Best of 2014 – #1

MPL KidsBest Reads 2014 (6)

We read a lot around these parts.  We read picture books, easy readers, graphic novels, non-fiction, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, and sometimes we even get a chance to pick up a novel intended for adults.  And we’ve finally made it to #1!  Check out the posts from the previous 9 days to see what else we recommend!

This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris

This book is silliness at its best!  A picky director is creating a perfect documentary for the reader about a normal moose doing moose things.  His shoot keeps getting interrupted because his star moose is anything but normal.  From lively grannies to scrappy squirrels, this book will have kids laughing to the last page.  Morris puts a cute and funny spin on what it means to be true to one’s self. -Marta

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve talked about Brown Girl Dreaming before on the blog, so I think it is pretty clear that this book was a standout for me.  In a year when the call for diversity (http://weneeddiversebooks.org/) has been the hottest topic in children’s literature, it is appropriate that the best book of the year showed exactly why diverse books are necessary.  A beautiful, lyrical autobiography, Woodson has written the best book of the year. -Amanda

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

A quiet holiday becomes full of suspense as one guest after another arrives unannounced to the secluded smuggler’s inn. Twelve year old Milo has to sort out the strange stories, missing items and unresolved deaths without being detected. -Christina

Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

Thirteen-year-old Margaret O’Malley is convinced of her father’s innocence even after he’s sentenced to death by the cruel Judge Lucas Biggs.  In a desperate attempt to save her dad, Margaret uses her family’s secret – and forbidden – ability to time travel.  With the help of her best friend, Charlie, and his grandpa Josh, Margaret jumps back to a year that changed Lucas Biggs into the cruel man of today.  The forces of history resist, and Margaret is running out of chances to set things right. -Teresa

Naked by Michael Ian Black

An energetic book about a boy being free. -Sarah

Best of 2014 – #2


MPL KidsBest Reads 2014 (5)

We read a lot around these parts.  We read picture books, easy readers, graphic novels, non-fiction, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, and sometimes we even get a chance to pick up a novel intended for adults.  For the next ten days, we’re going to count down to our favorite kids book we read this year.  Check back daily to see if your favorite made our list!  Today we’re looking at #2.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Failure is an integral part of life.  Learning to look at what you’ve done wrong and come up with solutions moving forward is essential to growing as a person.  Writing a book explaining that to kids isn’t an easy task, but Ashley Spires’ The Most Magnificent Thing does a fantastic job of doing just that. With cute illustrations, to boot!  -Amanda

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

One of the best books I’ve ever read, but it’s also the hardest book ever to describe! Part coming-of-age, part time travel, part mystery!   Sixth grader Miranda’s best friend, Sal, shuns her after he gets punched by a kid on the street; her (hidden) emergency apartment key gets stolen, and mysterious notes start to arrive telling her that “I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own”.  Miranda must solve this fantastic puzzle! -Teresa

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

After witnessing a backyard squirrel being sucked into a vacuum cleaner, Flora Belle Buckman discovers that the squirrel Ulysses, has incredible powers of strength.  If you’re looking for a superhero, look no further. -Christina

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This YA novel is a great realistic fiction read for guys or girls.  At heart it is a love story, but Eleanor and Park both have pretty complicated family lives on their own giving readers many different ways to connect to their story.   You find yourself rooting for this unlikely couple and Rowell totally satisfies with an ending that perfectly fits who they are. -Marta

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Yes, they do have a plan, but will it work? -Sarah

Best of 2014 – #3

MPL KidsBest Reads 2014 (4)

We read a lot around these parts.  We read picture books, easy readers, graphic novels, non-fiction, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, and sometimes we even get a chance to pick up a novel intended for adults.  For the next ten days, we’re going to count down to our favorite kids book we read this year.  Check back daily to see if your favorite made our list!  Today we’re looking at #3.

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. Series) by Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood and Co. step in. A young trio of psychic investigators tries to redeem their agency’s reputation by ridding a haunted house of ghosts without getting killed. Full of suspense and very scary. -Christina

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio

A sweet story about family and where one belongs. -Sarah

Naked by Michael Ian Black

A jubilant boy revels in running around naked, until he discovers capes!  The illustrations are hilarious. This picture book is a fun reminder of the carefree, uninhibited joys of childhood. -Teresa

Parents and kids alike will be laughing over this silly after-bath adventure!  Fun is on every page as a young boy finds plenty of things to do without wasting time on clothes.  -Marta

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Tim Federle’s debut novel is about Nate Foster, a boy that at the tender age of 13 has figured out what generations of comedians and actors discovered before him, pain and humor go hand-in-hand.  Nate doesn’t know who he is quite yet (who does at 13?  Or 32, for that matter?), but he knows that whoever he is, he belongs in “Manhattan New York City” on Broadway. A middle grade story that will keep you rooting for Nate to the very end. -Amanda

Best of 2014 – #5

MPL KidsBest Reads 2014 (1)

We read a lot around these parts.  We read picture books, easy readers, graphic novels, non-fiction, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, and sometimes we even get a chance to pick up a novel intended for adults.  For the next ten days, we’re going to count down to our favorite kids book we read this year.  Check back daily to see if your favorite made our list!  Today we’re looking #5.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

I’m always skeptical of books written by celebrities (particularly picture books), but I was more than pleasantly surprised when I opened up B.J. Novak’s first foray into children’s literature.  Novak created a hilarious read-aloud that has wide appeal, and smartly demonstrates to younger kids that books don’t need pictures to be entertaining. -Amanda

My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown

Bobby is constantly getting trouble with his teacher, Ms. Kirby. In fact, she is a monster.  When Bobby runs into Ms. Kirby in the park one Saturday, he discovers that appearances can be deceiving. The illustrations are priceless! -Teresa

