Sneaky Great Books of 2016

The world of juvenile literature is much like most show-business oriented industries.  Individuals and organizations that possess the most market share and the loudest voices are able to influence which books, authors and genres receive the most attention.

Attention equals exposure–which leads to sales and more attention.  Now, we’re not saying that the world of juvenile literature is corrupt or the like.  However, if you are a prominent author associated with a major publishing house, your mediocre book will receive more attention that a great book that’s released by an unknown author through a small publisher.

2016 has been a great year for children’s books.  The list below are books that are worth owning–but you might not have seen them yet among the noise of books receiving major awards and publicity.

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

A story about a sixth grade teacher who captures the hearts of her students and teaches them life lessons along with the curriculum.  This book is filled with fresh and funny scenes between student and teacher and how they work together in a classroom filled with the stresses of our modern schools.

This is a perfect book for grade or middle schoolers who are fairly proficient readers.  It’s certain to become a common read-along in classrooms.

Author John David Anderson and Walden Pond Press have released a great work in Ms. Bixby’s last Day.


The Trouble With Twins

A story about sibling rivalry and growing up.  Henrietta and Arabella are twins whose relationship has become little strained.  Henrietta decides to abandon their relationship and Arabella goes to live with a great-aunt.

The story touches on the delicate art of building and maintaining a relationship.  Once the twins realize that they really do love and miss each other, Arabella embarks on an adventure to reunite with her sister.

Filled with life lessons, comical situations and a little adventure, the story reads quickly and leaves the reader feeling good about the sisters and the story.

This is a first juvenile work by author Kathryn Siebel.  We looks forward to more from her.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

OK, so this book will probably win a bunch of awards.  But, at the time of this writing, it enjoys strong sales due to word-of-mouth marketing.

A story that pushes the envelope of the fantasy genre of juvenile literature.  It’s about a girl who is meant to be a sacrifice by her people to keep the evil witch in the forest at bay.  The witch, who isn’t really evil, takes the child the people in the village intend to sacrifice and each year and nourishes him or her with starlight until she finds  loving home for the child.

This year, the witch makes a mistake and feeds the baby moonlight–giving her extraordinary powers.  The witch has no choice but to raise the baby on her own and names her Luna.

As Luna grows up, she must learn how to use her powers.  The story climaxes with Luna protecting her adoptive mother and reconciling the world she came from with the one in which she has been raised.

The story is beautifully written and moves quickly–drawing the reader into the fantasy completely.  A great read for children and adults alike.  Author Kelly Barnhill has shown us a new level of writing virtuosity in this excellent book.

Daytime Visions

We always love an innovative alphabet book.  Daytime Visions is just that!  The book goes through each letter of the alphabet and gives each letter an emotional identity connected to an activity.

K is “The Kiwi Again” with a painting of a kiwi bird waking a sleeping child, who does not appear to be ready for morning.

R is “Never Meant to be Rude” with a mother bird having a clear teaching moment with her young chick.

The artwork is wonderful modernist paintwork that is interesting and accessible to a young reader.  Each image draws the reader into a new situation and invites them to explore the context of the scene that accompanies each letter.

Certainly worth placing on the shelf of any young reader.

Everywhere Babies

Any parent knows that babies and toddler are fascinated with other babies and toddlers.

This great little book will be absolutely worn out by the time your child is 4 years old.  It’s a 32 page padded board book filled with pictures of babies of all kinds doing what babies do.

The illustrations by Marla Fraze are amazing, as usual.  Our favorite book by Ms. Fraze is All the World.

A wary parent might usually avoid a book that a youngster will demand to be read everyday.  This concern need not apply to this book  It really is fun to read again and again. The copy ids fresh and interesting.

All we can say id buy this book and give your toddler something that he or she will love and laugh with again and again.  It will be the best money you spend on children’s books this year.

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