Books for kids to read during the holiday break

Getty Images

By Sabrina Lee

The holiday break is the perfect time to cozy up under the blanket with a good book. If you’re looking for some new books for your kids to read during the holiday break, you’re in luck! We have compiled a list of some of the best books from this year to help your child pass the time. This list includes books for a range of reading levels — from pre-school picture books to middle school chapter books.

We have included a diverse selection of stories — biographies, superheroes, fantasy — and you will undoubtedly find a perfect one for your kiddo! We’re also really loving this year’s reads about diversity and inclusion with important messages for any child, so we made sure to include some of the best on our list. Take a look at our list and find your child’s next favorite book!

Early readers (grades P-1)

We just love this book of poems that celebrates the identity of young brown girls coupled with beautiful illustrations. Author Samara Cole Doyon gives us an empowering story of a young girl admiring the many different browns in the environment as she embraces the uniqueness of her own identity. The novel is truly a celebration of diversity represented in both the poetry and illustrations.

“We Are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom, illustrated by Michaela Goade

Early readers (grades P-1)

Looking to teach your kids about protecting the environment? This call-to-action narrative inspired by Indigenous-led movements urges the readers to protect the Earth’s water in the face of environmental destruction. The powerful message is paired with detailed watercolor illustrations and has the power to inspire your young reader.

“You Matter” by Christian Robinson 

Early readers (grades P-3)

This New York Times bestseller brings together many different perspectives of people all over the world and reminds us that everyone matters. The illustrations will captivate any young reader and show them the world in a new way. From astronauts to pets, we are shown many different points of view all approached from a place of empathy. This book is a must-read and will definitely bring a smile to your kid’s face!

“My Best Friend” by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki 

Early readers (grades P-3)

“My Best Friend” is told from a child’s perspective who meets a new friend at a park. This sweet story shares the joy of becoming fast friends with someone as a child. Julie Foliano’s prose is paired with Jillian Tamaki’s soft illustrations. This is a great winter read for younger children that celebrates friendship!

“Fauji Singh Keeps Going” by Simran Jeet Singh, illustrated by Baljinder Kaur 

Early readers (grades P-3)

Fauji Singh broke world records and became the first 100-year-old to run a marathon. This true story shares how Fauji was able to overcome many challenges and obstacles in his journey. At age 81, Fauji decides to run his first marathon and then goes on to break world records. The illustrations bring us into the incredible world of Fauji and reinforce the inspiring message of hard work of determination in Fauji’s true story.

“Land of the Cranes” by Aida Salazar 

Upper-level readers (grades 3-7)

“Land of the Cranes” is a great way to introduce conversations about immigration and refugee families with your child. Nine-year-old Betita, a young refugee, is taken to a detention camp after her father is arrested by U.S. immigration officers and deported to Mexico. As Betita is surrounded by other detained children, she must remain hopeful and remember the story her father told her — her family are cranes that have returned to their promised land. This heartbreaking story told in verse shares the realities of a family who must endure hardship while finding the strength to dream.

“Green Lantern: Legacy” by Minh Le, illustrated by Andie Tong 

Upper-level readers (grades 3-7)

This one is for all of the superhero lovers! “Green Lantern: Legacy” gives us a new version of the DC Green Lantern story we all know. Tai Pham, a young Vietnamese-American boy, discovers that his grandmother’s jade ring has much more power than he ever knew. The graphic novel has all the great action of a superhero story while sharing insights into the immigrant experience. Longtime fans of the Green Lantern and new fans alike will love this new story!

“Skunk and Badger” by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen  

Upper-level readers (grades 3-7)

In this witty tale, a fussy badger is surprised when a loud skunk comes knocking on his door and then moves in. They couldn’t be more different but must find a way to coexist with each other. Will they be able to become friends? Find out in Timberlake’s warm story of these two animals.

“Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian” by Tim Probert

Upper-level readers (grades 3-7)

“Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian” is for all the fans of fantasy-adventure novels! Galdurians are all known to be extinct until Bea meets Cad, a Galdurian searching for the rest of his people. Together, Bea and Cad get swept into an epic adventure to save their world. This is the first book in a series and will definitely excite your kid as they get transported into the fantasy world of Irpa.

“Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice” by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, Olivia Gatwood, Theodore Taylor III

Upper-level readers (grades 3-7)

“Woke” is a collection of poems by women of color who explore themes of race, justice and equality. Reflected in their writing is each author’s passion for speaking their stories and advocating for social justice. The poems are paired with bright and colorful illustrations. And after reading this book, your kid will be inspired to speak their own stories and express how they see justice.

“Prairie Lotus” by Linda Sue Park

Upper-level readers (grades 5-7)

Award-winning author Linda Sue Park tells the story of a young half-Asian girl, Hanna, who must navigate life in the 1880 Dakota Territory. After her Chinese mother passes, Hanna and her white father must start a new life in a small town. We follow Hanna as she deals with the existing prejudice the townspeople have against Asians while pursuing her dreams. Throughout the novel, there are potent comments on racism while sprinkling in some humor to create an overall, captivating read for your kids.

“Before the Ever After” by Jacqueline Woodson 

Upper-level readers (Grades 5-6)

ZJ’s dad was a kind-hearted football hero to many but after years of head injuries, he has developed a temper and memory trouble, eventually forgetting ZJ’s name. ZJ must navigate this new present and try to hold onto the happy family memories of the past. We recommend this novel for a bit of an older reader who wants to dive into a powerful and moving story.

This story originally appeared on newyorkfamily.com


More from Around New York