Amazon’s top kids’ books of 2019

December 18, 2019

I love lists that make easier, and Amazon’s editors have put together their choice of this year’s kids’ book picks. If you’re looking for some great reads for the holidays and beyond, have a look at their collection.

All of these books are available here at the moment, aside from Dear Sweet Pea, Beverley Right Here, and Why.

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

Amazon’s Description: “Dividing her time between two homes is not easy. And it doesn’t help that at school, Sweet Pea is now sitting right next to her ex-best friend, Kiera, a daily reminder of the friendship that once was. Things might be unbearable if Sweet Pea didn’t have Oscar — her new best friend — and her 15-pound cat, Cheese. Then one day Flora leaves for a trip and asks Sweet Pea to forward her the letters for the column. And Sweet Pea happens to recognize the handwriting on one of the envelopes. What she decides to do with that letter sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of Sweet Pea DiMarco, her family, and many of the readers of ‘Miss Flora Mae I?'”

Recommended age: 8-12

The Hippo at the End of the Hall by Helen Cooper

Amazon’s Description: “The invitation to the Gee Museum was delivered by bees. It wasn’t addressed to anyone, but Ben knows that it was meant for him. Why else would the images on the postcard have stirred up memories of his father, who was lost at sea long ago? Ben makes his way to the old dilapidated building to find a host of curious talking animals awaiting his arrival. They are certain he is the only one who can save the museum. But Ben and the animals in the Gee collection will have to outwit a devious rival museum owner and a greedy land developer. With a bit of luck, some strange magic, and a little help from his mom, Ben might succeed in ensuring the future of the museum — and finding the answers about his father that he’s been searching for his whole life.”

Recommened age: 7-9

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o

Amazon’s Description: “Sulwe has skin the colour of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything.”

Recommended age: 4-8  

White Bird by R.J. Palacio

Amazon’s Description: “In R. J. Palacio’s bestselling collection of stories Auggie & Me, which expands on characters in Wonder, readers were introduced to Julian’s grandmother, Grandmère. Here, Palacio makes her graphic novel debut with Grandmère’s heartrending story: how she, a young Jewish girl, was hidden by a family in a Nazi-occupied French village during World War II; how the boy she and her classmates once shunned became her savior and best friend.”

Recommended age: 8-12

How Do You Dance? by Thyra Heder

Amazon’s Description: “There are so many ways to dance! You can jiggle or wiggle or stomp. You can bop or bounce or go completely nuts. You can dance at the market or the bus stop, with your fingers or your face. You can dance because you’re happy or even because you’re sad. But, what’s the best way to dance? Exactly how you want to!”

Recommended age: 3-7

Just Because by Mac Barnett

Amazon’s Description: “Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs? It might be time for bed, but one child is too full of questions about the world to go to sleep just yet. Little ones and their parents will be charmed and delighted as a patient father offers up increasingly creative responses to his child’s nighttime wonderings. Any child who has ever asked ‘Why?’ — and any parent who has attempted an explanation — will recognise themselves in this sweet storybook for dreamers who are looking for answers beyond ‘Just because.'”

Recommended age: 4-8

Guts  by Raina Telgemeier

Amazon’s Description: “Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away . . . and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on?”

Recommended age: 8-12

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

Amazon’s Description: “Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s notebook. Tristan chases after it — is that a doll? — and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left Black American folk heroes John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?”

Recommended age: 8-12

Truman by Jean Reidy

Amazon’s Description: “Truman the tortoise lives with his Sarah, high above the taxis and the trash trucks and the number 11 bus, which travels south. He never worries about the world below . . . until one day, when Sarah straps on a big backpack and does something Truman has never seen before. She boards the bus! Truman waits for her to return. He waits. And waits. And waits. And when he can wait no longer, he knows what he must do. Even if it seems . . . impossible!”

Recommended age: 4-8

Free Lunch by Rex Ogle

Amazon’s Description: “Rex and his baby brother often went hungry, wore secondhand clothes, and were short of school supplies, and Rex was on his school’s free lunch program. Grounded in the immediacy of physical hunger and the humiliation of having to announce it every day in the school lunch line, Rex’s is a compelling story of a more profound hunger ― that of a child for his parents’ love and care.”

