Santa’s Book List: Best Books of 2015 for the Kids!

In a season full of traditions, this a new favorite of mine: hearing Valerie Lewis’ book recommendations of new publications for our littlest readers. This is my second year attending one of her presentations but Valerie has been doing this for a long time: she founded Hicklebee’s in 1979 and is an author herself. I happen to live very close to the wonderful book store that serves as her home base and have decided it is the least I can do to pass on her fantastic & thorough list of book recommendations for all to enjoy. And just in time for holiday gift-giving (you’re welcome)!

General Favorite Books
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins – this will have children laughing as they follow the story of goslings who imprint on a grumpy bear named Bruce

Cry Baby by Karen Beaumont –  a soothing and silly story of a dog who knows just what to do to comfort the crying baby

We Forgot Brock by Carter Goodrich – (Hicklebee’s book of the year!) a story about a boy’s unwavering search for his imaginary friend who gets lost

Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer – another book about the importance of an imaginary friend

Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics – Valerie Lewis worked with Harper Collins to create this book of the stories they hope will not go out of print (the pro: the book uses the full-sized illustrations from all the originals / the con: it weighs 5 lbs!)

Bea in the Nutcracker by Rachel Isadora – a child-friendly overview of the story of The Nutcracker (a perfect holiday gift!)


Connecting Books Collage
Ask Me by Bernard Waber – a book about exploration and ways to talk about all the discoveries

One Family by George Shannon and Blanca Gomez – a book that explores the various dynamics, cultures and races that make up a family

One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck – a great story & a book that embodies how important it is to capture what different families really look like so kids can find themselves in books


Problem Solving Books Collage
The Red Hat by David Teague – a book about making a friend with a little hint of a love story

Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison – a cranky cat learns she can work through her own crankiness by brightening her friends’ days

Felix Stands Tall  by Rosemary Wells – Felix makes a new best friend & learns how to stay true to himself when he gets teased

Lizard from the Park by Mark Pett – a boy has to find a way to get his pet lizard back to where he came from after he grows from a tiny lizard to a dinosaur-sized pal

Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead – a sweet story about overcoming fears

Maple & Willow Apart by Lori Nichols – when big sister goes to school and little sister stays behind they find ways to stay connected when they are apart & to share each other’s adventures


Bedtime Books Collage
Night Animals by Gianna Marino – a silly twist on overcoming nighttime fears

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein – when a boy’s cat wakes him in the still-dark hours of morning, they explore together until the sun comes up and all is glowing & bright

How the Sun Got to Coco’s House by Bob Graham – following the sun all around the world until it gets to Coco’s house

Beep Beep Go to Sleep by Todd Tarpley – a fun bedtime book for someone who likes robots (*not the last book before bed!)

Leo: a Ghost Story by Mac Barnett – a ghost who loves people sets off on an adventure and makes a friend

Thank You & Goodnight by Patrick McDonnell – a story with sweet illustrations about animals who go on a sleepover and, as Valerie Lewis says, ends just the way you would want a book to end: remembering everything they are thankful for at the end of the day


Interactive Books Collage
Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier – counting & problem solving

8: an Animal Alphabet by Elisha Cooper – counting & alphabetWater and Alpha Collage

Counting Lions by Katie Cotton – a counting book featuring beautiful charcoal drawings of what animals really look like

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom by Steve Jenkins – a funny & imaginative way to show how animals really do what they do

A Chicken Followed Me Home by Robin Page – a picture book full of facts in a question-and-answer format just for kids

I’m Cool by Kate McMullan – all about hockey, ice and machines (the Zamboni!)

Water Rolls, Water Rises by Pat Mora – a poetic book about water and places around the world

Water is Water by Miranda Paul – beautifully illustrated, this book follows
a group of kids as it becomes steam or ice or snow or mist

Frog on a Log? by Kes Gray – fun rhymes, full of humor & alliterations

R is for Rocket by Tad Hills – more fun with the alphabet & words


Imagination Books Collage
Beyond a Pond by Joseph Kuefler – a boy scuba dives in his pond & follows his imagination to a world beyond expectation

Evermore Dragon by Barbara Joosse – a girl whose best friend is a dragon

The Wonder by Faye Hanson – great for a child who likes to look at a lot of details & the child who likes to always have a crayon in hand

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski – a girl has to come up with her own stories from the pictures she sees in a magical book


May you have a cozy holiday season sharing the wonder of reading with your children curled up in your laps!


p.s. If you didn’t find what you’re looking for check out last year’s post, which also includes recommendations for Good First Chapter Books, Books About Friendship, Holiday Books, Books for Construction Lovers & even more options from the categories in this post!