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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 Day by Day to popular sellers like Little House in the Big Woods 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!

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Top 10 Books About Family Life

#1
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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

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#2
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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.

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#3
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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.

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#4
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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.

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#5
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All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
Written by Angela Johnson & illustrated by E.B. Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Experience the joy of Juneteenth in this celebration of freedom from the award-winning team of Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis.

Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms.

Told in Angela Johnson’s signature melodic style and brought to life by E.B. Lewis’s striking paintings, All Different Now is a joyous portrait of the dawn breaking on the darkest time in our nation’s history.

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#6
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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.

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#7
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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.

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#8
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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.

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#9
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On the Banks of Plum Creek
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 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.

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#10
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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.

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

Books About Family Life and Rural Living

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  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. 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.

  4. 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.

Books About Family Life and Health And Daily Living

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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.

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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…

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Newspaper Hats
Written by Phil Cummings & illustrated by Owen Swan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Georgie visits her Grandpa at the home where he lives, but he doesn’t always remember who she is. He does, however, remember how to make newspaper hats, and together they fold enough for all his friends. Touching moments portray the difficulties and nuances of memory loss from a child’s perspective, and an uplifting ending leaves readers with hope. A poignant and age-appropriate story about a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

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  1. Bedtime for Little Bulldozer - Little Bulldozer struggles to fall asleep in Bedtime for Little Bulldozer, a sweet and clever bedtime picture book by New York Times bestselling author Elise Broach with illustrations by Barry E. Jackson.

  2. Hands Up! - 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

  3. Hop Up Wriggle Over - “Hop up! Wriggle over! Wakey-wakey: hungry!” Thus starts a full and busy day for an appealing animal family. Simple onomatopoeic words and irresistible illustrations capture familiar routines in a young read-aloud containing a warm and subtle reminder that families come in all shapes and sizes.

  4. One Morning in Maine - A Caldecott Honor Book!

Books About Family Life and Pets

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  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. Bat and the End of Everything - The third book in the funny and joyful series Katherine Applegate has called “tender and important,” by National Book Award finalist Elana K. Arnold. Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat) has been the caretaker for Thor, the best skunk kit in the world…but the last day of third grade is quickly approaching, and Thor is almost ready to be released into the wild. The end of school also means that Bat has to say good-bye to his favorite teacher, and he worries about the summer care of Babycakes, their adorable class pet. Not only that, but his best friend is leaving for a long vacation in Canada. Summer promises good things, too, like working with his mom at the vet clinic and hanging out with his sister, Janie. But Bat can’t help but feel that everything is coming to an end. National Book Award finalist Elana K. Arnold returns with the third story starring an unforgettable boy on the autism spectrum.

  3. Jasmine Toguchi, Flamingo Keeper - 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!

  4. The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down - When the speediest family in the world finds a sweet, slow sloth on their doorstep, they take him in. But, little do they know, their new pet has quite a bit to teach them. For Amy’s family, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Mom rushes through her work. Dad rushes through his chores. Even little Amy rushes through dinner. But Sloth does things slowly. He likes to take long, leisurely baths with lots and lots of bubbles. He plays drawn-out, imaginative games. He eats his food slowly, enjoying one small bite at a time. After a few weeks of caring for their new pet, Amy’s family finds that they actually do have enough time to tell one another stories or go for long walks together after dinner—so long as they stop rushing around so much. The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down is a celebration of slowing down and remembering the important things in life.

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Books About Family Life and Love

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  1. Somebunny Loves You! - This timeless book contains a playful love letter to a child.;As a little bunny goes through the day, the narrator tells; the bunny, “Somebunny loves you.” Rhyming text and sweet;illustrations will engage little ones as they realize that the;”Somebunny” who loves them is the loved one reading to them. This reassuring message of unconditional love will make a great addition to any child’s first library.

