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Oh....and will you help me know what to read?
So if you were a new aspiring writer, what books (for kids) would you read to catch yourself up on the modern hits so to speak? I'm not sure of the age group I want... but since I have a toddler, let's start with picture books and the early chapter books. And if you really are into the older chapter books and young adult books, send title my way for those too! In other words, what are the really good current kid's books and YA books I should know about?

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Picture books: Becker's JOURNEY (brand new), Mo Willems for funny and light hearted, Julie Stead and Erin Fogliano's And Then It's Spring, and If You Want to See a Whale. I don't even plan to do Halloween if I have kids, but I love Anna Marie Pace & LeUyen Pham's Vampirina Ballerina books. EXTRA YARN, by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. Darker (funny, but dark) books by Jon Klassen--I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat. (I have a lot more picture book reviews on my blog.)

Early Readers: I do like Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books. Melissa Wiley has a few nice early readers. But generally, I think they tend to be too simplistic these days--I tend to go old school in this category. (Arnold Lobel and Russell Hoban FOREVER!)

Early Chapter books: The Anna Hibiscus series by Atinuke. I cannot recommend these highly enough! They are WONDERFUL! I also like Judith Viorst's Lulu books, and Hilary McKay's Lulu books (completely different characters, both nice).

Others: I don't know if you do fantasy or not--if you do, JINX by Sage Blackwood is wonderful! Great middle grade book. Similarly, Stefan Bachmann's PECULIAR and sequel, WHATNOT, are great. Marie Rutkoski is another one. Merrie Haskell is excellent, with two books and another out soon. The Inquisitor's Apprentice and Watcher in the Shadows by Chris Moriarty is a nice series so far.

Other than that, um, Karen Cushman's Alchemy and Meggy Swann is a good historical fiction. I love all of Hilary McKay's books and her newest, Binny for Short, is great. (Also her older books, if you haven't read them--I especially love the Exiles trilogy.)

YA: Code Name Verity is historical fiction and amazing and heartbreaking and extremely well crafted. Y.S. Lee has a nice historical mystery series called The Agency. For fantasy, I love Rachel Neumeier's books, and Megan Whalen Turner is basically who I want to be when I grow up. I also think Frances Hardinge is fantastic. One author I don't hear much about but looooove is D.M. Cornish--he's also Christian, which is interesting--I read many authors who aren't Christian, or aren't explicitly so, but I really LIKE the authors who are in a way that's hard to explain. Oh, also, it's not even out yet, but Erin Bow's second book, SORROW'S KNOT, knocked my socks off. It's amazing.

This is really really super long, and there are a bunch more I could name. But reader's advisory is one of my favorite things ever, so feel free to pick my brains all you want!

This is excellent! Thank you sooooo much! I really appreciate it. I'll start with a bunch of the picture books and early readers when my son visit the library next since that's what I read to him. (He's 3 1/2) I love Arnold Lobel too but I love the simplistic these days too because my son can recognize a few of the words in there and they are easier to find for him so he gets really excited. He actually has Extra Yarn. It's a darling story. I'll have to pic up one of the chapter books or YAs for myself as well. Thanks again! This will be such a good beginning!

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