By Kitty Felde

It’s likely that among your children’s holiday gifts this year, there were more than a few gift cards. Left to their own devices, kids will head straight to the electronics store. But if there’s flexibility in what kids can spend their gift card money on, take them to the bookstore. Find them a book so intriguing, they’ll take a break from their screens and just read. Here are some suggestions from a convention of librarians:

Read Aloud Picture Books

Rebecca Opalca from the Phoenix Public Library reads to kids in the hospital. They’re always surrounded by parents or family members. “These books get a big laugh from both the teenage brother and the dad. They’re really funny.”

Bark George – Jules Feiffer

We Don’t Eat our Classmates – Ryan T. Higgins

Grumpy Monkey – Suzanne Lang

Middle Grade Classics that Kids Still Love

Hatchet – Gary Paulson (Rebecca says she’s never met a boy who didn’t like it.)

Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell (“Still amazing,” she says. “When you get a kid to start reading it, they totally get into it.”)

For something more modern, may I humbly suggest my own middle grade mysteries set on Capitol Hill, Welcome to Washington Fina Mendoza and State of the Union.

Graphic Novels and Anime

Anne of Green Gables – Mariah Marsden’s adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s classic tale in a graphic novel format

Five Nights at Freddy’s – Scott Cawthon’s series of books based on the video games

Demonslayer – Koyoharu Gotouge

For older kids, Rebecca recommends a book banned in Michigan, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (National Book Award Winner) by Sherman Alexie.

Kitty Felde hosts the award-winning Book Club for Kids podcast and writes the Fina Mendoza mysteries series of novels and podcasts.

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