  2. Love - #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.

  3. Caterpillar Summer - Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond. When Chicken has a “meltdown”, Cat’s the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She’s always knows what he needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat is the glue holding her family together. When a summer trip doesn’t go as planned, Cat and Chicken end up spending three weeks with grandparents they’ve never met. With their help, Cat can be a kid again for the first time in years, and the journey she takes shows that even the most broken relationships can be healed if people take the time to walk in one another’s shoes. Perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Ali Benjamin, this special novel features an unforgettable voice and is brimming with heart.

  4. 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.

Want to see books about love?

Books About Family Life and Parents

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Marsha Is Magnetic
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

It turns out that the best way to draw others to you is by being yourself in this sweet, STEAM-minded picture book from <i>New York Times</i> bestselling author Beth Ferry.

Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped. Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method. With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to <i>attract</i> as many friends as she can–what could possibly go wrong? In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.

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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.

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The Colossus of Roads
Written & illustrated by Christina Uss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

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.

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  1. Running Wild - 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.

  2. The Willoughbys Return - 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.

  3. Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe - Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Carlos Hernandez's sequel to the critically acclaimed Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, a brilliant sci-fi romp with Cuban influence.

  4. The Space Between Lost and Found - From the acclaimed author of Extraordinary Birds, a powerful story about family, friendship, and the light that can be found even in the darkest of places. Cassie's always looked up to her mom, a vibrant woman bursting with grand ideas. Together they planned to check off every dream on their think-big bucket list, no matter how far the adventures took them. The future seemed unlimited. But then came the diagnosis, and Mom started to lose her memories. Even the ones Cassie thought she'd never forget. Even Cassie's name. Cassie tries her hardest to keep Mom happy . . . to focus on math lessons and come up with art ideas that used to burst off her pen. But as Mom's memories dimmed, so did Cassie's inspiration. She's even pushed away Bailey, the one friend who could help make things okay. So, Cassie decides to take action. It's time for one last adventure... even if it means taking a big risk to get there.

Books About Family Life and 19th Century

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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

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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.

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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.

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  1. January's Sparrow - Patricia Polacco’s most powerful book since <i>Pink and Say.</i><p> In the middle of the night, The Crosswhites?including young Sadie?must flee the Kentucky plantation they work on. Dear January has been beaten and killed by the plantation master, and they fear who may be next. But Sadie must leave behind her most valuable possession, the wooden sparrow carved for her by January. Through the Underground Railroad, the Crosswhites make the slow and arduous journey to Marshall, Michigan, where they finally live in freedom. And there they stay, happily, until the day a mysterious package shows up on their doorsteps. It is January’s sparrow, with a note that reads, ?I found you.?<p> How the Crosswhites, and the whole town of Marshall, face this threat will leave readers empowered and enthralled. This is a Polacco adventure that will live in the minds of children for years. <p/></p></p>

  2. A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories - 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!

  3. Going to Town - 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.

  4. Laura's Ma: Adapted from the Text by Laura Ingalls Wilder - In this chapter book adapted from the Little House books, Laura discovers that Ma can do anything! She can make butter from milk and hats from a bundle of straw, and she always makes their little house warm and cozy.

Books About Family Life and Animals

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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.

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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.

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Day by Day
Written & illustrated by Susan Gal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Susan Gal offers a heartwarming tale of old-fashioned goodness. The industrious pigs of Day by Day build a home, plant a garden, help their neighbors, and then gather in a harvest grown with hard work and kindness.

The language is sweet and simple: Day by day, the seasons turn. Shoulder to shoulder, pigs gather the harvest. Hand in hand, pigs give thanks, then cheek to cheek, they dance. The artwork is bright and full of the merry antics of a happy family and a tight-knit community. And these pigs are flat out adorable! This delightful story celebrates family and community, caring and sharing.

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  1. Piggybook - 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.

  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.

Books About Family Life and Race And Ethnicity

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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?

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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.

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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.

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  1. Indian No More - When Regina's Umpqua tribe is legally terminated and her family must relocate from Oregon to Los Angeles, she goes on a quest to understand her identity as an Indian despite being so far from home.

  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 Imagination And Play

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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!

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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.

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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

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  1. Polly Diamond and the Magic Book - 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.

