Sunday, December 3, 2017

My Favorite Books of 2017

I often am asked what books I would recommend. Here is a list of my favorite books that I read this year, though they may have been published in a different year. I love a lot of books and not appearing on this list doesn't mean I didn't love it....this list is of the books that someone touched me or made me laugh. Inevitably I will inadvertently leave off a book that I love or read one that I need to add, so please check back.

Picture Books

Starring Carmen by Anika Denise and illustrated by Lorena Alvarez. This joyful book is highly  entertaining. You will fall in love with Carmen and her brother.

Back to School with Bigfoot by Martha Brockenbrough and Samantha Berger and illustrated by Dave Pressler. You read who its by, right?? Of course it's super fun!

Monster's New Undies by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Tad Carpenter. This book is a finalist in my school's battle of the books for good reason. Although anything underwear related is highly popular with younger kids, there's a greater message in this book.

Come With Me by Holly McGhee and illustrated by Pascal LamaĆ®tre. Every single classroom in the world needs this book. I don't feel like it got the attention it deserves. How do you deal with a struggling world??? Come with me and I will show you.

Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares. Easily one of the most beautiful books I've ever seen. Again, in the middle of beautiful artwork (just look at that cover) is a sweet message about going home.

Twelve Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Jake Parker. Super fun holiday book.

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Adam Rex. Drew makes me laugh so much and his sense of humor comes shining through. Adam's illustrations are also perfect.

Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by John Rocco. This is a great biography/historical fiction picture book and the art is stunning. You almost feel like you're watching Virginia Lee Burton conjure up the pictures.

Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds. I've known Peter for many years. This book is the most perfect representation of Peter as a person and it's also a love-letter to every dreamer.

Crown: Ode to a Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C James. This is not your normal picture book in the most amazing way. The art is great and the style is so fresh and so different.

Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi. I wordless picture book that says more than books with a thousand words. Beautiful.

Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend (Probably) by Julie Falatko and illustrated by Tim J. Miller. The original Snappsy made me laugh out loud while reading it in the Penguin booth at NCTE years ago. This next book does not disappoint. Snappsy is wonderful.

After the Fall by Dan Santat. Wow. Just Wow. An ode to moving on after a fall.

Groundhug Day by Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by Christopher Denise. Let's be honest, I would buy a book for Christopher's art only. The words make this book even better. A very sweet story.

Sarabella's Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner. This book would be a great companion to Peter's Happy Dreamer. Judy's art is much so that I actually gasped when I turned a page. Another great book for anyone who marches to the beat of their own drummer.

Claymates by Dev Petty and illustrated by Lauren Eldridge. You have to see this book to believe it. Honestly it's so different and so cool. My students absolutely love this book and for good reason.

Deck The Walls: A Wacky Christmas Carol by Erin Dealey and illustrated by Nick Ward. F U N book. My students loved it so much because it's fun. You can't help but to sing along.

This is Not a Normal Animal Book by Julie Segal-Walters and illustrated by Brian Biggs. This book had both the morning book club and the second grade class I read it to laughing so hard. Such a great laugh!

Love, Santa by Martha Brockenbrough and illustrated by Lee White. Struggling with how to explain the magic of Santa?? Struggle no more. This book is beautiful and perfect. What you thought would be a difficult conversation will become a joyful one and Christmas will never be the same a good way.

Love, Triangle by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Bob Shea. What happens when a third person comes into a freindship?? Magically told by Marcie, you'll love this.

Brave by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. "Like superheroes, brave kids can save the world, just by being brave." A wonderful message and an amazing book.

Life by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. This book is stunning and has such an amazing message.

Early Reader

Joe and Sparky Go To School by Jamie Michalak and Frank Remkiewicz. True story...I've been friends with Jamie for a long time. One day, I saw this book and just had to buy it. I read it in my office at school and found myself laughing out loud. This is such a great early reader series.

Middle Grade or Young Adult

A Dog Like Daisy by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb. Sweetly told tale of a dog being adopted by a family, including someone with PTSD. A must read.

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. I read this while waiting for a plane from NYC home. You might have heard about the flooding at LaGuardia last summer....that was me. This story is told by the tree and the tears were for something so beautiful, they just couldn't be helped. I love Katharine's writing and The Only and Only Ivan is my all-time favorite Middle Grade. This is very close to the all-time tops.

Matylda Bright and Tender by Holly McGhee. Holly and I have been friends a long time. I've known her in her job as an agent and for a few fun books. This book blew me away. Dealing with loss is a theme, but growing up is a larger theme. Absolutely stunning.

Patina by Jason Reynolds. A second book in the "Track" series, this is such an amazing book. Jason Reynolds is a master storyteller. Be sure to also grab Ghost, the first book in this series.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. I am positive I have told you about this book if you know me at all. Perfect and soul crushing. There will be a movie, but books are always better than the movies. EVERY kid needs to read this book. The theme might be very tough for some kids, so I recommend an adult read it first. I recommended it to a special friend who is a grandmother of a voracious reader. I made the aforementioned recommendation. The stellar grandma and the girls mother also read it, an example of awesome parenting and grand-parenting. Everyone loved it.

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold and illustrated by Charles Santoso. The most authentic depiction of a kid on the autism spectrum I have read along with a great story. Charles Santoso spins magic in everything he draws.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder. I remember Laurel talking about writing this thing that she thought would never sell. Well, here it is and it's thought-provoking and glorious.

The Incredible Magic of Being by Kathryn Erskine. Julian moves to Maine with his parents to start a B&B but their plans are nearly derailed by a neighbor. A wonderful book with a really hopeful message.

Miles Morales By Jason Reynolds. Spiderman and other superheroes are not my usual reading materials. BUT, when the story is by Jason Reynolds, I'm all in. SO great.

The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh. I almost don't want to write anything about this and potentially spoil the ride, but you should read this book. Sometimes we get lost....sometimes we get found.

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