10 must-read books for young readers

“Great, Now We’ve Got Barbarians” by Jason Carter Eaton and Mark Fearing (Candlewick, 34 pages, $15.99)

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“Great, Now We’ve Got Barbarians” by Jason Carter Eaton and Mark Fearing (Candlewick, 34 pages, $15.99)

We’re fortunate to have a steady outpouring of compelling reading material being written for children and teens. Here are some of the latest offerings:

“The Tree — a Fable,” by Neal Layton (Candlewick, 32 pages, $16.99)

An expansive tree has been providing shelter for numerous wild creatures. Then some people showed up. They made big plans. First, they cut down the tree. Quickly they realized they had made a mistake. Then they try to make things right. Lovely illustrations.

“Antoinette,” by Kelly Dipucchio and Christian Robinson (Simon and Schuster, 36 pages, $17.99)

Bulldogs and French poodles gallivant across the pages of this charmer. Of course, Antoinette is the poodle. The thrilling conclusion takes place in a museum. There are many whimsical depictions of dogs.

“Great, Now We’ve Got Barbarians,” by Jason Carter Eaton and Mark Fearing (Candlewick, 34 pages, $15.99)

A young boy is warned by his mother that if he keeps leaving cupcake crumbs on his bed that it could lead to an infestation. And it does. Their house is soon swarming with barbarians wearing horned helmets and making terrible messes. Hilarious and creative.

“Shakespeare Retold,” by E. Nesbit (Harper Collins, 115 pages, $19.99)

A young person’s illustrated guide to seven classic Shakespeare plays. There is an introduction by the actor John Lithgow. He recalls with undimmed enthusiasm growing up in Yellow Springs where he attended the summer Shakespeare festivals at Antioch College.

“Patrick and the President,” by Ryan Tubridy and P. J. Lynch (Candlewick, 40 pages, $16.99)

President John F. Kennedy made a trip to his ancestral homeland of Ireland in 1963. He had a lovely time during that four-day visit. This sentimental book imagines that he met an Irish lad named Patrick while he was there. Some marvelous drawings of JFK are here, too.

“Harry Miller’s Run,” by David Almond (Candlewick, 60 pages, $16.99)

This period piece is set in the English City of Newcastle-on-Tyne. A young lad named Liam is excited about competing in a foot race. This is a fine book for introducing middle school readers to historical settings and regional accents. There are many beautiful paintings throughout.

“Ronit and Jamil,” by Pamela L. Laskin (Katherine Tegen Books, 183 pages, $17.99)

This love story echoes Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” It takes place in the divided city of Gaza as an Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy were falling in love. This tale unfolds in cascades of poignant poetry as they experience a mutual attraction that is still considered to be taboo in their society.

“Maisy’s Moon Landing,” by Lucy Cousins (Candlewick, 12 pages, $15.99)

These last few books are for wee readers. The ever-popular Maisy the mouse returns, and this time she is headed for the moon. Lots of pull tabs conceal hidden surprises to fascinate our budding scientists.

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” (Candlewick, 8 pages each, $8.99 each)

These heavy-duty board books contain the lyrics to two timeless diaper ditties. Toddlers can give the durable page sliders a workout as they learn these songs. Both books have cheerful illustrations by Yu-hsuan Huang. And each book provides access to the downloadable song to supplement the reading experience.

“Tucker Digs Easter,” by Leslie McGuirk (Candlewick, 28 pages, $7.99)

Just in time for Easter we have the story of Tucker the dog. The Easter Bunny recruits Tucker to help hide Easter eggs. Tucker is enthusiastic- he conceals the eggs so thoroughly that nobody can find them. Only Tucker can save the day in this sturdy board book.

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