ALSC 2021 Notable Children’s Books for Younger Children

The Notable Children’s Books list has been announced by ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children.) This annual list contains books that are notable. According to their website, “notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.” The list is large and has several age categories. Here are the included titles for the Younger category that covers Preschool through Grade 2, including easy readers.

Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball. By Jen Bryant. Illus. by Frank Morrison. 

All Because You Matter. By Tami Charles. Illus. by Bryan Collier. 

The Bear in My Family. By Maya Tatsukawa.

Black Is a Rainbow Color. By Angela Joy. Illus. by Ekua Holmes.

The Camping Trip. By Jennifer K. Mann.

Cat Dog Dog: The Story of a Blended Family. By Nelly Buchet. Illus. by Andrea Zuill.

The Cat Man of Aleppo. By Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha. Illus. by Yuko Shimizu. 

Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals. By Katy S. Duffield. Illus. By Mike Orodán.

Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built. By Angela Burke Kunkel. Illus. by Paola Escobar.

Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away. By Meg Medina. Illus. by Sonia Sánchez.

Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story. By Nikki Tate. Illus. by Katie Kath.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera. By Candace Fleming. Illus. by Eric Rohmann.

I Am Every Good Thing. By Derrick Barnes. Illus. by Gordon C. James. 

I Talk Like a River. By Jordan Scott. Illus. by Sydney Smith.

If You Take Away the Otter. By Susannah Buhrman-Deever. Illus. by Matthew Trueman.

Julián at the Wedding. By Jessica Love.

Khalil & Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures. By Tricia Springstubb. Illus. by Elaheh Taherian. 

Lift. By Minh Lê. Illus. by Dan Santat.

Me & Mama. By Cozbi A. Cabrera.

The Most Beautiful Thing. By Kao Kalia Yang. Illus. by Khoa Le.

Nana Akua Goes to School. By Tricia Elam Walker. Illus. by April Harrison.

Ohana Means Family. By Ilima Loomis. Illus. by Kenard Pak.

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read. By Rita Lorraine Hubbard. Illus. by Oge Mora.

One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey. By Henry Cole.

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us. By Lauren Castillo.

Outside In. By Deborah Underwood. Illus. by Cindy Derby. 

Overground Railroad. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illus. by James E. Ransome.

A Polar Bear in the Snow. By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Shawn Harris.

Prairie Days. By Patricia MacLachlan. Illus. By Micha Archer.

Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. By Doreen Rappaport. Illus. by Eric Valasquez.

Salma the Syrian Chef. By Danny Ramadan. Illus. by Anna Bron.

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog. By David LaRochelle. Illus. by Mike Wohnoutka.

Snail Crossing. By Corey R. Tabor.

Southwest Sunrise. By Nikki Grimes. Illus. by Wendell Minor.

Sugar in Milk. By Thrity Umrigar. Illus. by Khoa Le.

Swashby and the Sea. By Beth Ferry. Illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal. 

Telephone Tales. By Gianni Rodari. Illus. by Valerio Vidali. Tr. by Antony Shugaar. 

The Three Billy Goats Buenos. By Susan Middleton Elya. Illus. by Miguel Ordóñez.

Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom! By Kelly Starling Lyons. Illus. by Nina Mata. 

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat. By Raúl Gonzalez.

A Way with Wild Things. By Larissa Theule. Illus. by Sara Palacios.

We Are Water Protectors. By Carole Lindstrom. Illus. by Michaela Goade.

What About Worms!? By Ryan T. Higgins. 

Where’s Baby? By Anne Hunter.

Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable

Cover image

Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Stephanie Yue (9780593306321)

Katie’s friends are heading away to sleepover camp for the summer but Katie and her mother can’t afford for her to attend. When Katie discovers that she can go for just one week, she creates a plan to earn money in their apartment building. Unfortunately, she kills houseplants, isn’t strong enough to lug groceries up the stairs, and cleaning is a bust too. But when a neighbor discovers that Katie has a way with cats, she asks her to cat sit her 217 cats, who luckily are trained to use the bathroom rather than litterboxes. Very quickly, Katie realizes that these are not normal cats. They use the computer, 3D print things, order pizzas, and destroy the apartment. Just when Katie is about to lose yet another job, the cats come together and repair the apartment before their owner returns. As she continues to cat sit, Katie starts to believe that the owner just might be the infamous burglar who has been roaming the city despite the local superheroes searching for her.

This middle-grade graphic novel is purr-fect feline fun. Set in an urban area filled with less-than-super heroes and crafty villains, Katie’s life is rather mundane. She goes to school, spends time with her single mother, and looks forward to postcards from her best friend. That all changes when she starts cat-sitting and the fascinating cats take over her life. Their naughty evil natures as well as their technology skills make for an unusual job.

The art and words work well together, creating a world primarily set in the single building and the surrounding neighborhood. Full of expressive characters, dynamic cats and strange superheroes, the book is funny and has just the right amount of quirkiness.

A great book for cat lovers and babysitters alike. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Random House Kids.