Our literary picks for December.

FOR AGES 3 TO 7

A HOMEMADE TOGETHER CHRISTMAS, by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Everyone in Luca's family is making something for Christmas. Luca watches as his family conducts their secret gift-making enterprises. Luca want to makes something special for Christmas but is having trouble finding the right project. His parents and his sister give him helpful suggestions to get him started. He writes down all of his ideas for gifts, but his ideas never quite work out right. Join Luca as he learns that the most important part of Christmas is the gift of family.

FOR AGES 3 TO 9

CHIK CHAK SHABBAT, by Mara Roc kliff

This picture book is a warm and inviting read. Goldie in Apartment 5A makes cholent, a Jewish stew, every Friday and invites her neighbors over on Saturdays for Shabbat dinner. Her neighbors are from different parts of the world but they all gather around Goldie's table to talk about their week and eat soup. Goldie gets a surprise when a sickness prevents her from making soup. Her neighbors bring a little bit of their own culture to her dinner table in this tale of family and friendship.

FOR AGES 6 TO 10

A FINE DESSERT: FOUR CENTURIES, FOUR FAMILIES, ONE DELICIOUS TREAT, by Emily Jenkins

A Fine Dessert follows a dessert - blackberry fool - as it transitions over the centuries. Not only does the method of preparing the dessert change, but also the tools used to prepare the dessert. The final tableau features a father and son making the dessert and sharing it with a diverse group of friends. This picture book mixes nonfiction topics with a good narrative and lovely illustrations. This would be a great pick for older children.

FOR TEENS

UNDER A PAINTED SKY, by Stacey Lee

It is the 1840s and all Samantha has ever wanted was to be a concert violinist. Her most sincere desire is to move back to New York and join the New York Symphony. All of these plans get derailed by the untimely death of her father in a fire. Sammy is forced to flee when an interaction with a crooked landlord ends in death. She escapes with the help of Andita, a slave seeking to find freedom, and her brother. Disguised as boys, the two girls must trust in themselves and a group of young cowboys headed west. This is a wonderful story about the power of friendship.

FAMILY APP

COOSI BOX

This free app from Yellephant (available for iPad, iPhone, Android and Kindle Fire) showcases an interactive art platform for the budding artist in your family. Kids can create their own Coosi avatar and bring it to life using a wonderful artist's palette and different art supplies. Kids also are given the opportunity to create their own animation sequence with the characters they've created. This app can also be used offline, which will decrease data-plan usage as your child's creativity is encouraged. Considered most suitable for ages 6 to 10.

-Desiree Thomas, Teen Information Services Specialist, Reynoldsburg Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library