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30th Birthday Kids' Staff Picks

TotePurchase five or more of the below titles, or titles from the 30th Birthday Adult Staff Picks, and receive a FREE RJ Julia 30 Years Limited Edition Commemorative Tote Bag.


Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Classic Seuss) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679805274
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - January 22nd, 1990

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!
Now don’t you just love those words!? Whether for your own child or a new-born or a baby celebrating their first birthday or a graduate or someone starting a new job, this is truly the most uplifting and inspiring book you will ever give. Ever! Thank you, Dr. Seuss!

Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? sound book (Brown Bear and Friends) Cover Image
By Bill Martin, Jr., Eric Carle (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780312513467
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Priddy Books - November 8th, 2011

Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?

Martin and Carle are a force to be reckoned with in Children's Literature. Along with its companion, Brown Bear Brown Bear, this classic is a fantastic read for storytime! The lyrical and rhythmic feel of the words paired with the bright and fabulous illustrations, gives young children something to easily recognize and want for years to come.
—Lindsay A

The Rainbow Fish Cover Image
By Marcus Pfister, J Alison James (Translated by), Marcus Pfister (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781558580091
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: NorthSouth Books - January 27th, 1999

Rainbow Fish

Who can resist the shiny scales of Rainbow fish? An immediate favorite in my house, and still relevant today as it introduces our youngest to the transformative power of sharing; a timeless message.

The Giver (Giver Quartet #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544336261
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Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - July 1st, 2014

The Giver

This is a book that takes dystopia landscape and fuels it with important questions that I believe is imperative to look at as a young adult. It examines the human condition down to its absolute core, and critically looks at what a "perfect world" actually is. With the past all but erased in this society, it forces the characters to focus on the present and become the same. I found myself longing for Jonas to introduce color, history, and music to his community. Doing so however, may have unintended consequences.
—Lindsay A

Guess How Much I Love You Cover Image
By Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763674489
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - October 14th, 2014

Guess How Much I Love You

Such musical writing makes this story about Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare, who are declaring their love for each other, a joy to read! Perfect to give at baby showers and first birthdays, this one is a keeper. I treasure the copy I was gifted when my son was born!

Math Curse Cover Image
By Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780670861941
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - October 1st, 1995

Math Curse

I didn't know math could make me laugh so much! See how many of these fun and funny puzzles you can do while learning math concepts. Will you break the curse or become a Math Zombie?

Falling Up Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060248024
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - January 24th, 2006

Falling Up

Shel Silverstein poems are like tickets to the summer carnival.They invite our inner child out--whether or not they are tall or small, then rollercoaster off our tongues, carousel around our hearts, ferris wheel us to the skies, while blinking lights in our eyes. Spinning us through teacup dreams, dizzying us with laughter, screams. All while filling our bellies wide with clouds of pink cotton candy, till we ride to the end of the long poetic night, tucked in by words that remind us of a world not yet out of our hearts or our sight.

Ella Enchanted Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064407052
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - May 2nd, 2017

Ella Enchanted

As one of the first fantasy books I read as a child, Ella Enchanted gave me such joy and propelled me to explore more authors and magical realms. Levine challenges traditional female characters in fairy tales and gives us Ella, a girl cursed to obey any command but is also strong and intelligent and desperate to take control of her own story. She is the hero in this story, and as a young girl who was still trying to figure herself out, she became my hero too.
—Lindsay A

Holes (Holes Series #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780440414803
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Yearling - May 9th, 2000


First of all, this is a great adventure tale, told with an amazing balance of humor and heart, laced with mystery and history, intersecting stories and a touch of the unexplainable. The underlying message, that how we treat each other matters, has new meaning in these strange times, but most importantly, this larger than life, somewhat absurd, wholely captivating story is a great read. It would be a fabulous pick for a family book group.

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning Cover Image
By Lemony Snicket, Brett Helquist (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780064407663
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - August 25th, 1999

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning

This series is perfect for the reader who is ready for a slightly darker sense of humor. If that reader loves words, so much the better! Like a Perils of Pauline for the modern age, three intrepid orphans are thrust into a world where villains never seem to be vanquished, heroes are scarce and fairly ineffective, and there is truly no place like home. But perseverance, practicality and quick thinking keep this tireless trio one step ahead of the evil Count Olaf. Each book stands alone, but together, the series builds to an unexpected and satisfying climax.

Because of Winn-Dixie Cover Image
ISBN: 9780763680862
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - December 8th, 2015

Because of Winn-Dixie

I fell in love with Opal as quickly as Opal falls in love with a scruffy smelly dog she names Winn-Dixie. DiCamillo is a master at creating strong, vulnerable girls who find a way to get what they need. Reassuring and poignant, this has all the hallmarks of a true classic.

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, Book 1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781368036986
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Disney-Hyperion - October 2nd, 2018

Artemis Fowl

Is it okay to find a 12 year old evil genius millionaire charming? He has kept kids turning pages late into the night, following unexpected twists and turns, and even guarantees some laughs. Share this novel with a middle grade child, and start a life long habit of book sharing and communication.

Coraline 10th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
By Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780380807345
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Published: HarperCollins - April 24th, 2012


Neil Gaiman, master storyteller, rather than toning it down with Coraline, chooses to focus on children’s desires, and children’s terror. The book blends whimsy and nightmare, and is Gaiman down to its bones.

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Cover Image
By Mo Willems, Mo Willems (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780786819881
Availability: Backordered
Published: Hyperion Books for Children - April 1st, 2003

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

One of my favorite picture books ever, this is the first in a series that creates a perfect read-aloud triangle between kids, reader and page, allowing parent and child to be a part of the story. Children will recognize the pigeon’s frustrations even as they get to be the one who says NO!

