Skip to content

Books for Grandparents - January 2012

We've teamed up with the editors of Publishers Weekly to scour the latest titles — from books for babies to cutting-edge fiction for teens — to help you find that perfect book for your grandchild.


A House in the Woods
By Inga Moore
(Candlewick, $16.99; ages 2 and up)

Detailed, atmospheric illustrations bring to life a woodland setting as four animals — two pigs, a moose and a bear — build a magnificent forest home for themselves. Themes of cooperation and kindness run throughout this understated and amusing tale.

Red Sled
By Lita Judge
(Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $16.99; ages 2-5)

After a boy leaves his sled leaning against his house, a group of animals takes it for a moonlight joyride. Judge tells the entire story through a few choice sound effects — the “scrunch scrinch” of snow, the “sssssffft” of a quick turn — and through the animals’ excitement as they pile on.

Solomon Crocodile
By Catherine Rayner
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15.99; ages 2-6)

Just the right length for story time, this tale stars a rambunctious crocodile adept at annoying his fellow jungle animals as he tries to make friends. When he finally finds a like-minded friend, look out! Mischievous fun.

Over and Under the Snow
By Kate Messner, illus. by Christopher Silas Neal
(Chronicle, $16.99; ages 4-8)

This evocatively illustrated exploration of animals’ wintertime habits follows a father and daughter as they cross-country ski through a placid forest landscape. Readers are treated to cutaway views of the animal activity taking place underground, heightening the sense of nature’s magic at any time of year.

By Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer
(Chronicle, $16.99; ages 4-8)

Brimful of language puns and jokes, this collaboration follows the alphabet’s efforts to fill in for the injured letter E, who is out of commission after a bad fall. Budding wordsmiths will be tickled by the E-free results (a newspaper headline reads “Big Troo Falls On Toony Car!”) and the knowing asides tucked into each scene.


The New Kid
By Mavis Jukes
(Knopf, $14.99; ages 8-12)

Jukes tackles a common dilemma — moving to a new town and attending a new school — with humor and heart in the story of Carson, who worries about celebrating his upcoming ninth birthday without the grandparents and friends he left behind. A reassuring portrait of everyday troubles and triumphs.

My Very UnFairy Tale Life
By Anna Staniszewski
(Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $5.99 paper; ages 9 and up)

Many girls would be thrilled to spend their days righting wrongs in a magical land of unicorns and fairies, but 12-year-old Jenny has had enough. Throw in a candy-crazed gnome sidekick and an evil clown, and there’s plenty to keep fantasy fans entertained in this funny and fast-moving story.

Titanic Sinks!
By Barry Denenberg
(Viking, $19.99; ages 10 and up)

April 15, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and this lavishly designed offering puts middle-grade readers in the thick of the disaster. Blending fact and fiction, Denenberg chronicles the unfolding tragedy through the pages of a fictional magazine, complete with period photographs, news bulletins and dispatches from passengers on the doomed ship.

Something to Hold
By Catherine Schlick Noe
(Clarion, $19.99; ages 9-12)

Set in 1962 and inspired by the author’s experiences growing up on Indian reservations, this coming-of-age story follows 11-year-old Kitty, who struggles to adjust to life on the Oregon reservation she moves to with her father, a forester for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It’s a quiet, memorable exploration of a girl’s growing awareness of herself — and of the adult prejudices swirling around her.

Zombie Tag
By Hannah Moskowitz
(Roaring Brook, $15.99; ages 9-12)

The best stories about the undead have a lot to say about the living. That’s the case with Moskowitz’s moving novel, in which 12-year-old Wil, heartbroken over the death of his older brother, resurrects him (and others) via a magical bell. The results aren’t what he expects — but then this book won’t be what readers were expecting either.


The Future of Us
By Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
(Penguin/Razorbill, $18.99; ages 12 and up)

Two bestselling authors put their heads (and pens) together to concoct a riveting premise: In the year 1996, a pair of teens gain access to their future Facebook pages — and thus their future lives — via a mysterious AOL disk. The result, a meditation on how closely tomorrow is linked to today, is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.

By Marie Lu
(Putnam, $17.99; ages 12 and up)

There’s a trace of Les Misérables in this science-fiction novel set in a futuristic, plague-ridden Los Angeles, where two top-of-their-game teenagers square off on opposite sides of the law while uncovering truths about a world they thought they understood. An exciting and satisfying kickoff to a series from a talented new writer.

Winter Town
By Stephen Emond
(Little, Brown, $17.99; ages 12 and up)

The tightly knit relationship between longtime friends Lucy and Evan is threatened when she returns to New England, a changed person after a year away. The tensions (and the bond) between the two teens spring to life in Emond’s prose and illustrations, which depict a fantasy comic that Evan creates, as well as frosty scenes of holidays in the ’burbs.

The Sharp Time
By Mary O’Connell
(Delacorte, $17.99; ages 14 and up)

Bereft at the death of her mother and maliciously targeted by a teacher, 18-year-old Sandinista Jones finds refuge and healing through her job at a vintage clothing store and the people she meets while working there. It’s a careful and empathetic study of grief, with wonderfully realized characters and setting.

12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn
By James Proimos
(Roaring Brook, $14.99; ages 14 and up)

Blunt 16-year-old narrator James “Hercules” Martino delivers an uproarious account of a madcap summer in Baltimore, as he tries to track down the “Strange Beautiful Unattainable Woman” he met on a train, reconcile himself to the death of his (not-so-beloved) self-help author father and complete a list of 12 tasks assigned to him by the gruff uncle with whom he is staying.