Please Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
This book tickled our funny bone more than any other this year. Many animals want Mr. Pandas donuts, but they ask rudely. Only a weird lemur knows to say please.
Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera
Polar Bear has lost his underwear. As he searches for it, he discovers the brightly colored undies of all his animal friends before he finally finds his own. I had you at the title of this one, didn’t I?
Wild About Shapes by Jérémie Fischer
We received a copy of this book right as Ozzie was learning about color mixing. In this innovative format, abstract color shapes are laid on top of one another to reveal a new animal on every page.
Speaking of revealing, when you hold the illustrations of this book up to the light, you’ll get a look at who’s in a skyscraper, what’s in a rocket, and what’s under the ground. In the second half of the book, you can also draw your own What’s Inside illustrations. I love these large-format Okido books. Really, any one of them makes a great gift.
Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl
Honestly, who doesn’t need this book as gift. Everyone should have this. There are women you know. S is for Sonia Sotomayor, P is for Patti Smith, and F is for Florence Griffith-Joyner. But you can also discover more amazing women as I did: the Grimke Sisters, Jovita Idar, Yuri Kochiyama, Zora Neale Hurston, and more. Each woman gets a cool wood-block style portrait and a page about her life.
Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, Illustrated by Meg Hunt
In this beautifully illustrated version, Cinderella is a maker girl who fixes robots and rockets. When she couldn’t go to the Prince’s Royal Space Parade here Fairy Godrobot gave her tools and a space suit. Cinderella fixed her rocket to go to the parade, and she ended up fixing the Prince’s ship, too. My kind of princess story.
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
If you loved Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, you’ll need The Marvels to finish off your Brian Selznick set. He comes again to his innovative mix of prose and cinematic illustrations to tell the story of five generations of a theatrical family. This books is about love and loss, and about the family we’re born into and the family we choose.
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
One of my favorite books that I’ve read this year, this book combines graphic novel and novel as a girl, with the help of a new friend and the dark side of the Internet, solves the mysterious disappearance of her best friend, who she thought had died.
Since I’ve been woefully behind on my reading, and Olive always burns through all my review copies, I asked her to pick the books she’d recommend to add to this list and rely on her synopses.
Untwine by Edwidge Danticat
Giselle is a teenage girl whose twin sister dies in a car crash, and she is left unable to speak. Sure it sounds super sad, but Olive liked the perspective of this girl who could see but not talk. (Though I haven’t read this one yet, I read Edwidge Danticat’s Claire of the Sea Light recently, a novel for adults I highly recommend also.)
Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White
Two sisters are abandoned by their dad at a rest stop and they have to find their way back, tracking their dad in his RV. Olive liked that this adventure story puts the girls in a bunch of exciting situations.
The Gutsy Girl by Caroline Paul
I love that this book comes with a warning. Olive loves that this book chronicles the author doing adventurous things like kayaking from Alaska to California or crawling five miles in the rain. Journal prompts and activities get kids to think about their inner gutsy girl (or boy).