Every year, hundreds of books for children are published, some from well-known and well-loved authors and illustrators and others from first-time published ones. The stories provide readers with vibrant new worlds, fun adventures and many teach important lessons. Only some of these books, however, will remain popular and well-read for generations to come. These are the truly amazing books of each year.
Truly amazing books for younger children are the ones that achieve the perfect combination between story and illustration. Children respond to these stories, both the visual and textual parts, remember them and ask for them often, and learn from them. They bring a new spin into an otherwise common tale or oft-told story or open up a whole new world never before imagined by the readers. They also usually win the most prestigious awards, such as the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book, and become part of important best-of lists, such as the one released by the American Library Association.
Here are five of 2012’s most awesome books for young children under the age of 5:
A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Rashcka, mixes comedy and humor to tell a story about love and loss from a child’s point of view. The Caldecott Medal winner for 2012, the book is written and illustrated by Raschcka and focuses on a child’s love for a special toy. With very few words, the book relies on impacting illustrations to tell its story about Daisy and her feelings when her favorite ball is destroyed, and appeals to younger children, particularly those that are dealing with the loss of an important item.
Grandpa Green, by Lane Smith, is a book about memories, brought to life by the topiary sculptures in a whimsical garden that is cared for by a boy and his great-grandfather. Through the beautiful and creative sculptures, Grandpa Green shares his life story, providing an opening for parents and grandparents to do the same as they discuss the book. The book is written and illustrated by Smith and is a Caldecott Honor book for 2012.
La Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred, written by Samantha R. Vamos and illustrated by Rafael Lopez, is a fun, vivid story about a maiden making rice pudding with the help of the farm animals. This Belpré Illustrator Honor book for 2012 incorporates Spanish words by creatively incorporating them in place of the English words from the previous page. The book makes learning Spanish fun and includes a Spanish word glossary and a delicious recipe for arroz con leche that the family can make together.
Blackout, written and illustrated by John Rocco, is a book about the fun that can be had during a blackout. Another Caldecott Honor Book for 2012, the book shows how a family can entertain themselves by going on the roof of their building during a summer blackout and then by joining a spontaneous block party in their street. The illustrations alternate between full color and black and white, while the story focuses on all the fun that awaits the family as they patiently wait for the electricity to return.
Me…Jane, written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell, is a glimpse into the childhood of primatologist Jane Goodall. This Caldecott Honor Book for 2012 explores Goodall’s discovery of her love of animals and nature through beautiful illustrations in watercolor and India ink. This non-fiction story is based on Goodall’s autobiography and incorporates anecdotes from it so that all readers, young and old, have access to her amazing story.
Ruth King is a kindergarten teacher and guest author at Early Childhood Education Degrees.
- A Ball for Daisy (offtheshelf.typepad.com)
- A Ball For Daisy by Chris Raschka (thepicturebookreview.com)
- Picture Book Trends in 2013 (sylvialiuland.com)