Here are perfect picks for...

Curious Minds

Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine

Ibtisam Barakat. FSG/Ferguson. ISBN 978-0-374-30251-1

Barakat brings readers back to the Palestine of the 1970s and ’80s in this powerful follow-up to her 2007 memoir, Tasting the Sky, movingly describing her family’s struggles and successes (including her mother’s decision to return to school) and her own growing awareness of injustice.

Children Just Like Me: A New Celebration of Children Around the World

DK. ISBN 978-1-4654-5392-1

In a fully revised version of a 1995 book of the same name, readers get an eye-opening glimpse of the lives of 44 children living in countries across the globe today, captured through photographs of and details about their families, routines, beliefs, and homes.

Cleared for Takeoff: The Ultimate Book of Flight

Rowland White. Chronicle. ISBN 978-1-4521-3550-2

This sweeping study of aeronautical history from Icarus onward, handsomely illustrated with archival photos and other images, examines the vessels, pilots, and technologies that have made flight possible over the decades, changing the landscape of travel, combat, and exploration.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Javaka Steptoe. Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-21388-2

Steptoe traces the explosive rise of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in this dynamic picture book biography, which highlights the influences that captivated him from an early age (his father’s jazz records, the “messy patchwork of the city”) and the importance of finding one’s voice as an artist.

Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White

Melissa Sweet. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-31959-2

Caldecott Honor artist Sweet vividly illustrates the life of the renowned author in a scrapbook-style biography that pairs her exuberant mixed-media collages with a warm recounting of the path that led to the creation of classics like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.

The Way Things Work Now

David Macaulay. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-82438-6

Macaulay (and his mammoths) return in this newly revised edition of his 1988 classic, which uses humor, concise explanations, and diagrammatic illustrations to illuminate technologies—such as smartphones and Wi-Fi—that didn’t exist when the book was first published.

Young Comics Lovers

Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon

Torben Kuhlmann. NorthSouth. ISBN 978-0-7358-4262-5

The tiny hero of Kuhlmann’s lushly illustrated story sets his sights even higher than the star of 2014’s Lindbergh: this mouse is moon-bound. The book’s immersive and smartly detailed artwork makes readers feel as though they are right there for every daring and thrilling moment in the mouse’s journey.

Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box

Edited by Leonard Marcus. Candlewick. ISBN 978-0-7636-5938-7

Marcus compiles interviews with top comics creators—including Kazu Kibuishi, Hope Larsen, Sara Varon, and Gene Luen Yang—that offer sharp insights into their varied artistic paths and the power of visual storytelling. (And why not pick up some of the contributors’ own books as gifts, too?)

Dog Man

Dav Pilkey. Graphix. ISBN 978-0-545-58160-8

Devoted readers of Pilkey’s Captain Underpants books will howl their way through every madcap twist and turn in this full-color comic starring a crime-fighting sensation who, thanks to the miracles (or perhaps malpractices) of medicine, is now part cop, part canine.


Raina Telgemeier. Graphix. ISBN 978-0-545-54062-9

In Telgemeier’s emotionally incisive graphic novel, two sisters—the younger of whom has cystic fibrosis—begin to reconcile themselves to the changes that lie ahead after their family relocates to a coastal California town, where they encounter some nonthreatening local ghosts.

The Nameless City

Faith Erin Hicks. First Second. ISBN 978-1-62672-156-2

Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra will like Hicks’s thrilling adventure, first in a planned trilogy, set in an ancient, oft-conquered city, where politics, gender, and culture collide in thought-provoking ways.

Snow White: A Graphic Novel

Matt Phelan. Candlewick. ISBN 978-0-7636-7233-1

Phelan brings the story of Snow White into the 20th century in this graphic adaptation, which sets the fairy tale against the backdrop of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. The noirish result is dazzling and heartrending, and Phelan makes the story’s transition into recent history look effortless.

Creating Keepsakes

A Celebration of Beatrix Potter: Art and Letters by More than 30 of Today’s Favorite Children’s Book Illustrators

Beatrix Potter. Warne. ISBN 978-0-241-24943-7

Timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth, this lovely collection combines excerpts from several Potter tales with artwork and musing from dozens of illustrators (among them Tomie dePaola, Chris Raschka, Judy Schachner, and Rosemary Wells) who reflect on her work and influence.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Illustrated Edition

J.K. Rowling, illus. by Jim Kay. Scholastic/Levine. ISBN 978-0-545-79132-8

The second book in Rowling’s beloved series returns in a lushly illustrated storybook featuring full-color artwork by Jim Kay. While many households already have other editions of this and other Harry Potter books on hand, this one is made for reading together as a family.

One Minute to Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to Send You Off to Sleep

Kenn Nesbitt, illus. by Christoph Niemann. Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-34121-9

If bedtime is at 8 p.m., be sure to set an alarm for 7:59. That will leave just enough time to read children one of the 140-plus over-in-a-minute poems from the likes of Margarita Engle, Nikki Grimes, Jack Prelutsky, Jon Scieszka, and Jane Yolen that are gathered in this collection.

