Best of Young Readers

  1. Young Readers Book List

"What is REAL?" a shy stuffed animal asks an older and wiser plaything. Generations of children have found the answer to that vital question in The Velveteen Rabbit, the timeless story of a toy's transformation through the power of love. Illustrated by Sir William Nicholson.

Harry is a little white dog with black spots who loves everything...except baths. So one day before bath time, Harry runs away. He plays outside all day long, and soon he is so dirty he has changed into a black dog with white spots. Now Harry is really in trouble. Even his own family doesn't recognize him.

When all of the letters of the alphabet decide to climb up the coconut tree, they all come tumbling down in a big mess! This classic story has been a favorite for parents and teachers to help children learn and practice reading.

Corduroy is in for a Big adventure! Corduroy has been on the department store shelf for a long time. As soon as Lisa sees him, she knows he's the bear she's always wanted - even though he's a little shopworn. Corduroy knows that with a bit of work, he can tidy himself up - so it's off through the store in search of a new button! Recommended for ages 3 to 8.

No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child's wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever. Recommended for ages 3 to 8. The 1963 Caldecott Medal winner.

Katy is a big bulldozer that plows in the summer when it's nice out, and plows snow in the winter. But when winter comes and there isn't much snow, all the other plows are put to use and Katy is kept in. Until one day, a great snowstorm hits and everyone in the town, including all the other snow plows, are stranded! Now, it's up to Katy and her "chug, chug, chug" endurance to get the town moving again. Includes snowy stickers to decorate the story!

When Miss Rumphius was little, she would sit on her grandfather's lap and listen to his stories of faraway places-and she would say "When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea." However, her grandfather gives her a third charge-to do something that makes the world more beautiful. And Alice grows up to do just that. She takes a job as a librarian far away from the salt air, travels to distant locations, and moves back by the sea. However, she knows she must still do something to make the world more beautiful. After watching the Lupines grow by her house, she has a wonderful idea.

A picture book full of meaning, the gorgeous paintings capture the very essence of New England by the sea and the many stops of her life along the way. Winner of the American Book Award. Softcover.

Clara, a slave and seamstress on Home Plantation, dreams of freedom, not just for herself, but for her family and friends. When she overhears a conversation about the Underground Railroad, she has a flash of inspiration. Using scraps of cloth from her work in the Big House and scraps of information gathered from other slaves, she fashions a map that the master would never even recognize. From the award-winning author-illustrator team of Deborah Hopkinson and James Ransome, this fictional tale of the Underground Railroad continues to inspire young readers decades after its original publication. 40 pages, hardcover. Ages 3 and up.

The busy Boston streets are too dangerous for eight little ducklings! But with a little help from a friendly policeman, Mrs. Mallard and her family arrive safely at their new home. The Public Garden was no place for the ducklings when they were first born, but now they're old enough to brave the raucous crowds and swim with the giant swan boats. Available for the first time in a full-size paperback edition, this Caldecott Medal-winning classic continues to delight generations of children. Recommended for ages 4 to 8. Recommended for ages 4 to 8. The 1942 Caldecott Medal winner.

Where the Wild Things Are is a beloved classic that showcases how young Max gets over his anger through a visit to where the Wild Things Are. He's crowned king of Wild Things and joins in the wild rumpus but finally gets lonely and returns to his home - where he finds his mother has left dinner for him (still hot). A must-have for any child's bookshelf. Caldecott-Medal winner. Softcover.

Through this powerful series of illustrations, artist Tim Ladwig delivers the inspirational message of hope and rebirth found in the Twenty-Third Psalm. The words of the psalm, now thousands of years old, seem even more relevant today against the rich backdrop of the inner city.

Through this powerful series of illustrations, artist Tim Ladwig delivers the inspirational message of hope and rebirth found in the Twenty-Third Psalm. The words of the psalm, now thousands of years old, seem even more relevant today against the rich backdrop of the inner city.

Ladwig, who has ministered in Wichita, Newark, and South Central Los Angeles with World Impact (an inner-city Christian mission organization), uses vivid urban images to renew the Psalm's spiritual promise. He shows us the power of that promise for a young brother and sister who live in an embattled neighborhood, yet are able to embrace the safe haven of their home and loving extended family--a truly compelling contemporary tale.

"Psalm Twenty-Three is familiar to almost everyone," says Ladwig, "but because it is so familiar, we don't enter into its beautiful truth: the Lord's care and presence are real no matter who or where we are."

By giving this psalm a voice in contemporary setting, Ladwig brings this truth to dramatic life--and makes us realize that the psalm speaks to all of us, in all times and places. Originally published in 1993, Psalm Twenty-Three is now in a new edition. It is redesigned, but it still retains all of Ladwig's original art work--and all the power of his vision. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.

