Friday, November 13, 2020

12 Days of Giving 2020 and Master List



This year's 12 Days of Giving posts are all up and ready for your perusal. Books always make great gifts and I have ideas for all kinds of readers. Here I'm posting all the 2020 lists and a master list of subject-specific lists from previous years because books never go out of style! (They do sometimes go out of print, so just be aware. If you spot books on these lists that aren't available to purchase, consider requesting them from your local library instead!) 

Please support your local bookstores this year if you can; they need us now more than ever. And if you don't have a local bookstore, consider supporting my local indie Carmichael's Bookstore. You can order online and they are fantastic! 

2020 Favorites: 
If you are searching for brand new books or shopping for big readers who need the latest and greatest, these are the lists for you!

If you're shopping for a particular kind of reader or kids with special interests, you may find something in the lists below! I've specified what ages are covered in each list and what year they were originally posted to help you out. These lists will contain backlist titles, so be aware that some titles may no longer be available to purchase. 
Favorites Lists from Previous Years
Maybe none of my 2020 favorites struck a chord with you. Check out these past favorites lists for more titles to consider! Bonus: these make great library lists because they're more likely to be available without long holds lists. 


Thursday, November 12, 2020

12 Days of Giving: Books for Grownups

 


Today's list is a little different from the previous 11 lists because today's list is for grownups. Do you have an adult reader on your list? Or maybe you deserve a treat for yourself after buying all those children's books. Either way, here are some of my favorite books of the year for adults along with what type of reader might enjoy them. If you want personalized suggestions for anyone on your list, leave me a comment and I'm happy to help! 

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Anxious People by Frederick Backman (Atria, 2020). Here's the book that says how we're all feeling this year! But seriously, this is a character-driven, feel good story about a group of very different people thrust together in a hostage situation. It's perfect reading for this year, not too suspenseful, super heartfelt, and a book that just reinforces a belief in the ultimate decency of people. 

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The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley (Pamela Dorman Books, 2020). This was one of the first books I could bring myself to read during the quarantine and it's another heartfelt, character-driven read that's a good choice if you need a feel-good book right now. Again, it features a cast of strangers, this one brought together by a found notebook called The Authenticity Project that calls upon those that find it to contribute by writing about their authentic selves. As a chain of strangers meet each other through this notebook, their lives become enmeshed in ways that will change each of them for the better. 

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Beach Read by Emily Henry (Berkley, 2020). If you're in need of an armchair vacation, this romcom is just the ticket. Romance writer January Andrews and literary darling Augustus Everett find themselves spending the summer in neighboring beach houses, both stuck on their latest projects. So they issue a challenge - Augustus will tackle a romance novel and January will try her hand at literary fiction. I don't know about you but romcoms are one of the few genres I can really get into right now and this was one of my favorites! 

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Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2020). If a British romcom is more your thing, this is a super one. Laugh out loud funny and sensual rather than too sexy, this is the story of tangentially famous Luc O'Donnell who has trouble staying out of the tabloids. When his work issues an ultimatum - improve his image or find another job - he sets out to find a fake boyfriend to get him some better press. 

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The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit, 2020). If you've got an urban fantasy fan or a New Yorker on your list, this is a fascinating and action-packed fantasy novel. New York is being born. As the city becomes cognizant, it's up to five people representing the five boroughs to protect the budding city from an otherworldly evil that threaten its very existence. This is a compelling, creative diverse fantasy read. 

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Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth (William Morrow, 2020). If something a little scary and atmospheric is what you're looking for, this queer, creepy novel is one that you can really sink your teeth into. Dual narratives - one in the early 1900s at the Rhode Island boarding school and one in modern day Hollywood - weave in and out, piecing together a creepy story of forbidden love, unjust consequences, and strong ladies getting revenge.

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The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown, 2020). If you're a historical fiction reader, this one is a timely choice. Set in 1918 Dublin during the throes of the influenza pandemic, this story might hit too close to home for some readers or it might be fascinatingly timely. Set over the course of three intense days, a maternity nurse manages a fever ward for laboring mothers infected with flu. It reads like the best episode of Call the Midwife ever and will appeal to fans of medical fiction. 

