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On the Shelf: Reading into a new year

“Small Walt Spots Dot” by Elizabeth Verdick, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, ages 4 – 8)

Perfect for a snowy bedtime story, kids will love learning what happens when Small Walt spots a stray dog. And any parent who has tried to catch an elusive canine will certainly relate.

“Curls” by Ruth Forman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers (Little Simon, preschool and older) 

This book celebrates the beauty of Black hair in simple, rhyming text that little ones will likely learn to repeat before they can read it. And since it is a board book, this is a great one to tuck in the car or diaper bag for reading on the go.

“The Coolest Stuff on Earth: A Closer Look at the Weird, Wild, and Wonderful” by Brenda Scott Royce (National Geographic, ages 8 – 12)

Keep nonfiction lovers busy with fascinating facts about everything from animals to roadside attractions. This is a bright, busy book, loaded with information that can engage even the most reluctant reader. It’s a great one to take in bits for those who don’t want a long read.

“Space Encyclopedia: A Tour of Our Solar System and Beyond” by David A. Aguilar (National Geographic, ages 8 – 12)

Packed with details, this is one that parents and kids can enjoy together. From the history of astronomy to facts and photos of our home planet and far beyond, this is Astronomy 101 in one volume. 

“Anne Frank: A Complete Illustrated Biography” by Kathleen Perricone (Centennial Books, middle grade – adult)

For young people who have read “The Diary of Anne Frank,” this is a needed companion. Part history book, part family album, this look at a tragic period in history is made concrete in the life of Anne and her loved ones. Reading this together can lead to important discussions about hate, power and what it means to stand up for what is right – the stories of the helpers are told here, too.