Mari Barnes is our first guest author on Nightstand Book Reviews! I ‘met’ her on Facebook because of our mutual love of mystery shows, but realized as I followed her posts that she also has a shared avid interest in developing literacy for young people and their families. She is a member of our NBR community and the perfect person to ask for her ‘Best of’ book list for children under 12. Welcome, Mari. 🙂
I’m Mari Barnes and I’m a big fan of children’s books. I share them with my own family and the children who participate in the literacy programs I facilitate. The following books are only SOME of the many great books I’ve enjoyed with children under the age of twelve. They range from silly to sweet to serious. If I didn’t list a favorite of yours, I hope you’ll find time to sample one or two…or all ten!
- Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
The perfect first chapter book for new readers. These two characters show us what friendship looks like in five adorable short stories.
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willem
This reader favorite is about a bus driver who has to leave so he asks the reader to not allow the pigeon to drive the bus. A great read-aloud book!
8. The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket
This book/CD is a clever and silly whodunnit about an orchestra. It’s fun for adults and kids won’t care that they’re learning about orchestras and classical music.
7. I Can’t Said the Ant by Polly Cameron A story told in rhyme that is about what happens to the denizens of a kitchen when an ant tries to help a fallen teapot.
6. Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar
There are laughs a plenty in this new spin on fairy tales. Little Red Riding Hood needs to find a partner to help her win a new pair of skates. But finding one isn’t easy.
- Sweet T and the North Wind by Cat Michaels
Tara, or Sweet T as her grandmother calls her, finds out that there really is magic in the North Wind. This story is about the love of family told with charm and whimsy.
4. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
For older or more developed readers. Set in the Depression and told in Bud’s own unique voice, we follow his humorous, scary, sad and uplifting travels to find the man who just might be his father.
- I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty
Frog would rather be ANYTHING else. Until he finds out that being a frog is the best thing he could ever be. A great lesson is hidden in lots of laughs.
2. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Kid scientist Ada has to use all of her science skills to find out why her house is filled with a terrible smell. But her experiments lead to even more trouble in the winning tale of imagination and determination.
1. Brimsby’s Hats by Andrew Prahin
A charming little fable about friendship and problem-solving, this is one of my all-time favorites. And it’s got a surprise twist. A terrific bedtime story.
Mari Lumpkin Barnes writes for children under the pen name of Mari Lumpkin and for adults as ML Barnes. Mari owns Flying Turtle Publishing and has spent many years working with experts in child development, creating and implementing children’s literacy programs. The latest is Adventures in Reading, literacy programming for Chicagoland and northwest Indiana families.
Many thanks to Mari Barnes for her photos and for sharing the wonderful list! 🙂