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Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf, 2020). For the literary fiction readers on your list, I found this to be a moving portrait of an immigrant family torn apart by addiction. It's a novel that puts faces on the opioid crisis and examines what it means to have faith and to love. Obsessed with her neuroscience lab work, fifth year PhD student Gifty spends her days experimenting on mice in hopes of unlocking the key to curing drug addiction. Her older brother Nana was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose when Nifty was 11, shaping her world in irrevocable ways.

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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Riverhead Books, 2020). Here's another one for your literary fiction readers. This is the tale of African American twins in 1960s Louisiana and what happens when one of them runs away and starts passing for white. This is a book that has a lot to say about family and race and presenting yourself to the world in the way that you want to be seen, and what that means for where you come from and who you are. A major bestseller since it was published in June, if you're shopping for a reader who loves to stay on top of the trending books, this is a great choice, especially for those interested in reading about race right now. 

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Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur (Avon, 2020). One more light-hearted book for this list and this one is perfect reading for the holiday season. After a disastrous first date, social media astrologer Elle Jones and buttoned-up actuary Darcy Lowell both realize how convenient it would be to have a significant other during the holidays to take the pressure from their families off. So they make a deal. They'll be fake girlfriends through the holiday rush and go their separate ways at the new year. But you know how these things go. This is a warm, joyful romance set during the holiday season in Seattle and perfect for anyone who needs a light read right now. 

For the first 12 days of November, I've been posting a list of books perfect for gift giving this holiday season. Check out the full list of lists here to see what's been included. All the lists link to IndieBound to make it easy for you to find an independent bookstore to buy from (and as an IndieBound affiliate, shopping through those links supports me, too!). Independent bookstores need our support more than ever this year, so please shop local if you can or if you don't have a local independent bookstore, please consider ordering online from my local indie Carmichael's Bookstore

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

12 Days of Giving: Books to Screen 2020

 


Shopping for a movie lover? It's been a weird year for movies with many films slated for feature film release being delayed or converted to streaming services. A movie date may not look the same as it did last year, but you can pair these books with a subscription to the applicable streaming service and thematic snacks to make a special stay-at-home family movie night or movie date. It's the perfect cozy winter night gift!

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Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire genius criminal mastermind, but he doesn't know what he's getting himself into when he kidnaps a dangerous fairy. The movie adaptation of this fantasy adventure story was released this summer on Disney+. Ages 10-13. 

Pair with: A subscription to Disney+ and chocolate coins & lollipops. 

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The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes #1) by Nancy Springer. When Enola Holmes, little sister to the famous detective Sherlock, discovers that her mother has gone missing, she sets out to find her in this girl-power Victorian mystery. The Enola Holmes movie was released on Netflix in September and stars Millie Bobby Brown (of Stranger Things fame). Ages 10-15. 

Pair with: A Netflix subscription for the Enola Holmes movie and tea and cookies. 

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Mulan: Before the Sword by Grace Lin. Set before the events in the Mulan movie, this story of a strong girl who values family above all will appeal to readers who enjoy strong female characters. Gift this adventure story and then enjoy the new live-action Mulan movie, which will be released on Disney+ on December 4. In the meantime, you can enjoy the animated version. Ages 8-12. 

Pair with: A Disney+ subscription for the new Mulan movie and Chinese take-out from your favorite place. 

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The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Ivan is a gorilla living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He's gotten used to living around humans, but when a baby elephant arrives at the mall, Ivan must decide whether to try to make life better for her and maybe himself, too. This is a heartfelt animal story that was adapted into a movie on Disney+. A sequel to the book was just released this year, so consider grabbing The One and Only Bob, too.  Ages 7-12. 

Pair with: A subscription to Disney+ and bananas & peanuts. 

