For this year’s list of great books for kids, we turned to librarians with the County of Los Angeles Public Library for their recommendations. The librarians looked for well-written and favorably reviewed books with strong kid-appeal. “A well-reviewed book is useless if kids don’t like it and the book just sits on the shelf collecting dust,” said Youth Services Administrator Debbie Anderson. “We next looked for engaging cover art and illustrations. Both popularity and the message received equal consideration."
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010
Everybody to the station! Time for winter hibernation! With room for all kinds of critters from big burly bears and clamoring chipmunks to grumpy groundhogs and fidgety frogs, this train is filled to capacity and ready to go! The final destination? Sleep! Ages 3 to 7.
Ellen Stoll Walsh
Beach Lane Books, 2010
Two mice make a teeter-totter. They’re balancing just fine, but then along comes a frog. Can they make room for one more friend on their teeter-totter? What about two? What about more? Then a big bird comes along and wants to play, too. Better watch out! Ages 2 to 6.
“Ducking for Apples”
Henry Holt and Co., 2010
“The five little ducks can’t wait to ride their bikes. Will they use their training wheels? No way! Teetering, swerving, tottering and curving, they ride full-steam until two of the ducks spy trees with ripe red apples on top. Those apples will be perfect for pies and cakes — if only the ducks can reach them. Ages 3 to 5.
Kate and Jim McMullan
Balzar + Bray, 2010
“Frankie Works the Night Shift”
Lisa Westberg Peters
Greenwillow Books, 2010While everyone else is busy dreaming, Frankie is hard at work, cleaning and scheming. There’s no time for rest. Clang! Splash! Eeeeeeek! But here’s a little secret: Frankie really seems to enjoy the night shift. Is he working hard or hardly working? Open this book and decide for yourself. Kindergarten to Grade 3.
“A Balloon for Isabel”
Greenwillow Books, 2010Isabel and Walter, two porcupines with very sharp quills, make an inspired play for forbidden balloons in this funny picture book ideal for end-of-the-school-year celebrations. Kindergarten to Grade 2.
“Boo Hoo Bird”
Scholastic Inc., 2009
This story about a universal experience is sure to put a smile on the face of any child who has suffered a boo-boo and any parent who has struggled to come up with the right way to give comfort. Kindergarten to Grade 3.
Greenwillow Books, 2009
Birds come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Birds are everywhere. If you listen very carefully you will hear them, no matter where you live. And if you look very closely you will see them, no matter where you are. And if you can’t go outside right this minute, you can always read this book! Preschool to kindergarten.
“Bats at the Ballgame”
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010
The irrepressible bats from “Bats at the Beach” and “Bats at the Library” gather at a fun-filled baseball game, where from right-side-up and upside-down perspectives they watch favorite all-stars while enjoying “moth dogs” and “cricket jack.” Preschool to Grade 2.
“In the Wild”
Candlewick Press, 2010This companion volume to "On the Farm" pairs simple, wryly humorous poems about the wild creatures of the natural world with vibrant woodcut artwork. Grades 1 to 3.
“I Spy a School Bus”
Cartwheel Books, 2003
Simple text challenges the reader to find objects hidden in the photographs. Kindergarten to Grade 2.
“Hip & Hop, Don’t Stop!”
Hyperion Books for Children, 2010A rabbit named Hop and a turtle named Hip defy convention when they team up to win a rap music contest against big artists such as Ludafish and Notorious P.I.G. Kindergarten to Grade 2.
“Benny and Penny in the Toy Breaker”
Toon Books, 2010When their cousin Bo comes to visit, Benny and Penny hide their toys and try to go on a treasure hunt without him, but Bo will not stop pestering them. Preschool to Grade 2.
Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2009Finding an old book of spells with torn pages, a little frog tries to match missing pieces to find the spell that will make him a handsome prince. But he quickly discovers that trial-and-error is not a good idea when performing magic. Preschool to Grade 3.
“Things Will Never Be the Same”
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2003After receiving a diary for Christmas, Tomie spends much of 1941 recording the wonderful things he does. But when December rolls around, his family hears on the radio some news that will change his diary entries and his world forever. Grades 2 to 5.
