We asked local librarians and bookstore owners what children and young adult books they'd recommend to help your little one's imagination soar on cold winter nights.

Here is what they can't keep on their Berkshire County shelves thanks to little readers:


Anything by Mo Willems, but especially his "Elephant and Piggy" series.

"The Fly Guy" series, by Tedd Arnold

"Press Here" by Herve Tullet

"The Bear" series, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

Anything by Sandra Boynton

-- Kim Dilego, North Adams Public Library


"The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt. When Duncan arrives at school one morning, he finds a stack of letters, one from each of his crayons, complaining about how he uses them. Very cute.

"Mr. Wuffles" by David Wiesner. "Mr. Wuffles ignores all his cat toys but one, which turns out to be a spaceship piloted by small green aliens. When Mr. Wuffles plays rough with the little ship, the aliens must venture into the cat's territory to make emergency repairs." Wordless picture book with laugh-out-loud illustrations.

"Dragons love tacos" by Adam Rubin. This book explores the love dragons have for tacos, and the dangers of feeding them anything with spicy salsa. Can't keep it on the shelf.

"LEGO play book: Ideas to bring your bricks to life" by Daniel Lipkowitz. "From enchanted forests to rampaging robots, LEGO Play Book is packed with inspiring models and ideas from LEGO fan builders. Discover tips and tricks for better building techniques. Beat the clock with simple and speedy Quick Builds. Take on your friends with fun LEGO challenges. Spark new play ideas with story-themed chapters." Just out from DK Publishers.

"The house of Hades" by Rick Riordan. "Greek and Roman demigods from the Prophecy of Seven must work together to seal the Doors of Death -- and help Percy and Annabeth escape the Underworld in the process." Latest in the very, very popular series.

-- Karen Lindquist, Bushnell-Sage Library, Sheffield


"My Blue is Happy," by Jessica Young

"Battle Bunny," by Jon Scieszka

"House of Hades," by Rick Riordan

"Into the Wild" (and the Warriors series), by Erin Hunter

"The Fault in Our Stars," by John Green

-- Kirsten Rose, David and Joyce Milne Public Library, Williamstown


"The Pout-Pout Fish" by Deborah Diesen. Baby's book. Have a cranky little one? It's time for a story .

"Black Dog" by Levi Pinfold. Young children's picture book with beautiful illustration. Some of us get scared, Adeline tries very hard not to be afraid of the big, big dog. How to get fears down to managable size.

"Where my wellies take me" by Clare and Michael Morpugo. For children of all ages -- a read-aloud with the family book -- not necessarily to be read all at one go, though there is a story line, but a book to savor the experience of fine art, poetry and the sound of the English language.

"Earwig and the Witch" by Diana Whynne Jones. For young readers. OK, it has been out for a while, but it isn't getting enough press. The story of a young orphan girl who, against her will, is adopted -- by a witch and a warlock of all people! But Earwig is plucky, imaginative and knows how to rely on others. A sense of humor to set any young reader giggling.

"What we found in the sofa and how it saved the world" by Henry Clark. For middle readers. An old sofa shows up at the bus stop one day and then River, Freak and Fiona discover it can move itself. They also discover not everything is going well in their backyards; follow them in their attempt to save the world.

"The 5th Wave" by Rick Yancey. For young adults. We sell a lot of fantasy, all kinds, so it was with great pleasure that we read this post-apocalyptic world novel that stands out among the best. Fascinating!

-- Lauren Losaw, The Bookloft, Great Barrington


"Freddy the Pig" series by Walter R. Brooks

"King of Shadows" by Susan Cooper

"Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster

"Children of Green Knowe" by L. M. Boston

"Anne of Green Gables" series by L. M. Montgomery

-- Matt Tannenbaum, The Bookstore, Lenox