Best Books of 2016

Preschool and Elementary School

ABC: The Alphabet from the Sky
by Benedikt Grog (Penguin Random House)
Two researchers meet at MIT, and come up with a crazy idea for a kid’s book. They launch a Kickstarter campaign, and eventually, this amazing book is published. With actual aerial photos from across the United States, this book is a search-and-find, a geography lesson and an alphabet book all rolled into one. This kept my 7-year-old occupied for well over an hour in the car, and he’s been talking about it ever since!  – SC

by Stacey Previn (Penguin Young Readers)
When a balloon floats by, Aberdeen the mouse chases it and finds unexpected adventure far from his home. As night begins to fall, he misses his mom and feels much better when they’re reunited
with a hug. – AA

Alpha Bravo Charlie: The Complete Book of Nautical Codes
by Sara Cillingham (Phaidon Press)
Is your kid obsessed with all things transportation? Bright flags, boating lingo and fun facts about boats of all shapes and sizes make this the kind of book that could occupy a kid again and again. This would be a great book to take along on a beach trip or a cruise. – SC

A Child of Books
by Oliver Jeffers (Candlewick Press)
Even adults will love this book, which celebrates books that can take us to far off places, no plane ticket required. The book’s narrator floats on her imagination, sails on a sea of words, and climbs mountains of make-believe in this ode to reading. – AA

Almost a Full Moon
by Hawksley Workman (Tundra Books)
“Almost a full moon. Let’s make some soup, ’cause the weather’s turning cold.” As grandmother and grandson put on the soup kettle, friends they know and friends they’ve yet to make stop by to experience the warmth of their home. – AA

Animals Are Delicious: 3 Foldout Food Chain Books
by Sarah Hutt (Phaidon)
The colorful artwork and simple verse of these books is entertaining, but the real fun is in stretching them all the way out! From deep in the ocean, to high in the sky and all around the forest, everybody is hungry. This set of board books is a gentle way to introduce the food chain and what plants and animals need to survive. – SC

Awesome is Everywhere
by Neil Pasricha (Puffin)
Who needs a smart phone when you can experience this book? Kids will love the interactive journey they take when they fly through clouds, splash though waves, and feel the sand between their toes as they appreciate the world around them. – AA

Beard Boy
by John Flannery (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Ben wants a beard like all the cool men in his neighborhood, including his father – and waiting to age 25 is unacceptable – so he hatches a plan! Fun read and funny illustrations. i

Bertie Wings It!
by Leslie Gorin (Sterling Children’s Books)
Bertie knows he’s ready to fly, but the hilarious and superfluous advice he gets slows him down a bit – until he gains the confidence to just give it a whirl. – AA

Do Princesses and Super Heroes Hit the Trails? A National Park Adventure
by Carmela LaVigna Coyle (Muddy Boots)
It’s time to plan your next family vacation with this inspiring book featuring a brother and sister who visit twelve national parks. Through clever rhymes, children and adults will come away wanting to experience parks like Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain and Yosemite, to name a few. Roadtrip, anyone?  – Felicia Barman

Edward Gets Messy
by Rita Meade (Simon and Schuster)
We all know someone like Edward, an impeccable character who detests anything messy or out of place. Much to his dismay, Edward’s perfect world is turned upside down when he spills paint on himself during a painting mishap. Young readers will love how this happy accident opens up a whole new world for Edward.  After all, messes can always be cleaned up! – FB

Goodnight Selfie
by Scott Menchin (Candlewick Press)
When a little girl gets her first camera phone and a how-to lesson in taking selfies, she’s posing nonstop – until she must stop. Cute illustrations capture her glee. – AA

Home at Last
by Vera B. Williams (Greenwillow Books)
Lester is adopted by Albert and Rich, but he has a difficult time adjusting to his new home. Vera Williams, the Caldecott Award-winning author of A Chair for My Mother, collaborated with Chris Raschka (Yo! Yes? and Hello, Goodbye Window) shortly before her death on this tender, heartwarming story. – AA

How to Put Your Parents to Bed
by Mylisa Larsen (Katherine Tegen Books)
Who wants to go to bed when you’re not tired? Even parents will resist, though it’s clear they’re just worn out! – AA

I Am a Story
by Dan Yaccarino (HarperCollins)
With great vocabulary and allusions to many historical periods, this short but thought-provoking tale takes the reader through time, showing that storytelling is a fundamental activity of human civilization. Read this book together – and I bet it will lead to you telling YOUR story to your children. – SC

It Came in the Mail
by Ben Clanton (Simon and Schuster)
Liam loves mail, though he never gets any, so he writes a letter to ask his mailbox for some, and a dragon arrives. Soon he has too much mail, what to do? – AA

