These Are a Few of my Favorite Things

If you are still looking for a perfect gift, here are a few of my favorite things!  These are the books I loved this year.  They are the ones I keep going back to time after time when someone asks me for a great book recommendation.  They will make the perfect last-minute gifts that will stay with your reader long after the holidays are over.  Just click on the picture to link to Amazon and click on the title to see my review.


Picture Book

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt was my favorite in a great field of picture books.  We have all played the game, now it’s time to see how it all started.  Funny stuff for both kids and parents!  This is the guy who wrote The Day the Crayons Quit – need I say more?  Honorable mention to Be Quiet! a fabulous read aloud for any parent.

Early Reader/Chapter Book


The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau was a favorite this year.  It also was a 2017 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book.  Early readers are sometimes synonymous with simple stories, but this one is funny, clever and engaging!  Honorable mention to Bad Guys, a series that continues to deliver quick-witted humor.

Graphic Novel


Real Friends by Shannon Hale is autobiographical and shares the author’s challenges with friends growing up.  Every girl will be able to relate to Shannon’s friendship dilemmas as she navigates the sometimes difficult world of female relationships.  This really was the year of the girl when it came to graphic novels so my honorable mention goes to All’s Faire in Middle School.


Chapter Book

Ok, the jig is up!  I couldn’t pick just one, I had to pick three!


Refugee by Alan Gratz absolutely blew me away.  This is one I think both kids and adults should read.  It is three concurrent stories about a young boy escaping Nazi Germany, a girl leaving Castro controlled Cuba and boy fleeing Allepo.  Their similarities are eerily revealing and will give you a new understanding of what it means to be a refugee.  This was also an edge of your seat read.


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling was my surprise book of the year.  This story about a girl with no arms was touching, inspiring and funny.  Your reader will absolutely be charmed by every character and it will expand their understanding of kids who face greater challenges in life.


The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is a sequel to The War That Saved My Life. This book actually might be better than the first book, and the first book won a Newbery Honor.  It is historical fiction at its best with a story about a girl who overcomes an abusive mother and clubfoot with the help of the community around her.


Young Adult

Ok, I’m cheating again, but this time I promise only two!


Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu is the book girls need right now.  The Silence Breakers were Time Magazine’s people of the year.  This book is about girls banding together to fight the harasement and sexism that is rampamt in their high school.  It is about girls finding their voice and their power.  What could be more timely?


Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson is an incredible book that tackles racism, sexism and economic disparity.  This book made me more compassionate and continued to provide a nuanced look at how a young black girl manages the world around her.


Non Fiction


What Really Happens If You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagra … and Then You’re Dead by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty.  The name alone will intrigue most kids!  This is a hysterical look at the science behind some of the most outlandish ways to die, and your kids will eat it up.  Honorable Mention goes to Girl Code, a real-life look at two women who created a viral computer game.