Children Recommendations

Search for the Shadowman

A thrilling search through a family's dark past. What starts out as a simple family-history project turns into an obsessive hunt for the truth behind an old family feud. Andy Bonner is determined to get to the bottom of a mystery involving an ancestor who had supposedly stolen his parents' money and been disowned. His investigation takes him from the World Wide Web to the town cemetery, to family sources who refuse to talk.

The Indian in the Cupboard

What could be better than a magic cupboard that turns small toys into living creatures? Omri's big brother has no birthday present for him, so he gives Omri an old medicine cabinet he's found. Although their mother supplies a key, the cabinet still doesn't seem like much of a present. But when an exhausted Omri dumps a plastic toy Indian into the cabinet just before falling asleep, the magic begins. Turn the key once and the toy comes alive; turn it a second time and it's an action figure again.

Moon Over Manifest

Abilene is 12 years old and feels abandoned by her drifter father. It’s 1936 and they have led their lives wandering from town to town, roughing it and jumping trains, but this time Abilene has to jump off the train alone and into the town of Manifest, Kansas, where Abilene’s father Gideon spent a pivotal year of his life. He wants her here because he feels she is getting too old for the nomad’s life and trusts the people of the town to take care of her the way they took care of him 19 years earlier. Just for the summer he says.

Here Come the 123s!

This CD/DVD combination takes children on a musical and mathematical adventure. Included are 24 songs all dealing with counting and numbers. All are by They May Be Giants, John Linnell and John Flansburgh. This CD contains various musical styles, begins with the number zero, goes up to the number twelve, and contains songs dealing with infinity, polygons, even numbers, and adding.

Al Capone Does My Shirts

It’s depression-era 1935 and 12-year-old Moose Flanagan and his family move from Santa Monica to Alcatraz so his father can work as a guard at the prison, and his older, severely autistic sister Natalie can attend a special school in San Francisco. When the school decides that Natalie is not a good fit and Moose’s mom lands a job, it’s Moose’s responsibility to look after his sister after school.

Henry's Freedom Box

“Henry’s Freedom Box” is an adaptation of the Caldecott Honor book written by Ellen Levine and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. This is the story of Henry who escapes slavery in a small wooden crate. After experiencing a dangerous and difficult voyage, he safely arrives to Philadelphia. This jubilant story is narrated by Jerry Dixon with illustrations that are scanned iconographically. Composer David Mansfield provides original mood music and the wonderful sound effects help bring this story to life.

Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night

“To all of you who crawl and creep,
who buzz and chirp and hoot and peep,
who wake at dusk and throw off sleep:
Welcome to the night.” (6)

Mother Goose and Other Goodies

David Polansky sings 29 tunes that introduce children to Mother Goose (such as “Ants Go Marching,” “Billy Boy,” “Hickory Dickory Dock,” “Humpty Dumpty,” and “Jack and Jill”) and other traditional melodies.

Shiloh

When Marty Preston comes across a young beagle in the hills behind his home, it's love at first sight - and also big trouble.  The dog, which Marty names Shiloh, belongs to Judd Travers, who drinks too much and has a gun - and abuses his dogs.  So when Shiloh runs away from Judd to Marty, Marty has to hide him and protect him from Judd.  But Marty's secret becomes too big for him to keep to himself, and it exposes his entire family to Judd's anger.  How far will Marty have to go to make Shiloh his?

Dealing with Dragons

Meet Princess Cimorene - a princess who refuses to be proper.  She is everything a princess is not supposed to be:  headstrong, tomboyish, smart... and bored.  So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon.  This is the first in a series of four books of the "Enchanted Forest Chronicles."

Runnning out of Time

Jessie Keyser, 13, believes that the year is 1840.  In truth, she and her family, along with a small group of others, live in a reconstructed village viewed by unseen modern tourists and used as an experimental site by unethical scientists.  Jessie discovers the truth when her mother asks her to leave the village and seek medical help for the diptheria epidemic that has struck the children of the community.  Jessie must cope with the shock of everyday phenomena such as cars, telephones, and television;  and the unscrupulous men who are manipulating the villagers.  T

Rosa

“Rosa” is an adaptation of the book written by Nikki Giovanni and illustrated by Bryan Collier. The story tells about how Rosa Parks helped change history when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955. The DVD explains how the Women’s Political Caucus’ response helped lead to the Montgomery bus boycott and the story touches Dr. Martin Luther King's role in the boycott and on the 1954 Brown versus Board of Education decision.

Field Trip

“Field Trip” by Recess Monkey has fifteen catchy and playful songs all based on real and imaginary field trips that were taken by the performers and their classes. Included are songs about forts, sack lunches, pets, shoes, fireflies, hot chocolate, lice, teens, and knock-knock jokes told by an octopus. There are performances on the piano, guitar, keyboard, drums, percussion, harp, violin, mandolin, organ, flugelhorn, and trumpet. Various music genres include: rock, calypso, mariachi, and jazz. This fun and wacky album will be welcomed by children and parents.

Educated Kid

The Hipwaders is a children’s music group comprised of two paramedics, Tito Uquillas and Chris Blubaugh and a high school teacher, Nick Baca. Their third album, “Educated Kid” has fourteen original kid-friendly, catchy tunes that have a wide range of musical genres.

The Best School Year Ever

The dreaded Herdmans return to wreck havoc in a sequel to “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. Beth Bradley, the narrator, is the sixth grade classmate of Imogene Herdman. Throughout the story, Beth tells how the Herdmans are often behind many of the catastrophes that happen in the town including putting frogs in the Town Hall water cooler, kidnapping a little brother and tattooing his head, trying to wash a cat in the Laundromat washing machine, and destroying a school assembly.

