Here are my picks for the best children’s fiction of the year. Let me know what yours were with a comment!
Bluffton by Matt Phelan
Strong characterization, a glimpse of summers gone by, and one amazing true story create a graphic novel that is pure radiance.
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
This is a tragic story with an indomitable heroine that will leave you smiling through the tears.
Doll Bones by Holly Black
Friendship, a creepy doll, and adventures, what more could one want in a book!
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K. G. Campbell
A great read-aloud, this unlikely superhero pair are sure to fly off the shelves.
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young
Hilarious, wacky and wonderful, get this into the hands of elementary aged kids now.
The Garden of My Imaan by Farhana Zia
Filled with giggles between girlfriends, this book reveals the warmth of family and faith in a completely approachable and joyful way.
The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson
This is a dark and thrilling novel that will not let you escape until the epidemic is over and the mystery solved.
Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli
Gloriously fun to read, this book was impossible for me not to love. Spinelli writes with a lovely playfulness and yet beneath it all is truth. A truly outstanding read for middle graders.
Hold Fast by Blue Balliett
Another fine offering from Balliett, get this one into the hands of her fans. It will also be great choice for reading aloud in classrooms with its wordplay and strong African-American characters and family.
Jinx by Sage Blackwood
Blackwood has written an impressive fantasy novel for middle grade readers that is both dazzling and dangerous.
The Life of Ty: Penguin Problems by Lauren Myracle, illustrated by Jed Henry
Perfect for both reading aloud and for a child reading on their own, this book will be enjoyed by fans of the Stink series as well as those who like Clementine.
Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur
This lovely book transcends genres with its mix of mystery, historical fiction, and fantasy. It’s a winning combination.
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Beautiful with a strong heroine, this book is a dazzling read for tweens.
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Ursu weaves such beauty into her books. She lingers over small things, taking the time to build a world in which her characters live.
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
Profoundly original and filled with shining prose, this novel is a wondrous read.
Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost
An exquisite verse novel that fills history with real people and war with real loss.
Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg
This is a powerful look at the Haitian earthquake through the eyes of one extraordinary young woman.
The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
A beautiful and intense look at a Japanese-American family struggling with an interesting lifestyle and just surviving a year of bad luck.
The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Complex and multilayered, this middle grade book will be embraced by historical fiction, science and fantasy fans.
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
A tip top chapter book, this one is destined to be a classic. I’d think that sharing it would be a great way to start any 2nd grade school year.