A little girl and her father go late at night into the forest, looking for owls. As they quietly walk along, trees and animals silently keep them company. Her father makes the call of the Great Horned Owl, and they wait for a reply. Is there an owl in the forest? Will they see one tonight? This Caldecott Medal winner is a verbal and visual treasure that celebrates the special companionship between a parent and child as they share the beauty of nature together. 32 pages.

Irene’s mother, dressmaker Mrs. Bobbin, isn’t feeling well and can’t possibly deliver the beautiful ball gown she’s made for the duchess to wear that evening. It’s up to plucky Irene to get the gown to the palace in time, despite the fierce snowstorm that’s brewing. Brave Irene overcomes many obstacles, including the wiles of the wicked wind, her most formidable opponent, to complete her mission and receive the warmhearted thanks of a grateful duke and duchess. This 1986 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year will inspire readers young and old to continue to persevere when faced with challenges. 32 pages, softcover. Ages 5 and up.

Farmer Brown has a problem and it started with his cows. They can type. This quirky, hilariously illustrated farmyard tale documents events in which the cows request better working conditions, and Farmer Brown’s response as he tries to control the chaos on his farm.  32 pages, softcover. Ages 3 and up.

This multiple award-winning retelling of Cinderella introduces children to the history, culture, and geography of the African nation of Zimbabwe.  Inspired by a traditional African folktale, this is the story of Mufaro, a father who is proud of his two beautiful daughters. Nyasha is kind and considerate, but everyone except Mufaro knows that Manyara is selfish and bad-tempered. When the Great King decides to take a wife, he invites the most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land to appear before him, Mufaro brings both of his daughters, but only one can be queen. Who will the king choose? Winner of the Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, as well as numerous other accolades.  32 pages, softcover. Ages 3 and up.

With beautiful illustrations that imitate medieval illuminated manuscripts, this is the story of Joan of Arc, the simple thirteen-year-old village girl who leads France to independence from English rule during the Hundred Years War. This tale of vision and bravery, fierce determination, and tragic martyrdom, presents historical information in an accessible and child-friendly format that is exquisitely and vibrantly illustrated.  48 pages, softcover. Ages 4 and up.

Cassie Louise Lightfoot has a dream: to be free to go wherever she wants for the rest of her life. One night, up on “tar beach,” the rooftop of her family’s Harlem apartment building, her dream comes true as the stars lift her up, and she flies over the city, claiming the buildings and the city as her own. This multiple award-winning story weaves fiction, autobiography, and African American history into a magical story that resonates with the universal wish for freedom. 32 pages, softcover. Ages 5 to 13.

Once upon a time, in Spain, there lived a bull named Ferdinand. He was an odd bull, instead of playing and butting heads like all of the other bulls; he prefers to laze under his favorite tree in the shade smelling flowers. One day some men came to find the fiercest bull for a bull fight. All of the bulls were showing off butting and jumping, but not Ferdinand-that is until Ferdinand gets stung by a bee. What will happen when the men take Ferdinand to the fight?

Kids will adore this amazing adventure story! Just by helping a stray cat, Elmer Elevator learns that there is a captive dragon that knows how to fly on Wild Island. The dragon has been forced by the jungle residents to serve as their shuttle across a large river-- and anyone who frees the dragon from his cruel captors just might get a free ride. Elmer decides he must try to free this dragon, so he boards a ship where he matches wits with hungry tigers, an irate gorilla, cranky crocodiles, and so many more moody animals.

Penny adores her new doll she got from grandma. It is perfectly pink, cute, and Penny loves to show her all around! But Penny can't come up with a name for her doll! What do you think Penny will name her doll? "Penny and Her Doll" has been written with new readers in mind. This beginning reader is perfect for your eager new reader with short sentences, simple concepts, and familiar words.

Grace loves stories, whether they're from books, movies, or the kind her grandmother tells. So when she gets a chance to play a part in Peter Pan, she knows exactly who she wants to be. Remarkable watercolor illustrations give full expression to Grace's high-flying imagination.

In 1707, young Sarah Noble and her father traveled through the wilderness to build a new home for their family. "Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble," her mother had said, but Sarah found that it was not always easy to feel brave inside. The dark woods were full of animals and Indians, too, and Sarah was only eight! The true story of Sarah's journey is inspiring. And as she cares for her father and befriends her Indian neighbors, she learns that to be afraid and to be brave is the greatest courage of all. Recommended for ages 7 to 10. A 1955 Newbery Honor book.

Sailing boats down the river, climbing majestic cherry trees, building cities out of blocks, reading picture books on snowy days. . . . Ready to charm a new generation of readers, this perennial classic celebrates all the timeless joys of childhood! Stevenson's poetry is complemented by breathtaking watercolor paintings by Caldecott Honor illustrator Tasha Tudor. 69 pages, hardcover from Simon & Schuster.