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PS: I Still Love You by Jenny Han. This sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before (which is also a Netflix movie) is perfect for lovers of romantic comedies. Lara Jean is back and she's with Peter, who she never really expected to fall for. But when a boy from her past comes back into the picture, Lara Jean is torn. Can you be in love with two boys at once? These romcoms are both super cute, so why not make it a double feature or pick up a box set of the entire trilogy and cross your fingers for a third movie sometime. Ages 10 and up. 

Pair with: A Netflix subscription for the movies and ingredients to bake cookies or cupcakes together, just like Lara Jean would. Or Yakult (a Korean yogurt drink) and pocky. 

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The Witches by Roald Dahl or The Witches Graphic Novel by Roald Dahl and Penelope Bagieu. Witches are real and when a boy and his grandmother go on a trip, they find themselves staying at the same hotel as the world witch convention. As the witches plot to destroy all the children in the world, the boy must figure out a way to thwart their plan. The book was adapted into a movie in the 1990s, but this October a brand new movie adaptation was released on HBO Max starring Octavia Butler and Anne Hathaway. It's a little bit creepy and perfect for kids who like some shivers down their spines. Ages 9-12. 

Pair with: An HBO Max subscription for the movie and all the chocolates (as long as you're sure the witches haven't tainted them with Formula 86 mouse potion!)

For the first 12 days of November, I'll be posting a list of children's books perfect for gift giving this holiday season. Check out the full list of lists here to see what's coming. All the lists link to IndieBound to make it easy for you to find an independent bookstore to buy from (and as an IndieBound affiliate, shopping through those links supports me, too!). Independent bookstores need our support more than ever this year, so please shop local if you can or if you don't have a local independent bookstore, please consider ordering online from my local indie Carmichael's Bookstore

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

12 Days of Giving: Great Graphic Novels

 


I've shared a few graphic novels on the previous lists, but there have been so many great ones this year and lots of kids LOVE graphic novels. If you're not sure, take a chance with a graphic novel and you'll be the cool adult. And don't you worry about whether graphic novels are "real reading" because they definitely are. This year's Newbery medal winner was a graphic novel, too! 

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Aster and the Accidental Magic by Thom Pico, illustrated by Karensac (Random House Graphic, 2020). This is a really fun, magical graphic novel, a French import that contains two seasonal stories - summer and fall - with another volume being published early next year. With its focus on nature and magic, this is a refreshingly odd fantasy story and young readers will enjoy exploring Aster's new woodland home along with her. Reading this was just as pleasant as taking a crisp autumn walk and I'd grab it for kids who are fans of the show Hilda on Netflix. For ages 8-12. 

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Class Act by Jerry Craft (Quill Tree Books, 2020). This standalone sequel to the Newbery-medal-winning graphic novel New Kid (which would also make a great gift - why not pick up both?) is a funny school story that will appeal to fans of Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. And it manages to do that while still addressing some serious issues like racial microaggressions and police violence. For ages 9-13. 

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Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder (Dial, 2020). Okay, so this is a book about grief and it may seem like a really weird choice for a gift, but it may be just the thing for certain readers. Tyler was in college when she lost her mom to cancer. This isn't an easy read, but it is one of my favorite books of the year. Readers who have experienced the loss of a parent or other close loss will find recognition and acceptance here, but even readers who have not experienced this loss should tune in for just a well-crafted and emotionally vulnerable story. Ages 12 and up. 

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Dog Man: Grime and Punishment by Dav Pilkey (Graphix, 2020). If you're looking for a book that will be a sure bet with younger elementary school kids, you can't go wrong with Dog Man. This silly graphic novel about a canine police officer is super popular with that age group and this is the very latest installment. If your kids are new to Dog Man, you can't go wrong with this box set that collects Dog Man Books 1-6. Ages 6-10. 

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Logan Likes Mary Anne (Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel) (Graphix, 2020). Another sure bet for the elementary school and tween crowd is the latest Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel. Since the show debuted on Netflix this summer, this perennially popular series has seen an upsurge in popularity. Scoop up this latest volume or grab a box set that collects Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels 1-4 for readers who are new to the series. Ages 8-12. 

