Year after year, there are thousands of new kids books released, and because there are so many, some of them fall through the cracks, without seeing any of the recognition that they deserve. Of course, I don’t have to stress the importance of childhood reading and how it can be used to shape their education, but it deserves to be at least mentioned. Books are a great tool to help fuel your child’s imagination while expanding their vocabulary in the process. But, not all children’s books are made equally, and choosing a bad book could lead to them being disinterested in reading altogether. Luckily for you, I’m here to ensure that you pick only the good ones. Here are the top 20 new kids books of 2016 (so far):
Price: $4.95 (Paperback), $5.99 (Kindle), $14.19 (Hardcover)
Recommended Ages: 5-8 years
What if a witch moved in next door, appearing when you are bored and alone? The first in a series, Backyard Witch tells the tale of Sadie, a girl who is left behind by friends during a summer trip. Longing to fill her days, she becomes acquainted with a witch. The two embark on an epic adventure, traveling around Sadie’s neighborhood in this eye-opening novel that children can both relate to and enjoy. This story has a bit of mystery, magic, and plenty of laughs to make it an enjoyable read.
2. The Day the Mustache Came Back
Price: $7.54 (Kindle), $7.94 (Hardcover)
Recommended Ages: 5-8 years
We’ve all heard of the famous babysitter Mary Poppins, but what about Martin “Murray Poppins”? The Day the Mustache Came Back is a story of babysitters in disguise, and it follows two boys who once had a babysitter named Martin who looked over them in the past. However, one day, a mustached man named Myron appears and the mystery begins/ Why is Myron a lot like Martin and share the same characteristics? This story promises to give lots of laughs to readers with funny illustrations and a mystery kids cannot resist.
3. What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
Price: $12.80 (Hardcover)
Recommended Ages: 6+
Each and every one of us faces problems in our everyday lives, sometimes having solutions and other times struggling to overcome and face obstacles. This groundbreaking read by Kobi Yamada titled What Do You Do With a Problem teaches children how to tackle the main problems in their lives through the main character’s perspective. Do you run? Do you hide? Or do you face it head on? Not only is it inspiring, it tackles decision-making skills that we all must encounter at some point.
4. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Price: $10.19 (Hardcover), $9.99 (Kindle)
Recommended Ages: 8-11 years
Waking up on a mysterious island is a scary thought, even if you are a robot. In The Wild Robot, Roz the robot awakens on a wild island, unsure of her whereabouts. She must face the dangers that await her and especially the animals on the island threaten her survival. However, one day they take her in and she finally is able to find her place. This does not last long, though, as her past life comes to the present, and she must face herself. Not only is this a unique and interesting concept, it provides older childhood readers with a new kind of story that’s appealing to an older age range.
5. Snappsy The Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be In This Book) by Julie Falatko
Price: $12.60 (Hardcover), $10.99 (Kindle)
Recommended Ages: 4-8 years
Breaking the 4th wall is usually always a great element to include in any story, as it deviates from normal storytelling. Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) manages to break the 4th wall barriers in it’s title, with an interesting story behind it. Snappsy is your ordinary Alligator whose day is made more stressful by a narrator who tries to sensationalize his story to make it more interesting. This approach is quite refreshing to the usual storytelling, and can teach children about a different form of literature.
Buy the Snappsy The Alligator Book here.
6. Pokemon Deluxe Essential Handbook
Recommended Ages: 7-10 years
Price: $7.88 (Paperback)
With Pokemon Go sweeping the nation, there’s no doubt that an essential handbook is necessary to hunt wild Pokemon and learn about them too. With now 20 years of greatness, Pokemon is still a popular choice for all ages. This guide will allow readers to read up on their favorite Pokemon, their weaknesses, stats, and more. The Deluxe edition even includes information on more than 700 Pokemon, updated with the latest games.
7. Steam Train, Dream Train Colors by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Recommended Ages: 2-5 Years
Price: $4.99 (Board Book), $3.74 (Kindle)
Learning with colors is always fun, especially when it deals with cutely drawn animals. Steam Train, Dream Train teaches younger kids the names of colors in a nice presentation. Throughout the entire book is a train with rainbow cars. Visuals combined with explanations that are easy to understand make this a vibrant learning tool for those learning the world around them.
8. Where Did All The Dinos Go? by Jim Benton
Recommended Ages: 2-4 years
Price: $6.38 (Board book)
Jim Benton is known for Dear Dumb Diary, his loveable and hilarious series targeted at middle schoolers. Where Did All the Dinos Go? embodies his art style and doesn’t disappoint answering the question, “Where did all the dinosaurs go? In a funny way, Benton uses his illustrations to depict dinosaurs in different situations. This book is perfect for younger readers, especially if they’re really into dinosaur toys and all things dinosaurs.
9. I’m Grumpy by Jennifer L. Holm
Recommended Ages: 1-3 years
Price: $6.35 (Board book), $7.99 (Kindle)
We’ve all felt grumpy at some point, and this book is meant to showcase the many feelings in our lives. Showing a variety of emotions, I’m Grumpy teaches children not only about how to express feelings but how to read a book. Grumpy the Cloud upsets Sunny and must learn how to make up with him. This is a very intelligent way to teach kids a two-tiered lesson about expressing themselves and how to approach future reading.
10. Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
Recommended Ages: 2-5 years
Price: $11.97 (Hardcover), $9.99 (Kindle), $1.95 (Audible)
Thunder Boy Jr., a highly rated book on Amazon and Goodreads, wants a name for himself. Named after his father, he wishes to be his own unique person, setting out to prove his various talents. He wants an epic name that people will remember him by. Working together, Thunder Boy Jr. and his dad finally find a name that they both agree with, which changes the course of the story. This book is praised for lyrical prose as well as top-notch art, making it a must-read on any child’s shelf.
