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.
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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Funk is a software engineer with the nonprofit Girls Who Code so it’s no surprise that computer language saves the day in this story. While many would stumble with such an earnest conceit (coding is great kids!) this story, in which a young girl and her robot buddy solve a sandcastle building problem via coding techniques, introduces basic knowledge in a way that doesn’t feel forced or anything but genuine.
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Penelope, the classmate-eater to which the title refers, is a cute dinosaur who’s just beginning school. And, yes, she does indeed devour her classmates. But only because she doesn’t know better and, well, kids are damn tasty. When her teacher does tell her not to do it, Penelope subsequently hocks them out (they’re fine, if a bit slimy). In the clever tale that follows, Penelope learns how to act in her new environment, even if she stumbles and scarfs down a classmate a few more times.
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2 years & up. Get ready for bedtime with Llama Llama! The Llama Llama Large Plush makes a great companion for little ones and ideal for comforting hugs and snuggles. In the book, Llama Llama is ready for bedtime in his red pajamas and gets tucked in by his mama. She goes downstairs and she doesn't come back right away so Baby Llama begins to worry and fret until she returns. This story of Llama Llama relates to children and the need for their mother's comfort. Hardcover book includes 40 pages.… More »

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Your purchase and use of the Product is also subject to the terms and conditions contained in this document (the “Terms”) and any applicable terms, policies or rules that National Geographic may post or provide a link to on www.genographic.com. As of now, these include the Geno 2.0 Next Gen Helix Product Privacy Policy, the National Geographic Privacy Policy and the National Geographic Terms of Service.
“ No sight so sad as that of a naughty child," he began, "especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?" "They go to hell," was my ready and orthodox answer. "And what is hell? Can you tell me that?" "A pit full of fire." "And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?" "No, sir." "What must you do to avoid it?" I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: "I must keep in good health and not die. ” 

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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.
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100 Great Children’s Books has been published on the occasion of The New York Public Library’s acclaimed exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The list was selected by The New York Public Library’s Jeanne Lamb, Coordinator, Youth Collections, and Elizabeth Bird, Supervising Librarian. 
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