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Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley (Random House Graphic Novels, 2020). Jen moves to a country farm and deals with new weekend stepsisters in this fictionalized comic memoir by graphic novelist Lucy Knisley. This is a story about a girl finding her own strengths when she feels like she doesn't quite fit in and I think it's a book that many kids in blended families will relate to. If you're shopping for fans of Raina Telgemeier, I think this one's a good choice. Ages 8-12. 

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When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohammad (Dial, 2020). This heartfelt graphic novel is Omar's memoir of growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp after fleeing war-torn Somalia. It's a compelling story, full of heart, and I think a must-read for fans of books like Refugee by Alan Gratz. Ages 9-13. 

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The Worry (Less) Book: Feel Strong, Find Calm, and Tame Your Anxiety! by Rachel Brian (Little, Brown, 2020).  Give the gift of calm this year! This graphic novel is not a story, but a nonfiction book that talks about worry (we all worry sometimes!), when worry gets in the way of our lives, and gives some techniques for combatting anxiety that's getting in the way. It's written in a conversational, approachable tone and the funny cartoon illustrations set this apart from other self-help books. It's not only helpful, it's a book kids will actually want to read. If you have a young worrier in your life, this might be just the thing. 

For the first 12 days of November, I'll be posting a list of children's books perfect for gift giving this holiday season. Check out the full list of lists here to see what's coming. All the lists link to IndieBound to make it easy for you to find an independent bookstore to buy from (and as an IndieBound affiliate, shopping through those links supports me, too!). Independent bookstores need our support more than ever this year, so please shop local if you can or if you don't have a local independent bookstore, please consider ordering online from my local indie Carmichael's Bookstore


Monday, November 9, 2020

12 Days of Giving: Books for Teens

 


Today's list is books for teens. Teens can be hard to buy for. These are some of my favorites, but remember you can't go wrong with a gift card (and honoring their choices for what they'd like to spend it on). Consider these for adults who enjoy reading YA, too. 

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Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (First, Second, 2020). I loved this graphic novel memoir from superstar Gene Luen Yang. Not only a self-deprecating memoir of Yang's learning curve with basketball and the changes that he and the team go through, this is an action-packed sports story and the book dips its toe into sports history, as well. Sports fans will definitely appreciate this book, but there's a lot for the nerdy quiet kids who don't care about basketball, too.

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Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (Balzer + Bray, 2020). This is a wonderful queer teen love story about finding yourself and really embracing your identity and declaring yourself worthy of love just as you are. Felix is trans, but still questioning his identity,  obsessed with applying to Brown University and just as obsessed with the idea that he might not get in, and desperate to fall in love and be loved in return, but he's equally afraid of even trying. This is a joyful book that doesn't shy away from tough questions about identity, but definitely ends on a hopeful note. Give this one to teens interested in genderqueer characters and realistic fiction. 

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Heartstopper Vol. 1 and Heartstopper Vol. 2 by Alice Oseman (Graphix, 2020). Charlie's gay and has been out at his all-boys school since last year. When Charlie meets Nick and Nick invites him to join the rugby team, Charlie's best friend makes fun of him - how could he hang out with a rugby guy? But there's something sparking between Charlie and Nick. The only problem? Nick is straight... or so he thinks. I devoured this delightful graphic novel and have been waiting not-so-patiently for volume 2 to be published in the US. You'll definitely want to pick up both volumes and a gift card for the third (due out in the US in May 2021) if you have a reader who enjoys queer graphic novels. 

