Favorite Children's Books of 2021
Each December, our family works on writing our resolutions for the coming year. We all have different goals, but reading more always makes the list! We outgrow our bookshelves more often than expected and lose sleep from not being able to read just one more chapter. Reading binds our family together and has made for some of our most treasured conversations! We love to hear what everyone thinks will happen next, what characters we'll be sad to leave, and what lessons we have taken away from those hours spent reading. We wanted to share what books we loved the most in 2021! We wish you happy reading in 2022!
The Keeper of the Wild Words - A beautifully written book by Brooke Smith and illustrated by Madeline Kloepper. The author was inspired by an article about the Oxford Junior Dictionary, removing natural words. Over 100 words were replaced with ones they felt were more relevant to today's society. Words such as chatroom, analog, and voicemail. In the story, Brook visits her grandmother, Mimi, who is a writer. Mimi asks Brook to be the keeper of the words that she fears will soon be forgotten. Together, Mimi and Brook set off to explore the nature around them. They keep a list of all they experience. The taste of fresh mint, vibrant poppies growing in the yard, a beaver splashing in the pond, and wishful seeds to blow from a dandelion. The story is heartwarming and the message strong: Natural words must be treasured and kept.
Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain - Written by Cheryl Bardoe and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Our daughter loves all things science and math. She has been drawn to stories of female astrophysicists and engineers. We found this book while looking up famous women in history. It is the true story of Sophie Germain, a young girl from Paris, who faced many challenges on her journey to becoming a famous mathematician! Sophie grew up during the French Revolution and was discouraged from pursuing her dream of becoming a mathematician. She attended university from home and signed her work as, "Monsieur LeBlanc." One day her secret was discovered and she became the talk of Paris. Sophie persevered and went on to win a grand prize from the Royal Academy of Sciences for her work with vibration patterns. This story is inspirational and truly one of the best we've read! The illustrator, Barbara McClintock has a wonderful video explaining her process with the book! It can be found here.
George vs. George - American history has been a subject of which our children cannot get enough of. It's by far my most favorite as well and I've enjoyed learning about our country's history more as an adult. We read George vs. George, alongside, America's Story Vol. 1. The author, Rosalyn Schanzer, shows both sides of the American Revolution. She highlights the similarities and differences of George Washington, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and President of the United States of America, and King George III, King of England, the British Empire, and the American Colonies. The author brings to life the American Revolution with her incredible illustrations. I originally planned to use this book over several weeks, but we couldn't put it down and finished it in one. Rosalyn Schanzer includes an extensive Bibliography and Quote Sources for twenty-two historical figures. This is a book each of our children goes back to time and again. I believe the captivating illustrations allowed them to absorb the events of the American Revolution.
The 50 States - Written by Gabrielle Balkan and illustrated by Sol Linero. This giant book is filled with maps for each state in the U.S.A. The author tells the story of each state with everything from the capital, large cities, and bodies of water to battlefields, inspiring people and moments to remember. The illustrations are colorful and engaging. The facts are exciting to all ages and open the door for more research into the topics covered. We love this book and keep it close for references as we learn about our country!
The Penderwicks Series - We purchased this series for our daughter, but by June it had been passed through our family! Author Jeanne Birdsall shares a heartwarming and relatable journey of the four Penderwick sisters, their family, and endearing friends. My husband's grandmother said the series brought her back to her own childhood and she raced through the books as quickly as she could! Each book is wholesome and nostalgic. Their New England summers, comical disasters, and unbreakable bond will make you feel like you are right there beside them!
The Chronicles of Narnia - Written by C.S. Lewis. Our family read this classic series over the year. We grew to love the characters of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie. Their magical adventures in Narnia kept us all on the edge of our seats. This series, more than any other we've read, opened the door to interpretation and deeper discussions. While there are 7 books, we were all sad when the final pages were read!
We wish you a Happy New Year!