Kids’ Book Corner: Books That Will Keep The New Year Bright

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JoPerry75There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.

­­—Marcel Proust


Two sweet new books celebrate children’s literature one is for adults and one is for girls. A third explores the mysteries of time, space, the history of science and the origins of life itself—heady and funny stuff especially for boys.

today i will-400Today I Will by Eileen and Jerry Spinelli is a new year’s worth of quotations from children’s books, with commentary by the authors and a daily affirmation for the young but wise reader. Here is December 13:

“Sometimes,” he said, “when you lose a gift, you get another one.” – Up Close: Johnny Cash by Anne E. Neimark

And that’s not so surprising, is it? A gift, by definition, is not something you earn or even deserve—it’s something given to you. It happens to you, and it can just as easily un‐happen to you. And just as easily be replaced by yet another gift, which at first you may not even recognize as such.

everything_i_need_to_know_-400“I, like everyone, was born with gifts. Others have happened to me along the way. Some gifts may stay with me for a lifetime; some may have already gone. So it is with gifts: They come and go. I will remember this and not feel so bad next time a gift un-happens to me.”

Did you ever wonder what was Jack Prelutsky’s, Roger Ebert’s, or Anna Quindlen’s favorite books were when they were kids? Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book: Life Lessons from Notable People from All Walks of Life, Anita Silvey, editor, is a collection of literary recollections of beloved children’s books by one hundred accomplished people including Ebert (his favorite: The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright), Quindlen ( The Diary of a Young Girl by Ann Frank) and Prelutsky (Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton). What’s great is that the children’s books are also profiled so the reader can revisit his or her own favorites and discover new titles to share with your children and grandchildren.

really-short-history-400Bill Bryson’s A Really Short History of Nearly Everything is a kids’ version of his adult bestseller. Full of witty illustrations, Bryson takes the reader on a romp through the cosmos, the earth, the big bang, and bacteria—nearly everything!

These books are full of joy, good cheer and a sense of possibility—just what young readers and the young at heart need when facing a bright new year.

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • Jackie Houchin

    Thanks for the great line up, Jo. I’m an adult (grandmother with teen granddaughters) and *I* want to read them. I know we are into January, but the “Today I will” sounds like a wonderful New Years gift. Also, “Everything I need to know…” almost sounds like a book for an adult; mom, grandma, or children’s book writer. And I absolutely LOVED Bryson’s adult “History” (in fact, I love ALL of his books), so this one has to be a winner as well. Thanks, so much.

    PS: A fellow writer and friend of mine (Jacqueline Vick) has written a wonderful middle grade book about a cute little fellow – very serious,logical type – who sets out to disprove “sayings” – the one in question in this book, is “Always wear clean underware because you might be run over by a bus.” What a hoot! Of course he learns a lesson in friendship along the way too. A brief review of LOGICAL LARRY is on my website –

    • Jo Perry

      Thanks. I will look at LOGICAL LARRY. Happy New Year!

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