2016 off to a great start!

We often say that the now is a golden age of juvenile literature.  The evidence is simply overwhelming.  So many great books that extend the limits of art and prose are coming out that it’s nearly impossible to keep up!  2016 is off to a great start for juvenile literature.  We’ve seen a few picture books that are creative and innovative.  There are also some new chapter books, from new authors, that are sure to receive well-deserved attention this year.

In no certain order, here are some standouts for 2016, so far at least.

Beep! Beep! Go To Sleep!

What happens when a little boy is in charge of putting the robots to sleep?  A lot of what happens when parents put a precocious little boy to sleep, that’s what.

This wonderful book walks through a little boy who puts his robots to bed.  Each robot, after being lovingly placed in its bunk, is immediately out and asking for more oil, a new light bulb and more.  The little boy humors his robots at first, then, like any parent, becomes less patient after being woken up the third time.

The story resolves with the boy, exhausted and asleep in his own bed.  With the robots celebrating successfully putting their boy to sleep.

This is a wondeful and fresh take on the bedtime routine.  The art and words are perfectly combines and developed to make this a classic in many homes.  Best for ages 2 to 4.


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition

Reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an experience unlike any other. Readers will get to know a boy who experienced extreme hunger not only for food, but for electricity, modern conveniences, and most important…knowledge! The book takes the reader through the amazing adventure of William Kamkwamba, Malawian boy who shows courage, tenacity and the power of persistence to bring electricty to his village by buiulding a wooden windmill on his own.

Not only did William experience this hunger, but he figured out how to solve his problem of hunger, then he went out and feasted like a king!

“Think of your dreams and ideas as tiny miracle machines inside you that no one can touch. The more faith you put into them, the bigger they get, until one day they’ll rise up and take you with them.”

This book is perfect for middle to high school readers.  It will inspire and instruct in many important ways.

When Mischief Came to Town

Australian author Katrina Nannestad makes her U.S. publishing debut with this richly-written book about a bigger-than-life girl named Maria who moves to a town  that simply cannot contain her energy and zest for life.  She does not mean to cause mischief, she’s just trying to make sense of the world and have fun and be generous along the way.

Readers are drawn into Maria’s imagination and adventures, many of which are guided by her own book of tales by Hans Christian Anderson.

Katrina Nannestad’s voice is similar to that of L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables and Eleanor H. Porter in Pollyanna. What a refreshing voice! This being her debut novel, she’s off to a great start. As a middle grade novel readers don’t necessarily have to be the youngest ladies. Even mothers, aunts, and grandmothers of young school girls will smile along with Inga Maria, snicker at her silliness, and laugh out loud at her wit and charm, tears will gently fall and hearts will warm and tingle.

Maria overcomes challenges with grace, humor and practicality.  This is a book that will delight child and adult readers alike.


Be a Friend

An endearing picture book about an extraordinary boy who has an excessive fascination with Marcel Marceau, a famous French mime. Without using words, Dennis finds a way to communicate and tell stories, using only his body. “Some children would show and tell in class. Dennis would mime instead.

Author Salina Yoon introduces young readers to a lesser known art of mimery. Using the inside covers of both the front and the back to illustrate specific classic mime routines, children can try miming and see if they too can be the next Marcel Marceau. We only know Dennis idealizes Marcel Marceau because of a poster hung in his wardrobe along with his several black and white striped shirts, white gloves, shoes, and top hats.

Even if children aren’t interested in mimes, they’ll find that Dennis’ extraordinary personality isn’t so different from theirs, and may find they relate to the feelings of loneliness or feelings of being different from other kids.

Dennis is more than a mime, he’s a thief sure to steal away hearts of many readers.