Bobby has teacher troubles.  Ms. Kirby is a total monster!  Or so he thinks until he spends a WHOLE DAY with her.  With Brown’s hilarious illustrations, we get to see Ms. Kirby through Bobby’s eyes for the monster she really is.  Or is she?  For any kid who isn’t his teacher’s biggest fan (and even the ones who are) this book will be an instant hit. -Marta

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

Julia’s house is too quiet until she makes a sign. -Sarah

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner

Goldie impulsively escapes her restrictive life in the city of Jewel, where children are required to wear guardchains for their protection. While she finds some safety in a nearby museum, she also discovers an ever-shifting world with mysterious secrets that threaten her city, the people she loves, and her life.  -Christina

Best of 2014 – #6

MPL KidsBest Reads 2014

We read a lot around these parts.  We read picture books, easy readers, graphic novels, non-fiction, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, and sometimes we even get a chance to pick up a novel intended for adults.  For the next ten days, we’re going to count down to our favorite kids book we read this year.  Check back daily to see if your favorite made our list!  Today we’re starting with #6.

If… A Mind Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers by David J. Small

Big imponderable concepts from human history to the size of our galaxy are scaled down in surprising ways. This book invites readers to see the world in a mind-bending new way.  This is one of many titles by this author that will make you think! -Teresa

The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya by Jane Keeley

A talking parrot and a girl with Leukemia discover their need for each other. -Christina

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

Who says princesses can’t wear black? -Sarah

All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

Kidnapped then returned to her village four years later, Judith is robbed of her chance to tell where she has been as her tongue has been cut out.  She is instantly an outcast, thought to have committed some sin and seemingly unable or unwilling to defend herself.  Readers know otherwise however and know what things really keep her from telling her story.  When she may lose the one person she truly loves, will she be able to tell what really happened? -Marta

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

A re-imagined history in a totalitarian state, this is an intense, thoughtful novel for fans of dystopian science fiction.  This stark book is not for the faint of heart or the easily queasy, but readers will be rewarded with one of the most exciting young adult novels from the past five years.  You won’t be able to put this down once you’ve picked it up. -Amanda

Best of 2014 – #7

MPL KidsBest Reads 2014 (3)

We read a lot around these parts.  We read picture books, easy readers, graphic novels, non-fiction, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, and sometimes we even get a chance to pick up a novel intended for adults.  For the next ten days, we’re going to count down to our favorite kids book we read this year.  Check back daily to see if your favorite made our list!  Today we’re looking at #7.


Hilda and the Black Hound
by Luke Pearson

The fourth book in Luke Pearson’s whimsical, charming graphic novel series about a twee girl with blue hair and unwavering curiosity, is exciting and funny.  Already a fan of Hilda, I went into reading this graphic novel knowing that I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t realize how much!  Read this now, but don’t forget to pick up the rest of the series! -Amanda

Wild Magic (Immortals Series) by Tamora Pierce

Daine has a wild magic, a knack with animals. She also has a secret she fears will be discovered. Mythical beasts, battles between good and evil, and the story of a young girl’s struggle to find safety and acceptance. -Christina

Waiting is Not Easy! by Mo Willems

This latest edition to the Elephant and Piggie series is a laugh-out-loud read that will have you and your little one trying to figure out what wonderful surprise Piggie has in store for Gerald as they wait and wait and wait for it arrive! -Marta

What to Do When You’re Sent to Your Room by Ann Stott

Great advice from a kid who knows. -Sarah

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Three hunters with nets trudge through a deep forest and spot an exquisite red bird. The smallest hunter says “hello, birdie”, which provokes hushes from his companions, who tell him, “We have a plan”. The three hunters tiptoe forward, nets ready, but fall over each other when they pounce. The bird sails off, undisturbed, and the pattern of greeting, hushing, and pouncing repeats with equally slapstick results. A simple story with vibrant illustrations. -Teresa

Best of 2014 – #8

MPL KidsBest Reads 2014 (2)

We read a lot around these parts.  We read picture books, easy readers, graphic novels, non-fiction, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, and sometimes we even get a chance to pick up a novel intended for adults.  For the next ten days, we’re going to count down to our favorite kids book we read this year.  Check back daily to see if your favorite made our list!  Today we’re looking at #8.

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

In one summer, Cullen deals with death, love, a town gone crazy over an extinct woodpecker, and the disappearance of his younger brother.  Through each day you see Cullen try to juggle the emotions that come with all of these events and realize how each plays into the other as the big picture comes together. -Marta

I’m not Scared by Jonathan Allen

Several animals pop up along the way as Baby Owl and his stuffie, Owly, take a midnight stroll.  Baby Owl keeps insisting to each animal that he’s not scared; that owls are supposed to be out at night.  Can he convince them that it’s really Owly who is the scared one? This is an adorable follow-up to the author’s I’m Not Cute! and I’m Not Ready! titles. – Teresa

How to Behave at a Tea Party by Madelyn Rosenberg

After a rough start the best Tea Party ever happens. -Sarah

Magic Marks the Spot (A Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates Series) by Caroline Carlson

Who says girls can’t be pirates? Hilary’s father wants her to go to Miss Prim’s finishing school but Hilary has different plans. -Christina

Loot: How to Steal a Fortune by Jude Watson

This middle-grade adventure is just a lot of fun.  Watson does an excellent job developing fully-fleshed, sympathetic characters, in an otherwise plot-driven novel.  A great choice for fans of Stuart Gibbs and Gordon Korman — this is a guaranteed winner with most 3rd-5th graders. -Amanda