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Kitten's First Full Moon Board Book Cover Image
By Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062417107
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - September 15th, 2015

Kitten's First Full Moon

Poor little kitten can see a huge bowl of milk in the sky, but can’t reach it no matter how hard she tries! A fun, cute story for all ages!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One) (Percy Jackson & the Olympians #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780786838653
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Disney-Hyperion - April 1st, 2006

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

There are not enough words I can use to demonstrate how much this book has changed my life. It introduced history, friendship, and reading to me at age 12. Riordan has masterfully crafted a world in which he melds the genres of realistic fiction and fantasy into a true work of art. I would not be in this bookstore had it not been for Percy, Annabeth and Grover. If you have a kid, or know of a kid, who is struggling with just feeling different, this is the book for them. It celebrates the outcasts and shows them that there is truly something great in all of us.
—Lindsay A

Library Lion Cover Image
By Michelle Knudsen, Kevin Hawkes (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763637842
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - June 25th, 2009

Library Lion

This sweet, endearing story will make you cry—but in a good way—and make you feel oh-so-good inside each and every time you read it! I have such fond memories of sharing it with my son when it was brand new. And I know you’ll develop the same sentiment once you pick it up—it’s just that lovely. Add to that, Kevin Hawkes' soft, water-color illustrations are the perfect complement.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419741852
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Published: Harry N. Abrams - April 1st, 2007

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Greg Heffley's life is relatable to kids all over the world, and I found myself chuckling at his logic and antics. Heavily illustrated, Kinney's book is less cartoon and more of a personal journal with best friends, family members, and 1 piece of very stinky cheese creating a hilarious comment on 6th grade.

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Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes padded board book Cover Image
By Mem Fox, Helen Oxenbury (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780547366203
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Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - August 23rd, 2010

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

I love just about anything by Mem Fox, and this book for the youngest children reads aloud beautifully as she celebrates all children and every child. A lovely first book, and a perfect addition to a baby gift basket.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316038638
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 12th, 2011

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

I always turn to Grace Lin for stories rich in detail, and relatable characters going on timeless quests. These are novels to savor from a master storyteller.

Smile Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545132060
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Graphix - February 1st, 2010


I was actually smiling at the end of this book! Telgemeier has perfectly written every nuance of being a sixth grader, while effortlessly reassuring us that it will get better. Warm, relatable, and empowering.

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Akata Witch Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142420911
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Speak - July 11th, 2017

Akata Witch

From award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor comes a new fantasy novel set in modern day Nigeria. Sunny was born and raised in the U.S. for nine years, but now her family has moved back to Nigeria. She is an albino, but there is so much more that makes her special. When a serial killer strikes close to home, she must master her powers and herself, earning her place in the coven with 3 new friends. Brilliantly written and perfect for Harry Potter fans.

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This Is Not My Hat Cover Image
By Jon Klassen, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763655990
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - October 9th, 2012

This Is Not My Hat

This is a newer classic where a modern sense of humor is at play. A small fish has stolen a hat and brags to the reader as it swims away, but Klassen’s pictures tell a different story. This is one of a trilogy of stand-alone Hat titles. While the books share some ideas, they are not identical, but work beautifully together so a child can predict, infer and enjoy them alone or together.

A is for Activist Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609805395
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Triangle Square - November 19th, 2013

A is for Activist

A treasure trove of important words nestled in rhythmic colorful poems. What a feeling when my granddaughter finished the "d" poem with that profound word "equality"! The perfect start to a newborn's library.

Brown Girl Dreaming Cover Image
ISBN: 9780147515827
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Published: Puffin Books - October 11th, 2016

Brown Girl Dreaming

Jacqueline Woodson's lyricism shines in this award-winning book- a memoir of her childhood written in verse. Revisiting her upbringing in multiple states and the shifting civil rights landscape, Woodson captures both personal and universal insights with grace and poignancy. An absolute must-read for adults and kids alike.

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The War That Saved My Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780147510488
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Published: Puffin Books - May 31st, 2016

The War that Saved My Life

In this Newbery Honor book, one girl’s individual struggles are set against the struggles of a country at war. An unexpected evacuation to a country village introduces Ada, lame from birth and confined to a city apartment by an angry mother, to a new way of life and the possibility that she may have something to offer to those around her. There is hope in the midst of hardship, and that is worth fighting for.

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Salt to the Sea Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142423622
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 1st, 2017

Salt to the Sea

I love when I read a historical fiction book and can learn something new yet again! This WWII novel is told from 4 distinct voices whose paths will cross. It’s extremely well written---touching, horrific, enticing! I would read anything by Ruta…loved her 3 books so far!

Long Way Down Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481438261
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Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - April 2nd, 2019

Long Way Down

This is the kind of story that is so genuine, written so precisely, that all I could do was keep turning pages when I really wanted to slow it down! So, I read it twice. Whether you love literature, or only read graphic novels, this one will captivate you. One of the finest writers for young people today.
— Jamie

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The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062491459
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Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 7th, 2020

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

Truly, you will appreciate and be inspired by Mason's sense of humor and outlook on life. Leslie Connor tells a moving, and at times--heartbreaking--story with unique characters that are so alive, they spring right off the page. A definite read for everyone and a book I hope that will end up in every classroom and school library.

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New Kid Cover Image
By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062691194
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Quill Tree Books - February 5th, 2019

New Kid

Never have I liked a main character more than I do Jordan. Never! And what a thoughtfully written middle grade (graphic) novel that opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart. Jerry Craft skillfully put me in the heads of all these very different kids. This is a book for every guy and girl to read no matter what your reading style is. Teachers of 5th grade and up, here’s a story you’ll want to have in your library. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Well done, Jerry Craft!