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“The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson. A really intricate story about travel, and family, and beauty, and awe, and carving your own path, and how even small things and people can make a big impact on the world and those they love, but it’s so accessible to even small kids, and so beautifully written. Sometimes I read it just for myself.” ― Meghan Hart Arbuckle
Even if we didn’t spot the Tribe Called Quest and Mingus vinyl in the background,  Zach O’Hora’s tale of mistaken identity — Ralph for Niblet; Niblet for Ralph — has enough sophistication and nuance to amuse adult readers while the sweet simple message (be neighborly) and O’Hora’s strong illustrations (turquoise, ochre, thick black line) make it kiddie catnip.
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Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways.
Written by Fatherly editor-at-large Joshua David Stein, Brick follows a young Brick as she searches for her place in the world. Inspired by the idea that “Great things begin with small bricks,” she visits castles and churches and walls and apartments around the world, searching for places she might fit in. It’s a fun book with a heap of great illustrations by Julia Rothman and it’s about much more than architecture and fitting in. Yeah, we sort of had to mention it because Joshua works for us. But, if he didn’t, we would’ve included it on this list anyway.
From picture books to graphic novels, fantasy to family fun, these must-read books have the power to hook both boys and girls. Some are cultural touchstones that belong in every kid's library. Others open kids' minds to cultures beyond their own. And some are modern releases that have the timeless quality of classics -- the kinds that get handed down to siblings and passed around classrooms. Whether you have a reluctant reader or budding bookworm, check out these surefire, kid-tested titles. (We've included a few rated best for 12 and up for the precocious readers out there!)

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Birth & up. Get ready for bedtime with Llama Llama! The Llama Llama Blanky makes a great companion for little ones as it combines a blanket and plush toy that is ideal for comforting hugs and snuggles. In the book, Llama Llama must splish and splash in the tub then put on his red pajamas leading up to the best part of bedtime... stories with Mama! Llama Llama books celebrate the bond between mother and child. This fun story features catchy rhymes, effortless rhythm, and adorable illustrations.… More »
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A dog goes, or doesn’t go, for a walk in this charming book by English author and illustrator Claire Messer. There’s much to endear Lazybones to the young reader, from Messer’s bright prints to the (relatable) reluctance of the titular Lazybones (real name: Robert Exelby Perdendo). Oh, and two boy dogs in love is no big deal here. Why should it be? After all, it’s just puppy love.

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(4) If either you or National Geographic wants to arbitrate a Dispute, you or National Geographic must first send by mail to the other a written Notice of Dispute (“Notice”) that sets forth the name, address, and contact information of the party giving notice, the specific facts giving rise to the Dispute, the NG Service to which the Notice relates, and the relief requested. Your Notice to the National Geographic must be sent by mail to Arbitration Notice of Dispute, c/o Business and Legal Affairs, Litigation VP, 1145 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. The National Geographic will send any Notice to you at the contact information we have for you or that you provide. It is the sender’s responsibility to ensure that the recipient receives the Notice. During the first 45 days after you or we send a Notice to the other, you and we may try to reach a settlement of the Dispute.
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This second entry in Barnett and Klassen’s planned shape trilogy grapples with such topics as anxiety, the nature of art, friendship, and imposter syndrome. Heady stuff, to be sure, but in the hands of Barnett and Klassen, who are responsible for some of the best children’s books of the past decade, it’s charming, funny, and beautifully wrought. And Square, who tries everything to impress Circle and, in the process, experiences an existential doozy that would cause most to ask for a double scotch on the rocks, is a character any kid would love: fragile, but full of hope and energy.
Creating stories for the youngest book-lover is not child's play. The best books have similar traits. Life-affirming messages pitched appropriately for this audience, in a way that engages, while bringing out the best in an older reader. When it all comes together the result is a book that transcends age. We feel these are the best of the best. (Many of these are available as "board books.")
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