  2. 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.

  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. 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!

Books About Family Life and Coming Of Age

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  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. A Place at the Table - A timely, accessible, and beautifully written story exploring themes of food, friendship, family and what it means to belong, featuring sixth graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl taking a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara's mom.

  3. Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World - In the wake of a destructive tornado, one girl develops feelings for another in this stunning, tender novel about emerging identity, perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish.

  4. Dream Weaver - Twelve-year-old Zoey navigates the tricky waters of friendship while looking for a way to save her grandfather's struggling business in this heartwarming, coming-of-age debut novel perfect for fans of Kristi Wientge, Donna Gephart, and Meg Medina.

Books About Family Life and Holidays

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The Night Before Hanukkah
Written by Natasha Wing & illustrated by Amy Wummer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The newest title in the bestselling Night Before series is the perfect gift for every girl and boy who celebrates Hanukkah!

It’s the night before the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah begins, and everyone is excited! Each evening, the family gathers to light the candles and share holiday traditions such as playing dreidel, eating latkes, and exchanging gifts. The seventeenth title in Natasha Wing’s bestselling series, The Night Before Hanukkah captures all the joy and love in one of the most wonderful times of the year!

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Thanksgiving in the Woods
Written by Phyllis Alsdurf & illustrated by Jenny Lovlie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Every year a family and their friends gather in the woods to celebrate Thanksgiving among the trees. Everyone brings something to share and the day becomes a long celebration of family, faith, and friendship. Told in a gentle, lyrical style, this picture book includes warm illustrations of people gathered around bonfires and long tables adorned with candles and food, singing songs and sharing laughter.

Thanksgiving in the Woods is based on the true story of a family in Upstate New York who has hosted an outdoor Thanksgiving feast in the woods on their farm for over twenty years.

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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.

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  1. Meena Meets Her Match - Graduates of the Ramona Quimby series will adore Meena Zee as she navigates the triumphs and challenges of family, friendship, and personal secrets in this charming middle grade debut. Meena’s life is full of color. She wears vibrant clothes, eats every shade of the rainbow, and plucks eye-catching trash from the neighborhood recycling bins. But when Meena’s best friend, Sofía, stops playing with her at recess and she experiences an unexpected and scary incident at breakfast, nothing can fight off the gray. That’s when Meena comes up with a plan to create the BEST and most COLORFUL Valentine’s Day Box in the class. With the help of her cousin, Eli, and her stuffed zebra, Raymond, Meena discovers that the best way to break through the blah is to let her true colors shine.

  2. Ellie May on April Fool's Day - Ellie May can’t believe her class is allowed to celebrate April Fools’ Day—so long as it’s done in good fun. Practicing on her parents and sisters, Ellie May brainstorms harmless pranks. Soon enough, good intentions turn her classroom and home upside-down when fake ants, trick tape, and hidden surprises don’t go as planned. Ellie May may not be perfect like Miss-Know-itAll Ava but she eventually realizes that the best trick is to make friends genuinely laugh—at no one’s expense.

  3. Thanksgiving Is Here! - As soon as Maggie’s grandma and grandpa get the turkey in the oven, bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, the guests arrive and the commotion begins: glamorous aunts, crying babies, acrobatic cousins, strange dogs, mysterious gifts, romance, friendships, “yackety-yak”ing and, of course, lots of wonderful food and fun. You’ll find a new story every time you read this joyous celebration of Thanksgiving!

  4. Peter Powers and the Sinister Snowman Showdown - 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

Books About Family Life and Cooking And Food

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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.

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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?

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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

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  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. From the Desk of Zoe Washington - An Amazon Best Book of the Month * #1 Kids Indie Next List * A Junior Library Guild Selection * Four Starred Reviews

  3. 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 . . .

Books About Family Life and Moving

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A Kiss Goodbye
Written by Audrey Penn & illustrated by Barbara Leonard Gibson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Chester Raccoon is very unhappy about leaving his home, a tree that has been marked by tree cutters, but his mother tries to convince him that their new home might be even better.

