Other Best Books of 2018 Lists

best books of 2018



Now that you’ve read our top 10 books of 2018, check out what other people had to say about the best books of the year!


Best Books for Kids from New York Public Library

Best of the Best Books 2018 from Chicago Public Library

Best Books of the Year from Barnes & Noble

Best Children’s and YA Books of 2018 from Publishers Weekly

The Best Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Picture Books at Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2018: Winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Books of 2018 according to School Library Journal

2018 Best Children’s & Teen Books of the Year at Shelf Awareness

Horn Book Fanfare: Choices for the Best Books of 2018 from Horn Book

Miss Jessica


What We Did In Storytime: Animals and Their Homes


Storytime from last Monday was a lot of fun!  We read a couple of awesome brand new books, and jammed to some new favorite songs and shook to some old favorites!

Opening Song:

Let’s Get The Rhythm

Let’s get the rhythm of our knees

Let’s get the rhythm of our knees

Let’s get the rhythm of our knees

If you please

Let’s get the rhythm of our knees


Let’s get the rhythm of our shoulders

Let’s get the rhythm of our shoulders

Let’s get the rhythm of our shoulders

Big Boulders!

Let’s get the rhythm of our shoulders


Let’s get the rhythm of our head

Let’s get the rhythm of our head

Let’s get the rhythm of our head

Oh Dread!

Let’s get the rhythm of our head


Let’s get the rhythm of our feet

Let’s get the rhythm of our feet

Let’s get the rhythm of our feet

How Neat!

Let’s get the rhythm of our feet


I am so grateful to Miss Teresa, our former Littles librarian.  She shared this gem with me before she left and I love it!  This song/chant always goes over well!  It helps older littles test their knowledge of body parts and practice rhythms since you tap out the beat on whatever body part is in the verse.  It is also good to use to practice memory recall.  We sing everything twice in littles to help kids and parents learn the songs and movements.  When we get ready to dive into the second round, depending on how old my littles are that day, I ask if they can remember what body part we start with!  See how your little one does with this!


Don’t worry!  This song also works well for the very littles who are not able to keep their own rhythm or identify body parts yet.  I encourage parents to tap the rhythm on their child’s body part for each verse or to guide the child’s hands to the body part.  This is a great way to instill the sense of rhythm in language plus you get some fun practicing the names for those body parts.  At the very least, a child can be gently bounced to the rhythm and will still get something out of it.


Story:  Mama Dug a Little Den

by Jennifer Ward


This book showed up on my new shelf and I fell in love with it!  The text is in gentle rhyme and covers many different creatures and their winter homes.  What is great is that there is also informational text on each page to tell more about the animal and their habitat.  There are many animals covered.  I know, it sounds like this book would be beyond the birth to 3 age group BUT it’s actually got a lot going for it to pull them in.  For my storytime, I paperclipped pages together so we only covered about half of the animals in the book.  We also didn’t read the informational text.  We did read the rhyming story and identified the animals we saw on each page.  There were squirrels, skunks, frogs, even polar bears!  The illustrations are simple and large and the actual story text is very minimal per page.  This is the kind of book that can grow with your child as they develop and want to get more and more from their stories.  Even if you just go through and name the animals on each page, it is a fun and valuable read that can be easily adapted for any age of reader.


This is My Home

This is a simple finger play.  There is nothing complicated in the movements so you can do this with the very young by putting your hands over top of theirs.  For older littles, I recommend doing this two to three times so they can practice the different motions all by themselves.  You showing them the motions with your own hands is very helpful so dive in and play too!  If you are doing this rhyme at home, it might be fun to pull up pictures of the actual homes in the rhyme (nest, beehive, rabbit hole, house) so your kiddo can see what these things are in real life!



by the Laurie Berkner Band


Laurie Berkner is a storytime favorite around here.  We can get in a rut sometimes though so we introduced this song this week!  It is a fun action song that will have your little one ready to dance, stomp, march, jump, and splash!  You can make up your own dance moves too since there are plenty of more open parts without direct instruction.  We practiced clapping and stomping during these parts and had a ball!  This CD is here at the library for check out or you can stream it online!


Under the Same Sky

by Britta Teckentrup


Britta Teckentrup is hands-down one of my storytime faves.  This is her newest book and I adore the message of love and togetherness in this gentle story.  The die-cut pages with watercolor art will entrance little ones but the text sends such a sweet message and has a nice steady rhythm.  It was a very positive end to storytime but I honestly think it would make an excellent bedtime story!


Shaker Egg Time:

If Your Happy and You Know it Give a Shake and We Shake and We Shake and We Stop both are songs we have used in storytime before and love!  We found We Wiggle and Wiggle and Stop over at JBrary and tweaked it for a nice transition as we get ready to put our eggs away.  In our storytime, we did make one small change.  In If Your Happy and You Know It Give a Shake, we said “If your happy and you know it then your egg will surely show it” and shook our eggs like crazy because, well, that’s how we roll with shaker eggs!


After Storytime, we always have 6 to 8 centers set up for play.  This week we had two that were a huge hit and I wanted to share because they are things that can be done at home!  We filled a long, narrow tote with actual snow from outside (one perk to the chilly winter weather and above-average snowfall we have been seeing), filled our squirt bottles with washable watercolor paint and water, and let the kids spray paint the snow.  One the top layer would get saturated, I could just go over and turn that layer under to reveal a fresh “canvas.”  The kids had a blast with this and it was very easy cleanup for me!  Win win!  If you don’t have squirt bottles or watercolor paint at home, paint brushes and food coloring are great substitutes.