“See You Later, Gladiator”
Puffin Books, 2002Joe, Sam and Fred didn’t mean to open Joe’s magic book again. But while they were wrestling, they bumped into the bookcase and now they are back in the golden age of Rome, trying to do as the Romans do — Roman gladiators, that is! Will their moves, culled from hours of watching “WWE,” impress in the Coliseum? Or are they history? Kindergarten to Grade 2
“Calvin Coconut: Dog Heaven”
Wendy Lamb Books, 2010
Calvin wants a dog more than anything else in the world, but his mom won’t let him get one. Her boyfriend takes Calvin to meet some dogs, and Calvin meets the dog of his dreams. Can he persuade his mom to let him keep him? Grades 2 to 5.
“A Cool Drink of Water”
National Geographic Society Children’s Books, 2002
An Italian boy sips from a fountain in a town square. A hiker takes a refreshing drink from a mountain stream. Blackrobed women in India stride gracefully through a field with brass water jugs balanced on their heads. Whether they squeeze it out of a burlap bag, haul it home from a communal tap or get it out of a kitchen faucet, people all around the world are unified by their common need for water. Grades 2 to 5.
“Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute”
Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Alfred A. Knopf, 2009
In the first volume of this graphic novel series, the school lunch lady is a secret crime fighter who discovers a plot to replace all the popular teachers with robots. Grades 2 to 5.
“Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage”
Roaring Book Press, 2009Hardworking and capable Clover Twig takes the job of housekeeper for a messy witch. When the witch goes away, Clover and her accident-prone friend find themselves defending the cottage from the witch’s evil sister. Grades 3 to 5.
“The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail”
Lynn E. Hazen
Henry Holt and Co., 2009
With hopes of becoming a famous artist one day, Seymour Snail takes a job in a New York art gallery — where everyone is abuzz about a new and mysterious artist. Grades 1 to 4.
“Judy Moody & Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt”
Candlewick Press, 2009“
During a weekend trip to Ocracoke Island, siblings Judy and Stink Moody take part in the island’s annual pirate-treasure-hunting game, following clues to collect “pieces of eight” and a chance to ride on a pirate ship. Grades 1 to 4.
“Flawed Dogs: The Novel”
Philomel Books, 2009
Kicked out of a loving home after a series of misfortunes, Sam the Lion, a talented show dog, ends up living the hard life on the streets with other abandoned dogs. He quickly learns new tricks and gains the courage needed to plot the best comeback ever at the Westminster dog show. Grades 4 to 6.
Mary Ann Hoberman
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009Ten-year-old Allie’s family moves from the city of New Haven to rural Stamford, Conn., in the midst of the Great Depression. She is excited to move when she finds out her street has a special name — Strawberry Hill. Grades 3 to 5.
“Kenny & the Dragon”
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2008When Kenny’s sleepy little village finds out there’s a dragon running loose in the countryside, the residents call George, a retired knight and dragon slayer, out of retirement. Now it is up to Kenny to protect George and the dragon, who are are his best friends. Grades 3 to 6.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009An extra-credit project at school is the beginning of a special friendship that forms between an American girl in Illinois and a girl in Afghanistan, who cannot write, and her brother, who isn’t allowed to communicate with girls. Grades 4 to 6.
“Where the Mountain Meets the Moon”
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009
Minli, an adventurous girl, sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way. Grades 3 to 6.
— Preschool books chosen by Debbie Anderson, youth services coordinator, City of Los Angeles Public Library
— Kindergarten books chosen by Janet Fattahi, regional youth services coordinator, South County region, County of Los Angeles Public Library
— Grade 1 books chosen by Danita Eastman, children’s book selector, County of Los Angeles Public Library
— Grade 2 books chosen by Susan Muller, youth services program coordinator, County of Los Angeles Public Library
— Grade 3 books chosen by Christina Cabrera, regional youth services coordinator, East County region, County of Los Angeles Public Library
— Grade 4 books chosen by Jocelyn Mullen, regional youth services coordinator, West County region, County of Los Angeles Public Library