Sunday Favorites-Children’s and YA

I’m not going to label these 1-5 like I did my last favorites list. It’s hard trying to figure out which book should be in each position. The whole idea of favorites is a bit moot for readers anyway, because book lovers cannot pick favs. That’s just science. But these books are amongst the ones I will reread until infinity, so let’s get to it!

Children’s Books

Charlotte’s Web- E.B. White

Fun fact: When I was younger, I thought E.B. White was a female. I don’t know why I thought that. It certainly didn’t change my perception of the book at all. I’m willing to bet that this book would be a readers fav among Children’s books.

Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

The BFG- Roald Dahl

I’m pretty sure this was the book that made me fall in love with reading. It’s hard to remember that far back because my middle sister taught me to read when I was 4. We would play school, and she would hit me when I spelled a word wrong. It was the 80s, and she’s made up for so many things since then, that I forgive her x

When Sophie is snatched from her orphanage bed by the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), she fears she will be eaten. But instead the two join forces to vanquish the nine other far less gentle giants who threaten to consume earth’s children. This beautiful hardcover gift edition of Dahl’s classic features the original illustrations by Quentin Blake, as well as a silk ribbon marker, acid-free paper, gilt stamping on a full-cloth cover, decorative endpapers, and a sewn binding

The Eleventh Hour- Graeme Base

I didn’t find this book until I was 21, when a friend at the time had it on his bookshelf. It came out in 93, so it’s a bit “newer” than the others. This book is magical. It’s a big mystery and there is something to do on every page. Such a super fun book.

When Horace the elephant turns eleven, he celebrates in style by inviting his exotic friends to a splendid costume party. But a mystery is afoot, for in the midst of the games, music, and revelry, someone has eaten the birthday feast. The rhyming text and lavish, detailed illustrations each provide clues, and it’s up to the reader to piece them together and decide whodunit! “The fun of poring over the pictures is matched by the enjoyment derived from the textwitty, ingenious verses.” — Publishers Weekly Graeme Base is the author of many award-winning books for children, including Animalia (Puffin), The Sign of the Seahorse, and most recently, The Discovery of Dragons.


Six Goodbyes We Never Said- Candace Ganger

I received this one as an ARC last year and immediately preordered the hardcover for my daughter. Namia suffered from PTSD (among other things), which made her relatable. There were so many things I highlighted in this one, it’s a powerful read.

Naima Rodriguez doesn’t want your patronizing sympathy as she grieves her father, her hero—a fallen Marine. She’ll hate you forever if you ask her to open up and remember him “as he was,” though that’s all her loving family wants her to do in order to manage her complex OCD and GAD. She’d rather everyone back the-eff off while she separates her Lucky Charms marshmallows into six, always six, Ziploc bags, while she avoids friends and people and living the life her father so desperately wanted for her.

Dew respectfully requests a little more time to process the sudden loss of his parents. It’s causing an avalanche of secret anxieties, so he counts on his trusty voice recorder to convey the things he can’t otherwise say aloud. He could really use a friend to navigate a life swimming with pain and loss and all the lovely moments in between. And then he meets Naima and everything’s changed—just not in the way he, or she, expects.

Candace Ganger’s Six Goodbyes We Never Said is no love story. If you ask Naima, it’s not even a like story. But it is a story about love and fear and how sometimes you need a little help to be brave enough to say goodbye

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret- Judy Blume

This was the first YA-esque book I read. Also, if you were a female in the 80s, there was a good chance your mom just handed you a small pamphlet that explained periods, and that was it. We have come a long way in that regard, and I’m grateful for the expanded education (though we still need more). Already a fan of Blume, of course this one caught my eye, and it was a huge help.

Margaret Simon, almost twelve, has just moved from New York City to the suburbs, and she’s anxious to fit in with her new friends. When she’s asked to join a secret club she jumps at the chance. But when the girls start talking about boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret starts to wonder if she’s normal. There are some things about growing up that are hard for her to talk about, even with her friends. Lucky for Margaret, she’s got someone else to confide in . . . someone who always listens.

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland- Rebekah Crane

I loved the characters and the storyline. Cassie isn’t for everyone, but I thought she was great. So many great messages in this one. Favorite highlight: “Everyone wants to find a way out when they’re locked in What most people don’t realize is that there’s always another locked door.”

According to sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne, nowhere is an actual place—and she’s just fine there. But her parents insist that she get out of her head—and her home state—and attend Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.

Zander does not fit in—or so she thinks. She has only one word for her fellow campers: crazy. In fact, the whole camp population exists somewhere between disaster and diagnosis. There’s her cabinmate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic. Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, odds being what they are. And Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar.

But amid group “share-apy” sessions and forbidden late-night outings, unlikely friendships form, and as the Michigan summer heats up, the four teens begin to reveal their tragic secrets. Zander finds herself inextricably drawn to Grover’s earnest charms, and she begins to wonder if she could be happy. But first she must come completely unraveled to have any hope of putting herself back together again.

The Impossible Vastness of Us- Samantha Young

Over a year later and I still want more from these characters (they’re fantastic!!). But Young has let her readers know there won’t be more 😦 This was impossible to put down, so powerful. Favorite highlight: “Other kids my age…they didn’t know what it was like to grieve. To feel pain like that. To look around at people our own age and not understand them because what they think is important seems so trivial…” This was another one that I read digitally and then bought the paperback for my daughter.

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend, Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful and big enough to change them forever…

From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity and acceptance that will break your heart—and make it whole again.

180 Seconds- Jessica Park

Last but not least (and probably my favorite fav); another one I read and then snagged for my daughter. You guys…this book! Jessica builds this burning ball of need in your chest, and it keeps expanding until she ruptures it. All those emotions and feelings that were building up come pouring out, it is beyond wonderful. Favorite highlight: “I don’t want to be so scared all the time; I don’t want to be terrified that the earth could splinter apart under my feet at any given second. I want to be happy, really happy.” 
Final note: bring tissues.

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.

That’s my list of fav YA and Children’s Books. What book made you fall in love with reading? I do not believe that YA books are strictly for teens. But I do believe if you’re an adult, you need to go in reading it without a judgemental adult view. Do you read YA? Any favs?

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