Best Books of 2016: School Library Journal

It’s that time of year! All the bigwigs are publishing their “best of lists,” and unfortunately, I have read very few! Between trying to give my best Readers Advisory for adults as well as teens and children, participating in the PopSugar Reading Challenge, and attempting to read the Maud Hart Lovelace nominees, the new books slipped right by me.

However, it looks like there  are a lot of good ones! I know what I’ll be doing this crazy, cold winter…

Best Picture Books (Now, I have read some of these!)


Flora and the Peacocks by Molly Idle is delightful. I love a good wordless picture book.


We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen is nice, but I miss the subtle darkness of the first two.


School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex is lovely. I love the different take on a “back to school book” and it definitely made me tear up at work.


They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel takes a very deep, intricate concept, and turns it into a beautiful picture book.

Best Chapter Books

Only two books made it in this category. I didn’t read either.

Best Middle Grade


A colleague of mine read Pax by Sara Pennypacker and loved it, despite its sadness. The cover is lovely, but I don’t know if I have it in me to read a sad animal book right now.


Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo is definitely on my list. I absolutely loved Flora and Ulysses, and I have to support a local author!


Wild Robot by Peter Brown immediately intrigued me with it’s beautiful cover (I’m sensing a trend here), and I currently have the audio on hold.


Louise Erdich’s Makoons is on the list, and I should read it, but The Birchbark House didn’t wow me like it did others. Maybe her writing for children has improved over the years?

Best Young Adult


Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys was amazing! It takes great skills to weave together a story told from four different perspectives. Also, how I can claim to be a historical fiction fan without knowing about this aspect of WWII is beyond me. Maybe I need to reconsider my self prescribed title. My review here.


Asking for It by Louise O’Neill is on many lists. It sounds very intriguing. Perhaps on the same lines as Speak?


The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry is also one I see on many “Best Of” lists. Given that very few historical fiction books are checked out at my library (or at my previous libraries) I’m very surprised (and delighted) to see so many historical fiction titles on this list.


Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson is the 3rd in the Seeds of America series. I read Chains when it came out in 2008 but haven’t read the others. I really enjoyed Chains and actually recommended the series the other day. I should read the rest!

Best Nonfiction


When Green Becomes Tomatoes:  Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano is a beautifully crafted and illustrated book of poetry for all ages. I don’t usually like poetry, but Fogliano’s are deep and thoughtful without being wordy or sappy.


Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America by Gail Jarrow sounds very intriguing. Nonfiction about the seedier side of life is fascinating!


I just love the cover of Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet.


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