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Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam (Balzer + Bray, 2020). This intense, moving novel in verse is a perfect choice for teens interested in social justice. Co-written by a member of the Exonerated Five, this is the story of a boy wrongfully incarcerated who turns to art to deal with his anger and despair. It's gorgeously written and would make a great choice for fans of The Hate U Give or Long Way Down

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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown (Balzer + Bray, 2020). Malik will do anything to protect his family, even making a deal with a vengeful spirit who tasks him with killing the princess of Ziran. Princess Carina has aspirations of her own and her plans include murdering Malik. This magical fantasy full of political intrigue has a plot full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing. I'd hand it to fans of Children of Blood & Bone or The Hunger Games

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We Are Not Free by Traci Chee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020). Traci Chee explores the incarceration of Japanese American citizens during WWII through the eyes of 14 different Japanese American teens. Rounded up with their families and sent from San Francisco to live in horse stalls in Tanforan and then barracks in larger camps, these 14 teens range in age from 13-20 and give a wide range of perspectives as they grow up and start becoming the adults they will become all while being incarcerated without having committed any crimes. While some chapters are more lighthearted than others, this is a powerful book that is perfect for fans of George Takei's graphic memoir They Called Us Enemy or Ruta Sepetys's multiple-point-of-view historical fiction like The Fountains of Silence

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You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson (Scholastic, 2020). If you're looking for something on the lighter side, You Should See Me in a Crown is the small-town-Indiana queer prom rom com of your dreams. Liz Lighty wouldn't be caught dead in her school's super serious competition for prom queen, until necessity drives her to enter the competition in search of the scholarship money offered as a prize. As she gets ready (makeover time!) and her friends help her campaign, Liz learns about herself and challenges her school's too-narrow idea of what a prom queen should and can be. Pick this one if you have fans of books like Dumplin' by Julie Murphy. 

For the first 12 days of November, I'll be posting a list of children's books perfect for gift giving this holiday season. Check out the full list of lists here to see what's coming. All the lists link to IndieBound to make it easy for you to find an independent bookstore to buy from (and as an IndieBound affiliate, shopping through those links supports me, too!). Independent bookstores need our support more than ever this year, so please shop local if you can or if you don't have a local independent bookstore, please consider ordering online from my local indie Carmichael's Bookstore

Sunday, November 8, 2020

12 Days of Giving: Books for Middle Grade Readers

 


Today's list: Books for Middle Grade Readers! If you're shopping for a kid ages 8-12, these are my favorites of 2020. 

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Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2020). This novel in verse about a boy and his professional football player father who is facing the health effects of years of concussions is a moving portrait of a family in crisis. This is a wonderful book that's special even for Jacqueline Woodson (and I don't say that lightly!). Pick it up for fans of The Crossover, fans of realistic novels in verse, or sports fans. 

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The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman (Viking, 2020). This engrossing historical novel brings Soviet Russia to life as it follows two unlikely friends during their evacuation from the Chernobyl disaster and a parallel narrative of a Jewish girl's escape during WWII. I loved the characters, I loved the rich setting. I would hand this to readers of The War That Saved My Life (and I don't say that lightly!) or Refugee.

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Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Dial, 2020). This one is pretty intense, but it's definitely one of my favorites of the year. Ten-year-old Della has always been able to count on her older sister Suki, even when they both had to run from their abusive step-parent and they ended up in foster care. But now Suki's struggling. Can Della pull it together to give Suki what she needs to heal? This reads like an updated The Great Gilly Hopkins and will appeal to readers who like issue books and strong characters to root for. 

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks (Katherine Tegen Books, 2020). Zoe Washington plans to spend the summer proving to her parents that she's mature enough to apply to be on her favorite cooking show now that she's turned twelve. But when she checks the mail one day and finds a letter from her father who's been in prison since before she was born. Without telling her mom, she writes him back. And so begins the strangest summer of her life. This would be a good choice for young readers interested in social justice and realistic stories. 

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King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (Scholastic Press, 2020). King's brother's sudden death is still causing fresh pain, but what King can't stop thinking about is something Khalid said to him offhandedly before he died. King betrayed a friend because of what Khalid said and he's desperately trying to figure out his own identity and what that means in the context of his family and his race. This is a rich, moving book about a kid beginning to question his identity and sexual preferences written solidly for a middle grade audience. It's a book that I read early in the year and it's stuck with me. If you have a reader who's a fan of books like George by Alex Gino or Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by AShley Herring Blake, this would be a good choice. 

