The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater
Oh my goodness. The language is strong, but I couldn't have enjoyed the writing and the story more. I read the sequel Dream Thieves as well, not knowing it wasn't a completed series. Now I have to wait for the third installment. Boo! Quirky, fascinating characters including psychics, poor boys, rich boys, ghosts, and hit men. You'll get to know them all well. Like really well. Like why don't they live in my neighborhood well...okay, maybe not the hit man.
I. Love. These. Books. But really. I'm warning you kiddos up front about the language. Ask your mom first.
I read the Louis Sachar as well. Cardturner. I liked it although it went a bit fantastical in a place where I was quite comfortable with it being an ordinary everyday kind of book. It's a good book for sure, I think I just prefer regular fantasy to magical realism (which incidentally works brilliantly in his book, Holes. So maybe I just don't know what I'm talking about. Highly likely.)
And I've read a huge amount of picture books to the little ones including:
Penguins, Liz Pichon
Cute. The kids enjoyed it.
The Belly Book, Fran Manushkin, Dan Yaccario
Adorable. We all enjoyed this.
Barnyard Dance! Sandra Boynton
I defy you to find a Boynton book I don't love. It can't be done. I was a huge fan of her greeting cards in the eighties before she ever wrote a book. I still remember some of them!
Tikki Tikki Tembo, Arlene Mosel, Blair Lent
One of our family favorites. At least I really like reading it. I've got that name down, I tell you.
The Crocodile and the Scorpion, Emberly and Emberly
The pictures really make this great, and the kids liked the story, too.
Outside Your Window: A first book of Nature, Davies and Hearld
Gorgeous, gorgeous illustrations and beautiful to read. We take it a little at a time, more poetry than story (which I love for children) and we ooh and aah over the creative art. My image up top doesn't really do it justice.