Best of 2016: Children's Books

Updated: January 18, 2017

The best books of the year, as selected by LAPL staff.  Perfect for holiday gift-giving!  More books for children are at LAPL Kids Path.

Book cover for Are we there yet? : a story
Are we there yet? : a story
Santat, Dan, .
Call Number: xz folio

Pre-K - Grade 3

With a little imagination, a car trip turns into something amazing.  Dinosaurs, pirates, robots – they’re all there.  We should all have this much fun driving to Grandma’s house. 


The Barefoot Book of children
Strickland, Tessa,
Call Number: x 910 S917 folio

Grades K-4

A celebration of all the ways children are alike around the world - everyone eats, gets clean, plays games, learns, spends time with family.  It's joyously inclusive and filled with an amazing plethora of things to see and explore (the back matter is particularly useful for parents and educators).


Book cover for The best man
The best man
Peck, Richard, 1934-
Call Number: x

Grades 4-7

Bookended by the two weddings he’s been in (the first, a hot mess in which his bare backside lives forever in YouTube infamy; the second, the much hoped-for uniting of his favorite uncle and his former 5th grade student teacher), Archer Magill shares the story of his childhood in this tender and funny novel that celebrates how truly great role models make all the difference in a young man’s life. 


Book cover for Don't Wake up the Tiger
Don't Wake up the Tiger
Teckentrup, Britta
Call Number: xz

Pre-K - Grade 1

Tiger is napping in the middle of the path - how will the other animals get by him with their burden of balloons? Why, with the help of the audience, who must pet the tiger, sing him lullabies, blow balloons out of the way, and more.  Highly interactive fun.


Book cover for Friends for life
Friends for life
Norriss, Andrew,
Call Number: x

Grades 5 - 8

Francis strikes up a conversation with a girl who is a ghost. A meaningful and special friendship ensues, which eventually leads to a few more unique kids who can see Jessica. Why can they see Jessica and others can’t? Why is Jessica a ghost in the first place? Eventually, the relationship between the small and unlikely group brings them to an even more unlikely yet powerful ending.


Book cover for Full of Beans
Full of Beans
Holm, Jennifer L,
Call Number: x

Grades 3 - 7

This heartwarming stand-alone prequel to Turtle in Paradise features Beans Curry, a ten-year-old boy eager to seize any opportunity during the Great Depression in Key West. He and his motley crew of friends, “The Diaper Gang” get involved in many escapades, including helping a local rumrunner. Absorbing historical fiction with well-drawn characters and an engaging plot based on true events. 


Book cover for Ghosts
Telgemeier, Raina
Call Number: 740.9999 T271-3

Grades 4 - 8: Catrina and Maya have just moved to a new town, in hopes that the sea air will help Maya, who has cystic fibrosis, breathe. In this town, the Day of Dead and ghost are a big deal. Maya is fascinated by the possibility of ghosts but Catrina wants them as far away from her sister as possible. This graphic novel touches on illness, mortality, family history, and the bonds that sisters share with honest, heartfelt touches that feel very true to life.

Book cover for Harry Potter and the cursed child : parts one and two. a new play by Jack Thorne ; based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling ; John Tiffany & Jack Thorne, writers. The official script book of the
Harry Potter and the cursed child : parts one and two. a new play by Jack Thorne ; based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling ; John Tiffany & Jack Thorne, writers. The official script book of the
Thorne, Jack.
Call Number: x 793.1 T4995

Grades 5 - 8

More than two decades after the Battle of Hogwarts, this novel centers on Albus Potter (son of Harry and Ginny) and Scorpius Malfoy (son of Draco), their complicated relationships with their fathers, and a new threat to the wizardry world. Written as a script, it also serves as an accessible introduction to drama for students who are intimidated by Shakespeare and O’Neill. 


Book cover for Pink is for blobfish : discovering the world's perfectly pink animals
Pink is for blobfish : discovering the world's perfectly pink animals
Keating, Jess,
Call Number: x 590 K25

Grades 1 - 4

Turns out that in nature, the pink creatures aren't necessarily cuddly and sweet.  Meet 17 of some of the strangest critters ever, like the naked mole rat and the pinktoe tarantula - and they're all pink. 



Book cover for President Squid
President Squid
Reynolds, Aaron, 1970-
Call Number: xz

Grades K - 3

Squid has five reasons why he should be made President, but when he discovers it's actually hard work, he decides to be King instead.  While this may sound familiar, no actual politicians were harmed during the writing of this book. 


Book cover for Roy's house
Roy's house
Rubin, Susan Goldman,
Call Number: xz

Pre-K & up

A whimsical introduction to pop-artist Roy Lichtenstein. Rubin's narration enthusiastically invites readers to visit "Roy's house,"depicted through the artist's own works. The simple text pairs well with the vibrant iconic images, giving one the sense of entering a comic book. An author's note gives brief background on Lichtenstein and a concise list of the featured paintings.



Book cover for Saving Wonder
Saving Wonder
Knight, Mary, (E. Mary),
Call Number: x

Grades 4 - 8.

Curley Hines lives with his beloved grandfather in Wonder Gap, Kentucky. His life has been significantly impacted by coal mining--he lost his mother, father, and brother to a mining related accident. When a new businessman takes over the mining company, Curley takes it upon himself to save the mountains and his home.This is a sweet and moving story about family and standing up for a cause.


Book cover for Secret Agent Man goes shopping for shoes
Secret Agent Man goes shopping for shoes
Wynne-Jones, Tim,
Call Number: xz

Pre-K - Grade 2

A young secret agent and his willing accomplice K (aka Mom) shop for shoes and keep the Plans for World Domination out of the wrong hands.  A celebration of imaginative play with cool retro style.


Book cover for Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White
Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White
Sweet, Melissa
Call Number: x 92 W583Sw

Grades 3 - 7

This biography of the author of beloved classics Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan, is gorgeously illustrated, full of photos and quotes, endlessly interesting, and just plain fun to look at.


Book cover for We found a hat
We found a hat
Klassen, Jon.
Call Number: xz

Pre-K - Grade 2

Two tortoises find a spiffy cowboy hat. It looks good on both of them, but it wouldn't be fair to keep the hat if only one could wear it...right? The final book in Klassen's hat trilogy has the same streak of his dark humor in it, but with a surprisingly endearing ending sure to please all kids and parents.


Book cover for Where, oh where, is Rosie's chick?
Where, oh where, is Rosie's chick?
Hutchins, Pat, 1942-
Call Number: xz

Pre-K - Grade 1

Sequel to Rosie's Walk, which was published back in 1968!!!  Rosie and her hapless chick (still partially trapped in his shell) search for each other, managing to somehow avoid danger, in this sweet and silly comedy of errors. 



Book cover for Wolf Hollow : a novel
Wolf Hollow : a novel
Wolk, Lauren, 1956-
Call Number: x

Grades 4 - 8

In 1943, life changes for farm girl Annabelle when Betty, sent from the city to live with her grandparents, arrives. Betty starts bullying Annabelle, who thinks carefully about the situation and tries to handle it on her own. The situation quickly changes affecting the lives of Annabelle's friends and family, as well as Toby, a World War I veteran who lives in the woods and wanders the hills around the community.


Book cover for Worms for breakfast : how to feed a zoo
Worms for breakfast : how to feed a zoo
Becker, Helaine,
Call Number: x 590 B395

Grades 2 - 5

A fun browser offering information about the care and feeding of animals in zoos and aquariums, including recipes (don't try these at home).  Includes info on the problems facing animals in captivity and things kids can do to help animals everywhere.