Hey guys! Since I've read over 300 children's and young adult books this year, I'd thought I'd create a list of the top ten books I think were the most enjoyable, and that you should take a look at too. (Yes, that means I think adults should read picture books! I promise it's good for you!) These aren't going to be in any certain order; I'll just be listing them as I think of them!
10. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
When people in the United States are asked to name a famous maritime disaster we instantly think of the Titanic. But the Titanic was hardly the worst sinking throughout history. In Salt to the Sea, we follow the struggles of four teens as they journey through East Prussia towards the end of World War II, and towards a ship that will take them to safely. Little do they know that all 10,000 people on board the Wilhelm Gustloff will be fighting for survival as the ship begins to sink and become the deadly maritime disaster that's ever occurred.
9. Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King
EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK. This book continued to surprise me as Amy Sarig King wove concepts such as consent, environmental issues, and corporate greed into a novel that children can easily understand. While kids might not pick up on these themes right away, every person who walks away from this books will take with them the heart-warming story of a boy who discovers a new species of animal that eats plastic; and ponders what kind of effects such an animal could have on the planet. Seriously, please go check this book out from your local library right now.
8. Did you take the B from my _ook? by Beck and Matt Stanton
Imagine how silly you would sound if you were reading a _ook and suddenly one of the letters just disappeared! If _ulls were jumping on _eds and _ouncing _alls, how would you explain this to children without the letter B?! Oh wait, there it is! This book is great for a laugh when you are reading aloud to children!
7. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom is the second book in the Six of Crows duology. While the first book is phenomenal in its own right, I felt that the second title expanded on each of the characters I had grown to love and cherish even more and it flowed so well. Hands down, I think this was the best YA fantasy series I read this past year!
6. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton
This juvenile graphic novel is a light-hearted series of stories that feature an optimistic narwhal and his more realistic friend Jelly. This book makes my list because I did at one point laugh out loud, which always impresses me, and because the book reminded me of the Elephant and Piggie books our library kids love so much!
5. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
Published in 1999, Bark, George is a storytime staple for all ages! George is a dog who can meow, oink, moo, and make all sorts of other animal noises. Whenever his mother asks him to bark, George can't! So she takes him to see the doctor and pulls out a cat, a pig, and even a cow! This book is a crowd pleaser, and you can even easily use puppets to go along with the story too!
4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
This first book in this series is good. The last book in this series is good. This middle book, however, is five-star worthy and makes you fall in love with everything Maas creates. It's another YA fantasy series where the poor, yet independent, female protagonist gets herself in trouble and falls in love with an immortal fae. But throughout the first book you gain a small feeling that not everything is what it seems. By the time you complete the first book you will feel like you have been hit by a semi-truck. This book bandages up all those wounds and makes everything better.
3. Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
This middle-grade graphic novel is in our Young Adult section. It's a refreshing take on what it's like to be in middle school while bringing a quirky sense of humor. Peppi ruins her chance to play it cool as the new kid in school when she accidentally bumps into a nerd and everyone in the hallway starts to called her the nerd's girlfriend. Flustered, Peppi shoves the nerd boy and runs away. Throughout her school days, she spots the nerd, Jamie, during classes and wonders if she should do the right thing and apologize, even at the risk of being made fun of.
2. The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
If a book doesn't have pictures, how can children possibly understand it??? It'll probably be boring and maybe even serious. Behold the power of onomatopoeia as you change the minds of kids set to 'words are boring' to 'wow, this book is hilarious!' I definietly enjoyed reading this book to classes of kids when I spent two weeks advertising our summer reading program in the elementary schools here.
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This is another book I think everyone needs to take the time to read this year. Books are magical because they let us see the world through another person's eyes, whether they are fictional or not. Books like this one are incredible gifts to the world because they let people like me, a white 20-something with wimpy arms, briefly live in a world where I'm forced to confront issues I have never experienced in my day-to-day life.