10 New Must-Reads for December

Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto, Gianni Rodari (December 6)

Gianni Rodari, mostly unknown in the States, is a household name in his native Italy, often touted as one of the country’s most important writers of modern children’s literature. Translated into English for the first time and out this month from Melville House, this strange and delightful fable is based on the real-life kidnapping and murder of former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades. It may seem like grisly stuff for a children’s book, but Rodari mixes magic with terrorists and tabloids and manages to come out with something altogether wonderful, and sure to please young and old alike. If you need any more convincing, take it from the fantastic Italo Calvino: “Gianni Rodari gave free rein to his imagination, with inspired panache and gleeful lightness. At the same time, he had a precise and meticulous love for detail, for rich and exact language, and so all of his inventions are set in a very concrete world with real form and action.”