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Pixie Pushes On
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
A young girl learns bittersweet life lessons on the family farm after her sister gets polio, in this poignant and funny novel set in the heartland in the 1940s.
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Holes in the Sky
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Miss Eula is back! In this heartwarming companion to Chicken Sunday, young Trisha is devastated when her grandmother passes away, but finds joy in bonds with a new friend, her new California neighborhood--and the invincible Miss Eula.
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  1. 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.

  2. Quintessence - Quintessence is an extraordinary story from Jess Redman about friendship, self-discovery, interconnectedness, and the inexplicable elements that make you you. Find the Elements. Grow the Light. Save the Starling. Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven't stopped--even though she's told her parents that they have. She's homesick and friendless and every day she feels less and less like herself. But one day she finds a telescope in the town's junk shop, and through its lens, she watches a star--a star that looks like a child--fall from the sky and into her backyard. Alma knows what it's like to be lost and afraid, to long for home, and she knows that it's up to her to save the star. And so, with the help of some unlikely new friends from Astronomy Club, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of science, a little bit of magic, and her whole self. This title has Common Core connections.

  3. Violet Mackerel's Personal Space - Is it possible to leave a piece of you wherever you go? Violet Mackerel thinks so in this fourth illustrated chapter book of a charming series.</b> <p/>Violet Mackerel believes that wherever you leave something small, a tiny part of you gets to stay too–like how the little piece of green sea glass under the mattress at the beach house means that a little piece of Violet gets to stay on summer holiday. <p/>Violet’s theory is put to the test when Mama and Vincent announce some very special news: They are going to get married. And they are all going to move. Violet is excited for the wedding, but Dylan is angry about the move. Normally, it is nice to be inside with your family when there is a big noisy storm outside and there is pumpkin soup for dinner and something on TV about penguins. But it is hard to enjoy it when your brother is outside in the garden in a leaky tent. <p/>When Dylan won’t budge, the wedding preparations feel a bit sad. But just in time, Violet thinks of the perfect way to help Dylan feel better about moving. And her Theory of Leaving Small Things Behind is going to come in handy!

  4. 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!

Want to see books about moving?

Books About Family Life and Multicultural

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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!

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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.

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And the People Stayed Home (Family Book, Coronavirus Kids Book, Nature Book)
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
"Kitty O'Meara...offers us wisdom that can help during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. She is challenging us to grow."--
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  1. Black Brother, Black Brother - From award-winning and bestselling author, Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age story about two brothers, one who presents as white, the other as black, and the complex ways in which they are forced to navigate the world, all while training for a fencing competition.

  2. Accidental Trouble Magnet - An exciting #OwnVoices middle-grade debut starring a Muslim boy with a huge imagination

  3. 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?

  4. Choosing Sides - 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?

Books About Family Life and Adventure And Adventurers

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Raffie on the Run
Written by Jacqueline Resnick & illustrated by Joe Sutphin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“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.

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North! or Be Eaten
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
ECPA BESTSELLER - Now in hardcover for the first time, featuring all-new illustrations! First they found themselves On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. Now they must make their way North! Or Be Eaten . . .
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From Texas with Love
Written by Dan Gutman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

The most exciting road trip in history continues! In this fourth book in the thrilling, New York Times bestselling adventure series, twelve-year-old twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald discover that everything really is bigger in Texas--including the danger!

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  1. The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's Daughter - 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.

  2. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY AND ECPA BESTSELLER - Now in hardcover for the first time, featuring all-new illustrations! Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog, Nugget.

  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.

Books About Family Life and New Experiences

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Farah Rocks Summer Break
Written by Susan Muaddi Darraj & illustrated by Ruaida Mannaa
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

It’s summer break, and Farah is eager to attend an enrichment camp at her new school. But with car trouble and other family expenses, Farah’s parents won’t be able to pay for the camp this year. Taking matters into her own hands, Farah takes various odd jobs, including selling items at a yard sale, mowing neighbors’ lawns, and finally starting her own tutoring business. When Farah discovers that someone is sabotaging her business by taking down her fliers, she’s shocked. Can Farah find the culprit, continue her business success, and earn enough money in time to go to the camp of her dreams?

