By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Editor
Finding the right book for your kid can be a challenge. But if you guess right and keep new ones coming, you may be on your way to raising a lifelong reader.
Every month we highlight a few books for different ages -- some exceptional titles that could be the perfect thing to perk your kid's interest, get your reader hooked on a new author, or rediscover an old favorite. Here are our picks for March:
- For kids 4 to 8, there's Penny and Her Song, by Kevin Henkes, about an adorable little mouse who makes up a song and can't wait to sing it for her family -- but she has to. The babies are sleeping, and there's dinner to cook and eat. Penny learns patience and is rewarded with attentive, enthusiastic listeners when the time is right. Caldecott and Newbery winner Henkes' knowing family tale is great as a read-aloud or for an early reader, with its short chapters and simple, engaging text.
- For 12 and up, there's Friends with Boys, by Canadian author-illustrator Faith Erin Hicks, the story of a homeschooled girl's challenging freshman year at the local high school. There's a ghostly element, too, but mainly it's an affecting story of an outsider learning to fit in.
- For teens, there's Partials, by Dan Wells, a dystopian novel set in post-apocalyptic New York, where 99 percent of the human population has been killed by a weaponized virus and humans share turf with genetically engineered "Partials." As humans try to rebuild their population, the smart, kind, and fearless 16-year-old protagonist, Kira, a medic-in-training, is striving to find a cure for the deadly virus that's killing newborns. The action is intense, and there are lots of twists and turns in this first installment of a planned trilogy.
For more suggestions, check out our recommendation lists, including Books Like The Hunger Games, Strong Female Characters in Books, and our reviews of the latest chart-toppers on the New York Times Best-Sellers list.
More from Common Sense Media:
How to Raise a Reader
TV vs. Books: What's Winning Your Kids' Time?
5 Ways to Help Kids Find Balance