What to Read Next: Great January Books for Kids and Teens

A cub gets lost, a girl finds another side of her family, and a teen helps her Army vet dad who suffers from PTSD. By Regan McMahon
What to Read Next: Great January Books for Kids and Teens

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.

Check out our Essential Books for Kids and Teens guide to find more than 150 of our perennial favorites. Plus, every month we highlight a few books for different ages, including some exceptional titles that could be the perfect thing to pique kids' interest, get them hooked on a new author, or help them rediscover an old favorite.

Here are our picks for January:

  • For kids age 3 to 7, there's Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson, the Caldecott Medal-winning author-illustrator known for his striking picture book biographies of great men and women, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Harriet Tubman. Here, he turns to the animal kingdom to tell a simple story of a cub lost in the forest at night who asks other animals to help direct him home. Its universal theme and warm, reassuring resolution make it wonderful for bedtime, or anytime.
  • For readers age 8 to 12, The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods (Saint Louis Armstrong Beach) is a poignant coming-of-age novel about an 11-year-old biracial girl who finally meets the African-American side of her family. Filled with humor and insight, it treats a complex issue with clarity. A great starting point for a discussion of what race, religion, and family mean and how you define yourself. 
  • For teens age 13 to 17, there's Laurie Halse Anderson's The Impossible Knife of Memory, the stunning story of a teen living with her father, an Army veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars who suffers intense post-traumatic stress disorder. He's a violent, suicidal alcoholic who has disturbing flashbacks of incidents he witnessed during those conflicts. Readers will learn about the horrors of war and its emotional toll and empathize with protagonist Hayley as she discovers there are people in her life she can turn to for help and support during hard times.  

For more suggestions, check out our Top Picks lists, including Books Like The Hunger Games, Required Reading for Kids and Teens, and Chapter Books: New York Times Bestsellers.

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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