with it. She wrote this picture book to give other parents and their children an encouraging tool for having those conversations—a lovingly upbeat book that is also refreshingly authentic and straightforward. With its simple text and heartwarming illustrations, Cancer Hates Kisses is relatable to any type of cancer.

  3. The Miraculous - In the tradition of heartwrenching and hopeful middle grade novels such as Bridge to Terabithia comes Jess Redman’s stunning debut about a young boy who must regain his faith in miracles after a tragedy changes his world. Eleven-year-old Wunder Ellis is a miracologist. In a journal he calls The Miraculous, he records stories of the inexplicable and the extraordinary. And he believes every single one. But then his newborn sister dies, at only eight days old. If that can happen, then miracles can’t exist. So Wunder gets rid of The Miraculous. He stops believing. Then he meets Faye—a cape-wearing, outspoken girl with losses of her own. Together, they find an abandoned house by the cemetery and a mysterious old woman who just might be a witch. The old woman asks them for their help. She asks them to believe. And they go on a journey that leads to friendship, to adventure, to healing—and to miracles. The Miraculous is Jess Redman’s sparkling debut novel about facing grief, trusting the unknown, and finding brightness in the darkest moments.

  4. The Land of Yesterday - A tender and fantastical adventure story perfect for fans of Coraline. After Cecelia Dahl’s little brother, Celadon, dies tragically, his soul goes where all souls go: the Land of Yesterday—and Cecelia is left behind in a fractured world without him. Her beloved house’s spirit is crumbling beyond repair, her father is imprisoned by sorrow, and worst of all, her grief-stricken mother abandons the land of the living to follow Celadon into Yesterday. It’s up to Cecelia to put her family back together, even if that means venturing into the dark and forbidden Land of Yesterday on her own. But as Cecilia braves a hot-air balloon commanded by two gnomes, a sea of daisies, and the Planet of Nightmares, it’s clear that even if she finds her family, she might not be able to save them. And if she’s not careful, she might just become a lost soul herself, trapped forever in Yesterday.

Want to see books about death?

Books About Family Life and History

Flight for Freedom: The Wetzel Family’s Daring Escape from East Germany
Written by Kristen Fulton & illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An Inspiring True Story about One Family’s Escape from Behind the Berlin Wall!

Peter was born on the east side of Germany, the side that wasn’t free. He watches news programs rather than cartoons, and wears scratchy uniforms instead of blue jeans. His family endures long lines and early curfews. But Peter knows it won’t always be this way. Peter and his family have a secret. Late at night in their attic, they are piecing together a hot air balloon—and a plan. Can Peter and his family fly their way to freedom? This is the true story of one child, Peter Wetzel, and his family, as they risk their lives for the hope of freedom in a daring escape from East Germany via a handmade hot air balloon in 1979.

• A perfect picture book for educators teaching about the Cold War, the Iron Curtain, and East Germany
Flight for Freedom is a showcase for lessons of bravery, heroism, family, and perseverance, as well as stunning history.
• Includes detailed maps of the Wetzel family’s escape route and diagrams of their hot air balloon

For fans of historical nonfiction picture books like Let the Children March, The Wall, Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon.

• True life escape stories
• For picture book readers age 5–9
• For teachers, librarians, and historians

Kristen Fulton is a children’s book author. She can always be found with a notebook in hand as she ventures through historical sites and museums. Most of the time she lives in Florida—but she can also be found traveling the country by RV.

Torben Kuhlmann is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. Starting in kindergarten he became known as “the draftsman.” Flying machines and rich historical detail often adorn his work. He lives in Hamburg, Germany.

Emily Writes
Written by Jane Yolen & illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An imagined and evocative picture book account of Emily Dickinson’s childhood poetic beginnings. As a young girl, Emily Dickinson loved to scribble curlicues and circles, imagine new rhymes, and connect with the natural world around her. The sounds, sights, and smells of home swirled through her mind, and Emily began to explore writing and rhyming her thoughts and impressions. She things about the real and the unreal. Perhaps poems are the in-between. This thoughtful spotlight on Emily’s early experimentations with poetry offers a unique window into one of the world’s most famous and influential poets. Christy Ottaviano Books

The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter
Written by Diane Magras
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The companion to a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Kids’ Indie Next List Pick—a heart-pounding adventure starring a strong heroine who will protect the people she loves at all costs—perfect for reading aloud with the whole family In this Scottish medieval adventure, after rescuing her war-band family and the wounded Lord Emerick from Faintree Castle, Drest learns that Emerick’s traitorous uncle has claimed the castle for his own and convinced the knights that Emerick has been slain . . . at her hand. Now with a hefty price on her head, Drest must find a way to escape treacherous knights and take back the castle for Emerick, all the while proving to her father, the “Mad Wolf of the North,” and her irrepressible band of brothers that she is destined for more than a life of running and hiding. Even if that means redefining what it means to be a warrior.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Orange for the Sunsets - From debut author Tina Athaide comes a soaring tale of empathy, hope, and resilience, as two best friends living under Ugandan President Amin’s divisive rule must examine where—and who—they call home. Perfect for fans of Half from the East and Inside Out and Back Again. Asha and her best friend, Yesofu, never cared about the differences between them: Indian. African. Girl. Boy. Short. Tall. But when Idi Amin announces that Indians have ninety days to leave the country, suddenly those differences are the only things that people in Entebbe can see—not the shared after-school samosas or Asha cheering for Yesofu at every cricket game. Determined for her life to stay the same, Asha clings to her world tighter than ever before. But Yesofu is torn, pulled between his friends, his family, and a promise of a better future. Now as neighbors leave and soldiers line the streets, the two friends find that nothing seems sure—not even their friendship. Tensions between Indians and Africans intensify and the deadline to leave is fast approaching. Could the bravest thing of all be to let each other go?

  2. Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh - In this fourth book in the series, Theodosia sets off to Egypt to return the Emerald Tablet—embedded with the knowledge of some of the ancient world’s most guarded secrets. Accompanied by her cat, Isis (smuggled along in a basket), Theo plans to return the artifact, then explore the mysteries surrounding her own birth and oh, yes— help her mother dig up treasures on her archeological expedition. But nothing ever works out as planned, especially when a precious treasure appears suddenly, and then just as suddenly disappears . . . When the Serpents of Chaos get involved, Theo finds she’s digging up a lot more than she expected!

  3. Firestorm! - Twelve-year-old Poppy is an orphan living in a bad neighborhood in Chicago, pick pocketing so that she has a place to sleep at night. Justin’s world couldn’t be more different—his father owns a jewelry store—but when he and Poppy meet, they become fast friends, thanks in part to Justin’s sweet pet goat. Through their friendship, Poppy realizes that she doesn’t want to be a thief anymore and she begins to feel like she may have a place with Justin’s family. But when Justin makes an expensive mistake at his father’s store, Poppy is immediately blamed. In response, she flees . . . right into the Great Chicago Fire. Poppy and Justin must rely on their instincts if they are going to survive the catastrophe. Will anything be left when the fire finally burns out?

  4. The Night Diary - Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.

Want to see books about history?

