Great Reads for Great Kids

My favorite books for the very young - ages 0 to 4 toddlers include: Mix it Up by Herve Tullet. I saw a young mom reading it to her fascinated toddler in the store. This very simple book begins with a blank page and the words: Are you ready?  And on the next page is one grey spot and the words: Rub that gray spot just a little to see what happens. It is simple, clever and worth sharing with your child (grandchild) over and over again.

Another book I believe will be a classic is called Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichenheld. A story about the friendship between a stick and a stone. There is an adventure and wonderful message about friendship and about bullying. The words are clever and include some fun puns and the illustrations are wonderful.

One of my favorite illustrators and children's authors is Geg Paprocki. Simple alphabet books with absolutely wonderful illustrations. Titles include B for Bison; Z for Zoo, P for Pirates, and O for Oceans.

Local Author Laura Knetzger has a wonderful book series for children of all ages called Bug Boys.  It's about two friends (beetles) who explore and go on adventures together. Inventive and fun!

Another excellent local author whose books are extensively researched, beautifully written and illustrated by various people is Curtis Manley. The most popular of his books are Shawn Loves Sharks, Just Right (Searching for the Goldilocks Planet) and Crane Girl.

Some of the books I recommend for older, reading-on-their-own kids include the wonderful graphic novels that teach history with a sense of humor - the Nathan Hale Hazardous Tales series.  Don't forget the Spy Camp and Space Case books by Stuart Gibbs or the award-winning Winterhouse series by Ben Guterson for those 10-13 year olds.

Need more ideas and suggestions? Visit Kirkland's only new and gently-used book shop  BookTree at 609 Market St. (6 blocks North of the Marina on Market).

Chris Jarmick is a writer and poet and the owner of BookTree Bookstore, the only independent new and gently-used bookstore in Kirkland. BookTree hosts regular author events the first Saturday of every month, and a free writing workshop followed by a reading and open mic. for hours and other info.

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