Jack’s Worry
by Sam Zuppardi (Candlewick Press)
Jack loves to play the trumpet and is looking forward to performing in a concert, when worry sets in. What if he makes a mistake? His worry grows and grows until his mom helps him shrink his fear of failure down to size. – AA

Leaping Lemmings!
by John Briggs (Sterling Children’s Books)
We’ve all heard, “If everyone jumps off a cliff, would you do it too?” But this book makes you consider what would happen if no one ever took risks. This silly, sweet story shows just how important it is to be ourselves and to embrace what makes each person unique. – SC

Lion Lessons
by Jon Agee (Dial)
A fast-paced, fun read-aloud for any kid-in-training. How do you get a lion diploma? You must excel in seven steps, and looking out for your friends is one of them. – AA

More Caps for Sale: Another Tale of Mischievous Monkeys
by Esphyr Slobodkina and Anne Marie Sayer (Harper)
Caps for Sale is celebrating its 75th anniversary of publication and this sequel is as whimsical as the one the now-deceased author wrote so long ago. It’s based on the author’s notes and conversations with her friend, Ann Marie Sayer. This time, the monkeys help the cap-seller out. – AA

by Dori Kleber (Candlewick Press)
After he sees a classmate’s mother make a crane with origami, Joey wants to learn, but he quickly realizes he must practice and practice. After he folds practically every paper he can find at home, Mom has had enough and says “stop.” A friend next door then encourages his skills. At the end of the book, you’ll find instructions for an origami ladybug. – AA

My Friend Maggie
by Hannah E. Harrison (Dial)
Paula and Maggie have been friends since they were babies. Their friendship is put to the test when their classmates make fun of Maggie, and Paula must decide if she will remain loyal to her friend or abandon Maggie to be popular. This situation happens all too often until we are reminded what true friends are made of. – FB

by Aaron Becker (Candlewick Press)
Take your time to carefully study the elaborate illustrations of this wordless picture book that tells the story of a young girl who escapes to an imaginary world while her father is busy at work. To her surprise, her father finally joins her, and they create their own adventure together in a land full of castles and villains. – FB

School’s First Day of School
by Adam Rex (Roaring Brook Press)
A new school is opening for its first year, and the school is as apprehensive as some of the young students. It learns to love the students, though, as they come to appreciate the school. – AA

Silly Wonderful You
by Sherri Duskey Rinker (Balzer+Bray)
Until “silly you” came into this mother’s life, she never knew her house could get so loud, and so happy – a sweet rhyming book about the joy a child brings to her family. – AA

The Gingerbread Man Loose at the Zoo
by Laura Murray (Penguin Young Readers Group)
Can your little one solve the animal riddles and help the Gingerbread Man escape the jaws of hungry critters and find his classmates? It’s a field trip like no other! This series of Gingerbread Man books is so fun and so silly, and this newest addition does not disappoint. – SC

The Great Sock Secret
by Susan Whelan (EK Books)
Any parent who does laundry can relate to having a basket full of odd socks. Sarah’s mother decides that it’s time to locate these missing socks once and for all. Little does she know that Sarah is keeping a secret … she knows exactly where all the socks are hiding. The sock fairies have them! Peek into Sarah’s vivid imagination as she desperately tries to keep her mom from discovering her mischievous fairy friends. – FB

The Liszts
by KyoMaclear and Julia Sarda (Random House Canada)
The Liszts are really good at making lists, both usual and unusual. But when a visitor shows up who’s not on anyone’s list, they don’t know what to do. The illustrations and gentle lesson about spontaneity make this book a keeper. – AA

This is NOT a Cat!
by David Larochelle (Sterling Children’s Books)
At mouse school, everyone is getting a lesson on identifying danger – what is, and what is not, a cat. Then a REAL cat appears and everyone runs, but is he really a cat? Fun and surprising words, and hilarious illustrations will make kids laugh through this story. – AA

When Spring Comes
by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books)
When spring comes, it brings so many wonderful sights, sounds and smells. Kevin Henkes, author of classics such as Chrysanthemum and Kitten’s First Full Moon, adds another sweet book to share with your little ones. – AA

With Any Luck, I’ll Drive a Truck
by David Friend (Nancy Paulsen Books)
Some little boys and girls are fascinated by trucks of all shapes and sizes and all types of construction equipment and this is the book for them! – AA

Woodpecker Wants a Waffle
by Steve Breen (Harper)
Benny the woodpecker wants a waffle – never mind that woodpeckers don’t eat waffles – and he devises a clever plan to dine at Moe’s restaurant. – AA

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