Books About Family Life and Multicultural

Sam the Man & The Chicken Plan
Written by Frances O’Roark Dowell & illustrated by Amy June Bates
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Sam the Man wants to earn some money and he’s got a cluck-worthy plan in this endearing chapter book that’s the first in a new series from Frances O’Roark Dowell.

Sam the Man needs a job. Even his sister gets twenty bucks a pop for mowing people’s lawns! But seven-year-olds aren’t allowed to mow lawns, so Sam decides to ask his next door neighbor if she needs help doing other chores. It turns out she’ll pay him a whole dollar each time he can convince her dad, Mr. Stockfish, to join him for a walk. But it turns out that getting Mr. Stockfish to leave the living room isn’t easy. AND a dollar a pop isn’t going to cut it.

So when Mrs. Kerner, another neighbor, asks if Sam would like to watch her chickens, Sam jumps on the task. You can count on him, yes indeed. Watching chickens is more fun than he expects, and comes with an added bonus: it turns out that visiting the chickens is the one thing that can coax Mr. Stockfish out of the house! But what does a seven-year-old do with all the money he’s earning? It’s too little for a bike, and too much for candy. But wait! It’s just enough for a chicken of his own—the kind that lays BLUE eggs! Soon he has a whole waiting list of kids who want to buy a blue egg. And what does Sam plan on doing with his new fortune? Buy Mr. Stockfish his own chicken, of course!

Ohana Means Family
Written by Ilima Loomis & illustrated by Kenard Pak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

**Join the family, or ohana, as they farm taro for poi to prepare for a traditional luau celebration with a poetic text in the style of The House That Jack Built**.**

“This is the land that’s never been sold, where work the hands, so wise and old, that reach through the water, clear and cold, into the mud to pick the taro to make the poi for our ohana’s luau.”

Acclaimed illustrator and animator Kenard Pak’s light-filled, dramatic illustrations pair exquisitely with Ilima Loomis’ text to celebrate Hawaiian land and culture.

The backmatter includes a glossary of Hawaiian terms used, as well as an author’s note.

Love
Written by Matt De La Pena & illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “[A] poetic reckoning of the importance of love in a child’s life . . . eloquent and moving.”—People “Everything that can be called love — from shared joy to comfort in the darkness — is gathered in the pages of this reassuring, refreshingly honest picture book.”—The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice / Staff Picks From the Book Review “Lyrical and sensitive, ‘Love’ is the sort of book likely to leave readers of all ages a little tremulous, and brimming with feeling.”—The Wall Street Journal From Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long comes a story about the strongest bond there is and the diverse and powerful ways it connects us all. “In the beginning there is light and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed and the sound of their voices is love. … A cab driver plays love softly on his radio while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city and everything smells new, and it smells like life.” In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Love Kisses - I love kisses. I’ll bet that you do too! Wake up sleepyhead kisses Raspberry jam and bread kisses… There are lots of kinds of kisses in the world, and they all say something different. Award-winning author Sheryl McFarlane’s new book celebrates the best part about kisses; while each one is unique, they all say “I love you!”

  2. Sam the Man & the Secret Detective Club Plan - Sam Graham is a mystery man. But when there are no mysteries to solve, Sam comes up with a plan to find one in this hilarious fourth chapter book in the Sam the Man series from Frances O’Roark Dowell. Sam Graham loves solving mysteries. After successfully solving the mystery of Annabelle’s lost sock, Sam decides to make mystery-solving his main hobby (after tending the chickens, of course). He recruits his best friend Gavin and a couple of their classmates for a detective club, and together they’re ready for any mystery that comes their way. There’s a problem though…there are no cases to solve! So, Sam comes up with a plan: They’ll take the most interesting things in the lost and found and try to find out who lost what. But who could a locked box, a very long stuffed snake, and a red jacket belong to? And how will Sam and his friends find them? And…why does that jacket smell so bad?!?

  3. Cody and the Heart of a Champion - In Cody’s life, some people keep her on her toes—just like Mother Nature, who is warm one day and snowy the next. Or like Cody’s brother, Wyatt, who has started wearing collared shirts because his girlfriend likes them. Meanwhile, Pearl has begun playing soccer and it’s all she can talk about. Spencer is busy creating a mysterious museum underneath GG’s house and he’s never around to play. And Spencer’s mom doesn’t look any different. . . . Could she really have a baby growing inside her? Maybe the baby is like Cody’s beloved ants, waiting patiently inside the earth for spring to arrive. It seems like everything around Cody is changing—from seasons to friendships—but if she can just navigate it all with her trademark enthusiasm and charm, maybe the most important things will stay the same.

Books About Family Life and Imagination And Play

Your Alien
Written by Tammi Sauer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

One day, you’ll be looking out your window when something wonderful comes your way… and you will want to keep him.

When a little boy meets a stranded alien child, the two instantly strike up a fabulous friendship. They go to school, explore the neighborhood, and have lots of fun. But at bedtime, the alien suddenly grows very, very sad. Can the boy figure out what his new buddy needs most of all? This funny, heartwarming story proves that friends and family are the most important things in the universe . . . no matter who or where you are.

An NPR Best Book of 2015

Imagination Vacation
Written & illustrated by Jami Gigot
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Sam has a very busy family. Mom works late, Dad’s projects pile up. Even Sam’s younger sister Marla is always doing something. Everyone in Sam’s family has their own idea of what the perfect vacation would look like. But there’s one thing they all agree on: they just can’t get away right now. So Sam comes up with a different kind of getaway. With a little planning, a few supplies, and a touch of creativity, she finds that her family’s dream vacation wasn’t so far away after all.

Polly Diamond and the Magic Book
Written by Alice Kuipers & illustrated by Diana Toledano
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Polly loves words. And she loves writing stories. So when a magic book appears on her doorstep that can make everything she writes happen in real life, Polly is certain all of her dreams are about to come true. But she soon learns that what you write and what you mean are not always the same thing! Funny and touching, this new chapter book series will entertain readers and inspire budding writers.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Martha Doesn't Share - Martha has officially mastered apologizing. Unfortunately, she still has a lot to work on when it comes to sharing. And while she doesn’t learn to love it, she does discover that having her toys to herself means having to play with them all by herself, too. Not so fun! This hilarious follow-up to Martha doesn’t say sorry! shows readers that sharing isn’t all that bad when you take it one (small) toy at a time—like Martha does. It gets easier every day. Well, almost every day.

  2. Dory and the Real True Friend - The star of Dory Fantasmagory is heading to school. Her older siblings, Luke and Violet, warn her to leave her imaginary friend, Mary, at home—or better yet, leave her whole imagination at home! But on her very first day she meets a new friend, a girl whose imagination and style are just about as wild as her own. Now she just has to convince her siblings that she’s not making it all up!

  3. Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy - In this heartwarming sequel to Laurel Snyder’s children story book, Charlie & Mouse, the two brothers enjoy a special visit from their grandpa, Grumpy. Follow along as they discuss being medium, pounce each other, sing the wrong songs, build blanket forts, and more. Paired with effervescent illustrations by Emily Hughes, this touching, funny children’s book is a celebration of imagination and bonding will enchant young readers.

