Top 10 of 2018: #4




The Day You Begin 

by Jacqueline Woodson

Beautifully written and illustrated, this picture book gives courage to every child who feels alone, that there is no one quite like them.  The book acknowledges that it is not easy being different but to take courage, reach out and share your story.  You will being to find others who are a little like you in different ways.  It is a powerful and reassuring book about diversity and becoming accepted.




by Holly Hobbie

Elmore is a lonely porcupine looking for friends and he is having no luck because he is prickly. In this very short book Elmore find friends by giving of himself and helping others.



Winter is Here

by Kevin Henkes

Another winner from the dream team Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek.  Henkes’ text discusses life during the wintertime – the mittens and zippers and scarves and zippers and coats and OH NO PLEASE NOT MORE ZIPPERS – and Dronzek’s illustrations bring color and beauty to an often drab season.  If you’re like me and have always hated winter, this book might just change your mind.


Magnificent Birds 

by Narisa Togo

This book is gorgeous and educational.  The author has studied both ecology and printmaking, and she has combined her knowledge and talent here beautifully.  Great book for kids who love facts and those who enjoy perusing bird and animal books for the pictures.


Chomp Goes the Alligator

by Matthew Van Fleet

This laugh-out-loud board book was one of my favorite storytime reads this year for our birth to two year group.  I actually read this gem the first time on a day when school was out and I had older siblings in the room and it had all of us laughing. Entertaining that many age groups with a single story is not easy so that made it an instant winner for me.  I was easily able to make this story interactive by adding actions to the Alligator’s chomping as he eats many of his friends in the swamp (but don’t worry, everyone is safe and sound in the end).  The early literacy side of me loves this book because there are so many things that make it educational in that sneaky the-kids-won’t-even-know way.  Opportunities to identify animals, colors, rhyming and predicting, practice counting and even motor skills since this book does have a flap that allows your alligator to chomp just to name a few.  For people leery of board books that have moving parts, this book is super sturdy and will provide you and your favorite kiddos many happy reads and stand the test of time.


Top 10 of 2018: #9




Aru Shah and the End of Time

by Roshani Chokshi

Aru has a tendency to tell lies at school about how glamorous her life is.  However, during a school break her classmates go to her home at the Museum of Ancient Indian Arts and Culture to catch her in a lie.  Not only is Aru NOT in Paris, she is standing in the doorway wearing her Spider-Man pajamas.  To get herself out of this mess, she lights the museum’s Lamp of Bharata to prove to the kids her claim the lamp is cursed.  Aru knows she is not supposed to light the lamp but she doesn’t realize that in doing so she sets into motion the destruction of the world.  Everyone is frozen in time and there is only Aru to undo it all before it is too late.

WHat and exciting introduction to Hindu mythology!  RIck Riordan fans will love this book.



There’s a Dragon in Your Book

by Tom Fletcher

I really enjoyed this title that allows the listener to engage with the book!  Mischief happens when you have a dragon in your book.  And Dragon is quick to assist in fixing the problems coming from having a dragon in your book.  This story brings out the giggles in any listener!



Black Bird Yellow Sun

by Steve Light

Simple text describes the colors of the things in Black Bird’s world.  Bold, colorful illustrations made this an instant top ten pick for me.



The Day You Begin

by Jacqueline Woodson

“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.”

Beautiful poetic book about the difficulty of being different but finding the courage to express yourself to open the door to friendship.  I love the way Woodson shows how difficult it is to be different, and shows the bravery it takes to be new, but also talks about the eventual process of making connections.



Dread Nation: Rise Up

by Justina Ireland

“It’s a cruel, cruel world. And the people are the worst part.”- Justina Ireland

Antebellum era zombies?  Yes please!  Imagine the Battle of Gettysburg where the dead rise from the fields.  With the War Between the States derailed, the north and south are both fighting the walking dead instead of each other.  Laws are still very unfair to Native Americans and African Americans, such as the Reeducation Act where they must attend combat schools to learn how to kill the “shamblers.”  Jane McKeene is a biracial zombie hunter, training at one of the best schools.  She has a fierce spirit and doesn’t want to become just an attendant like the other girls from school.  Rather than defending some well-to-do white lady,  Jane wants to go see what happened to her mother and her home.   She is assuming the worst- that her home was overrun by the walking dead and she has no family left.  Jane’s brave and adventurous spirit can’t be tamed with any amount of training and etiquette courses and this gets her into trouble when she starts snooping around to find out why some families around Baltimore are disappearing.   Caught up in some deep conspiracies, Jane is shipped out to the western frontier where she must not only fight off the dead and fear the shambler’s bite, but must also deal with a racist Sheriff and a corrupt Mayor who are just as dangerous.


This book is solidly in the Young Adult/Teen Read category for ages 13 and up.  Though there is some violence in this book (killing zombies can be a messy affair, after all), Jane is a very positive role model.  The adventure and twists and turns this story takes makes it tough to put down.  This is book one in the Dread Nation series.