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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.


“Grandma” Gatewood is finally getting her due. Just this summer, the New York Times gave a long overdue obituary of Emma Gatewood, the first woman to hike the Appalachian Trail by herself in one season (at the ripe old age of 67). Gatewood was a mother of 11, a grandmother, and great-grandmother when she first hiked the trail. By the time she died 16 years after her first hike in 1973, she had completed the AT three times — setting the record as the first person to ever complete the trail more than once. Her story has also, finally, made it’s way to a children’s book this year, one whose clear, sparkling prose and beautiful illustrations by Jennifer Thermes give this real-life tale the inspirational platform it deserves.
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2018 has been a great year for children’s books, with familiar authors and newcomers alike exploring topics and themes with style, wit, and sensibility that resonate far longer after the last page is reached. Below are our favorite children’s books of the year so far; aimed at kids from 2-7 years old. These are books that made us and our kids laugh, think, dream, wonder, feel calm, and forget about the real world for a time. Take a look.
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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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This bilingual tale, written by Dragons love Tacos co-writer Adam Rubin and illustrator Mark “Crash” McCreery the Hollywood monster-creator who did the creature design for such films as Rango, Terminator 2, and Jurassic Park, is a blast. A whimsical tale about the legendary Mexican goatsucker, its prose is a tangled form of English and Spanish (“This all happened a long time ago, en una granja de cabras.”) that is good fun, and the illustrations, particularly the goats, which are deflated, inflated, and grow to enormous proportions, will keep kids coming back for more.

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? from Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. All of my babies have loved this book. We all have it memorized and when we are in the car and the youngest one gets fussy we all start reciting the book, with the same pace and inflection I did when they were all babies. I always give it as a gift for a baby shower or first birthday.” ― Wendy Fortner
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