Best of 2016 #4

I love, love, love talking books with my coworkers here.  One book that most of us really enjoyed this year is making not one, but two appearances on our top 10 this year! Check out what is happening in the #4 slot as King Baby makes another appearance!  Be sure and check out our other Best of 2016 posts!


Ida, Always by Caron Levis

Story honoring friendship and loss.


Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Set against a World War II backdrop, Annabelle and her family follow a strong set of morals where community is everything.  Helping your neighbor and  standing up for what is right are part of daily life.  When Betty moves to town, however, all of these things are put to the test.  Betty bullies everyone, even Toby, a man who roams the hills avoiding much interaction with people.  When Betty’s bullying goes too far and endangers Toby as well as Betty herself, Annabelle must make tough choices in this coming-of-age story.  If you like thrillers and historical fiction, this read is phenomenal middle-grade reading!


King Baby by Kate Beaton

You will laugh out loud at this funny and realistic portrayal of life with a new baby! He rules the roost… until Queen baby comes along!


The Flower by John Light

I love reading any books about librarians, so when i stumbled upon The Flower in a library blog, I was excited to read it! Not a typical children’s book, The Flower paints a story of a grim world of dystopian gray.  A book changes all of that and brings color, life, and hope.


Reading by the Genre


A most commonly asked question here in the library is recommendations on horror books. It has been a genre that continues to grow more and more each year it seems. Whether it’s because of the shock factor or the suspense they carry-it’s a genre worth noting! A horror kids book that I really enjoy myself is Coraline. I remember really wanting to read this book shortly after seeing the movie, and I legitimately thought it was very spooky. What this book does rather well is that it does not give off the vibe of being scary at all. It isn’t until halfway through the book it begins to transcend into the horror genre. Not to mention, this was the book that made me an absolute fan of the author, Neil Gaiman.

Typically, horror goes hand and hand with this other equally popular genre-mystery! These two genres are basically like peanut butter and jelly, or should I say, Sherlock Holmes and his esteem sidekick, Dr. Watson. This was an especially interesting genre to me since I typically, but Lois Lowry does it again with another novel that I love: The Willoughbys. With its quirky characters and compelling story line, this book was a quick read. I adored every single moment of it.

I have compiled a list that is half horror and half mystery, to create one ultimate suspense lover’s recommendation list. These are all fantastic titles that I’ve either read, heard others enjoy, or that I have stumbled across recently.

Which one of these books would you read to shock yourself?

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trent Lee Stewart

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Flunke

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Dangerous Girls by R.L. Stine

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Scary Stories Series by Alvin Schwartz

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Social Stories We Love

Social stories are books intended to allow kids to connect with characters who are dealing with life events or social issues that they may be going through themselves.  Their purpose is to show the reader healthy ways to view the situation or to deal with what is happening to them, whether it is a life event or a bad habit they need to break.  These books can be a very valuable resource to parents and teachers and the kiddos in their lives, but if I’m 100% honest, social stories are not typically my favorite. Why?  Many of these stories get very heavy-handed with the lesson the child should take away while leaving the story fairly predictable and unappealing to most kids.  They just haven’t made for very good or entertaining reads and it sometimes stops the child from really sticking with the story until the very end.

Show of hands from other parents, teachers, and librarians who have experienced this?  I know I am not alone.  The sad thing is that so often the messages contained in these books are messages kids really do need to hear!  They need to know they aren’t the only child who is afraid of the dark, who has been hurt by divorce, who is trying to understand what it is to be biracial in our culture, or who has been abused, or even has trouble being a good friend to their peers.  So what are we to do?

As luck (and current trends) would have it, there have been some truly great social stories that have come out in the last few years.  They are not your typical social stories.  In fact, they are often disguised as really fun yet clever picture books that kids want to read.  They are books that may even get a laugh, and better yet, a conversation going.

Some we have absolutely loved in the last few years have been Rude Cakes by Rowboat Watkins, Being Frank by Donna W. Earnhardt, Fred Stays with Me by Nancy Coffelt, Two Nests by Laurence Anholt, Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett, Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt, One Family by George Shannon, and Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter.  For other great book suggestions like these, stop in and visit us at the children’s desk!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.