Notable Children's Books - 2016

Notable seal image

 

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, 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.


According to ALSC policy, the current year's Newbery, Caldecott,  Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books automatically are added to the Notable Children's Books list.

 

According to the ALSC Notable Children’s Books Committee manual, these categories loosely represent the following:  Younger Readers – Preschool-grade 2 (age 7), including easy-to-read books; Middle Readers – Grades 3-5, ages 8-10; Older Readers – Grades 6-8, ages 11-14; All Ages – Has appeal and interest for children in all of the above age ranges


Younger Readers

An Ambush of Tigers: A Wild Gathering of Collective Nouns. By Betsy R. Rosenthal. Illus. by Jago. Lerner/Millbrook.
 
This collection of humorous illustrations and clever word play introduces children to the wide variety of animal groups, such as a prickle of porcupines and a tower of giraffes.
 
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore. By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. Lerner/Carolrhoda.
 
Lewis Michaux Jr.takes readers through the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem. This one-of-a-kind store offered a place for African Americans to read, learn, and debate ideas for over 40 years.
 
Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret. By Bob Shea. Illus. by the author. Disney/Hyperion.
 
Ballet Cat loves ballet more than anything. What happens when her best friend Sparkles doesn’t want to play ballet every day? Find out in an early reader that breezily dances along.
 
Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! By Todd Tarpley. Illus. by John Rocco. Little, Brown.
 
Three rowdy robots keep a young boy awake with their requests for more oil, tightened bolts, loosened fan belts, and more. Will a bedtime story finally lead to sleep?
 
Boats for Papa. By Jessixa Bagley. Illus. by the author. Roaring Book/Neal Porter.
 
Bagley’s gentle artwork and warm story sensitively portray Buckley’s way of coping with the absence of his father by making boats from found beach objects. 
 
A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl. By Robin Page. Illus. by the author. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane.
 
Whether they own chickens or not, young readers will use this handy guide to answer their basic questions about the familiar fowl.
 
Detective Gordon: The First Case. By Ulf Nilsson. Illus. by Gitte Spee. Tr. by Julia Marshall. Gecko.
 
Squirrel’s nuts have been stolen! Never fear, a bulbous toad, Detective Gordon, and his new mouse assistant, Buffy, are on the case. A delightful mystery.  
 
Don’t Throw It to Mo! By David A. Adler. Illus. by Sam Ricks. Penguin. 
 
Underdog football player Mo Jackson may be the smallest kid on his team, but Coach Steve has a plan for him to save the day. (Geisel Medal Book)
 
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music. By Margarita Engle. Illus. by Rafael López. HMH.
 
In this story inspired by a real musician, a girl in Cuba longs to play the drums, and with perseverance, she breaks down the gender barrier, eventually becoming a famous drummer. (Belpré Illustrator Medal Book)
 
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. By Laurie Ann Thompson. Illus. by Sean Qualls. Random/Schwartz & Wade.
 
Emmanuel doesn't allow his malformed leg to deter him from riding a bike to crusade for disability rights in Ghana. His successes chronicled in this biography are inspirational.
 
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. By Lindsay Mattick. Illus. by Sophie Blackall. Little, Brown. 
 
This heartening tale is an incredible account of the friendship and love shared between a soldier and the real bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. (Caldecott Medal Book)
 
Float. By Daniel Miyares. Illus. by the author. Simon & Schuster. 
 
In this wordless picture book, a gray, rainy day turns into an adventure when a boy makes a paper boat and plays outside in the rain. 
 
Flop to the Top! By Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing. Illus. by the authors. TOON.
 
Wanda is shocked to learn that her dog, Wilbur—not Wanda—has become an instant celebrity when a selfie goes viral. Bright, bold cartoon art tells this story, emphasizing that friendship and family are more important than fame.
 
Flutter & Hum / Aleteo y zumbido: Animal Poems / Poemas de animales. Ed. by Julie Paschkis. Illus. by the author. Holt.
 
Fourteen poems of mammals, birds, insects, fish, and reptiles are presented in both English and Spanish. Embedded within the lively illustrations are additional words in both languages.
 
Gingerbread for Liberty: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution. By Mara Rockliff. Illus. by Vincent X. Kirsch. HMH.
 
Little-known hero baker of the American Revolution Christopher Ludwick stars in this engaging picture book biography with a tasty twist.
 
Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village. By Fang Suzhen. Illus. by Sonja Danowski. Tr. by Huang Xiumin. NorthSouth.
 
Xiao Le’s grandmother passes away soon after he spends a rare day visiting her. His mother is sad, but Xiao Le helps her feel better, telling her what Grandma is doing in Heaven. (Batchelder Honor Book)
 
The Grasshopper and the Ants. By Jerry Pinkney. Illus. by the author. Little, Brown.
 
