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December 2015 Newsletter December 2015's Literary Gift List
What I want for Hanukkah
What I want for Hanukkah

Hi Kidsreaders,

The holidays are about all sorts of things --- celebrating your culture and religion, getting together with family and friends and having an excuse to eat as many latkes and gingerbread men as humanly possible. And what’s that pesky thing I forgot? Oh right --- presents!

Not sure what's on your list this year? How about some books or bookish accessories? In this newsletter opener, we first direct you to some awesome “best of the year” lists to help you figure out which literary wonders you might want to request. If your bedroom is already overflowing with tomes, we also found some super fun bookish accessories so you can show off your favorite hobby in style. Read on!

Books Themselves --- The Best of the Best:

Kidsreads Reviewers Picks: Why not turn to our trusty reviewers for advice? They ranked their top five favorites of the year in our special feature.

The New York Times – It’s a brand name that never goes out of style. The children’s books editor at the Times selected her favorite picture books, middle grade novels and YA books, and it’s a diverse, high quality list.

Publishers Weekly --- One of the premier book review publications, this is another highly trustworthy source.

EarlyWord’s Roundup – The team at EarlyWord --- a website that helps librarians keep up to date on all of the hottest titles coming out --- did something slightly amazing. They compiled all of the titles mentioned in children's book-themed best-of lists (everywhere from Amazon to The New York Times to the National Book Awards finalists) into one Excel sheet. The books are organized by number of list appearances, meaning that a book that shows up on nine lists will be far above a book that shows up on one list. Talk about comprehensive!

Literary Accessories --- For Those Whose Shelves are Already Overflowing

Bookends: Do you have so many books that they're constantly threatening to topple over and break a desk lamp? Request some adorable bookends! I love these giraffe ones from Knob Creek Metal Arts, a shop on Esty. And since the Venn diagram of book people and grammar people overlaps quite a bit, I bet you'll like this awesome bracket-shaped pair, too.

Posters: Sure, your shelves might be clear indications that you're a literary lover, but what about your walls? There are tons of fun book posters out there. FolioCreations makes a super cool series of
library card art prints of classic books. Literary quotes also make great posters, like this lovely one sharing J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous line, not all who wander are lost. A great piece of wisdom to wake up to every day, don't you think?

All Things Wearable: Why limit your bookish pride to your bedroom? Show off your literary leanings with some wearable gadgets. First off, if you have a cellphone, check out
this list of 20 great bookish cases. Some are title-specific and some replicate a library or even a leather book, itself! Or you can go with something from Litographs, a company that makes totes, t-shirts and even temporary tattoos with cool nods to books across all sorts of genres, including children's titles and even Shakespeare's plays. I’m a big fan of their THE SECRET GARDEN print, myself. And then, of course, there’s book-themed jewelry! This “meet me at the library” pendant will guarantee you a like-minded new friend, and these cuff bracelets with quotes from writers will leave you both looking cool and feeling motivated.

Now that you’re inspired, start writing those holiday lists... Hanukkah is already halfway over, and Christmas is on the way! But read the rest of the newsletter first, of course :).

One last sure to enter our Holiday Bundle of Cheer Contest (read on for details). Win and you will have a nice stack of books to read. The deadline is Thursday, December 17th, but why not enter now. This is not something you want to wait til the last minute to do!

All best, and happy holidays! We'll see you next year!

--- Shara Zaval (

Holiday Bundle of Cheer --- Enter Today!

At, we're kicking off the holiday season with our first Holiday Bundle of Cheer Contest and Feature. We are spotlighting some amazing books. Five lucky readers will win a copy of each of the featured titles, along with some incredibly festive goodies.

This year's featured titles include:

ANIMAL GROUPS by Jill Esbaum and Frans Lanting
BALANCE KEEPERS, Book 1: The Fires of Calderon by Lindsay Cummings
BRIDGET WILDER: Spy-in-Training by Jonathan Bernstein
CURIOSITY HOUSE: The Shrunken Head by Lauren Oliver and H. C. Chester
EDIBLE SCIENCE: Experiments You Can Eat by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen
ELLIE'S STORY by W. Bruce Cameron
EXTREME PLANET by National Geographic Explorer Carsten Peter
THE KEEPERS: The Box and the Dragonfly by Ted Sanders
MR. PUFFBALL: Stunt Cat to the Stars by Constance Lombardo
THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL #3: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
TODHUNTER MOON, Book One: PathFinder by Angie Sage
WHEN FISH GOT FEET, WHEN BUGS WERE BIG, AND WHEN DINOS DAWNED: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life on Earth by Hannah Bonner

Fill out the form by Thursday, December 17th at noon ET to be one of five lucky winners.

Click here to enter the Holiday Bundle of Cheer contest!

Special Feature: WARREN THE 13TH AND THE ALL-SEEING EYE by Tania del Rio and Will Staehle --- NOW IN STORES!

You may remember us talking about this book a few months ago, when we gave you the chance to win an early copy of this quirky, adventuresome illustrated novel that follows the adventures of a 12-year-old bellhop and tell us what you thought. It's now in stores!

We're thrilled that our readers fell in love with WARREN THE 13TH --- Joey from Davie, FL called it "a really interesting, not-moving-from-your-seat-until-you-are-done read" and Emily from White Plains, NY said "I am not sure which I loved more --- the story or the incredible illustrations."

