We live in a time when there are so many new and exciting ways to introduce our kids to the world around them. Whether it’s faraway places, exotic animals, or the basic facts of life, a wealth of knowledge is readily available right at our fingertips. However, while tablets, television, and smart devices are great ways to explore the world, sometimes delving into new concepts is best done through the pages of a good book. The thing is, it can be difficult to narrow down the best spot to buy books from and the best books to pick out for your children. So to help out, I’ve put together this list of ten of the top kids’ books released in 2019 — all must-haves for your child’s bookshelf!
DK Life Stories Series
Why you should own it: It’s never too early to learn about the world’s most inspiring people and how their actions have changed the world. Written for a younger audience, the DK Life Stories Series explores the achievements of awe-inspiring individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, and Anne Frank in easy-to-read, illustrated book format.
STEM Lab by Jack Challoner
Why you should own it: An early introduction to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects can foster a lifelong curiosity of the natural world and prepare your child for a rewarding career in emerging fields. STEM Lab not only provides an informative introduction to STEM subjects but also provides your child with a series of interesting activities that can make learning fun and engaging.
Camp by Michael Eisner
Why you should own it: If you’ve got a child heading to summer camp for the first time, Camp is a great read to help them adjust to being away from home. It’s a cheery, light-hearted graphic novel that covers some of the more common experiences associated with camp life: camp routines, making friends, seeking help from camp counsellors, and more.
Jaclyn Hyde by Annabeth Bondor-Stone and Connor White
Why you should own it: This modern take on the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, is a fun, humorous read about the lengths some people will go to in order to meet high expectations. Chock-full of great life lessons on dealing with stress and the pursuit of perfection—and how such things can lead to cheating and lying, Jaclyn Hyde is a remarkably insightful read for any middle-schooler who is attempting to navigate through a world that might expect just a little too much from them.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
Why you should own it: Starting at a new school is never easy and making new friends is often less so. In The Day You Begin, the reader follows the relatable journey of a young girl starting at a new school as she struggles to find her place amidst a classroom full of children from unique backgrounds. The Day You Begin provides parents with important teachable moments including embracing and appreciating the differences in others and their unique perspectives on everyday life.
Drawn Together by Minh Le
Why you should own it: Drawn Together is a beautiful story that addresses generational and cultural divides. In this heartwarming tale, a young boy finds common ground with his elderly grandfather through their shared passion for art. Drawn Together shows that even if two people seemingly have nothing in common, strong bonds can be forged with just a little effort.
The Night Owl From Dogfish by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer
Why you should own it: With tolerance and acceptance at its core, The Night Owl From Dogfish follows two young girls who are sent away to camp by their fathers, who have recently fallen in love, as a way for the girls to bond. This novel strives to resolve many of the questions children in a similar situation may have and is a fantastic way to teach your child that families can differ from the traditional, nuclear model.
Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen by Niki Lenz
Why you should own it: This book masterfully broaches the topic of bullying. In this story, Bernice is a notorious bully that incites fear from the neighbourhood kids. However, after being abandoned by her mom, Bernice vows to change her ways—a journey that proves to be more difficult than she expected. A surprisingly funny read, Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen takes a lighthearted approach to the topic of bullying. It teaches us that it is never okay to bully others, and that anyone can become a better, kinder person with a little hard work and dedication.
Guts by Raina Telgemeier
Why you should own it: My eldest daughter is a big fan of Raina Telgemeier’s previous graphic novels and was literally counting down the days until this newest one was released. In Guts, a young girl comes to grips with the realization that her queasy stomach is due to the stress she’s feeling in relation to school, socializing with friends, and life in general. Once again Telgemeier brings us an insightful, amusing and inspiring view of life as a middle schooler.
I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët
Why you should own it: As far as life lessons go, there’s arguably none as important as being kind to one another. In this charming, fully illustrated book, a young girl’s selfless actions inspire her classmates to support a child who has been bullied. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this story is how it so effectively communicates the lesson without using a single word.
The list above can help you chose books for the special kid in your life, or perhaps help you in putting together a book gift box, and you can feel good knowing that you aren’t just providing an interesting read, you’re also helping a child to develop into a well-rounded young adult.
While there are many great books out there for your child to read, it’s important to try to select those which will truly capture their interest (and are capable of competing with their electronic devices!) Books like the ones mentioned above have the added benefit of imparting some important life lessons and even opening up the way for conversations on some big topics.
What about you folks? What resonates with your children? What are some of the best books for children that you’ve spotted this past year?