“jabari jumps”, written and illustrated by Gaia Cornwall. Jabari overcomes his fear of jumping off the diving board. My 3-year-old daughter often refers to the book and says, “I’ll be as brave as Jabari.” — Kellee M., Brooklyn, NY
“The Ugly Vegetables”, by Grace Lin. This story is about an Asian-American family who plants a garden. It connects culture, food and families. I love that it’s about veggies because it’s usually the kids’ least favorite food. So it lends itself to many different conversations. — Linda Quan, San Diego
“Be good to Eddie Lee”, written by Virginia Fleming, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. The main character in this book, Eddie Lee, has Down syndrome. His neighbor, Christy, learns to appreciate Eddie Lee’s differences when they visit a magical pond together. I love this book because it allows the readers to really put themselves in the shoes of the characters. — Anne Chalcraft, Shoreline, Wash.
Owners (7 to 10)
“The sign of the seahorse”, written and illustrated by Graeme Base. About the danger of pollution. Also nicely illustrated. The book rhymes so it is fun to read in a group. — Jennifer Strabley
“The Hundred Dresses”, written and illustrated by Eleanor Estes. It has stayed with me all my life. Published in 1944, it’s a timeless story about the power of teasing and bullying, and the sense of shame when the main character doesn’t stand up for an outsider. Although the details of children’s lives are different today, the problems and emotions are the same. — Sylvia Rortvedt, Arlington, Virginia.
“guts”, and other graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier. My daughter is a dyslexic fifth grader. She flipped through each of these books in a day or two. They were engaging, relevant and accessible. — Kim Swords, Foster City, California.
And the big kids (11+)
“Tristan Strong blows a hole in the air”, by Kwame Mbalia. This book has it all: adventure, folklore, black history, a hilarious sidekick, tough choices, and a how-to on dealing with guilt and grief. The story burns into your memory. — B. Sharise Moore, Baltimore