Want to read all of the readers' comments? Click here!

You can also:

Click here to learn more about the book.
Click here to read an excerpt from the book.
Click here to read the full feature.


Series Feature --- Major Update!

What's better than a book (and no, we don't mean ice cream)? It's a whole series of books! At, we know that a lot of you are all about series. Once you find characters, topics or a fictional world you love, you don't have to leave --- you can just move from one adventure to another to another.

That's why we've decided to give our series feature a major makeover! We've updated the feature so that you'll find nearly 200 fantastic middle grade series, both modern and classic. We also chose to include several major picture book series, and readers from 0-12 will find something in here that appeals to them.

You can find series organized by age and alphabetically, learn the premise of each series and, most importantly, see which book comes after the one you just finished!

We'll also be including periodic "series updates" in our Kidsreads newsletter, so you'll know if we added a new series we think you should check out. So go check it out --- we know you'll love it!

Click here to see our updated series feature!

December's Cool & New Books Roundup
This month’s Cool and New roundup includes THE ROSEMARY SPELL by Virginia Zimmerman, in which best friends Adam and Rosie find a magical book that might be darker than they first imagine; I FUNNY TV: A Middle School Story, the latest in James Patterson’s I Funny series, this time featuring Jamie as he’s approached to star in a television show; and the next book in the multi-platform Spirit Animals series, BROKEN GROUND (Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts: Book 2) by Victoria Schwab.
Click here to see December's Cool & New Books roundup!

December's New in Paperback Roundup
In paperback titles this month, we have SALT: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost, where Anikwa, a member of the Miami tribe, and James, the son of traders, find their friendship at risk as the War of 1812 comes to fruition; BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, Kate DiCamillo's first published novel about 10-year-old Opal and a lovable dog; and ALISTAIR GRIM'S ODDITORIUM by Gregory Funaro, where a 12-year-old chimney sweep stows away in a guest’s trunk and nothing is ever the same.
Click here to visit our December New in Paperback feature!

December's New in Picture Books Roundup
In picture books this month, we have BEAR AND BUNNY by Daniel Pinkwater with illustrations by Will Hillenbrand, where the two animal friends look for a pet; LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE written and illustrated by Rachel Bright, in which everyone’s favorite monster learns the importance of sharing; and THE ONLY CHILD illustrated by Guojing, a gorgeous wordless picture book about a lonely little girl who follows a stag into a wondrous new world.
Click here to see December's Picture Books roundup!

Holiday Picture Book Roundup

Whether you're two or 82, there is nothing quite like the perfect picture book to ring in the holidays, and luckily for us, there are plenty of great ones to choose from this year!

We culled from all of the Christmas, Hanukkah and general winter books coming out this year and selected the best of the best. Whether you're a fan of toys going on a grand snowy adventure (in TOYS MEET SNOW), experiencing the holiday sights in NYC through the eyes of a German Jewish immigrant in 1938 (OSKAR AND THE EIGHT BLESSINGS) or cheering for a little pig struggling to come up with a homemade Christmas gift for her family (A HOMEMADE TOGETHER CHRISTMAS), you're sure to find something on this list that will get you in the holiday spirit.


Click here to see our Holiday Picture Book Bookshelf!

Ten Star Wars Books to Prepare for The Force Awakens
Whether you can name every single cyborg in the Star Wars universe and dressed up as Han Solo for Halloween, or you think Chewbacca is a type of bubblegum, there’s no escaping Star Wars mania as the release of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens draws ever closer (December 18th!)

We decided to help get you in the mood for all things light saber, Stormtroopers and starships by rounding up some elementary and middle grade books that center on this intergalactic franchise. From knitted Luke Skywalkers to origami Yodas, we know that you’ll find everything you need right here. May the Force be with You!
Click here to see the Star Wars bookshelf!

New Reviews

New! A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A COMPLETE AND TOTAL GENIUS by Stacey Matson (Children's Fiction, Friendship, Humor)
Arthur Bean, soon-to-be a rich and famous author, has set two goals for himself: to win the school writing contest and to win the heart of his secret crush, Kennedy. But his life has had some major twists and turns lately, and the recent loss of his mother definitely complicates things. --- Reviewed by Aimee Rogers.

New! THE ROSEMARY SPELL by Virginia Zimmerman (Children's Fiction, Adventure, Mystery)
Thirteen-year-old Rosemary and her best friend Adam search for the words to lift a spell that causes people to disappear and be erased from memory, but they, too, fall under the spell. Their struggle to bring someone back even as they forget her is a suspenseful race against time. --- Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

New! THE ODDS OF GETTING EVEN by Sheila Turnage (Children's Fiction, Humor, Mystery)
For everyone who's already fallen for Mo and Dale, and for anyone who's new to Tupelo Landing, THE ODDS OF GETTING EVEN is a heartwarming story that perfectly blends mystery and action with more serious themes about family and fathers, all without ever losing its sense of humor. --- Reviewed by Aimee Rogers.

Remember to be safe online. NEVER tell anyone personal information --- which includes your real name, age, address, phone number or school. Hey, pretend you are undercover when you go online and protect yourself at all times!

Keep reading!

Booker T. Worm and Friends
The Book Report Network
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