In this adaptation of Aesop’s fable, vivid, intricate watercolors bring to life hardworking ants as they prepare for the winter, while a playful grasshopper wishes they would join in his merrymaking instead.
 
Growing Up Pedro. By Matt Tavares. Illus. by the author. Candlewick. 
 
A young Pedro Martinez, inspired by his brother Ramon, rises from humble beginnings in the Dominican Republic to become one of the best Major League Baseball players of our time.
 
Hippos Are Huge! By Jonathan London. Illus. by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick.
 
The hippo, with its monstrous jaw and razor-sharp tusks, is the most dangerous animal in Africa. Filled with fascinating facts about the fierce, but sometimes playful, hippopotamus.
 
I Yam a Donkey! By Cece Bell. Illus. by the author. Clarion.
 
Correcting a donkey’s grammar and pronunciation comically leads to one yam’s demise.
 
If You Plant a Seed. By Kadir Nelson. Illus. by the author. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 
 
‪A rabbit and mouse wait patiently for the seeds they planted to grow into delicious vegetables. When some birds want part of the harvest, everyone learns being kind is the most fruitful way to be.‬
 
Last Stop on Market Street. By Matt de la Peña. Illus. by Christian Robinson. Putnam.
 
CJ’s journey with his Nana is not just a simple bus ride; it is a multi-sensory experience through which he discovers that beautiful music, nature, and people surround him. (Newbery Medal Book & Caldecott Honor Book)
 
Lenny & Lucy. By Philip C. Stead. Illus. by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Book/Neal Porter.
 
Homemade guardians Lenny and Lucy protect Peter and his dog from the dark, scary woods and help him find fun and friendship at his new home. Pops of color bring life to the charcoal illustrations. 
 
Leo: A Ghost Story. By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Christian Robinson. Chronicle.
 
‪Leo, a child ghost, leaves his home when its new occupants fear him.  He soon meets Jane and discovers the wonder and joy of a true friend. Cut-paper collages capture Leo’s emotional journey.‬
 
Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. By Jonah Winter. Illus. by Shane W. Evans. Random/Schwartz & Wade.
 
Recalling the fight for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a 100-year-old woman on the way to cast her ballot recounts the journey her family faced in gaining the right to vote.
 
Mango, Abuela, and Me. By Meg Medina. Illus. by Angela Dominguez. Candlewick.
 
When Mia discovers that her Abuela can’t speak English, she finds the perfect gift that helps them both with their language barrier. Vibrant illustrations and Spanish words blend together to create a warm family story. (Belpré Author & Illustrator Honor Book)
 
The Moon Is Going to Addy’s House. By Ida Pearle. Illus. by the author. Penguin/Dial.
 
Addy and her family watch the moon follow them through the sky on a car ride home. Colorful cut-paper collage illustrations in luminescent tones illuminate the journey.
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The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea. By Brenda Z. Guiberson. Illus. by Gennady Spirin. Holt. 
 
A dozen intriguing sea animals in the ocean explain their unique characteristics. Readers are invited to choose which is the most amazing.
 
Moving Blocks. By Yusuke Yonezu. Illus. by the author. Michael Neugebauer/Minedition.
 
In this small-format board book, three squares transform into a variety of vehicles, and with each page turn, shapes turn into objects in a fun visual twist. 
 
Mr. Squirrel and the Moon. By Sebastian Meschenmoser. Illus. by the author. Tr. by David Henry Wilson. NorthSouth.
 
Mr. Squirrel’s imagination runs wild when he mistakes a wheel of cheese for the moon. Gorgeous illustrations detail his efforts to get rid of the moon before anyone comes looking for it.
 
My Tata’s Remedies = Los remedios de mi tata. By Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford. Illus. by Antonio Castro L. Cinco Puntos.
 
Aaron learns first hand from his grandfather (Tata), who cares for family, friends, and neighbors, the significance of healing with a tender touch of wisdom and medicinal herbs. (Belpré Illustrator Honor Book)
 
A Pig, a Fox, and a Box. By Jonathan Fenske. Illus. by the author. Penguin.
 
In three humorous stories, not-so-clever Fox comes out the worst for wear when he uses a box to play tricks on his friend Pig. (Geisel Honor Book)
 
Piper Green and the Fairy Tree. By Ellen Potter. Illus. by Qin Leng. Knopf.
 
Piper Green’s life is rich with family, friends, kittens, and magic. She meets her challenges head on and shows her spirit in everything she does.
 