  4. Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy - Four hilarious stories, two inventive brothers, one irresistible beginning chapter book—now in paperback! In this heartwarming follow-up to Laurel Snyder’s award-winning Charlie & Mouse, the two brothers enjoy a special visit from their grandpa, Grumpy. Follow along as they discuss being medium, pounce each other, sing the wrong songs, build blanket forts, and more. Paired with effervescent illustrations by Emily Hughes, this touching, funny celebration of imagination and bonding will enchant readers young and old.

Books About Family Life and African Americans

Going Down Home with Daddy
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons & illustrated by Daniel Minter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“On reunion morning, we rise before the sun. Daddy hums as he packs our car with suitcases and a cooler full of snacks. He says there’s nothing like going down home.” Down home is Granny’s house. Down home is where Lil’ Alan and his parents and sister will join great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Down home is where Lil’ Alan will hear stories of the ancestors and visit the land that has meant so much to all of them. And down home is where all of the children will find their special way to pay tribute to family history. All the kids have to decide on what tribute to share, but what will Lil’ Alan do? In this rich and moving celebration of history, culture, and ritual, Kelly Starling Lyons’ eloquent text explores the power of family traditions. Stunning illustrations by Coretta Scott King Honor-winner Daniel Minter reveal the motion and connections in a large, multigenerational family.

The Bell Rang
Written & illustrated by James E. Ransome
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019

A young slave girl witnesses the heartbreak and hopefulness of her family and their plantation community when her brother escapes for freedom in this brilliantly conceived picture book by Coretta Scott King Award winner James E. Ransome.

Every single morning, the overseer of the plantation rings the bell. Daddy gathers wood. Mama cooks. Ben and the other slaves go out to work. Each day is the same. Full of grueling work and sweltering heat. Every day, except one, when the bell rings and Ben is nowhere to be found. Because Ben ran. Yet, despite their fear and sadness, his family remains hopeful that maybe, just maybe, he made it North. That he is free.

An ode to hope and a powerful tribute to the courage of those who ran for freedom, The Bell Rang is a stunning reminder that our past can never be forgotten.

Hands Up!
Written by Breanna J McDaniel & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This triumphant picture book recasts a charged phrase as part of a black girl’s everyday life–hands up for a hug, hands up in class, hands up for a high five–before culminating in a moment of resistance at a protest march. A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane’s wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength

Honorable Mentions
  1. All the Way to Havana - A boy helps his father keep their very old car running as they make a trip to Havana for his newborn cousin’s zero-year birthday. Includes author’s note about cars in Cuba.

  2. Early Sunday Morning - In this heartwarming story of love and family, a community comes together to help a young girl find the courage to lift her mighty voice. Sundays are June’s favorite days because she gets to spend it with Mommy, Daddy, and her brother, Troy. Next Sunday is more special than most, because she will be leading the youth choir in front of her entire church. June loves to sing. She sings loud, silly songs with Daddy, she sings to herself in front of the bedroom mirror, but performing in front of the entire congregation is another thing altogether. As her special moment approaches, June leans on the support of her whole community to conquer her fear of singing in front of the congregation.

  3. Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere - Armani Curtis can think about only one thing: her tenth birthday. All her friends are coming to her party, her mama is making a big cake, and she has a good feeling about a certain wrapped box. Turning ten is a big deal to Armani. It means she’s older, wiser, more responsible. But when Hurricane Katrina hits the Lower Nines of New Orleans, Armani realizes that being ten means being brave, watching loved ones die, and mustering all her strength to help her family weather the storm. A powerful story of courage and survival, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere celebrates the miraculous power of hope and love in the face of the unthinkable.

  4. Keeping the Night Watch - So many unanswered questions weigh down thirteen-year-old C.J. as he struggles to understand why his father walked out. His father is back now, though C.J. is not as quick to forgive as the other members of his family. He still feels the weight of responsibility that fell on his shoulders when Daddy was gone, and he’s not prepared to give that up. But C.J.’s anger is making him a stranger in his own home, and instead of life seeming better now that Daddy has returned, it feels worse. Through powerful poems, Hope Anita Smith chronicles the nuanced emotions of a family that is slowly learning to heal and put the pieces back together. Keeping the Night Watch is a 2009 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book and a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year.

Books About Family Life and Cooking And Food

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake
Written by Michael Kaplan & illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

From her first bite, young Betty Bunny likes chocolate cake so much that she claims she will marry it one day, and she has trouble learning to wait patiently until she can have her next taste.

Sharing the Bread
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller & illustrated by Jill McElmurry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Celebrate food and family with this heartwarming Thanksgiving picture book. “We will share the risen bread. / Our made-with-love Thanksgiving spread. / Grateful to be warm and fed. / We will share the bread.” In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do. Told in spare, rhythmic verse and lively illustrations, Sharing the Bread is a perfect read-aloud to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition.

“A warm and wonderful holiday treasure.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred

“A paean to the pleasures of Thanksgiving, with rhymes so musical readers may just burst into song.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A delightful holiday book that shows the heartwarming tradition of food and family.” —Booklist

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
Written by Kevin Noble Maillard & illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Told in lively and powerful verse by debut author Kevin Noble Maillard, Fry Bread is an evocative depiction of a modern Native American family, vibrantly illustrated by Pura Belpre Award winner and Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal.

Fry bread is food. It is warm and delicious, piled high on a plate.

Fry bread is time. It brings families together for meals and new memories.

Fry bread is nation. It is shared by many, from coast to coast and beyond.

Fry bread is us. It is a celebration of old and new, traditional and modern, similarity and difference.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Grandma's Tiny House - This sweet, rhyming counting book introduces young readers to numbers one through fifteen as Grandma’s family and friends fill her tiny house on Brown Street. Neighbors, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandkids crowd into the house and pile it high with treats for a family feast. But when the walls begin to bulge and no-body has space enough to eat, one clever grandchild knows exactly what to do. Where there’s a will there’s a way when families grow and come together.

  2. Grandpa Cacao - This beautifully illustrated story connects past and present as a girl bakes a chocolate cake with her father and learns about her grandfather harvesting cacao beans in West Africa. Chocolate is the perfect treat, everywhere! As a little girl and her father bake her birthday cake together, Daddy tells the story of her Grandpa Cacao, a farmer from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In a land where elephants roam and the air is hot and damp, Grandpa Cacao worked in his village to harvest cacao, the most important ingredient in chocolate. “Chocolate is a gift to you from Grandpa Cacao,” Daddy says. “We can only enjoy chocolate treats thanks to farmers like him.” Once the cake is baked, it’s ready to eat, but this isn’t her only birthday present. There’s a special surprise waiting at the front door . . .

  3. Yasmin the Chef - Yasmin’s family is hosting a big party, but Yasmin is worried that the traditional food her family is cooking is too spicy—so her family challenges Yasmin to come up with a dish of her own.

  4. All Four Stars - A zesty new series for fans of MasterChef Jr. and Kids Cook-off! It’s “lights, camera, cook!” for four tween contestants—energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver—who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition. What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on and off camera? Which junior chef will have the grit—and maybe the grits—to make it through each elimination challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?

