We read and review a lot of books and these books were the best children’s books we read for the first time in 2013. Most of these books were published before 2013 so they aren’t new , just new to us. What was the best book you read in 2013?All book lists contain affiliate links to Amazon.com.
Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham is a hilarious alphabet book that will have you and your child giggling throughout. The book is all about a zebra who is making an alphabet book and his overzealous friend Moose who is very very excited to be involved. So excited in fact that he can’t wait for M to be called and ends up crashing a bunch of other letters. When M does come he’s been replaced by a mouse. Moose’s reaction will turn your kids’ giggles into chuckles and all the while they will be working on letter recognition. Love this book!
Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley is a fantastic book! The book follows a sister who is looking for her brother in their San Francisco neighborhood. As she goes from door to door each neighbor invites her in to eat some of their supper. Everybody is having some sort of rice dish even though they are all from different countries. My 6 year old really enjoyed this book and understood the message well, my 3-year-old sat through it no problem too. There are so many future lessons about geography, nutrition, and travel packed in this one little book! Awesome find.
Brontorina by James Howe is possibly one of my new favorite books on the planet. It’s not a new book but I have never read it before. My daughter loved it and while the lesson about creating inclusive environments went over her head the lesson about being true to yourself and doing something that has never been done before didn’t. The story is about a dinosaur who wants to be a ballerina and while a studio initially allows her to dance it’s clear that she is just too big. The story doesn’t end there and with some help from friends who support her dream, they find a way to include everyone. I dare you not to tear up when the ballet teacher tells Brontarina that she MUST dance.
Librarian on the Roof! by M.G. King made me cry. The true story is about a librarian who did what she needed to do to raise enough money to make a functional children’s section in the oldest library in Texas. What she did was stay on the roof of that library for a week, and it worked. I loved the message that libraries are vital, that books open doors, and that providing access to information to those who can’t afford to get it on their own is a worthwhile cause. This book made me want to cheer, it had me spouting off lessons left and right to my kids, and it absolutely captivated all three of us. Go read this book and learn more about RoseAleta Laurell the real librarian on the roof.
Two Bad Pilgrims by Kathryn Lasky is a fantastic book that some parents might not like but kids will love it and learn a lot in the process. It”™s about two boys who really did sail abroad the Mayflower and whose behavior really was bad. There is a ton of not usually shared information about Pilgrims in this book and as someone who studied colonial history I am in LOVE with this book. The format is a mix of non-fiction and comic strip-like narrative. I would read it to kids 5 and older although younger children will like just following the narrative. There is a ton of info in this book and it would be a wonderful tool to talk about how history books don’t always tell the whole story.
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn was our first introduction to Lola and I have since memorized this text I have read it so often. My daughter fell in love with this book before she was even two and we’ve read it at the very least weekly (usually daily ) for well over a year. It never gets boring to read because it’s such a calm gentle story about a little girl eager for her special trip with her mom to the library.
Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes is a cute adaptation of the Indian legend of how Ganesha came to write the epic Mahabharata. Kids will love this book without ever knowing the historical significance of the original story. My daughter absolutely adored this book because it has two of her favorite things an Elephant ( at least she thought Ganesha was one ) and candy! Ganesha breaks his trunk on a jawbreaker in this story and while having a bit of a tantrum is asked to use his broken tusk to scribe an amazing epic – he agrees as long as he can eat candy while he does it. The story is cute but the illustrations by Sanjay Patel completely suck kids in, it’s no shock that his day job is as an animator for Pixar.
Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margaret and H.A. Rey . I adored this book as a child and even though hospitals have changed a lot since this book was written the story still rings true. I remember reading this book before having to go to the hospital as a child and finding comfort in it. It’s a great book to read when you need to calm fears before a hospital stay. I’m not the only fan of this book in our house in fact it’s one of my three-year-old daughter’s favorite books right now.
Snowbots by Aaron Reynolds is funky, fun, and full of really awesome rhymes. The robot reality is a sweet one and my kids totally dug this book. We were picking favorite robots in the first few pages and loving the book more and more as we read it. The story is a familiar one but with the substitution of robots instead of humans basic snow day things get more interesting. My son loved the snowball fight and my daughter was all over the pink robot. I loved how they had cereal with gasoline and an oil bath. A huge hit with all of us.
Aggie the Brave by Lori Ries is a really wonderful book that combines lessons about worry and bravery. Aggie is getting spayed and both she and her owner go through various emotions from the time they drop her off at the vet until her stitches are removed weeks later. Not only is this just a really great book to teach kids about what happens to their pets when they go into to be spayed or neutered it’s also a wonderful book about worry and what it means to be brave. The love between the little boy and his dog jumps off the pages and I got choked up when the little boy cried on the drive home after dropping the dog off for surgery. We can all relate to that feeling of driving away filled with worry. Great book!
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willems is a funny prehistoric spin on the classic Goldilocks and The Three Bears. There are so many funny details in this book that it’s as much for the adults reading it to their children as it is for the kids. The humor is mostly dry but plentiful and the story itself is engaging as all Willems stories are. If you aren’t familiar with this author you need to grab this and a handful of his other titles from the library asap.
The Three Pigs by David Wiesner is the most creative of all these fantastic books. In this book, the three little pigs escape the wolf by escaping the story itself and being blown right off the page. They test out other pages and pick up a dragon and cat ( complete with fiddle) but ultimately want to return home. Together they face and beat the wolf and settle into the brick home of the third pig together with the dragon and cat. The illustrations will delight you. The perspective and imagination in this book is stunning and well worth many many readings.
What was your favorite new to you book in 2013?