Tuesday, December 29, 2015

My Favorite Children's Books of 2015 (and a Giveaway!)

Confession:  I love end of the year lists.  I love reading your favorite memories, looking at your #2015bestnine collages on Instagram, hearing your favorite songs of the year, watching your year in review videos.  I love it all.  I especially love the countless Best Books of the Year lists, mostly because they point me in the direction of great reading for the year to come.  That's the main reason I've yet to write one here on this blog, I never feel as though I've read enough of the new children's books of the given year to label any of them the best of the best.  I'm often a year (or two) behind. 

But I read so many great new books this year that I decided I am at least qualified to tell you my favorites and let someone else decide which ones are the best. 

And because I am a children's book evangelist who cannot pass up an opportunity to get great books into your hands, I'm also going to be giving away one of my favorites!  Details at the end of the post.

Without further adieu here are my favorites:


Picture Books


Beekle is an imaginary friend who is waiting to be paired with his perfect match.  One day he takes matters into his own hands on an unexpected adventure.



Home is a beautifully illustrated collection of all kinds of homes, and invites young readers to think about what it is that makes those places home.



I must really be into imaginary friends this year, because this is the second book on the list featuring one.  Imaginary Fred is a bit longer than your average picture book, and Colfer and Jeffers take beautiful advantage of those extra pages to weave a unique tale about imaginary friendship.



This book hit close to home earlier this year when we added a new kitten to our family.  Adorably illustrated tale about new friendship and the feisty nature of our furry housemates.


Sadie is an imaginative girl that creates big adventures out of the ordinary, inspired by the scenes in her beloved books.  Perfect choice for the wildly creative or the bookworm in your life (though those often go hand in hand, don't they)?

Chapter Books



This is the seventh and final book in the Clementine series, so you might want to read the first six before this one.  In fact, you definitely want to.  Clementine is one of my absolute favorite characters of this generation, and I'm certain if she and Ramona Quimby lived in the same literary time and setting, they'd become fast friends.  She's a bright and novel thinker, a loyal friend and one of a kind.  I know you'll love her as much as I do.

Middle Grade Novels/YA



Of all the books on this list, I would recommend this one even for adults who don't normally enjoy children's literature.  This is a gorgeous book, a memoir of the author's childhood, told in beautiful verse.  It's a gift to us readers.



When Suzy loses her best friend in a drowning accident, she retreats into silence as she works out a theory about a rare jellyfish sting.  Throughout the book and her journey, we learn more about their friendship, the challenges it faced as the girls entered middle school and a changing social hierarchy, and the intersection of guilt, grief, love and loss.  A very moving story for the middle school aged reader.



The minute I finished this book I turned to my husband and said, "We have to go back to London."  Once you read it, you'll feel the same.  As with his previous two books, Selznick combines words with intricate illustrations to tell a story spanning generations of a family of actors on a London stage.  It's an homage to the power of story, and a gorgeous book to read.

Now here's the fun part ... if you enter and win the giveaway, you get to choose which one of the books on this list you'd like to receive! Simply do any (or all) of the following for a chance to win by midnight on January 6th:

1.  Comment on this post (here on the blog or on Facebook or Instagram) and tell me your favorite book of the year.
2.  Share this post on social media and tag me so I see it.
3.  Follow my kid lit review Instagram account - @kidlitconcierge

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!







30 comments:

  1. I also love year end lists! And I will be looking into these books!

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    1. What were some of your favorite books this year?

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  2. Oh fun! I never pass up a giveaway! It is hard to choose a favorite book for this year. I've read so many great ones! I did really like THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT, so that's on my list.

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    1. I liked that one too! Just listened to an interview with the author that was fantastic on the Let's Get Busy podcast.

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  3. What a great collection!! The Marvels was under the tree for me, and Beekle is well-loved by all my girls. And don't get me started on Brown Girl Dreaming!! My oldest keeps hiding it so I can't have it back. I'm going to enjoy sharing your list with my friends & readers! Happy New Year!

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    1. Thank you for sharing! And my boys have the same problem, I keep taking their books and not giving them back!

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  4. My favorite was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. My kids loved Pete the Cat.

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    1. What's not to love about Pete the Cat? ;)

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  5. My two favorites from this year are All the Light We Cannot See and Howl's Moving Castle. Vastly different but both beautifully written and engaging! I love you blog Jess, it shrinks the distance!-Ash

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    1. I started All the Light We Cannot See on an audiobook way back in January and stopped because I couldn't follow it without text...I needed to see the names and places in print. Then, I never finished it. I need to. I haven't heard of Howl's Moving Castle, so I'll check it out! I wish you lived next door. :)

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  6. My favourite picture book of 2015 is I DON'T WANT TO BE A FROG by first-time author Dev Petty and longtime illustrator Mike Boldt. A very funny story about self-acceptance.

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    1. I'll check it out, I love reading new authors!

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  7. Honestly we've been so behind on our reading the lasted books this year! I've been trying to beat cancer but the kitty book Pepper and Poe would brighten up my little ones! Thanks for the chance, these titles look amazing!

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    1. I'm wishing you full recovery and health in the new year.

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  8. There are many great books out there. Beekle is great and Imaginary Fred is great too. A couple of other picture books I enjoyed are Waiting by Kevin Henkes and Night Animals by Gianno Marino. I am in the process of reading the first book in "The Mysterious Benedict Society" series after one of my students did a book talk on it. I'm quite enjoying it. Another book that I enjoyed reading was "We are all made of molecules" by Susan Nielsen

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  9. We read The Mysterious Benedict Society last fall as part of our homeschool curriculum and I really enjoyed it. Kevin Henkes is one of my all-time favorite picture book authors, I especially love his books about Lilly.

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  10. My favorite book of the year was "Purity" by Jonathan Franzen. I also liked "The First Bad Man," "The Children's Crusade," "Know Your Beholder," "The Rabbit Back Literature Society," and "The Turner House." I look forward to checking out the picture books on your list for my son. Happy new year!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too Tom! I'd add one more to this list of picture books, Leo: A Ghost Story. Just read it yesterday. And I'm eager to check out some of your grown-up reads.

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    2. Hank loves Leo! We got that from the library last weekend!

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    3. I just started City On Fire from last year and it's very good so far.

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  11. Wonderstruck is amazing. Marvel is on my wish list. Looking forward to checking out the picture books.

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    1. I love Wonderstruck. I hope you enjoy The Marvels!

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  12. My favorite books were "Fall of Giants" (for the characters) and "All the Light We Cannot See" (for the writing). I listed to both on audio.

    My 9yo son's favorite books were "The Mysterious Benedict Society" series and "Escape from Mr. Lemmoncello's Library."

    My 7yo son's favorite books were any "Amelia Bedelia" story.

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    1. My oldest loved Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library" too!

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  13. Just added Clementine to my request list at the library! Adore anything by Oliver Jeffers!!

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  14. I love all kinds of lists! I really liked The Marvels too ;) I believe I texted you when I finished it and said we need to go to London! Let's plan a trip!

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    1. We do need to go to London. But first, we need to plan a trip to the lake on the same weekend! Might be a more attainable goal. ;)

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  15. love so many of these book picks and found some that i didn't know about! thanks for this post!

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  16. You are welcome! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

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