Books About Family Life and Moms

Mama Seeton's Whistle
Written by Jerry Spinelli & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Without even thinking about it,Mama Seeton puckered her lips and whistled.It was not a loud whistle.Or a fancy whistle. Just a simple two-note whistle. When Mama Seeton whistles, her children run home for chocolate cake, hugs, kisses, and shared memories. But as time passes, they travel farther and farther away from the familiar sound. Can mama’s whistle be heard all over the world, and bring her children home one more time? Newbery Award-winning author Jerry Spinelli’s sweet lyrical text and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham’s charming illustrations show the timeless love between a mother and her children.

Piggybook
Written by Anthony Browne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Illus. in full color. “Mr. Piggott and his sons are a male chauvinist lot who, outside of yelling for their dinner, don’t exercise themselves much around the house. When Mrs. Piggott finally tires of the endless chores that sandwich her workday, she leaves the menfolk on their own, with a note saying, ‘You are pigs.’ With the cooking and housework untended, they soon turn genuinely porcine, a transformation Browne foreshadows with pig faces on the wallpaper, vases, fireplace, phone. As in most of Browne’s art, there is more than a touch of irony and visual humor here. Fun to read aloud.”—Bulletin, Center for Children’s Books.

Five Minutes' Peace
Written & illustrated by Jill Murphy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

All Mrs. Large wants is five minutes’ peace from her energetic children, but chaos follows her all the way from the kitchen to the bath and back again.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Charlie & Mouse Even Better - In this heartwarming follow-up to Laurel Snyder’s awardwinning beginning chapter book Charlie & Mouse, the two brothers prepare to celebrate one very special birthday: their mom’s! Follow along as they choose the best pancakes, hunt for presents, decorate with snakes, and more. Things don’t go exactly as planned . . . but with plenty of humor and heart, Charlie and Mouse prove that sometimes when things aren’t perfect, what they turn out to be is even better.

  2. Gone Crazy in Alabama - Coretta Scott King Award winner ALA Notable Book School Library Journal Best Book of the Year Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year Washington Post Best Books of the Year The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book Three starred reviews CCBC Choice New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing * Amazon Best Book of the Year The Coretta Scott King Award–winning Gone Crazy in Alabama by Newbery Honor and New York Times bestselling author Rita Williams-Garcia tells the story of the Gaither sisters as they travel from the streets of Brooklyn to the rural South for the summer of a lifetime. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother Big Ma and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles’s half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven’t spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible. Powerful and humorous, this companion to the award-winning One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven will be enjoyed by fans of the first two books, as well as by readers meeting these memorable sisters for the first time.

Want to see books about moms?

Books About Family Life and New Experiences

One Time
Written by Sharon Creech
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Imaginative, eleven-year-old Gina, her mysterious new neighbor, Antonio, and their classmates are inspired by an unusual young teacher to see who they are and envision who they are meant to become.

Sunrise Summer
Written by Matthew Swanson & illustrated by Robbi Behr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Sunrise Summer is a picture book by writer Matthew Swanson and illustrator Robbi Behr that celebrates self-confidence and empowerment, as a girl’s role changes in her family’s fishing expeditions.

When a girl and her family travel four thousand miles from home, it’s not your typical summer vacation. Everything is different on the Alaskan tundra―where the grizzly bears roam and the sockeye salmon swim―including the rules. A girl can do things she wouldn’t, and couldn’t, do at home.

She can wake up at midnight to work with her mom on a fishing crew. She can learn what it means to be an essential part of a team. She can become a braver, stronger, and ever-more capable version of herself. She can take her next big step.

She’s ready for her first real sunrise.

An Imprint Book

Some Places More Than Others
Written & illustrated by Renee Watson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

All Amara wants for her birthday is to visit her father’s family in New York City—Harlem, to be exact. She can’t wait to finally meet her Grandpa Earl and cousins in person, and to stay in the brownstone where her father grew up. Maybe this will help her understand her family—and herself—in new way.

But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It’s crowded, with confusing subways, suffocating sidewalks, and her father is too busy with work to spend time with her and too angry to spend time with Grandpa Earl. As she explores, asks questions, and learns more and more about Harlem and about her father and his family history, she realizes how, in some ways more than others, she connects with him, her home, and her family.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Audition - Bunheads meets The Kicks in this first novel in a brand-new middle grade trilogy from New York Times bestselling author, dancer, model, and actress Maddie Ziegler! Twelve-year-old Harper has been dancing practically since she could walk. She loves her dance studio and team, and just won her first ever top junior solo in a regional competition. But right before the school year starts, Harper’s parents drop a bombshell—the family has to relocate from their cozy town in Connecticut to sunny Florida for their jobs. That means goodbye to her friends, dance team, trips to see shows in NYC—and did she mention dance team? When she arrives at her new dance school and new team, it feels like everyone has better feet, quicker turns and faster taps than Harper. And it doesn’t help that a group of girls, who nicknamed themselves The Bunheads, wonder how the heck she made the team if she can’t even do a simple turn sequence in front of the class. Thankfully, Harper befriends Lily, a fellow newbie in the studio who is just as eager to make her mark and find a friendly face. With a big competition coming up for the dance team, Harper is determined to show everyone—especially those Bunheads—what she’s made of. And when a very badly timed injury threatens all of the work they have done, The Bunheads, Lily, and Harper must learn to truly work together to give them their best shot at the top spot!

  2. Spirit Riding Free: The Adventure Begins - Twelve-year-old Lucky Prescott craves adventure, but as a young lady of society she’s only been allowed to experience adventure through books. That is, until one fateful day when Lucky, her father, and her aunt leave their neat-and-tidy city life and travel to their new home out west-the Wild West. At first Lucky is excited, but during the long train ride to her new hometown of Miradero, she begins to worry. What if she doesn’t make any new friends? Everyone in the West rides horses, but she’s never been allowed to even sit on one. How can she possibly fit in? Anxious about the future, Lucky looks out the train window and sees a majestic wild stallion. When their eyes meet, she senses a connection. But when the stallion is caught by wranglers, Lucky’s heart breaks. And when she next sees the stallion, he’s tied to a post, refusing to be “broken in.” Spirit Riding Free: The Adventure Begins is the story of a girl and a wild horse, equally out of place in a strange, new world, but equally fierce and brave. With each other to lean on, will these two free spirits be able to find a home together? DreamWorks Spirit Riding Free © 2017 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.

  3. Star-Crossed - Twelve-year-old Mattie wrestles with her crush on Gemma as they participate in their school production of Romeo and Juliet in what School Library Journal calls “a fine choice for middle school libraries in need of an accessible LGBTQ stories.” Twelve-year-old Mattie is thrilled when she learns the eighth grade play will be Romeo and Juliet. In particular, she can’t wait to share the stage with Gemma Braithwaite, who has been cast as Juliet. Gemma is brilliant, pretty—and British!—and Mattie starts to see her as more than just a friend. But Mattie has also had an on/off crush on her classmate Elijah since, well, forever. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things offstage are beginning to resemble their own Shakespearean drama: the cast is fighting, and the boy playing Romeo may not be up to the challenge of the role. And due to a last-minute emergency, Mattie is asked to step up and take over the leading role—opposite Gemma’s Juliet—just as Mattie’s secret crush starts to become not-so-secret in her group of friends. In this funny, sweet, and clever look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to become a lead player in her own life.