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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

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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.

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  1. Completely Clementine - This<i> New York Times </i>bestselling chapter book series has been keeping readers engaged and laughing for more than a decade with over one million copies sold!</b><br>Summer is coming, and Clementine is not ready. She is not ready to start speaking to her father again, because she’s still mad at him for eating meat. Instead, she gives him drawings of animals she knows would not want to be somebody’s dinner. <p/>Then there is the new baby on the way. Clementine’s mom sure doesn’t seem ready. She’s suddenly crazy about cleaning (Dad says she is <i>nesting</i>), but she doesn’t even have a name picked out yet. Clementine just hopes the baby won’t be a dud. <p/>What Clementine <i>really</i> isn’t ready for is saying good-bye to her third grade teacher. She knows Mr. D’Matz is going to tell her all kinds of things that aren’t true. Everything else may be changing around her, but that doesn’t mean that Clementine has. <p/>But which is worse, saying good-bye, or <i>not</i> saying good-bye? <br>

  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.

Books About Family Life and Feelings And Emotions

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Families Belong
Written by Dan Saks & illustrated by Brooke Smart
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

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.

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A Chair for My Mother 25th Anniversary Edition
Written & illustrated by Vera B. Williams
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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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.

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  1. Ravi's Roar - 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.

  2. Violet Mackerel's Possible Friend - The charming Violet Mackerel must overcome self-doubt to make a new friend in this fifth illustrated chapter book of a delightful series. <p/>Violet Mackerel hopes and hopes that her new next door neighbor, Rose, might turn out to be a very good friend. <p/>But even after a nice morning at Rose’s house, Violet still has quite a few worrying thoughts. Is she too messy for Rose’s tidy family? Will Rose be disappointed that the ice in Violet’s house comes from a plastic tray instead of a special box with fancy tongs? Will Violet wear the wrong sort of costume to Rose’s flower-themed birthday party? And what if the present Violet brings is a good bit smaller than the other presents? <p/>Luckily a helpful older sister, a big imagination, and a particularly brilliant idea just might turn Violet’s possible very good friend into a definite one.<i></i>

  3. Any Day with You - A warm, tender story about a creative girl who hopes that by winning a filmmaking contest, she'll convince her great-grandfather not to move back home to the Philippines. For fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and Kelly Yang.

  4. 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!”

Books About Family Life and Sports And Recreation

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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?

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Lizzie Flying Solo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A lyrical, poignant middle grade novel about embracing change, accepting help from others, and finding a place to call home. Perfect for fans of Raymie Nightingale. Lizzie St. Claire wants to be invisible. Forced to move out of her home, she and her mom now live in a transitional housing shelter, Good Hope, until they can get back on their feet. Lizzie just wants to keep her head down at Good Hope and her new school, so she doesn’t have to admit the real reason she and her mom lost everything. But when Lizzie finds herself at the nearby Birchwood Stables, some new friends—along with the arrival of a frightened pony named Fire—help Lizzie to open up and accept help from those around her, even if it means she’ll have more to lose if things change again.

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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?

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  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.

Books About Family Life and Diaries

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The Deep End
Written & illustrated by Jeff Kinney
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In The Deep End, book 15 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series from #1 international bestselling author Jeff Kinney, Greg Heffley and his family hit the road for a cross-country camping trip, ​ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
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Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-10
A coming-of-age tale about a boy who discovers a love of poetry after finding his late father's journal. Adapted from a story that first appeared in
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The Getaway
Written & illustrated by Jeff Kinney
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Greg Heffley and his family are getting out of town.

With the cold weather and the stress of the approaching holiday season, the Heffleys decide to escape to a tropical island resort for some much-needed rest and relaxation. A few days in paradise should do wonders for Greg and his frazzled family.