Never out of print since its 1944 publication, this tender story offers readers of all ages a timeless message of compassion and understanding. At its heart is Wanda Petronski, an immigrant girl in an American school, who is ridiculed for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. When she tells her classmates that she has one hundred dresses at home, she unwittingly triggers a game of teasing that eventually ends in a lesson for all.

In restoring the reproduction of Louis Slobodkin's artwork, this new edition recaptures the original vivid color. And to celebrate the book's enhanced beauty, Helena Estes, the daughter of the author, has written a new letter to readers about the true story behind The Hundred Dresses.

In the 1950s ‘Tricia Ann knows of a place in her southern town where all are welcome, no matter what their skin color, and she knows exactly how to get there. To her, it’s someplace special and she’s bursting to go by herself. But when she catches the bus heading downtown, unlike the white passengers, she must sit in the back behind the Jim Crow sign and wonder why life is so unfair. Still, for each hurtful sign seen and painful comment heard, there’s a friend around the corner reminding ’Tricia Ann that she’s not alone. And her grandmother’s words, “You are somebody, a human being, no better, no worse than anybody else in this world,” echo in her mind, lifting her spirits and pushing her forward. 40 pages, hardcover. Ages 5 to 8.

Little Willy's grandfather is sick, and it's up to Willy to save their farm from tax collectors. Their only hope is the prize money for the National Dogsled Race. But a lot of other people want to win the race, too, including Stone Fox, who has never lost a race in his life.

Do Willy and his dog Searchlight stand a chance against the toughest racers around? Can they win the race to save that farm--and Grandfather--before it's too late? Recommended for ages 7 to 11.

Jemmy is a poor orphan boy who once lived on the streets but was plucked up and taken to the palace to be the prince's whipping boy. The prince, also known as Prince Brat, misbehaves constantly and is always in need of punishment, but because he is the prince he can't be whipped, spanked, or thrashed so instead Jemmy is whipped in his place.
When the prince decides that he wants to run away, he drags Jemmy with him and the two find themselves kidnapped and held hostage and must learn to trust and rely on each other. A Newbery Medal winner.

So much better than the movie (which, actually, was pretty good), this is the multiple award-winning classic story of Babe the sheep-herding pig. When Babe arrives at Hogget Farm, Mrs. Hogget’s thoughts turn to sizzling bacon and juicy pork chops. But before long, Babe reveals a talent no one could have expected: he can handle Farmer Hogget’s stubborn flock better than any sheepdog ever could! When Farmer Hogget enters Babe in the Grand Challenge Sheepdog Trials, everyone, including his wife, thinks he is a fool. But he believes in Babe. Now it’s just up to Babe to convince everyone else to believe in a sheep-pig! 128 pages, softcover. Ages 6 and up.

First published in 1947, this picture book classic has remained one of Marcia Brown's most popular and enduring books. This story, about three hungry soldiers who outwit the greedy inhabitants of a village into providing them with a feast, is based on an old French tale. Recommended for ages 4 to 8. A 1948 Caldecott Honor book.

In a lively and entertaining text and extraordinary lithographs, the d'Aulaires bring to life the fascinating story of Pocahontas, the Native American princess who played such a crucial role in the early days of the Jamestown settlement. Here she is depicted as a prankish girl, a courageous and generous young woman who is willing to risk her father's wrath for helping the starving English settlers, a dignified and cool-headed captive during her betrayal and kidnapping, and a noble and handsome woman as she is presented to the King and Queen of England. This delightful book offers an authentic yet very human portrayal of one of America's first and best-loved heroines. Recommended for ages 4 to 11.

A kindly spider, a crafty rat, a wise farmer, a loving little girl named Fern, a humble-yet-terrific pig, and a miracle. No wonder it's a favorite! You and your 8- to 12-year-old readers will hang on every word. This 60th anniversary edition includes the beloved illustrations by Garth Williams and a foreword by Newbery Medal-winner Kate DiCamillo. 184 pages, softcover from HarperCollins.

I, Vivaldi by Janice Shefelman and illustrator, Tom Shefelman, is a wonderful picture book inspired by the life of composer, Antonio Vivaldi. Vivaldi's mother had vowed for him to become a priest, but the feisty violin-obsessed boy puts his musical training ahead of his studies for priesthood. The beautifully ornate illustrations capture the magnificence of his hometown of Venice. Includes a historical note, musical score, and glossary that will give insight into the genius mind of this important composer. Paperback, 36 pages. Ages 7 to 11 years old.

Billy was a little boy who loved horses more than anything else in the world. Imagine how happy he was when he got his very own pony for his birthday! From that day on, Billy was seldom seen without his new friend, Blaze. Riding through fields and woods, Billy and Blaze learned to trust and understand one another and to jump over fences and fallen trees with ease. They were a great team, but were they good enough to win the gleaming silver cup at the Maon Horse Show? Recommended for ages 4 to 8.

