It’s a new year, and that means we have more glorious books to rave about! This month’s picks will spark creativity, help kids understand the experiences of others and take them on journeys to secret underground caves.
For Pre-K to 1st Grade (Ages 1 – 6)
Not a Box written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis
How can you write a whole book about a box? Because it’s not a box – it’s so much more! The rabbit in this cleverly simple board book is asked repeatedly why it is sitting in, standing on, spraying, and wearing a box. Each page reveals what the rabbit’s imagination has turned the box into, from a mountain to a race car to a hot air balloon. This entertaining story is perfect for an interactive read aloud to help inspire kids to use their own imagination. Just make sure you have an empty box ready after you finish!
For Grades 1st – 3rd (Ages 5-8)
The Black Book of Colors written by Menena Cottin and illustrated by Rosana Faría
What would it be like to be blind? This inventive book helps children think about how they might experience the world and its colors if they used only their senses of touch, taste, smell, and hearing. Readers can run their hands over the raised black drawings printed on black paper, and feel the braille letters stamped into the page. They hear about the taste of red, the smell of brown, the feel of blue, and so on. A unique and richly rewarding reading experience!
For Grades 3 – 5 (Ages 7-10)
The Lion Who Stole My Arm written by Nicola Davies
This is the wonderfully suspenseful story of a boy in rural Africa who loses his arm in a lion attack. His goal is to find and kill the lion who took his arm. Then he meets a team of researchers who teach him how they use science to track lions and change his understanding of the lions’ relationship with his village. Short and satisfying, this is an engaging story (great for reluctant readers) about adapting to life with a disability and understanding the value of species and habitat conservation.
For Grades 6+ (Ages 11 and up)
Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football’s Make or Break Moment written by Carla Killough McClafferty
The knowledge that playing football can cause serious brain injury is not new. In 1905, no less than nineteen football players died from playing the sport and anti-football sentiment almost wiped it out of play. So, how and why did it continue on, becoming America’s most popular sport? This eye-opening work of nonfiction helps readers understand how football gained the popularity it has today and why it’s still the subject of heated debates about safety. A fascinating mix of science and history!
For Grades 6+ (Ages 11 and up):
The Secret of Priest’s Grotto: A Holocaust Survival Story written by Peter Lane Taylor and Christos Nicola
Underneath the fields of Western Ukraine, a dark labyrinth of caves crisscross back and forth for 340 miles. The passages contain an astonishing story of despair, loyalty, and ultimately, survival. This captivating piece of nonfiction follows a team of modern cave divers as they unearth the previously unknown story of several Jewish families who lived within the cave system for over a year during Nazi occupation and the holocaust. Along with harrowing narration from the actual survivors, readers can follow the explorers underground and into the past, to witness one family’s extraordinary fight to survive.