But the Heffleys soon discover that paradise isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Sun poisoning, stomach troubles, and venomous critters all threaten to ruin the family’s vacation. Can their trip be saved, or will this island getaway end in disaster?

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  1. The Long Haul - A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun . . . unless, of course, you’re the Heffleys. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas station bathrooms, crazed seagulls, a fender bender, and a runaway pig—not exactly Greg Heffley’s idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure—and this is one the Heffleys won’t soon forget.

  2. Old School - Life was better in the old days. Or was it? That’s the question Greg Heffley is asking as his town voluntarily unplugs and goes electronics-free. But modern life has its conveniences, and Greg isn’t cut out for an old-fashioned world. With tension building inside and outside the Heffley home, will Greg find a way to survive? Or is going “old school” just too hard for a kid like Greg?

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Books About Family Life and 20th Century

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Home in the Woods
Written & illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
This stunningly beautiful picture book from New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Eliza Wheeler is based on her grandmother's childhood and pays homage to a family's fortitude as they discover the meaning of home.
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Echo Mountain
Written by Lauren Wolk
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-
"
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Ghost Boys
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.
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  1. Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It - From a bestselling and award-winning husband and wife team comes an innovative, beautifully illustrated novel that delivers a front-row seat to the groundbreaking moments in history that led to African Americans earning the right to vote.

  2. Echo - 2016 Newbery Honor Book
    New York Times Bestseller
    An impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force from a treasured storyteller! Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, Echo pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation to create a wholly original novel that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.

  3. Night Divided - A Night Divided

  4. 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!

Books About Family Life and Brothers

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What Brothers Do Best
Written by Laura Numeroff & illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

This delightful board book by renowned author-illustrator team Laura Numeroff and Lynn Munsinger celebrates all the wonderful things brothers can do! Brothers can push you on a swing, make music with you, and take you to the library. But what do brothers do best? The answer is clear in this appealing board book, celebrating brothers and the everyday things they do.

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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!

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Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy
Written by Laurel Snyder & illustrated by Emily Hughes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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  1. Benji, the Bad Day, and Me - Sammy is having the absolute rottenest, worst day ever. His little brother, Benji, knows exactly what that's like.

  2. 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.

  3. Halfway to Harmony - A heartfelt middle-grade novel from New York Times bestselling author Barbara O'Connor about a boy whose life is upended after the loss of his older brother--timeless, classic, and whimsical. Walter Tipple is looking for adventure. He keeps having a dream that his big brother, Tank, appears before him and says, "Let's you and me go see my world, little man." But Tank went to the army and never came home, and Walter doesn't know how to see the world without him. Then he meets Posey, the brash new girl from next door, and an eccentric man named Banjo, who's off on a bodacious adventure of his own. What follows is a summer of taking chances, becoming braver, and making friends--and maybe Walter can learn who he wants to be without the brother he always wanted to be like. Halfway to Harmony is an utterly charming story about change and growing up.

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Books About Family Life and Death, Grief, And Bereavement

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The Canyon's Edge
Written by Dusti Bowling
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13
Hatchet meets Long Way Down in this heartfelt and gripping novel in verse about a young girl's struggle for survival after a climbing trip with her father goes terribly wrong.
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The Space We're in
Written by Katya Balen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

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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.

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  1. Bird - Young Mekhai, better known as Bird, loves to draw. With drawings, he can erase the things that don't turn out right. In real life, problems aren't so easily fixed.

  2. 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.

  3. A Map Into the World - Filled with wonder and sorrow and happiness.
    --Alison McGhee, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Someday
    A heartfelt story of a young girl seeking beauty and connection in a busy world.

    As the seasons change, so too does a young Hmong girl's world. She moves into a new home with her family and encounters both birth and death. As this curious girl explores life inside her house and beyond, she collects bits of the natural world. But who are her treasures for?
    A moving picture book debut from acclaimed Hmong American author Kao Kalia Yang.

  4. Line Tender - Funny, poignant, and deeply moving, The Line Tender is a story of nature's enduring mystery and a girl determined to find meaning and connection within it.

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