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Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park (Clarion Books, 2020). Hanna, who is half-Asian, has just moved with her father to a new Dakota Territory town in 1880 and she's hoping beyond hope that it's a place she'll finally be able to settle down and go to school. But some of the townspeople take issue with their children attending school with a non-white kid, so things don't go exactly as Hanna hoped. This would be a wonderful choice for middle grade fans of Little House on the Prairie, especially if you're looking to encourage discussions about race. 

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When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller (Random House, 2020). When Lily and her family move in to take care of her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni's Korean myths appears to offer Lily a deal. But deals with tigers can be tricky. This is a heartfelt book with a good dose of magical realism and it will appeal to kids who like to feel the feels. This is another one I read early in the year that's really stuck with me. 

Need more suggestions? Have a middle grade reader who's looking for something in particular? Check out these lists from previous years: 

For the first 12 days of November, I'll be posting a list of children's books perfect for gift giving this holiday season. Check out the full list of lists here to see what's coming. All the lists link to IndieBound to make it easy for you to find an independent bookstore to buy from (and as an IndieBound affiliate, shopping through those links supports me, too!). Independent bookstores need our support more than ever this year, so please shop local if you can or if you don't have a local independent bookstore, please consider ordering online from my local indie Carmichael's Bookstore

Saturday, November 7, 2020

12 Days of Giving: Excellent Easy Chapter Books

 


Today's list is great easy chapter books of 2020. If you have a young reader who's recently graduated to chapter books, these might be the ticket. 

My Favorites of 2020

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The Best of Iggy and Iggy is Better Than Ever by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks (Putnam, 2020). Iggy doesn't mean to be bad, but sometimes things just get out of hand. This highly illustrated funny early chapter book series will appeal to kids who love to laugh. If you have fans of The Terrible Two or Horrid Henry, this will be a hit for sure. 

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Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business by Lyla Lee, illustrated by Dung Ho (Aladdin, 2020). This is a super cute early chapter book series about a Korean-American girl navigating a new life in a new state. With details about her Korean heritage and meat to the story as Mindy not only navigates a new school but life without her mom, this is a winning series perfect for fans of the Anna Banana books or Jasmine Toguchi.

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The Planet Omar series: Accidental Trouble Magnet and Unexpected Super Spy by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik (Putnam, 2020). This funny, highly illustrated series about Omar, a British Muslim kid starting a new school, is perfect for young Wimpy Kid fans. 

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Ways to Make Sunshine by RenĂ©e Watson, illustrated by Nina Mata (Bloomsbury, 2020). This is hands-down one of my favorite books of the year. Bright and funny, if you have Ramona Quimby fans or if you remember Ramona fondly from your own childhood (like I do), you're going to want this one. 

For the first 12 days of November, I'll be posting a list of children's books perfect for gift giving this holiday season. Check out the full list of lists here to see what's coming. All the lists link to IndieBound to make it easy for you to find an independent bookstore to buy from (and as an IndieBound affiliate, shopping through those links supports me, too!). Independent bookstores need our support more than ever this year, so please shop local if you can or if you don't have a local independent bookstore, please consider ordering online from my local indie Carmichael's Bookstore


Friday, November 6, 2020

12 Days of Giving: All Things Unicorn

 


Unicorns have been hot this year! If you have a young unicorn lover on your shopping list, these are the books to make their dreams come true. 

Picture Books

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How to Catch a Unicorn by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Andy Elkerton (Sourcebooks, 2019). This funny rhyming book, one of a series about catching magical creatures, is filled with zany fun. 

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Uni the Unicorn by Amy Kraus Rosenthal, illustrated by Brigitte Barrager (Random House, 2017). This picture book about a unicorn who believes that little girls are real is a testament to the power of believing and a sweet story for young unicorn fans. There are quite a few books about Uni, including more picture books and some easy readers, too. 

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A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2016). When Lucy sees an ad in the newspaper for a unicorn, she sends in her 25 cents and waits 4-6 weeks for her unicorn to arrive. But when he does... he looks nothing like what she thought... and he has fleas. Can Lucy love this unusual unicorn? There are some other books about Sparkle, so consider adding A Unicorn Named Sparkle and the Pumpkin Monster (Halloween), A New Friend for Sparkle, and A Unicorn Named Sparkle's First Christmas to make a complete set. 

