The Waiting Game: Great Books for Cooped Up Kids & Teens

The daily rhythms and expectations of life have changed in small as well as significant ways over the past several weeks, and many of us feel suspended in a kind of in-between place, a limbo of waiting and wondering. For children, this experience can seem especially intense. Books for children often communicate profound observations in accessible ways, and as I considered some of the main features of life during this 'stay-at-home' period, two picture books came to mind. 

The first is by Kevin Henkes and is called, appropriately, Waiting. This book centers on a group of knick-knacks waiting and watching from a fixed place (in this case inside a home at a window), their quiet lives nonetheless full of new experiences. The other, Windows (by Julia Denos and E.B. Goodale), follows a boy taking his dog for a walk and observing life as it is being lived through the windows he passes. Some windows reveal people dancing, reading, or playing an instrument, while other windows are dark and mysterious. 

The New York Times recently compiled a list of books about kids, young adults, and other assorted characters who are feeling cooped up and stuck in place. Happily, you can find all of the books recommended in the New York Times article at SPPL, and they range in age and interest, from preschoolers to teens. 

Preschoolers and young elementary age: 
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Corduroy by Don Freeman 

Older Elementary and Middle Grade: 
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin
Tom’s Midnight Garden (and the graphic novel version) by Philippa Pearce
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Trapped by Michael Northrop
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon 

(Post by Becky A.)