We also had sensory snow in our sensory bin this week.  Click on over the Huckleberrylove.com to get the recipe! This mix of baking soda and cream hair conditioner makes a perfect packing snow that is cool to the touch.  We mixed our batch two months ago and, by keeping it in the fridge, have gotten a ton of use out of it!  If we take it out and it seems flaky or doesn’t pack well, we just add a little more conditioner to it and it is just like new.  It is a great alternative if either you don’t have the real stuff to play with or if your little one (or you) isn’t a fan of the cold temps that come with playing outside this time of year.

Miss Marta

What We Did in Storytime: Bears

Hello! So, like Miss Marta said in last week’s post, I don’t always use themes in my storytimes. I pick songs, books, fingerplays, and flannel board stories that I really like rather than using something I’m not excited about because it fits a theme. However, this week I did use a bears theme.

I also plan way more books and songs than I will end up using – every week is different, so I never know what the energy in the room will be or whether the age group will skew older or younger. I prefer to over-plan because winging it in the moment makes me soo nervous. So, here’s my plan for this week in storytime!

set list (1)

What we actually did was as follows:

Opening Song: I use the same opening song every week. I like the repetition, which makes it easier for grown-ups to remember and sing along and reinforces it for the little ones. It’s sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” You can hear the wonderful ladies at Jbrary sing it here.


Book: I read Sleepy Bear for my first story. This is an older title, but I really like the illustrations and the simple text for this age group.


Song: Five in the Bed. This song I used the flannel board for. I made five bears of different colors and a bed a few months ago. It’s a good way to work on not only counting, but colors! Plus a lot of adults know it already so it was easy to get people to join in. The pattern for the bed I got from here, the bears were clip art I traced and I eyeballed the blanket and pillows.


Book: It’s a bears theme, so of course I read the classic Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? My other choice, In My Den, is a board book, and with mostly older kids today I decided to skip it.

Song: I skipped the fingerplay and went with Mama’s Sleeping with the shaker eggs. We had a good time with this song, shaking quietly for the first verse and loudly to “wake up Mama,” so we repeated it with Baby’s Sleeping. The thing I like about shaker eggs is that almost any child can use them, and even for those who don’t have the motor skills to hang on to them yet it’s easy for a grown-up to help them shake along. It’s to the tune of “Skip to My Lou.”

During playtime I put out the sensory snow, left over from an earlier program. I love this play snow; it’s easy to make, smells amazing, and is a piece of cake to clean up. We made this ourselves and it is super easy to duplicate at home, and if you store it in a plastic bag in the fridge you can reuse it. The recipe came from this post on Huckleberry Love.

And that’s what we did in storytime! Don’t forget to check back in next week to see what Miss Marta came up with.

Miss Jessica

Top 10 of 2018: #1




A Big Mooncake for Little Star

by Grace Lin

A simple, beautiful story about Little Star trying to resist eating the Big Mooncake that Mama has hung in the sky to cool.  Little Star wakes in the night and takes a tiny bite.  She does this each night until you see the full moon waning to the new moon.  Text and pictures tell this story lovingly.  A great book to share with your little ones.


We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

by Ryan T. Higgins

It’s the first day of school and Penelope Rex is ready with a new backpack.  When she discovers her classmates are children this causes a few problems because “children are delicious.”  After eating her classmates (and spitting them out thanks to the teacher), Penelope does learn how to be a friend.

This book has a good bit of slobber in the pages, which just add to its appeal!


I Hate Everyone

by Naomi Danis

I actually didn’t read this book until I was in the process of writing this list and loved it so much it immediately bumped my previous #1 title.  Danis perfectly describes the contradictions of children: “Don’t look at me.  No!  Look at me!” Several pages made me laugh aloud and the illustrations alone are so great once I finished I flipped back to the beginning and started again to pay better attention to them.


The Serpent’s Secret

by Sayantani Dasgupta

I loved this audiobook!  Just an average 12-year-old girl from New Jersey who happens to be a demon slayer –  no big deal!  Dasgupta creates such a fun, relatable hero in Kiranmala, and I loved the Indian folklore mixed with fantasy elements.  The audiobook is read by the author and she is a fantastic narrator!

Great read for fans of Rick Riordan or fantasy… or anyone!


Willa of the Wood 

by Robert Beatty

This book is just so beautifully written.  It brought me right back to the feeling I’d get as a kid when I’d fall in love with a book in that deep, profound, genuinely sad when it is over way.  I listened to this audiobook and was sucked right into the world that Beatty created.  The world of the Faeran is magical but dangerous.  Willa, a night-spirit, is trying to find her way in her clan but the clan is changing.  Through a tragic chain of events, Willa comes to realize her clan is no longer her family and that she doesn’t truly have a place there.  On her own in the world she befriends a man named Nathaniel.  Though Willa and Nathaniel have a tenuous relationship at first, they form a bond that goes well beyond what Willa expects.  Nathaniel becomes family to her and she becomes family to him.  When she discovers a secret about Nathaniel’s children, she realizes that she can help him and his children but very much at her own peril.  Read my full review of this amazing book here.  For fans of fantasy, this book is a must-read, but it also is a good read for animal lovers and adventure readers.