Take Two for December 18, 2012

Librarian Mara Alpert's favorite children's books of 2012

Original Batman

Bob Kane

Bob Kane's original Batman illustration.

L.A. Public Library children's librarian Mara Alpert

Mara Alpert

L.A. Public Library children's librarian Mara Alpert.


Christmas is just a week away, which means it's gift giving time. It also means parking problems and long lines and the painstaking mental task of determining what children want.  One easy solution might be children's book, but which ones are the best?

Well, we've brought in our favorite children's librarian Mara Alpert to share some book recommendations for the holidays.

Mara Recommends:

Picture Books

Moustronaut by Mark Kelly
K-Grade 2
Authored by Mark Kelly, the last commander of L.A.'s own space shuttle Endeavour and husband of Gabby Giffords. Besides all that it's actually a good astronaut and/or moue themed read-aloud, about a little mouse on board a shuttle mission who shoes he has the "right stuff."

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs
K-Grade 3
Unlike the bears of the original tale, these dinosaurs are actively plotting to get a visit from young Goldilocks (using clever signage and chocolate pudding). Hysterically Funny from start to finish!

Fiction

The Fire Chronicle
Grades 4-7
15-year-old Katie, almost 13-year-old Michael and 12-year-old Emma don't know why Dr. Pym send them back to the dreadful orphanage at the end of their first adventure (The Emerald Atlas, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011), but Kate, who learned to control the power of the Atlas to travel through time, knows they need to leave as soon as possible. Knowledge of the first book is suggested; readers who start here will definitely want to backtrack. Fans of the first book won't be disappointed and will eagerly anticipate the next one. The Emerald Atlas was good. This one is even better.

Eve and Adam
Grades 7-12
The accident was horrific. 17-year-old Evening Spiker should have lost her leg, if not her life. But mere hours after being rushed to the hospital, he mother, the uber-powerful owner of Spiker Biopharmaceuticals, arranges for her to be transported to the SB campus. She meets a mysterious boy named Solo, who fights his fascination with her even as he plots to destroy her mother. The book is funny, thought-provoking, emotionally wrenching, romantic and all above entertaining. Includes some violence, references to alcohol, drugs and sex, but nothing overt. Ethical and moral questions abound and will spark spirited debate.

Non-Fiction

Create with Maisy: A Maisy First Arts-and-Crafts Book
Pre K - Grade 1
Everyone's favorite rodent shares some of her favorite crafts in this well laid out, lavishly photographed craft book.  Includes 17 simple projects, mostly using glue sticks, paint, simple craft supplies, and items from the recycling bin.  Parents and preschool teachers will LOVE this one.  

Looking At Lincoln
Pre K - Grade 3
A lovely picture book introduction to our 16th president; an excellent read-aloud, filled with quirky details, Kalman's trademark illustrations, and a true sense of appreciation and admiration toward a man who was deserving of both.  

Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman
Grade 3-6
Picture book bio (presented in comic book style) about Milton (Bill) Finger, who helped create and wrote most of the classic Batman comics between 1939 and 1965, uncredited until near the end of his career.  Batman fans will especially enjoy.   


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