Chains: Seeds of America

What was it like being a slave in 1776 New York when everyone around you was talking about freedom and liberty for all? Well...except for 20% of the population. Meet slaves Isabel Finch, the narrator, and her 5 year old sister Ruth, who are sold to a cruel and abusive Loyalist couple in New York City at the beginning of the American Revolution. The city is very divided and volatile, and when Ruth discovers some valuable information, she tries to buy her freedom by spying for the Patriots, but she soon realizes that it’s hard to trust anyone.

The Mysterious Benedict Society

After Reynie Muldoon responds to an advertisement recruiting "gifted children looking for special opportunities," he finds himself in a world of mystery     and adventure. The 11-year-old orphan is one of four children to complete a series of challenging and creative tasks, and he, Kate, Constance, and Sticky become the Mysterious Benedict Society. After being trained by Mr. Benedict and his assistants, the four travel to an isolated school where children are being trained by a criminal mastermind to participate in his schemes to take over the world.

The Homework Machine

Fifth-grader Brenton is a computer genius, but the other three members of his work group think he's a nerd. So, when he tells them that he has invented a machine that does homework, they don’t believe him. The machine actually works, and Kelsey, Sam, and Judy convince him to let them use it. At first, they are delighted with their freedom, but things quickly get out of hand. Their teacher is suspicious of the suddenly errorless work, and other friends resent the time that they spend together. The dynamics within the group are stressful as well.

A Wrinkle in Time

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.  "Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."  A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time.

March On! The Day My Brother Changed the World

“March On! The Day My Brother Changed the World” is an adaptation of the book written by Dr. Christine King Farris, the sister of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This story tells about the day that Dr. King delivered his “I have a dream speech” during the March on Washington in 1963. It is narrated by Lynn Whitfield; has audio clips of Mahalia Jackson’s song, “We Shall Overcome”; a few clips of Dr. King’s speech; and music by Michael Bacon. Included are actual black and white photographs, an interview with Dr.

Swindle

Gordon Korman writes a fast-paced heist novel that asks a major question: what would you do? Sixth-grader Griffin Bing finds an old baseball card in an abandoned home slated for demolition, and sells it to S. Wendell Palamino for $120. Griffin later finds out that the card was worth more, a lot more. Like, possibly a million dollars more. And S. Wendell Palamino is planning on auctioning it off to the highest bidder. Not if Griffin has anything to say about it! Griffin is intent on getting the card back in order to prevent his cash-strapped parents from selling their house.

European Playground

Putumayo Kids introduces youth to different styles of music from various world countries. Its release, “European Playground,” is a collection of fifteen songs, sung in their native language, from sixteen European countries. These languages include:  Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Scottish, Spanish, Swedish, and Swiss. The CD booklet contains linear notes about each country in English, French, German, and Spanish, and a website that has a downloadable teaching guide.

Ballet Stories

“Ballet Stories,” written by David Angus and read by former ballerina Jenny Agutter, has stories of five classical ballets:  “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Coppelia,” “The Nutcracker,” and “Giselle”. Accompanying each of the stories is music from ballets that are written by Delibes, Tchaikovsky, and Adam. All stories are beautifully read and the text is lovely and rich with imagery. I found this playaway simple to use since all I had to do was plug in the earbuds and press play.

AstroPuppies in Space: An Amazing Adventure for Young Astronauts

Blast into outer space with AstroPuppies, two sock puppet puppies. These lively puppets visit the International Space Station, go on a space walk, see the first astronaut on the moon, and learn about the sun and the planets. While on the space shuttle, the onboard computer provides information, explains space concepts, and answers all the puppets’ questions. NASA space photography and entertaining songs and poems are included.

Rip-Roaring Roller Coasters

This DVD has four teens going on a field trip to ride roller coasters and visit amusement parks, the circus, and big events like pro wrestling. In the first episode, they learn how roller coasters work and about roller coaster safety and maintenance, the roller coaster loop, and gravity and weightlessness. In “Ticket to Ride,” the teens visit amusement parks and Universal Studios: Island of Adventure where they learn about motion sickness, see how animated figures work, and about special effects.

Award Winners & Bestsellers

Nobel Prize
2014 Prize in Literature
Patrick Modiano

National Book Award

2014 Prize for Fiction
Redeployment
by Phil Klay

2014 Prize for Nonfiction
Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
by Evan Osnos

Newbery Medal
2015 award
The Crossover
by Kwame Alexander

Caldecott Medal
2015 award
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend

b
y Dan Santat

Printz Award

2015 award
I'll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson

New York Times Fiction Bestsellers (top 5 combined print & e-book sales)
The Girl on the Train
, by Paula Hawkins
14th Deadly Sin
, by James Patterson
Memory Man
, by David Baldacci
All the Light We Cannot See
, by Anthony Doerr
Gathering Prey
, by John Sandford

New York Times Nonfiction Bestsellers (top 5 combined print & e-book sales)
The Wright Brothers
, by David McCullough
And the Good News Is..., by Dana Perino
A Lucky Life Interupted
, by Tom Brokaw
Boys in the Boat
, by Daniel James Brown
Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweizer

 

More Award Winners & Bestsellers

Following is a list of award-winning and bestselling materials from a variety of sources. Links will take you to an external page that will open in a new window. If YDL does not have an item you are interested in, please submit a Materials Suggestion to us.

Academy Awards

American Booksellers Association National Indie Bestsellers

Billboard Top 100 songs

Caldecott Medal

Coretta Scott King Award

New York Times Bestsellers

Newbery Medal

Printz Award