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The Best Children’s and YA Books of December 2021

by the Brightly Editors

best-kids-books-dec-2021

While you’re getting ready to say goodbye to another year, it’s the perfect time to say hello to some fantastic books. Whether you’re looking for last-minute holiday gift ideas or good books to add to your child’s bookshelf, you can’t go wrong with these must-have titles.

  • Picture Books

  • Ben and Emma’s Big Hit

    by Gavin Newsom and Ruby Shamir, illustrated by Alexandra Thompson

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    Baseball lovers, struggling readers, and children with dyslexia will love this adorable story from California Governor Gavin Newsom (who was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child). This book uses a dyslexia-friendly font and has an encouraging message, making it an excellent choice for kids who need some encouragement.

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  • Love Was Inside

    by Andrew Joyner

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    The pandemic lockdowns created a unique situation that our children will never forget. With a focus on love and hope, this remarkable picture book from a New York Times bestselling illustrator commemorates that difficult time — and the joy of seeing loved ones again after the long separation.

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  • Funniest Illustrated Jokes for Kids!

    by Jeremy Nguyen

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    We hope your funny bone is in excellent shape because it’s about to get the tickling of a lifetime! This kid-friendly joke book is jam-packed with laugh-out-loud humor, puns, and cartoons that will have your child in stitches. It makes a fantastic stocking stuffer for the kid who loves to laugh.

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  • Charlotte and the Nutcracker

    by Charlotte Nebres, illustrated by Alea Marley

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    Children and parents that love The Nutcracker and all things Christmas won’t want to miss this inspiring true story. With hard work, determination, and encouragement from her family, Charlotte becomes the first Black girl to play Marie in the New York City Ballet. It’s a must-read for any aspiring ballerina.

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  • The House of Love

    by Adriana Trigiani, illustrated by Amy June Bates

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    Meet a mother and daughter who go all-out for Valentine’s Day with this book from a New York Times bestselling novelist. In their cozy home in the Blue Ridge mountains, a girl and her mom work hard all day to create a celebration of love for their entire family. Read this heart-warming story to get your child (and yourself) into the spirit of Valentine’s Day.

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  • Middle Grade & Chapter Books

  • Just Roll with It

    by Lee Durfey-Lavoie, illustrated by Veronica Agarwal

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    Fate, OCD, and middle school collide in this entertaining graphic novel about a girl who uses a 20-sided die to make all her choices. Readers who struggle with decision-making and anxiety will appreciate Maggie’s story as she navigates her social life, gains confidence, and learns to trust herself.

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  • Pages & Co.: the Book Smugglers

    by Anna James, illustrated by Marco Guadalupi

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    Leap back into this popular series with the fourth bookish adventure featuring Tilly Pages, a girl who can travel in and out of stories. Mysterious poison, a magical train, and a journey to the Land of Oz combine into an unputdownable adventure that young readers will love.

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  • She Persisted: Oprah Winfrey

    by Renée Watson and Chelsea Clinton, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint

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    Oprah Winfrey is a cultural icon, and many young readers will enjoy reading about her life. From her childhood to her success in television, this biography introduces readers to the inspirational woman, her hopes and dreams, and the hard work it took to achieve them.

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  • Honest June

    by Tina Wells, illustrated by Brittney Bond

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    Ella Enchanted meets middle school in this charming and funny novel. June’s fairy godmother curses her with a truth-telling spell, complicating her life overnight. Readers will laugh and cheer for June as she accidentally truth-bombs her friends, teachers, and parents — and eventually learns to be authentic and honest with herself and others.

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