The Singing Bones

Shaun Tan. Scholastic/Levine. ISBN 978-0-545-94612-4

Tan breathes haunting life into the stories of the Brothers Grimm in a beautifully designed book that pairs excerpts from 75 tales with photographs of Tan’s sculptures, which range from playful to downright menacing—such as his blood-red bust of the queen in Snow White, her teeth clenched in rage.

Tales from the Arabian Nights: Stories of Adventure, Magic, Love, and Betrayal

Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Christina Balit. National Geographic. ISBN 978-1-4263-2540-3

Napoli and Balit follow their treasuries of Greek, Egyptian, and Norse myth with enticing retellings of folktales that include Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and the stories of Sindbad the sailor. In addition to Balit’s lavish artwork, maps and other resources bring valuable context to these stories.

Tomi Ungerer: A Treasury of 8 Books

Tomi Ungerer. Phaidon. ISBN 978-0-7148-7285-8

Eight picture books from Hans Christian Andersen Medalist Ungerer—favorites such as The Three Robbers, as well as out-of-print books like Emile and Flix—have been collected in a handsome treasury that also features an interview with the author-artist and anecdotes about the stories.

Feeling the Feels


Jason Reynolds. Atheneum/Dlouhy. ISBN 978-1-4814-5015-7

Seventh grader Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw draws on his aptitude for running as he tries to overcome dark moments in his family’s history in this moving coming-of-age story from Reynolds, which will leave readers awaiting the subsequent books in this series about Ghost’s fellow runners.

Kids of Appetite

David Arnold. Viking. ISBN 978-0-451-47078-2

In Arnold’s insightful story of forging connections and building found families, a boy with a rare facial disorder attempts to decode his father’s instructions about where to scatter his ashes, aided by a group of new friends with their own difficult backstories.


Sharon Creech. Harper. ISBN 978-0-0624-1524-0

A city girl learns to embrace kindness and openness after her family moves to a coastal Maine town, where 12-year-old Reena winds up caring for a cantankerous cow named Zora. Newbery Medalist Creech expertly captures Reena’s shifting emotions in a spare blend of poetry and prose.

Old Dog Baby Baby

Julie Fogliano, illus. by Chris Raschka. Roaring Brook/Porter. ISBN 978-1-59643-853-8

In a sweetly understated picture book, Fogliano and Raschka muse on the powerful relationships at the heart of a family—in this case one that includes two mothers, a new baby, a kind older sibling, and a dog that has been part of the picture since it was a puppy.

Preaching to the Chickens

Jabari Asim, illus. by E.B. Lewis. Penguin/Paulsen. ISBN 978-0-399-16856-7

Asim and Lewis highlight the compassion that characterized congressman and civil rights activist John Lewis even at an early age, in this gentle picture book biography about how he tended (and preached) to the chickens on the Alabama farm of his youth.

The Sun Is Also a Star

Nicola Yoon. Delacorte. ISBN 978-0-553-49668-0

Timely issues including college worries and the threat of deportation undergird the sudden romance at the heart of Yoon’s novel, which spends a single day with teenagers Natasha and Daniel as their lives—and those of several people around them—entwine in surprising ways.

Adventure Seekers

The Amateurs

Sara Shepard. Freeform. ISBN 978-1-4847-4227-3

Fans of the Pretty Little Liars series can get in at the ground floor as Shepard kicks off a new series about a group of high school sleuths in the making, which features all the breathless action, bad behavior, and gripping twists that the author’s readers have come to expect.


Tahereh Mafi. Dutton. ISBN 978-1-101-99476-4

Mafi’s inventive middle grade fantasy introduces 12-year-old Alice Queensmeadow, a girl who is completely lacking in color in a magical world that’s suffused with it. As Alice ventures into the strange land of Furthermore, the wild and whimsical things she discovers will keep fantasy fans riveted.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Kelly Barnhill. Algonquin Young Readers. ISBN 978-1-61620-567-6

A rich cast of characters that includes a highly intelligent swamp monster, a tiny dragon, and a child imbued with powerful magic form the heart of this enchanting middle grade novel from Barnhill, who weaves an engrossing plot involving family, truth, and sacrifice.

The Hawkweed Prophecy

Irena Brignull. Weinstein. ISBN 978-1-60286-300-2

Threaded with intense emotions and relationships, Brignull’s YA novel focuses on two girls switched at birth—Poppy, a witch raised by a normal family, and Ember, hopelessly human in a community of witches—and the strong (but not untested) bond that forms between them.

The Reader

Traci Chee. Putnam. ISBN 978-0-399-17677-7

In this complex and thought-provoking story from first-time novelist Chee, a teenage orphan named Sefia is entrusted with a strange object that she comes to discover is a book—something that, along with reading and writing, is unheard of in her world.

When the Sea Turned to Silver

Grace Lin. Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-12592-5

Lin follows Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky with a third lushly illustrated, vividly told story inspired by Chinese folklore. In this tale, a shy girl embarks on a quest to rescue her captured grandmother, a revered Storyteller.

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