Let your child tell you what is important about the sun and the moon and the wind and the rain and a bug and a bee and so many other things (if he wants to). The text in this book establishes a word game which tiny children will accept with glee. Share this special 50th anniversary edition with a new generation of readers and find out why The Important Book continues to go on long after the book is closed. Recommended for ages 4 to 8.

A shark accuses Cyrus of cowardice because he won't sink any ships. The kindly sea serpent almost succumbs to peer pressure, but learns at last to be himself. 48 pages. Paperback. Ages 4-8.

Libby Mitchell is turning 10, and today is the day that she and her parents climb into a covered wagon and set off on a long journey. They'll go a thousand miles over 2 months! Their trip from Virginia to the deep woods of Michigan is hard, but it's exciting, too! At the end lies their new home in a place that's rugged, wild and full of promise. Recommended for ages 6 to 9, grade 3.

Nine-year-old Kate Purdy is traveling from Missouri to Oregon by wagon train, and she's worried about Snuggs - the pretty little cat who took a shine to her and decided to come along for the ride even though there are no pets allowed on the wagon train. No matter what happens, Snuggs the cat has to stay a secret! Recommended for ages 6 to 9.

Apples, ho! When Papa decides to pull up roots and move from Iowa to Oregon, he can't bear to leave his precious apple trees behind. Or his peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, and pears. Oh, and he takes his family along too. But the trail is cruel -- first there's a river to cross that's wider than Texas...and then there are hailstones as big as plums...and there's even a drought, sure to crisp the cherries. Those poor pippins! Luckily Delicious (the nonedible apple of Daddy's eye) is strong -- as young 'uns raised on apples are -- and won't let anything stop her father's darling saps from tasting the sweet Oregon soil. Here's a hilarious tall tale -- from the team that brought you Fannie in the Kitchen -- that's loosely based on the life of a real fruiting pioneer.

A moving picture book, A New Coat for Anna follows Anna and her mother as they try to get Anna a new wool coat post-World War II. Anna's mother goes through the village, trading her valuables for the services of a spinner, a weaver, and a tailor. With brilliant pictures that capture the aura of the era, as well as the colors that go into making something beautiful in a dark time, this heartwarming book will make children consider how precious the ordinary can be in times of difficulty.

Book Sets

Discover the mystery and adventure with this Boxcar Children collection! This boxed set features 4 softcover books. Titles include:

  • #1: The Boxcar Children: Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are orphans. Determined to make it on their own, they set out to find a safe place to live. They discover an old, red boxcar that provides shelter from a storm. Against all odds, they make it into their home--and become the Boxcar Children.
  • #2: Surprise Island: Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny used to live alone in a boxcar. Now they have a home with their grandfather and are spending the summer on their own private island. There is a mysterious stranger on the island with a secret--but that's not the only surprise in store for the Boxcar Children.
  • #3: The Yellow House Mystery: The Boxcar Children are determined to solve the mystery that surrounds an oldyellow house on their grandfather's property. Strange things have happened inthat house where long ago a man disappeared.
  • #4: Mystery Ranch: When the Boxcar Children visit their grandfather's sister, Aunt Jane, they try to help the unhappy woman out of her misery throughout the summer. Finally, they make a surprising discovery about Aunt Jane and her Mystery Ranch.

Leroy Brown---a.k.a. Encyclopedia Brown---is Idaville's 10-year-old sneaker-clad super sleuth. With an uncanny knack for trivia, he solves mysteries for the neighborhood kids while helping his chief-of-police father sort out baffling crimes! Each volume features 10 interactive cases that your kids can help Encyclopedia solve.

  • Travel into the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends---and discover the many adventures that await them! Combining Milne's gentle humor and heartfelt writing with Shepard's whimsical illustrations, this collection includes Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six. Approx. 120 pages each, four slipcased hardcovers from Dutton.

Introduce the next generation to the timeless adventures of Betsy Ray and Tacy Kelly. This softcover collection features four original stories including:

  • Betsy-Tacy
  • Betsy-Tacy and Tib
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
674 pages, softcover. An appendix with photographs and information on the author and the publishing of the Betsy-Tacy series is also included.

Introduce your little ones to the classic tales of Beatrix Potter and teach them to be environmentally friendly at the same time with this Peter Rabbit Naturally Better Classic Gift Set. Featuring the classic adventures of some of Beatrix Potter's most loved characters, this set is made from recycled material with environmentally-friendly vegetable inks, paper from responsibly managed sources, and bio-degradable lamination. Books included are:

  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher
  • The Tale of Tom Kitten
  • The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck