Children’s books are not just for children. As educators and program leaders, children’s and young adult books can be an essential tool to help you learn how to connect with the children you serve. By reading the books that they are interested in, you gain insight into what kids are going through, what matters to them, and how they see the world.
These books can be powerful conversation starters. First Book experts have curated a great section of books that deal with specific, difficult life experiences. These books can help you breach tough topics like grief, violence, divorce, and so much more.
Even if you are not you are searching for issue books, reading children’s books can be just plain fun. You can find quality writing, and soon enough you’ll be able to recommend awesome new titles to your kids.
Here are some of our favorite books that we know readers of all ages will love…
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
In the tradition of Counting by 7s and Walk Two Moons comes a moving novel about a space-obsessed boy named Alex, his dog, Carl Sagan, and a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe.
—- It’s nearly impossible not to fall in love with 11-year-old Alex. Through the transcripts of his recorded dispatches intended for aliens, he reveals the giant-sized impact of adult issues on children, the kind of resilience that comes from innocence, and an endearing misunderstanding of emojis.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope.
—- This story just hit the big screen last Thanksgiving.
Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh
Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.
—- This collection features work from some of the great literary minds of our time: Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson. It is both humorous as it is heartfelt.
It Takes A Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first picture book tells a heartwarming and universal story of how a community coming together—believing in each other, helping each other, and sharing burdens and joys—can make a difference.
—- This book is the epitome of a children’s book for adults. It is inspired by her New York Times bestselling book It Takes a Village and is illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee. With Frazee’s beautiful illustrations, it tackles abstractions that can serve as a great conversation starter.
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring
This stand-out picture book biography follows iconic artist Keith Haring from his days doodling in his childhood home to his meteoric rise as one the most influential artists of the late ’70s and ’80s. This biography sheds light on Keith’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world.
—- This story will make you want to grab a pen and paper. It is a reminder that art should be accessible to all. Written by Keith’s sister, Kay, it features reproductions of his original artwork. Haring fans of all ages will love this book.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the World War II, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.
—- This book is an exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds. It is an honest account of the long-term impacts of neglect and abuse, as well as, living life with a disability. The sequel, The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, is also available on the First Book Marketplace.
Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina—Carol—is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. The thin line between magic and reality starts to blur as he tells her crazy stories about bees that will bring back the rain.
—- As a girl finds magic in the real world, she learns about her family and comes to embrace her roots. This is book is from the same vein as Tuck Everlasting; it is absolutely mesmerizing.
For more titles, explore the curated section of Children’s Books for Adults on the First Book Marketplace at http://www.fbmarketplace.org/great-childrens-books-for-adults