Spring Books to Get Your Kids Reading

Adventures in a creaky house, a steampunk town, and a sci-fi future with an android teen girl. By Regan McMahon
Spring Books to Get Your Kids Reading

Finding the right book for your kid can be a challenge. But if you guess right and keep new ones coming, you may be on your way to raising a lifelong reader.

Every month, we highlight a few books for different ages -- some exceptional titles that could be the perfect thing to perk your kid's interest, get your reader hooked on a new author, or rediscover an old favorite. Here are our picks for April:

  • For kids 3 to 6, there's The Dark by Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events) and illustrated by Jon Klassen, who won the 2013 Caldecott Medal for This Is Not My Hat. This clever picture book takes on kids' fear of the dark and mixes a little suspense with a resourceful boy who takes matters –- and flashlight -– into his own hands to make sure the dark stays where it belongs: out of his bedroom. With a light touch and plenty of the sly wit these two collaborators are known for, The Dark is an empowering read for bedtime or anytime. See what Snicket and Klassen have to say about the book in our interview.
  • For readers 8 to 12, check out Ghoulish Song, by William Alexander, a companion to Goblin Secrets, which won the 2012 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. The action continues in the steampunkish town of Zombay, where a girl named Kaile loses her shadow after she plays a mysterious flute. The trouble is, in Zombay, being without a shadow is a sure sign you're dead, so Kaile faces the dual challenge of convincing her family she's still alive and learning more about the flute's mysterious properties -- all while being threatened by a ghoul made of bones. It's an inventive story with a wonderful heroine and positive messages about friendship and family bonds.
  • For teens 13 to 17, there's the suspenseful, heartstring-pulling sci-fi drama MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza. It's about a 16-year-old girl who thinks she's human but learns she's actually an android designed in a military lab for sophisticated covert operations, and her protective "mother" is the scientist who stole her when she started displaying human emotions. Now the two of them must go on the run from  Mila's creators -- who want to terminate them both –- and a shadowy organization that wants to sell Mila to the highest bidder. Like much science fiction, the book raises lots of questions about big issues, such as the nature of humanity. A compelling start to a planned trilogy.
  • For more suggestions, check out our "top picks" lists, including Award-Winning BooksBooks Like The Hunger Games, and our reviews of the latest chart-toppers on the New York Times Best-Sellers list.

Image by Jon Klassen from The Dark.

About Regan McMahon

Regan has been reviewing children's books for more than a decade. A journalist and former book editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, she cites as one of her toughest assignments having to read and review the 784-page... Read more

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