  4. Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split - Anna has two favorite things: her best friend, Sadie, and her dog, Banana. She can’t wait to celebrate her birthday with both of them. But Anna’s birthday party turns into a birthday disaster when Sadie starts a terrible fight that Anna never saw coming. Anna doesn’t know why her best friend is suddenly acting like her worst enemy, but she knows she’d do anything to fix it. She and Banana just need to come up with a plan. Only, what if Sadie doesn’t want their friendship to be fixed?

Books About Family Life and Asian Americans

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Written by Kat Zhang & illustrated by Charlene Chua
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet the funny, fierce, and fearless Amy Wu, who is determined to make a perfect bao bun today. Can she rise to the occasion?

Amy loves to make bao with her family. But it takes skill to make the bao taste and look delicious. And her bao keep coming out all wrong.

Then she has an idea that may give her a second chance…Will Amy ever make the perfect bao?

Bounce Back
Written by Hena Khan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the third book in an exciting chapter book series about a scrawny fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom. Zayd has a plan. He’s ready to take the reins as team captain of the Gold Team. But when an injury leaves him on the sidelines, his plans get derailed. Can Zayd learn what it means to be a leader if he’s not the one calling the shots?

Jasmine Toguchi, Flamingo Keeper
Written by Debbi Michiko Florence & illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Book four in this charming chapter book series, starring a spunky Japanese- American heroine. Jasmine’s best friend, Linnie, has just gotten a puppy. And now Jasmine wants a pet of her own—a flamingo! So when her grandmother sends Jasmine a daruma doll as a surprise gift, Jasmine colors in one doll eye and wishes for a flamingo to keep. Next, Jasmine tries to convince her parents that she’s responsible enough for a pet. She cleans her room, brushes her teeth, takes out the trash, and, most importantly, researches everything she can about flamingos. But soon it becomes clear that her wish may never come true! Will Jasmine’s daruma doll ever get its second eye? Luckily her big sister, Sophie, has a surprise planned that fulfills Jasmine’s wish beyond her wildest dreams. Debbi Michiko Florence is at her best in this sweet, special story of sisterhood and new responsibilities!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth - The second heartfelt story of friendship and sisterhood in this charming new chapter book series, starring a Japanese-American girl! It’s a big weekend for Jasmine Toguchi! She’s excited to celebrate Girl’s Day—a Japanese holiday honoring women and girls—with her sister, mother, and best friend, Linnie. On Friday after school, Linnie comes over to plan their outfits for the Girl’s Day celebrations. And Jasmine’s neighbor, Mrs. Reese, lets them search through her old clothes for the perfect accessories. But the clothes are in her dark garage, which is kind of scary. And Linnie decides to go home early, which is kind of weird. And Jasmine’s big sister, Sophie, doesn’t seem to want to join in the Girl’s Day fun this year, which is kind of confusing. WHAT is going on? As her big weekend plans start to unravel, Jasmine must use her sleuthing skills to spot the clues around her—and within herself. Then maybe, just maybe, she can put everything back in order before Girl’s Day is over!

  2. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is a Classic - Priscilla Cilla Lee-Jenkins has just finished her (future) bestselling memoir, and now she s ready to write a Classic. This one promises to have everything: Romance, Adventure, and plenty of Drama like Cilla s struggles to be more Chinese, be the perfect flower girl at Aunt Eva s wedding, and learn how to share her best friend.

  3. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire - Cilla Lee-Jenkins is 50% Chinese, 50% Caucasian, and 100% destined for literary greatness! Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best—herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir include: - How she dealt with being bald until she was five - How she overcame her struggles with reading - How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

  4. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire - Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins is on a tight deadline. Her baby sister is about to be born, and Cilla needs to become a bestselling author before her family forgets all about her. So she writes about what she knows best―herself! Stories from her bestselling memoir, Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire, include:

    • How she dealt with being bald until she was five
    • How she overcame her struggles with reading
    • How family traditions with her Grandma and Grandpa Jenkins and her Chinese grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, are so different
    Debut author Susan Tan has written a novel bursting with love and humor, as told through a bright, irresistible biracial protagonist who will win your heart and make you laugh.

Books About Family Life and Christmas

The Broken Ornament
Written & illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When a beloved ornament breaks, will it ruin the holidays or save them? New York Times bestselling author and Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi offers a brand-new Christmas story that is sure to be a holiday classic. Jack wants this to be the best Christmas ever, and he knows just how to make it happen… More! More lights, more presents, more cookies, more treats. More. More. More! So, when Jack breaks a dusty old ornament, he’s not sure why his mom is so upset. They can always get more ornaments, so what’s the big deal? Turns out the ornament was an heirloom, precious for more reasons than one. And Jack has a lot to learn about the true meaning Christmas. A fairy emerges from the shattered ornament. She has the power to make the most magical Christmasy things happen. Suddenly trees are sprouting, reindeer are flying, and snowmen are snowball fighting. All of it is so perfect, or it would be if she could fix Mom’s ornament. But she can’t. So it’s up to Jack to make some Christmas magic of his own.

Peter Powers and the Sinister Snowman Showdown
Written by Brandon T Snider and Kent Clark & illustrated by Dave Bardin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Everyone in Peter Powers’s family has super awesome superpowers—except Peter. All he can do is make ice cubes and freeze stuff. But it’s his favorite time of year, so who cares?! There’s nothing like the holidays to put people in a good mood! But after Mr. Powers vanishes without a trace, other things in Boulder City start to disappear too. Now, it’s up to Peter and his best friends, Chloe and Sandro, to search out who has a sinister heart of ice. Can the trio face the army of snowmen alone, or will the holidays be ruined for everyone? This title is the fifth chapter book in a new series of exciting stories about a young boy who has some rather crummy superpowers. Each story is full of humor, action, and fun, but the charm can be found in the heartfelt message about the power of family, friends, and having confidence

A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A gorgeous and festive collection of Christmas stories from the prairie!

Celebrate the season with holiday tales from the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the beloved Little House series. Featuring Garth Williams’ classic artwork in vibrant full color!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Daddy Christmas & Hannukah Mama - A delightful holiday offering no matter what you celebrate in December! I am a mix of two traditions. From Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama. How lucky am I? Holiday time at Sadie’s house means golden gelt sparkling under the Christmas tree, candy canes hanging on eight menorah branches, voices uniting to sing carols about Macabees and the manger, and latkes on the mantel awaiting Santa’s arrival. Selina Alko’s joyous celebration of blended families will make the perfect holiday gift for the many Americans who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.

  2. Christmas in the Big Woods - A beautiful full-color hardcover picture book introduction to the beloved Little House series, perfect for younger readers.Christmas has come to the Big Woods of Wisconsin! Laura and her family are excited to celebrate. When Laura’s cousins, aunt, and uncle arrive, they spend their time together eating sweets, playing in the snow, and reading. Their holiday celebrations are full of simple joys.The warm paintings by Renée Graef are inspired by Garth Williams’ classic illustrations and lovingly bring the Ingalls family to life.

