Best Children's Books of the 2010s (So Far)
How time flies! It seems like just yesterday we were partying like it was 1999 and worrying about Y2K, and all of a sudden it's 2017! Parents know better than anyone how time flies, so spend a little of that time introducing good books to your children! Here are the seven best children's books written in the New Tens, whether you want your child entertained, educated or, preferably, a little bit of both! Since these are all books that are good in their own way, there will be no ranking. Only your child can say which is best!
- Where Are the Words? What better book to top the list than a book about writing a story? Where Are the Words by Jodi McKay is whimsically illustrated by Denise Holmes and is an amusing way to introduce young children to punctuation and its use. The characters are personified punctuation marks who get together with a pencil and paper to write a story. Parents will find it amusing that the characters only speak in sentences that use their punctuation. All in all, this is a cute, fun and charming way to teach the process of composition.
- The Day the Crayons Came Home If your child liked The Day the Crayons Quit, they're sure to love this next installment from the incredible team of Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. This time, Duncan gets postcards from his missing and slightly maligned crayons assuring him that they're all coming home. They might have some damage, be fused to someone or not know the difference between New Jersey and New Zealand, but they're coming home! Any parent with a colorer in the house knows all about misplaced, broken and half melted crayons turning up in the most unexpected places and will find this book delightful as well.
- The Pigeon Needs a Bath Mo Willems is back with the headstrong little pigeon who wants to drive the bus and get a puppy. Now the pigeon needs a bath, though he disagrees. Children will laugh as the obstinate pigeon tries to state why he doesn't need a bath. Parents will relate to a fussy little guy who doesn't want (but certainly needs) a bath, but finally learns to enjoy it. Like others in the "Pigeon" series, the pigeon interacts with the reader, which youngsters will find engaging. Reading this book with your child just might (might, mind you) make the next bath time easier.
- Dork Diaries 8: Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After And now, a graphic novel aimed at slightly older kids. Rachel Renee Russell breaks with her usual formula of a diary that chronicles a month in the life of 14-year-old Nikki Maxwell and relates a dream Nikki has after hitting her head in P.E. Nikki finds herself in Fairy Tale Land, with all her friends and Mackenzie as various characters familiar to fans of classic children's literature. The story deconstructs the roles of characters in stories as Rebels, Rascals and Royalty.
- She Persisted Senator Elizabeth Warren would not be silenced and neither would the 13 women portrayed in Chelsea Clinton's writing debut! Alexander Boiger vividly illustrates Clinton's description of determined women in history. This diverse group provides young girls with role models and encourages them to overcome obstacles and realize their dreams. This book gives but a taste of women's contribution to history and could open a curious mind. The language is a bit complex for very young children, but what a perfect opportunity for vocabulary expansion!
- First Light, First Life: A Worldwide Creation Story Paul Fleischman has collected myths of creation from around the world to create a narrative colorfully illustrated in a folkloric style by Julie Paschkis. Though it seems cobbled from many different stories, it all flows together in one steady parable that unites all people even in diversity. Commonality is sought through themes of family, desire for home and safety and awe for the universe at large. It opens a dialogue of comparative religion and folklore. Maybe a bit broadminded for most young readers, but anthropologists have to start somewhere!
- Claymates Writer Dev Petty and illustrator Lauren Eldridge have come up with something very original. The whole story is told through photographs taken in an artist's studio. A mischievous blob of gray clay gets molded into a wolf. An apprehensive blob of brown clay gets molded into an owl. In Toy Story fashion, the fun starts when the artist leaves her creations to their own devices. This story of friendship and the fun of creation is highly inspiring. Your little ones might be inspired to do some clay modeling of their own!