Okay, I wouldn’t post this before Halloween but we are now safely in November so I feel safe recommending gift books.
A lot of the writers I know like to give books as gifts. Fortunately Writer’s Digest has put together a fifty item list of the best children’s and teen books of 2016. I’m only going to highlight a few of them here. For the complete lists (picture book, middle grade and young adult), go here.
I’m happy to see that one of the best picture books that I read this year is on the list — Thunder Boy Junior by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales. Thunder Boy is named after his father. While he thinks it is a great name for Dad, he wishes he had a name that was better suited to his personality. This is a book where the main character doesn’t solve his own problem, but it is still a great story about a parent/child relationship.
The second book on the middle grade list is awesome — The Best Man by Richard Peck. This is the first contemporary book that I’ve read by Peck although I know he’s written others. Like Thunder Boy it is a story about family, in this case the men that Archer looks up to as he grows into being his own person. It is a great story for any young reader still trying to define themselves.
I also loved Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand. This is an excellent example of working a multitude of problems into one cohesive story. It is middle grade with numerous subplots fed by backstory. It also shows how, in spite of bad things going on, you can create a story that is hu
morous in spots and all around hopeful.
On the young adult list is another excellent book that I read this year — The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. This is as dark if not darker than Some Kind of Happiness and just as complicated. But it is also 100% young adult. There’s a bit of love, a lot of betrayal and a main character who learns that she can be much more than she had hoped if she’s willing to fight.
Check out the full lists and start your book buying for the holidays. My husband’s gift has already arrived and I need to get it wrapped before he finds it.