Reviewers from The Washington Post share their thoughts on the best of this year’s kids’ fiction, nonfiction and picture books.
By Kwame Alexander.
237 pages, ages 9 to 12, $16.99.
Score! This fast-paced novel has the snap and bounce of narrator Josh’s favorite game: basketball. Through rap and poetry, Josh reveals big changes in his family and his team’s drive for the championship.
By Tom Angleberger.
205 pages, ages 8 to 12, $13.95.
In the final book in the hilarious “Origami Yoda” series, Tommy and his friends make “Star Wars” figures from snack food and get in trouble on a school field trip. Look for the clever “twist” at the end!
By Sheila Turnage. 368 pages, ages 10 and older, $16.99.
What’s behind the ghost that haunts an old Southern inn? Spunky Mo LoBeau and her best friend, Dale, are determined to find the answer in this funny, suspenseful mystery.
By Deborah Wiles.
544 pages, ages 8 to 12, $19.99.
In 1964, the South had separate swimming pools, movie theaters and water fountains for blacks and for whites. A white girl and a black boy struggle to create change during a tense summer in this powerful historical novel.
By Kelly Barnhill.
384 pages, age 9 and older, $16.95.
Several stories weave together in surprising ways in this eerie fantasy. Ned and Aine deal with an enchanted forest and their tricky parents, Sister Witch and the Bandit King, as they try to figure out what to do with the world’s last magic.
By Jacqueline Woodson.
336 pages, age 10 and older. $16.99.
In this award-winning memoir, Woodson explores the nature of storytelling, memory, individuality, family and friendship in poems that are both playful and powerful.
By Peter Sis.
48 pages, ages 5 to 8. $18.99.
The man who wrote “The Little Prince” was born to fly, according to Peter Sis’s new biography. Full of both facts and fancifully detailed illustrations, the book conveys Saint-Exupery’s lifelong love of adventure and storytelling.
By Emily Arnold McCully.
288 pages, age 12 and older. $18.99.
A pioneering journalist, Ida Tarbell produced important exposés of corporations and politicians. McCully presents her in stark contrast to the money-mad, turn-of-the-past-century business leaders.
By Candace Fleming.
304 pages, age 12 and older. $18.99.
This story of Russia’s final czar (pronounced “zar”), or leader, and his family has all the
elements of a fictional thriller — political repression, figures of evil, a drawn-out war, endangered children — but they are woven into a fascinating work of history.
By Steve Sheinkin.
208 pages, ages 10 to 14. $19.99.
In this vivid account of a huge explosion and an awful miscarriage of justice during World War II, Steve Sheinkin honors 50 African American men who were wrongly convicted of mutiny, which means refusing to obey orders.
By Kate Samworth.
32 pages, ages 8 to 11, $17.99.
Will real live birds be passé by the year 2031? Never mind, this gorgeous pretend catalog of bird parts invites young readers to assemble their own exotic pets, a neat idea that helps raise the question of just where our environment is headed.
By Lynne Cox;
illustrated by Brian Floca.
48 pages, ages 5 to 8, $17.99.
A big city welcomes an unusual resident in this tale based on the real life of Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas, an enormous elephant seal determined to live in the heart of Christchurch, New Zealand. Brian Floca’s illustrations shimmer with sunshine, shadows and magic.
Selected by Paul B. Janeczko;
illustrated by Melissa Sweet.
48 pages, ages 6 to 9, $16.99.
Breeze through the seasons with this deftly selected collection of 36 poems, each embedded like a jewel in one of Melissa Sweet’s gloriously textured mixed-media illustrations.
By Peter Brown.
40 pages, ages 5 to 7, $18.
Not all kids see their teachers as monsters, but young Bobby is pretty sure that Ms. Kirby’s smile reveals fangs and that those fingernails look a lot like claws . . . especially when her reaction to a measly paper airplane is to take away his recess! How Bobby goes from hopeless to hero is the stuff that second-grade dreams are made of.
By Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen.
40 pages, ages 5 to 8, $16.99.
Shovels in hand and dog at their heels, Sam and Dave are on a mission to find “something spectacular,” but it’s their four-footed companion who knows a good thing when he sniffs one. Who cares about gems the size of a tractor-trailer when there’s a bone to be unearthed?
Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo talks about books and shares her picks for the holidays.