Recommended age: 9-12

Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls by Dav Pilkey

Amazon’s Description: “The Supa Buddies have been working hard to help Dog Man overcome his bad habits. But when his obsessions turn to fears, Dog Man finds himself the target of an all-new supervillain! Meanwhile, Petey the Cat has been released from jail and starts a new life with Li’l Petey. But when Petey’s own father arrives, Petey must face his past to understand the difference between being good and doing good.”

Recommended age: 7 and up

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Amazon’s Description: “Five years. That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old-school bus, criss-crossing the nation. It’s also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash. Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns that the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished ― the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box ― she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days . . . without him realizing it. Along the way, they’ll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there’s Gladys. Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all . . . but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her ‘once upon a time’ into a ‘happily ever after.'”

Recommended age: 9-12

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! by Mo Willems

Amazon’s Description: “Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? What if he learns TOO MUCH!?! Ask not for whom the school bell rings; it rings for the Pigeon!”

Recommended age: 3-5

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds

Amazon’s Description: “This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy — talking about boogers. Stealing pocket change. Skateboarding. Wiping out. Braving up. Executing complicated handshakes. Planning an escape. Making jokes. Lotioning up. Finding comfort. But mostly, too busy walking home. Jason Reynolds conjures 10 tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.”

Recommended age: 10-14

Roll With It

Roll With It  by Jamie Sumner

Amazon’s Description: “Ellie’s a girl who tells it like it is. That surprises some people, who see a kid in a wheelchair and think she’s going to be all sunshine and cuddles. The thing is, Ellie has big dreams: she might be eating Stouffer’s for dinner, but one day she’s going to be a professional baker. If she’s not writing fan letters to her favorite celebrity chefs, she’s practicing recipes on her well-meaning, if overworked, mother.

But when Ellie and her mom move so they can help take care of her ailing grandpa, Ellie has to start all over again in a new town at a new school. Except she’s not just the new kid — she’s the new kid in the wheelchair who lives in the trailer park on the wrong side of town. It all feels like one challenge too many, until Ellie starts to make her first-ever friends. Now she just has to convince her mom that this town might just be the best thing that ever happened to them!”

Recommended age: 10 and up

Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo

Amazon’s Description: “Beverly Tapinski has run away from home plenty of times, but that was when she was just a kid. By now, she figures, it’s not running away. It’s leaving. Determined to make it on her own, Beverly finds a job and a place to live and tries to forget about her dog, Buddy, now buried underneath the orange trees back home; her friend Raymie, whom she left without a word; and her mom, Rhonda, who has never cared about anyone but herself. Beverly doesn’t want to depend on anyone, and she definitely doesn’t want anyone to depend on her. But despite her best efforts, she can’t help forming connections with the people around her — and gradually, she learns to see herself through their eyes.”

Recommended age: 10 and up

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family Ibtihaj Muhammad

Amazon’s Description: “With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand-new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab — a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.”

Recommended age: 4-7 

Rumple Buttercup: A Story of Bananas, Belonging, and Being Yourself by Matthew Gray Gubler

Amazon’s Description: “Rumple Buttercup has five crooked teeth, three strands of hair, green skin, and his left foot is slightly bigger than his right. He is weird. Join him and Candy Corn Carl (his imaginary friend made of trash) as they learn the joy of individuality as well as the magic of belonging.”

Recommended age: 4 and up

Why? by Adam Bex

Amazon’s Description: “When supervillain Doctor X-Ray swoops in threatening to vanquish an innocent crowd, the only one brave enough not to run away is a little girl, who asks him simply, ‘Why?’ He is taken aback — but he answers. She keeps asking. And he keeps answering — until a surprising truth is uncovered, and the villain is thwarted.”

Recommended age: 3-5

The Neighbors by Einat Tsarfati

Amazon’s Description: “As a young girl climbs the seven stories to her own (very boring!) apartment, she imagines what’s behind each of the doors she passes. Does the door with all the locks belong to a family of thieves? Might the doorway with muddy footprints conceal a pet tiger? Each spread reveals — in lush detail — the wilds of the girl’s imagination, from a high-flying circus to an underwater world and everything in between. When the girl finally reaches her own apartment, she is greeted by her parents, who might have a secret even wilder than anything she could have imagined!”

Recommended age: 4-8

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    December 19, 2019 at 7:50 pm Reply
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