Children Recommendations

Calli Be Gold

Eleven-year-old Calli Gold is the quiet third child in a family of loud overachievers. In fact, the family motto is Be Gold. Calli's sister is on an ice-skating team, and her brother's a basketball star. Her parents are sure she has a hidden gift for something. They just have to figure out what it is! But Calli has flopped at everything she's tried. She tries to explain this to her parents, but to no avail, as they sign her up for class after class. She sure doesn't feel like a Gold.

The Other Half of My Heart

The Other Half of my Heart by Sundee T. Frazier will warm both sides of your heart and make you question what it really means to say "beauty is only skin deep”. It’s hard to believe that Minerva (also known as Minni) and Keira King are sisters, much less twin sisters. With a white father and an African American mother, Minni takes after her father, while Keira takes after her mother. Although they don’t like the stares or questions they receive from strangers, they have come to accept their chessboard family.

Love That Dog: a Novel

Sharon Creech’s free verse novel is about a boy and his dog and how this middle-school boy learns to appreciate and write poetry. At the beginning of the school year, Jack is not eager about Miss Stretchberry’s poetry writing assignments. He does not understand why he needs to learn about or write free verse poetry since he believes that “boys don’t write poetry”. After being introduced to poetry by listening to the poems of great poets (Robert Frost, Valerie Worth, William Blake, Walter Dean Myers, Arnold Adoff, and S.C.

The Tale of Despereaux

Despereaux is a small mouse even for a mouse.  His mother, who is French, declares him to be "such the disappointment" at his birth and the rest of his family seems to agree that he is very odd: his ears are too big and his eyes open far too soon and they all expect him to die quickly. Of course, he doesn't. Then there is the human Princess Pea, with whom Despereaux falls deeply in love. She appreciates him despite her father's prejudice against rodents. Next is Roscuro, a rat with an uncharacteristic love of light and soup.

The Tiger Rising

This is the tale of 12-year-old Rob Horton who finds a caged tiger in the woods behind the Kentucky Star Motel where he lives with his dad. The tiger is so incongruous in this setting, Rob views the apparition as some sort of magic trick.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The heartless Edward Tulane is a china rabbit with an extensive wardrobe. He belongs to 10-year-old Abilene, who thinks almost as highly of Edward as Edward does of himself. It looks like Edward is riding for a fall. And fall he does, into the sea, after mean boys rip him from Abilene's hands during an ocean voyage. Thus begins Edward's journey from watery grave to the gentle embrace of a fisherman's wife, to the care of a hobo and his dog, and into the hands of a dying girl.


When Bryce moves into Juli’s neighborhood in second grade she is smitten with his baby blue eyes and vows to someday kiss him. Unfortunately Bryce thinks Juli is weird and obnoxious. Told in two distinct first-person voices in alternating chapters, we discover that things aren’t always what they seem. As Juli’s thoughtful father says, “People are more than the sum of their parts.” Bryce doesn’t discover this until 8thgrade when everything flips.


Eragon, a young farm boy, finds a marvelous blue stone in a mystical mountain place. Before he can trade it for food to get his family through the hard winter, it hatches a beautiful sapphire-blue dragon, a race thought to be extinct.

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.


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” 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.

Award Winners & Bestsellers

Nobel Prize
2015 Prize in Literature
Svetlana Alexievich

National Book Award

2015 Prize for Fiction
Fortune Smiles
by Adam Johnson

2015 Prize for Nonfiction
Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Newbery Medal
2016 award
Last Stop on Market Street

by Matt de la Peña

Caldecott Medal
2016 award
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear
y Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Printz Award

2016 award
Bone Gap

by Laura Ruby

New York Times Fiction Bestsellers (top 5 combined print & e-book sales)
The Last Mile
, by David Baldacci
The Obsession
, by Nora Roberts
Stuck-up Suit, by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
Bounty, by Kristen Ashley
The Girl on the Train
, by Paula Hawkins

New York Times Nonfiction Bestsellers (top 5 combined print & e-book sale)
The Rainbow Comes and Goes, by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt
The Sleep Revolution, by Arianna Huffington
When Breath Becomes Air
, by Paul Kalanithi
Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates
, by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaegar
Alexander Hamilton
, by Ron Chernow


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