11. The Bear and the Piano
Recommended Ages: 4-7 years
Price: $12.92 (HC), $9.99 (Kindle), $4.25 (Paperback)
Learning to play an instrument can be tough, but especially if you are a bear. In The Bear and the Piano, a bear stumbles upon a mysterious piano in the forest, teaching himself how to play. In the woods one day, humans discover the beautiful sounds of the bear, and he becomes a star. However, after moving to New York, he feels empty inside due to missing his family back home. This story is touching, heartwarming, and teaches children about fame and family, making it a good read.
12. Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat
Recommended Ages: 4-8 years
Price: $12.24 (HC), $9.99 (Kindle), $1.95 (Audible)
The dreaded car ride on the way to vacation literally ends with the question “Are we there yet?”. This fantastic book by Dan Santat depicts a certain car ride that travels backward in time, making the inevitable wait even longer. Will this car ride through space and time ever end? Or will it continue to travel for infinity? This story is an interesting spin on the classic travel line, proving that trips can last longer, especially when it comes to time traveling.
13. Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve
Recommended Ages: 7-10 years
Price: $8.61 (HC), $9.99 (Kindle), $6.99 (Paperback)
Contests are always fun, and pug dogs Shen and Shika are in the Race to the Top of the World! A prize is a wish of your choice, and Shen and Shika want that prize more than anything. However, the race to the top is not an easy task, as there are many obstacles along the way. However, there is a certain advantage that the two pugs are bringing to the table, 66 pug friends to power a massive sled. Not only is this book adorable, it is well written and a must for any child or dog lover out there. Also, it’s almost surely to become an animated movie of some sort.
14. Stink and the Attack of the Slime Mold by Megan McDonald
Recommended Ages: 6-9 years
Price: $8.92 (HC), $4.49 (Paperback), $8.47 (Kindle)
When thinking of disgusting things, stink and slime are usually one of the first things that come to mind. However, what if there was a slime mold growing in your own room? Kid scientist Stink discovers something funky one day, and that is a living organism that has moved into his bedroom. Growing rapidly by the minute, the slime mold eventually becomes a pet of sorts, with the ability to take over the world. Geared towards children who have an interest in science, Stink and the Attack of the Slime Mold definitely is appealing to future scientist everywhere.
15. The Storyteller by Evan Turk
Recommended Ages: 4-8 years
Price: $13.24 (HC), $10.99 (Kindle)
Imagination runs wild in this charming story by Evan Turk. Taking place in the Sahara Desert, The Storyteller focuses on those who communicate and orate the various stories within society. Before long, however, the storytellers that were once honored were now forgotten. One day, a boy discovers the beauty of stories, listening to the epic tales of the Drought and the Blue Water Bird, inspiring him to become a storyteller of his own. This empowering book motivates children to appreciate literature and tell their own stories, a wonderful skill to have in life.
16. Dave’s Cave by Frann Preston-Gannon
Recommended Ages: 2-6 years
Price: $4.36 (Paperback), $8.86 (Hardcover)
The art of Cavemen is usually depicted on walls, in textbooks, or in single images. However, what if the art was made into a language and the subject of an entire book? Dave’s Cave tells an entire story through caveman language. Dave absolutely loves the designs on his walls, but he wonders if there is a cave even better than his. This results in a hilarious and unique adventure told through a different lens.
17. A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson
Recommended Ages: 3-6 years
Price: $12.67 (Hardcover)
We’ve talked about bears and pianos, but what about identifying real life bears? This humorous guide teaches kids the differences between different types of bears and how to spot them. However, the guide is told through the story of the protagonist who needs to stay out of danger and from the fate of being eaten. The book has a hilarious feel to it and is a recommended educational comedy for younger children.
18. DC Super Heroes: My First Book of Super Villains
Recommend Ages: 4+
Price: $8.40 (Board book)
The world of comic books is an amazing, life-long adventure that appeals to all ages. However, not all comic books are kid-friendly (in fact, most aren’t). This awesome book by David Bar Katz and Morris Katz teaches kids about the bad guys and girls, as well as the various supervillains in the DC universe. For future comic enthusiasts, this is the perfect introduction to who is “right” and “wrong” in this world. Not only does the book define and list villains, it shows what bad behavior looks like, and discourages readers from doing so, making this book even more functional. If you’re looking to get your children into comic book culture at an early age, there are also other books by the same authors in the same vein.
19. The Land of Stories: An Author’s Odyssey
Recommend Ages: 8-12 years
Price: $11.35 (Hardcover), $9.99 (Kindle)
If our imagination could come to life, what would it look like? As the 5th book in the series, The Land of Stories: An Author’s Odyssey depicts the protagonist, Conner’s imagination in a vast, entertaining world full of creativity. In this book, Conner and his friends must face off against the Masked Man and his minions. This is the beginning of the end, as Conner longs to finish the series-long battle against his ultimate enemy. Since this is the last book, everything will be tied up into an amazing conclusion fans have been waiting for.
20. Sarafina and the Twisted Staff
Recommended Ages: 8-12 years
Price: $9.65 (Hardcover), $5.05 (Paperback), $10.99 (Kindle)
Last but not least, Serafina and the Twisted Staff depicts a unique and astounding story that keeps readers interested and engaged in every page. The story involves Serafina, a girl who catches rats for Billmore Estate. However, she also is the daughter of a lion with a special ability to shapeshift. The second book continues her epic adventure, with many saying that it may even be better than the first installment. Either way, the premise is really cool and memorable for any kid, and is a must-read series for those looking for great children’s fantasy books for their kids.