From memories of books that shaped us growing up, to discovering new books with the kids and young people in our lives, books hold a special place in many of our hearts. In honor of National Book Lovers Day, we partnered with the Seattle Public Library to create a list of books for kids, teens, and young adults that reflect the many facets of our Best Starts for Kids community. From a picture book about a boy who wants to be a mermaid to a coming-of-age novel about one girl’s path to poetry, you’re sure to find new books on this list to share and love with the kids in your life. Happy reading!
As we discover these new books together, we also want to share a few of the books we loved as kids and the lessons they still teach us. Below are a few of the books Best Starts for Kids treasured as young people, plus bonus grown-up reads at the end. Do you have a favorite book to recommend? Let us know in the comments!
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Staff Favorite: This simple, joyful book captures the wonder and magic of waking up to see snow outside. Follow along as Peter explores the snowy landscape, discovering how his feet make different tracks in the snow, how snow falls from a tree when you shake it, and how a mound of snow can be a great place to pretend to be a mountain climber. Peter’s story shows us just how much we can learn and grow by exploring the world around us.
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Recommended by Sheila Capestany, Strategic Advisor for Children and Youth: This oldie from 1972 was a favorite when I was growing up and became a favorite of my kids. This funny and endearing story teaches us important lessons about resilience and the rhythm of life: that some days are just bad days, that everybody has bad days, and that it’s ok to say that it’s a bad day. At the end of the book, Alexander declares to his mother that it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. His mom tells him that some days are like that, teaching kids that they’re not alone and that their experiences are legitimate.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Recommended by Kerry Wade, Community Partnerships Program Manager: I love the authentic way Mr. Silverstein embraces the many choices we are fed by the voices in our head—e.g. to sell my little sister or not to sell my little sister? He’s not afraid to allow his prose to tip the scales a bit towards the naughty while injecting humor to the reality that we all have unpopular ideas, we all fib, and we all need to laugh about it sometimes. At eight years old he made me fall in love with poetry and I’ve never looked back.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Recommended by Hannah Johnson, Best Starts for Kids Communications: As a young person, I was dazzled by the possibility of magic, but came away from this series with an understanding that the true magic is the power of a small group of people to stand together and make a difference. This series teaches us to face our fears, rely on our friends, and that sometimes you have to break a few rules in the pursuit of justice. It’s been over 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was published, and these lessons feel more relevant than ever.
Looking for something for grown-up readers? Check out these recommendations:
Recommended by Marcy Miller, Strategic Advisor for Help Me Grow: The Deepest Well: Healing and the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris
Recommended by Megan McJennet, 5-24 Program Manager: There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing up in the Other America by Alex Kotlowitz