Choosing New Books in the New Year

Choosing great books for your family can be difficult with so many new age gaps in your house it can be hard to make time for reading between work and school and life. I’m excited to begin the new year with this new column to make the task of finding fantastic books for your family a little easier.

The books I’ve chosen teach us, along with our kids, the power of taking risks and learning by making mistakes. Starting something new takes courage and the determination to learn from inevitable mistakes.

The Book of Mistakes

written & illustrated by Corinna Luyken


This book is a beautiful example of embracing life even when it doesn’t go according to plan. The illustrations, simple & sweet, continuously change as each seeming mistake is embellished or altered to change the course of the story. A big splotch becomes a balloon or a smudge becomes a cat sleeping in the sun. The illustrator makes something beautiful out of not-so-beautiful things. Stories like this one show kids (and grown ups) that life is messy and that’s ok. What we make out of life is the important thing.

The Dot

written & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds


I love Peter Reynolds’ simple & colorful illustrations because I can relate. The main character, a little girl named Vashti, struggles in her art class because she has determined that she just CAN’T draw, until one amazing teacher gives her the suggestion to “just make a mark” and everything changes. We often feel limited by our circumstances or even our own ability which can prevent that first step toward something new. This book may give your family the courage to just start!

The Day You Begin

by Jacqueline Woodson & illustrated by Rafael Lopez


The world today can feel like a dark place, isolated by technology and polarized by politics, our differences can divide us. With the new year we have the opportunity to set intentions for our families to be more open to community, to reach out to people who are different than us, to extend hospitality to our neighbors and to share stories with strangers. This book illustrates the power of sharing our stories, even when we feel afraid. It reminds us that being courageous often makes room for others to feel brave too.

Find time for reflection & intention with your family and as you set out bravely into this new year together, may the year be filled with great books!

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