All the children in my life know I will give them books every year for Christmas. Here are a few of my favorite books from 2013 that I would be proud to give any child. I know that for my own children, books are the gifts that keep on giving as we pass them down and reread treasured favorites for years. Can’t afford all of these gems? Click on the covers and you can borrow them from the library. Season’s readings! ~Amy Schardein
Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2013. $14.99
When Alex receives a sentimental birthday bunny book he turns it into a book he might actually enjoy using his pencil and formidable imagination. A hysterical, empowering choice for young readers (and writers) ages 5-9.
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu. Walden Pond, 2013. $16.99
Oscar, an orphaned shop boy, spends his days helping Caleb, the last magician in the city. When the children around him fall ill Oscar must leave his small world so save the greater one. This is beautifully written magical storytelling for ages 8-12.
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman and Skottie Young. HarperCollins, 2013. $14.99
Father leaves to get milk and takes him ever so long to return. Why? Aliens, time travel dinosaurs and adventure are all part of a hilarious, witty story sure to be enjoyed by readers ages 8-12.
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo and K. G. Campbell. Candlewick, 2013. $17.99
Master storyteller Kate DiCamillo will win your heart again with the story of Flora and the newly super-empowered squirrel Ulysses. Ages 7-11
Journey by Aaron Becker. Candlewick, 2013. $15.99
This wordless picture book tale of a magical journey to friendship is told in stunning, luminous illustrations. Readers of all ages will be lost in this beautiful world.
The Tortoise & the Hare by Jerry Pinkney. Little, Brown & Co, 2013. $18.00
This wordless version of the classic fable teaches the same timeless lesson while giving readers of all ages intricately detailed illustrations to explore and enjoy.
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown. Little Brown & Co, 2013. $18.00
Mr. Tiger is tired of being prim and proper – so he goes wild! What will happen when he’s tired of going wild? Children yearning to be wild will find a kindred spirit (and a compromise) with the charming Mr. Tiger. Ages 3-6
Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson. Greenwillow, 2013. $15.99
Children tap, shake and even blow kisses to help a tree through the seasons in this cleverly interactive book that will leave children asking “again!” Ages 3-7.
Deneux, Xavier. Opposites. Chronicle, 2013. $14.99
Ingeniously nested pages use both texture and color to illustrate opposites for the youngest of readers in this boldly designed concept book that will please parents as much as it will please babies. Ages 0-3.