Want to see books about Christmas?

Books About Family Life and Coming Of Age

Replay
Written by Sharon Creech
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Leo’s papa stood in the doorway, gazing down at him. “Leo, you make gold from pebbles,” and the way he said it, Leo could tell that this was a good thing. He may have been given a bit part in the school play … but Leo dreams he is the biggest star on Broadway. Sure, his big, noisy family makes him feel like a sardine squashed in a tin … but in his fantasy he gets all the attention he wants. Yes, his papa seems sad and distracted … but Leo imagines him as a boy, tap-dancing and singing with delight. That’s why they call Leo “fog boy.” He’s always dreaming, always replaying things in his brain. He fantasizes about who he is in order to discover who he will become. As an actor in the school play, he is poised and ready for the curtain to open. But in the play that is his life, Leo is eager to discover what part will be his.

House of Robots: Robot Revolution
Written by Chris Grabenstein and James Patterson & illustrated by Juliana Neufeld
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Robots on strike! Sammy’s underappreciated mechanical helpers are causing chaos in book 3 of the bestselling House of Robots series. After a few early glitches in their relationship, Sammy and his “bro-bot” E are now fast friends. In fact, E is such a valued member of the family that the other electronic occupants of the House of Robots are feeling sorely unappreciated. And when Sammy’s inventor mom becomes distracted by a top-secret project, the robots soon begin to fall into disrepair. Cue a robot revolt, with the droids wreaking harmless havoc in the house! Armed with pranks like glue in the shampoo bottles and flying toast missiles, the robots demand to be cared for. It’s up to Sammy and his disabled sister Maddie to keep the peace until his mom reveals her secret project…and why it was worth the wait.

Drum Roll, Please
Written by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat in this big-hearted middle grade novel. Not to be missed by fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Drama and Tim Federle’s Better Nate Than Ever! Melly only joined the school band because her best friend, Olivia, begged her to. But to her surprise, quiet Melly loves playing the drums. It’s the only time she doesn’t feel like a mouse. Now she and Olivia are about to spend the next two weeks at Camp Rockaway, jamming under the stars in the Michigan woods. But this summer brings a lot of big changes for Melly: her parents split up, her best friend ditches her, and Melly finds herself unexpectedly falling for another girl at camp. To top it all off, Melly’s not sure she has what it takes to be a real rock n’ roll drummer. Will she be able to make music from all the noise in her heart? Ami Polonsky, acclaimed author of Gracefully Grayson, raved, “Drum Roll, Please is a perfect middle-grade love story. Bigelow delivers a mighty message to turn up the volume on your inner drumbeat.”

Honorable Mentions
  1. Beverly, Right Here - Revisiting once again the world of Raymie Nightingale, two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo turns her focus to the tough-talking, inescapably tenderhearted Beverly. Beverly put her foot down on the gas. They went faster still.
    This was what Beverly wanted — what she always wanted. To get away. To get away as fast as she could. To stay away.
    Beverly Tapinski has run away from home plenty of times, but that was when she was just a kid. By now, she figures, it’s not running away. It’s leaving. Determined to make it on her own, Beverly finds a job and a place to live and tries to forget about her dog, Buddy, now buried underneath the orange trees back home; her friend Raymie, whom she left without a word; and her mom, Rhonda, who has never cared about anyone but herself. Beverly doesn’t want to depend on anyone, and she definitely doesn’t want anyone to depend on her. But despite her best efforts, she can’t help forming connections with the people around her — and gradually, she learns to see herself through their eyes. In a touching, funny, and fearless conclusion to her sequence of novels about the beloved Three Rancheros, #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo tells the story of a character who will break your heart and put it back together again.

  2. The Summer I Saved the World...in 65 Days - One summer. One girl. One plan. Inspired by her late grandmother, Nina Ross sets out to do 65 anonymous good things for her family and neighbors, one for each day of summer vacation, to find out if doing good actually does any good. But things don’t turn out exactly as she envisioned.

Books About Family Life and Middle School

The Places We Sleep
Written & illustrated by Caroline DuBois
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A family divided, a country going to war, and a girl desperate to feel at home converge in this stunning novel in verse.

It’s early September 2001, and twelve-year-old Abbey is the new kid at school. Again.

I worry about people speaking to me / and worry just the same / when they don’t.

Tennessee is her family’s latest stop in a series of moves due to her dad’s work in the Army, but this one might be different. Her school is far from Base, and for the first time, Abbey has found a real friend: loyal, courageous, athletic Camille.

And then it’s September 11. The country is under attack, and Abbey’s “home” looks like it might fall apart. America has changed overnight.

How are we supposed / to keep this up / with the world / crumbling / around us?

Abbey’s body changes, too, while her classmates argue and her family falters. Like everyone around her, she tries to make sense of her own experience as a part of the country’s collective pain. With her mother grieving and her father prepping for active duty, Abbey must learn to cope on her own.

Written in gorgeous narrative verse, Abbey’s coming-of-age story accessibly portrays the military family experience during a tumultuous period in our history. At once personal and universal, it’s a perfect read for fans of sensitive, tender-hearted books like The Thing About Jellyfish.

Choosing Sides
Written by Alex Morgan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From FIFA World Cup Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and bestselling author Alex Morgan comes the ninth book in an empowering and fun-filled middle grade series that inspired the Amazon original series, The Kicks! After an easy win against the Roses, Devin is reminded of how the Kicks were playing when she first joined and how far they have come since then. Devin runs into Sasha, a summer league teammate of hers, who confides that the Roses’ coach doesn’t seem to care that they’re losing and asks Devin for help. She invites the Roses to a weekend soccer clinic that the Kicks are going to. But when the eighth graders find out that Devin is helping another team in their league, they are not pleased and accuse Devin of helping the competition—especially when the Roses begin to win. Meanwhile, Zoe and Emma haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye, and their friendship seems to be in trouble, putting Devin and Jessi in the middle of their fights. When they begin to disrupt the Kicks’ practices, Devon knows she has to do something. Can Devin prove to her team and her friends that she’s not playing favorites or choosing sides?

The Last Straw
Written & illustrated by Jeff Kinney
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Let’s face it: Greg Heffley will never change his wimpy ways. Somebody just needs to explain that to Greg’s father. You see, Frank Heffley actually thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other “manly” endeavors. Of course, Greg is able to easily sidestep his father’s efforts to change him. But when Greg’s dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to shape up . . . or get shipped out.

Greg and his family and friends, who make the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books a must-read for middle school readers, are back and at their best in this hilarious new installment of the series, which is sure to please current fans while attracting new ones.

This highly anticipated third book in the critically acclaimed and bestselling series takes the art of being wimpy to a whole new level.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Rodrick Rules - Whatever you do, don’t ask Greg Heffley how he spent his summer vacation, because he definitely doesn’t want to talk about it. As Greg enters the new school year, he’s eager to put the past three months behind him . . . and one event in particular. Unfortunately for Greg, his older brother, Rodrick, knows all about the incident Greg wants to keep under wraps. But secrets have a way of getting out . . . especially when a diary is involved. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules chronicles Greg’s attempts to navigate the hazards of middle school, impress the girls, steer clear of the school talent show, and most important, keep his secret safe. The highly anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling book!

