Whether you’re learning about the true meaning of the holiday season or diving head-first into history and exploring the brave people who came before us, the power that books play in our lives is undeniable. But books about strong and powerful women, about adversity, about courage and faith, about overcoming hardships and intolerance? Those are the books that deserve to be placed front and center on the shelves of the children we read them to.
I have five young children in my life – all of whom I’ve loved reading to as they’ve grown – and books like these are woven with words about purpose while finding a way to be truly entertaining, original, and heartwarming. These reads are my picks for my 2017 children’s book gift guide.
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
“As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.”
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton
“She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small. “
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
“Featuring forty trailblazing black women in American history, Little Leaders educates and inspires as it relates true stories of breaking boundaries and achieving beyond expectations. “
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
“Women in Science celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, doctors, astronauts, physicists, and more! “
Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers
“She’s in New York. She’s holding a torch. And she’s in mid-stride, moving forward. But why? In this fascinating and fun take on nonfiction, Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris investigate a seemingly small trait of America’s most emblematic statue. What they find is about more than history, more than art. What they find in the Statue of Liberty’s right foot is the powerful message of acceptance that is essential of an entire country’s creation.”
After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat
“Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?
Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall―that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most.”
The Santa Thief by Alane Adams
“It’s winter in Girard, Pennsylvania and the pond is completely frozen over―ready for a young boy to go skating!―but Georgie’s ice skates are too small. All Georgie wants for Christmas is a new pair of skates. But times are tough in 1920s Pennsylvania, and he gets the disappointing news Santa might not come this year. Follow Georgie as he decides to take matters into his own hands by stealing Santa’s identity―and discovers what Christmas is all about.”
We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio
“Over 6 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy.”
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
“Insightfully sweet, with a gentle humor and poignancy, here is Oliver Jeffers’ user’s guide to life on Earth. He created it specially for his son, yet with a universality that embraces all children and their parents. Be it a complex view of our planet’s terrain (bumpy, sharp, wet), a deep look at our place in space (it’s big), or a guide to all of humanity (don’t be fooled, we are all people), Oliver’s signature wit and humor combine with a value system of kindness and tolerance to create a must-have book for parents.”
The Bad Seed by Jory John
“This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember!”