Explore New, Healthy Attitudes
One thing that makes me happy is a good book (see Books Make Me Happy, below), but reading is just one of many worthwhile habits children can learn. Encourage healthy attitudes with some of these selections, listed from young readers to teens, that cover everything from positive affirmations to learning daily routines, facing life's challenges, taking care of a pet and believing in a little magic.
In The Bog Baby (Schwartz&Wade Books, $16.99), two young sisters venture into the woods and discover something unusual. They bring it home and try to take care of it, but find it doesn't do well in its new environment. This story teaches children about the gifts of nature, the needs of wild creatures, and the fun of believing in bog babies and other bits of magic here and there. Ages 3-7.
In What Day is it Missie Mouse? (Little Hare Books, $9.99), it is time to do something different every day. This introduction to weekly routines features flaps so young readers can guess the described activity and a colorful spinning wheel that lists the days of the week. Ages 4-8.
The little girl in I Want a Dog! (Robin Corey Books, $11.99) echoes the desires of children everywhere as she begs, promises and cajoles her caregivers, claiming she will fulfill all of the responsibilities that come with being a pet owner. Filled with flaps to lift and tabs to pull. Ages 4-8.
Books Make Me Happy (Workman, $9.95) is an interactive reading log that gives first-time readers a chance to explain the pleasure they get from reading. Children fill in their top books, draw pictures related to their favorite scenes and write about why reading is fun. Five pages of stickers are included so kids can personalize their own books. Ages 6 and up.
Help your teen or tween start the year off right with Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Letters to Myself (Alfred A. Knopf, $15.99). On each page is a quote from a popular children's book as well as reflections on life with positive affirmations. Ages 10 and up.
The Georges and the Jewels (Alfred A. Knopf, $16.99) is the story of Abby Lovitt, a young girl who lives on a California horse ranch with her evangelical father. He names all of the geldings "George" and all of the mares "Jewel" to avoid attachment to the horses, which are trained and sold. While training a horse she has nicknamed "Ornery George," Abbey learns about life's challenges and relationships. Ages 10 and up.
What if you had a superpower but you lost it when you turned 13? And what if you never remembered having the power at all? The main character in Powerless (Alfred A. Knopf, $15.99) is Daniel, who has just moved to a new town where all of his friends have superpowers. Average and powerless, Daniel must use his everyday wit to solve a mystery and show what it really means to be a hero. Ages 10 and up.
Maze Runner (Delacorte Press, $16.99) is an action-packed young adult novel filled with suspense and mystery. Sixteen-year-old Thomas is dropped into a society known as the Glade, where a new boy is delivered every 30 days. The boys don't know why or how they got to the glade, and when a girl arrives, Thomas begins to retrieve the dark secrets buried in the recesses of his mind. Ages 12 and up.