  2. The Size of the Truth - A boy who spent three days trapped in a well tries to overcome his PTSD and claustrophobia so he can fulfill his dream of becoming a famous chef in Andrew Smith’s first middle grade novel. When he was four years old, Sam Abernathy was trapped at the bottom of a well for three days, where he was teased by a smart-aleck armadillo named Bartleby. Since then, his parents plan every move he makes. But Sam doesn’t like their plans. He doesn’t want to go to MIT. And he doesn’t want to skip two grades, being stuck in the eighth grade as an eleven-year-old with James Jenkins, the boy he’s sure pushed him into the well in the first place. He wants to be a chef. And he’s going to start by entering the first annual Blue Creek Days Colonel Jenkins Macaroni and Cheese Cook-Off. That is, if he can survive eighth grade, and figure out the size of the truth that has slipped Sam’s memory for seven years.

Books About Family Life and New Babies

Another Brother
Written & illustrated by Matthew Cordell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Matthew Cordell, the author-illustrator of Caldecott Medal winner Wolf in the Snow, crafts a delightful picture book about new siblings and growing families in Another Brother.

Life for Davy was glorious as long as he had his mother and father to himself. But then he got a brother, Petey. When Davy sang, Petey cried. When Davy created a masterpiece, Petey spat up on it.

And then he got another brother, Mike! And another, Stu! And another, Gil! Until he had TWELVE LITTLE BROTHERS! And that was only the beginning!

Cuddle Monkey
Written by Blake Liliane Hellman & illustrated by Chad Otis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little monkey looks for the perfect cuddle while his parents are busy with his new baby brother in this insanely adorable picture book about learning to be an older sibling.

Lewis loves to cuddle. But ever since his baby brother Owen was born, cuddle time with his mom and dad has been in short supply. Lewis, however, remains undaunted! He wants his cuddles! So:

He cuddles his favorite book. He cuddles his stuffed animals, Hedwig, Lamby, and Monster Dude. He even cuddles a puddle, just because it rhymes!

But cuddling the bus driver turns out to be a little dangerous. Cuddling at dinner is too messy. And cuddling Owen is wiggly and squiggly. Then Lewis finds that a cuddle doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be just the cuddle you need.

Mama's Belly
Written by Kate Hosford & illustrated by Abigail Halpin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

As a curious little girl awaits the arrival of her sister, she asks questions—easy ones like ‘Will she have freckles?’ and less-easy ones like ‘Will I have to share my blanket?’ She helps Mama and Dad prepare to meet little sister, singing her songs and knitting a new blanket to keep her warm once she’s here. But, the most important part of getting ready is taking care of Mama. When Mama can’t see her toes, she counts to make sure there’s still ten like before. When she’s too tired to sleep, the soon-to-be big sis draws her a magic energy machine. An honest and gentle exploration of the excitement and anxiety kids feel when welcoming a new family member, Mama’s Bellyis ultimately a celebration of motherly (and daughterly) love and a soothing story for older siblings that even with the spotlight on a new baby, there is always enough love for everyone.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Used to Be Famous - Kiely’s been famous her entire life, but when a baby sister appears on the scene, she feels like a has-been. Now Kiely has to figure out how to gain back the attention of her adoring fans (her family), even if it means sharing the spotlight.

  2. Just Right Family - Meili, who is six years old and adopted from China, learns that her parents are going to adopt a baby from Haiti. She’s not happy. Why do they need a new baby? Their family is just right as it is. As Meili learns more about her new sibling and the importance of being a big sister, will she realize that a new addition can be just right for their family too?

  3. First Laugh--Welcome, Baby - In Navajo families, the first person to make a new baby laugh hosts the child’s First Laugh Ceremony. Who will earn the honor in this story? The First Laugh Ceremony is a celebration held to welcome a new member of the community. As everyone—from Baby’s nima (mom) to nadi (big sister) to cheii (grandfather)—tries to elicit the joyous sound from Baby, readers are introduced to details about Navajo life and the Navajo names for family members.

  4. Loretta's Gift - Meet a little girl named Loretta who tries to find the perfect gift for her new baby cousin in this sweet picture book by bestselling author Pat Zietlow Miller! Loretta and her parents are so excited that Aunt Esme and Uncle Jax are having a baby! When Gabe arrives, Loretta thinks he is the best baby on the block! Everyone showers him with gifts, but Loretta doesn’t know what to give. Can she think of the perfect gift for her baby cousin?

Want to see books about new babies?

Books About Family Life and Farm Life And Ranch Life

Going to Town
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Renee Graef
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series!

One spring day Pa has a wonderful surprise—he is taking the family on a trip into town! Laura is very excited, for she has never been to a town, and this special visit is everything she imagined and more.

Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

Winter Days in the Big Woods
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Renee Graef
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With this illustrated adaptation from the beloved Little House series**, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved classics.**

Winter has come to the Big Woods! Laura and Mary help Ma with chores around the house. When the frost comes, they draw pictures in their windows.

Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

Summertime in the Big Woods
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & illustrated by Renee Graef
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

With this illustrated adaptation from the beloved Little House series**, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classics.**

The winter is finally over, and now it is summertime. Laura and Mary are busy all day helping Ma in the garden and playing outside.

Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Little Prairie House - With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series! Laura, Pa, Ma, Mary, and baby Carrie have traveled from the Big Woods to the prairie in their covered wagon, driving through tall grass until they found just the right spot for their new home. With the help of their kind neighbor, Mr. Edwards, Pa builds a snug little house for the family in the middle of the wide-open prairie. Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

  2. Prairie Day - With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series! Laura and her family are journeying across the flat Kansas prairie to find a new home.  There are gophers and rabbits to play with in the daytime, and a cozy camp awaits at night.  Renee Graef’s illustrations are based on Garth Williams’ classic artwork.

  3. Winter on the Farm - The Little House books tell the story of a little pioneer girl and her family as they traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic books, illustrated with Garth Williams’ timeless artwork, have been cherished by millions of readers ever since they were first published over sixty years ago. This My First Little House Book introduces Almanzo Wilder, the young boy from Farmer Boy who would one day marry Laura Ingalls. In Winter on the Farm, Almanzo goes through his afternoon barn chores, and then sits down to eat a hearty farm supper with his family. In this first book about Almanzo, young readers are able to share in the warmth and joy of another Little House family and celebrate new Little House adventures. Winter on the Farm is the first in an ongoing series about Laura’s beloved farmer boy.

  4. Hello, Laura! - Shows how Laura spends her days at the little house on the prairie

Books About Family Life and Sports And Recreation

Caught Offside
Written & illustrated by Andrea Montalbano
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Rejoin the Soccer Sisters in this latest installment - full of friendship, teamwork, and soccer fun! As the youngest member of the elite Brookville Breakers, Val Flores is feeling out of place. She just doesn’t understand why suddenly her teammates can’t talk about anything except boys.So when the Breakers play a match against El Fuego, she wonders if she should switch teams. Is Val’s time with the Breakers up?