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Unicorn Puzzles by Sam Loman (Windmill Books, 2019). For unicorn fans who like their books a little more interactive or if you're looking for some boredom busters for the winter days ahead, this might be a good choice.

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Unicorns 101 by Cale Atkinson (Doubleday, 2019). This hilarious picture book sets the record straight about unicorns. Professors Glitter Pants, Sprinkle Steed, Star Hoof, and Sugar Beard, along with their lab assistant Pete, present all kinds of amazing scientific facts about unicorns.

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The Unicorns Who Saved Christmas by Mary Winn Heider, illustrated by Christian Cornia (Running Press Kids, 2020). When Santa's reindeer come down with the chicken pox on Christmas Eve, can the unicorns save Christmas? 

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You Don't Want a Unicorn by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Liz Climo (Little, Brown 2017). Ame Dyckman was an author mentioned over and over again when I asked for suggestions of laugh out loud picture books, so if you're looking for funny books, this might be the one for you. When a little boy wishes for a unicorn pet, he has no idea what he's getting himself into! 

Chapter Books

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Bo's Magical New Friend (Unicorn Diaries) by Rebecca Elliott (Scholastic, 2020). Rebecca Elliott is much beloved for her early chapter book series Owl Diaries and her new unicorn series is quickly becoming just as beloved at my library. I know a young unicorn fan who's getting this series about Rainbow Tinseltail and the unicorns of Sparklegrove Forest for Christmas. If you have a new chapter book reader in your life, this is the one to get. Pick up Bo and the Dragon-Pup (Unicorn Diaries #2) and Bo the Brave (Unicorn Diaries #3) for a fun gift set. 

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The Creature of the Pines (Unicorn Rescue Society) by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly (Dutton, 2018). Okay, so this one's about all kinds of different magical creatures, so maybe not for unicorn purists, but it's a fun fantasy adventure series that's been really popular at my library. Elliot and Uchenna belong to a secret adventuring society called the Unicorn Rescue Society, charged with defending the world's mythical creatures. This is a good bet for young fantasy readers. 

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Grumpy Unicorn by Joey Spiotto (Scholastic, 2019). This funny graphic novel series stars the world's grumpiest unicorn. If Grumpy Cat was a unicorn, this is the book you would get. 

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Pacey Packer, Unicorn Tracker by J. C. Phillips (Random House, 2020). When Pacey finds herself transported to a magical world to rescue her little sister, it's nothing like she expected it to be. And she's stuck with a sarcastic unicorn sidekick in this funny graphic novel. 

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Phoebe and her Unicorn by Dana Simpson (Andrews McMeel, 2014). When Phoebe skips a rock across a pond and accidentally hits a unicorn in the face, so begins a friendship for the ages. Phoebe and her unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, have many adventures together in this funny graphic novel series that's so far lasted 11 books and is super popular with my library patrons. Consider a boxed set for a perfect holiday gift. 

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Sparkly New Friends (Unicorn & Yeti) by Heather Ayris Burnell, illustrated by Quintanilla (Scholastic, 2019). Here's another early chapter book series that's filled with unicorn fun. Unicorn and Yeti are best friends even though they're opposites in a lot of ways. Fans of Frog & Toad or Bink & Gollie will enjoy this fun series, too. Pick up the rest of the books in the series for a nice package: #2 A Good Team, #3 Friends Rock, and #4 Cheer Up

For the first 12 days of November, I'll be posting a list of children's books perfect for gift giving this holiday season. Check out the full list of lists here to see what's coming. All the lists link to IndieBound to make it easy for you to find an independent bookstore to buy from (and as an IndieBound affiliate, shopping through those links supports me, too!). Independent bookstores need our support more than ever this year, so please shop local if you can or if you don't have a local independent bookstore, please consider ordering online from my local indie Carmichael's Bookstore