Our literary picks for December.

FOR AGES 2 TO 6

"HERE IS THE WORLD: A YEAR OF JEWISH HOLIDAYS" by Leslea Newman

Unique illustrations and simple text make this picture book relevant for a variety of ages and a perfect book for an older sibling to share with a little. Even the youngest of children will grasp the basic meaning behind special days on the Jewish calendar thanks to the author's playful treatment of the subject.

FOR AGES 4 TO 7

"DANGEROUS!" by Tim Warnes

An enthusiastic mole with a pencil and paper makes labels for everything he can find - including a lumpy bumpy alligator - in this funny book about friendship. This book is easy to extend into a fun learning activity by making labels for various things around the house and identifying the letters on the labels.

FOR AGES 9 TO 12

"OCEAN: A PHOTICULAR BOOK" by Carol Kaufmann

This visual stunner makes a great gift because it packs fun and learning into a gorgeous format. With the turn of each page, images of sea creatures appear to move realistically and are accompanied by fascinating facts and statistics that are worthy of a sophisticated reference book.

FOR TEENS

"BELZHAR" by Meg Wolitzer

Wolitzer's much anticipated first foray into teen fiction doesn't disappoint. Like so many great stories, Belzhar has young love and tragedy and broken hearts on almost every page. The twist here is Wolitzer's blend of the fantastic and the real; after landing at a therapeutic boarding school, Jam Gallahue finds that she is sucked into a different reality and reunited with the boy she thinks she's lost in real life.

-Melissa Boyd, Youth Services Librarian, Main Library of Columbus Metropolitan Library

WEBSITE

LIFEBOAT TO MARS

A grant from the National Science Foundation funded the development of this educational biology game, in which a robot guides the player through a series of challenging ecosystem-based scenarios. Located at pbskids.org/lifeboat, it is suitable for ages 8 and up.