Out of Bounds
Written & illustrated by Andrea Montalbano
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Fans of Alex Morgan’s The Kicks will love this new series by former soccer player, coach, and motivational speaker, about a group of friends and the lessons they learn through their love of the world’s most popular sport. Makena James absolutely loves soccer. She knows it’s the best sport around and she feels lucky that the teammates on her super competitive and super skilled team, the Brookville Breakers, feel the same way. The girls always have and always will be Soccer Sisters. But when a new person joins the Breakers, everything changes. Skylar is a great player and really cool-but she also doesn’t always play by the rules. Makena, hoping to impress Skylar, starts acting out and running wild, off and on the field. But with a huge tournament looming, Mac’s got tough choices ahead. Choices that will affect her family, her friends, and the game she loves. Can she staytrue to what the Soccer Sisters believe in and win the big game?

The Rhino in Right Field
Written & illustrated by Stacy DeKeyser
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A boy who loves baseball must get past his hard-working immigrant parents—and the rhino in the outfield—to become a batboy in this laugh-out-loud middle-grade novel in the tradition of The Sandlot.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Eleventh Trade - From debut author Alyssa Hollingsworth comes a story about living with fear, being a friend, and finding a new place to call home. They say you can’t get something for nothing, but nothing is all Sami has. When his grandfather’s most-prized possession—a traditional Afghan instrument called a rebab—is stolen, Sami resolves to get it back. He finds it at a music store, but it costs $700, and Sami doesn’t have even one penny. What he does have is a keychain that has caught the eye of his classmate. If he trades the keychain for something more valuable, could he keep trading until he has $700? Sami is about to find out. The Eleventh Trade is both a classic middle school story and a story about being a refugee. Like Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree, Alyssa Hollingsworth tackles a big issue with a light touch.

  2. Friday Night Wrestlefest - Hey kids! Are you ready to WRESTLE? Don’t miss Friday Night Wrestlefest, the new bedtime book inspired by WWE professional wrestling that will wear kids out before they go to bed. Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Friday night, and these kids are ready to wrestle! Join Dangerous Daddoo as he dishes out some serious moves to get the kids ready for bed. But what happens when Flying Mom Bomb gets home from work? Are the kids toast? This charming and quirky family will teach you a new Bedtime Blitz everyone will enjoy.

  3. The Big Game - New York Times bestselling author and former NFL defensive end Tim Green encourages readers to fight for their dreams in this heartfelt story about a young football star grappling with the stress of living up to his father’s name. Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica! Danny Owens is dedicating his seventh-grade season to his Super Bowl champion father, who recently passed away. Danny promises everyone that, just like his dad, he’ll dominate the big game at the end of the season and earn a spot on the high school varsity team. Then his English teacher catches him cheating on a test. Even though Danny can retake it, he knows there’s no point. He can’t read. And if Danny can’t pass this class, he won’t be eligible to play in the championship game that could unlock his future. While his resentment rises against the only person willing to help him win off the field, the pressure to succeed begins to weigh heavily on Danny’s shoulders. Danny is being tested on every level now, and to pass, he may very well have to choose a different path from his father’s.

  4. My Life as a Gamer - Derek Fallon gets the chance of a lifetime when he is asked to test software for new video games, but he soon discovers that his dream job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Books About Family Life and Self-esteem And Self-reliance

As Big as the Sky
Written by Carolyn Rose & illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-18

What happens when a brother and sister who share a love as big as the sky must separate? This heartwarming story set in an African village shows that with a little generosity, there’s always a way to come together.

In a small African village in Malawi, Prisca and her brother Caleb work together and play together, chasing each other as fast as they can. But when Caleb has to leave home to attend a good school, Prisca misses him terribly. Hoping to earn enough money to visit him, Prisca begs a local peddler to sell her crafts—but no one buys what she’s made. However, thanks to Prisca’s kindness and compassion, her dreams of reuniting with Caleb just may come true.

The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee
Written by Deborah Abela
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

India Wimple can spell. Brilliantly. Every Friday night, she and her family watch the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee on TV. When the Wimples suggest she enter the next bee, India finds the idea disconcerting. She’s sure she’s not good enough—but her family won’t accept that and encourages her to sign up. There are plenty of obstacles to reaching the finals, and the whole thing seems rather calamitous to India. But with hope, hard work, and a little bit of heart, something splendiferous might be on the horizon…

The Most Marvelous International Spelling Bee
Written by Deborah Abela & illustrated by Aleksie Bitskoff
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“India Wimple can spell with the best of them. How else would she have won the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee and garnered an invitation to the Most Marvelous International Spelling Bee? India couldn’t be more thrilled to travel to London along with the rest of the Wimples. And at first, it seems like a dream come true; she reunites with her spelling bee friends, and they even get to meet the Queen!

But there is skulduggery afoot, with some rather mysterious goings-on going on and a series of accidents that seem to be not-so-accidental after all. India has her suspicions about who is behind the duplicitous demonstrations. But can she solve the mystery in time to save the competition?”

Honorable Mentions
  1. My Name Is Wakawakaloch! - In this lighthearted picture book, the intrepid, determined, and savvy Wakawakaloch learns to embrace what makes her special while lifting up her neanderthal community. Perfect for fans of Vera Brosgol and Emily Hughes. No one can pronounce Wakawakaloch’s name. Why couldn’t she be called something simple . . . like Gloop? That’s a name you can find on a T-shirt! But after a visit with her tribe’s elder, Wakawakaloch discovers what her name means, and how powerful names can be. Gloop may be easy to say, but the girl who helps her friends embrace differences and wear their names proudly? Her name is Wakawakaloch!

  2. Tiny Infinities - When Alice’s dad moves out, leaving her with her troubled mother, she does the only thing that feels right: she retreats to her family’s old Renaissance tent in the backyard, determined to live there until her dad comes home. In an attempt to keep at least one part of her summer from changing, Alice focuses on her quest to swim freestyle fast enough to get on her swim team’s record board. But summers contain multitudes, and soon Alice meets an odd new friend, Harriet, whose obsession with the school’s science fair is equal only to her conviction that Alice’s best stroke is backstroke, not freestyle. Most unexpected of all is an unusual babysitting charge, Piper, who is mute—until Alice hears her speak. A funny and honest middle-grade novel, this sharply observed depiction of family, friendship, and Alice’s determination to prove herself—as a babysitter, as a friend, as a daughter, as a person—rings loud and true.

  3. Ramona's World - Newbery Medal–winning author Beverly Cleary’s final book in the Ramona series has all of the warmth, realism, and humor of its predecessors. Ramona Quimby can’t wait to start fourth grade. With a new baby sister to brag about, new calluses to show off, and a new best friend to get to know, everything’s going to be great! Or is it? When Ramona’s spelling is atrocious, her teacher, Mrs. Meacham, is firm about her needing to improve. Then a scary incident at a friend’s house leaves Ramona feeling at fault. Who knew growing up could be filled with such complicated situations?

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