The Popcorn Astronauts: And Other Biteable Rhymes. By Deborah Ruddell. Illus. by Joan Rankin. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry.
 
Sink your teeth into a delicious collection of poetry for all seasons, complete with imaginative watercolor illustrations that bring the whimsy to life.
 
The Princess and the Pony. By Kate Beaton. Illus. by the author. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine.
 
Princess Pinecone wants a proper warrior’s horse for her birthday. The round, short, flatulent one she gets instead is not what she had in mind, but she learns it can be a secret weapon.
 
Raindrops Roll. By April Pulley Sayre. Illus. by the author. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane.
 
Beautifully detailed, up-close photos of the natural world demonstrate the wonder of raindrops as they splatter, drip, roll, and more.
 
Red. By Jan De Kinder. Illus. by the author. Tr. by Laura Watkinson. Eerdmans. 
 
A girl and her friends laugh when a classmate blushes on the playground. When one student takes the teasing too far, the girl must make a critical decision.
 
Roger Is Reading a Book. By Koen Van Biesen. Illus. by the author. Tr. by Laura Watkinson. Eerdmans.
 
Cinematic art and text illuminate exuberant Emily, whose loud hobbies interrupt Roger as he tries to peacefully read his book.  
 
Sidewalk Flowers. By JonArno Lawson. Illus. by Sydney Smith. Groundwood. 
 
A little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays little attention. In a wordless homage to the importance of small things, each flower becomes a gift, transforming the giver and the recipient.
 
The Skunk. By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Patrick McDonnell. Roaring Brook. 
 
What is a man to do when a skunk appears on his doorstep? Readers follow the man and skunk on a quirky, humorous adventure.
 
Special Delivery. By Philip C. Stead. Illus. by Matthew Cordell. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter.
 
Meeting some odd characters along the way, Sadie travels by plane, train, and alligator to deliver an elephant to lonely Great Aunt Josephine.
 
Supertruck. By Stephen Savage. Illus. by the author. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter.

When a blizzard comes to town, an unassuming garbage truck secretly trades his glasses for a powerful snowplow and becomes the heroic "Supertruck.” (Geisel Honor Book)
 
Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova. By Laurel Snyder. Illus. by Julie Morstad. Chronicle.
 
Elegant illustrations and poetic text tell the story of Anna Pavlova, an accomplished ballerina who shared the beauty and joy of dance with the entire world.
 
Tiptoe Tapirs. By Hanmin Kim. Illus. by the author. Tr. by Sera Lee. Holiday.
 
Other than Tapir and her little one, the jungle animals are all so noisy! When a hunter comes to the jungle, the other animals learn the value of quiet. Stylized illustrations convey the jungle sounds.
 
Trombone Shorty. By Troy Andrews. Illus. by Bryan Collier. Abrams.
 
In this autobiography, Trombone Shorty reminisces about his early life in the jazz music scene of his beloved hometown of New Orleans. (Caldecott Honor Book)
 
Two Mice. By Sergio Ruzzier. Illus. by the author. Clarion.
 
Two mice embark on adventures on the water and in the air, by both day and night. Beginning readers will enjoy the simple text, the counting experience, and the colorful illustrations.
 
Wait. By Antoinette Portis. Illus. by the author. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter.
 
On their way to catch a bus, a mother wants to hurry; her child wants to wait. A surprise stops them both, just short of the bus.
 
Waiting. By Kevin Henkes. Illus. by the author. HarperCollins/Greenwillow.
 
In this gentle story of five animal figurines waiting together by the window, readers and characters meet new friends, observe the unhurried passage of the seasons, and anticipate what may come next.  (Caldecott & Geisel Honor Book)
 
Water Is Water: A Book about the Water Cycle. By Miranda Paul. Illus. by Jason Chin. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter.
 
Through simple, poetic phrases and engaging watercolor illustrations, a sister and brother experience the water cycle throughout the seasons.
 
Who Done It? By Olivier Tallec. Illus. by the author. Chronicle.
 
Flip the pages to view the suspect line-ups and use the visual clues to determine the “who done it” on each page. A mystery designed for preschoolers.
 
Wolfie the Bunny. By Ame Dyckman. Illus. by Zachariah OHora. Little, Brown.
 
When her parents decide to raise a baby wolf as their own, Dot the rabbit fears that he will eat them all up, until a surprising encounter with a bear brings them closer together.
 
The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy. By Beatrice Alemagna. Illus. by the author. Tr. by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. Enchanted Lion.
 
Five-year-old Eddie, after a spirited quest through the shops in her French village, parlays a brioche, a clover, a button, and a postage stamp into the perfect birthday gift for her mother. (Batchelder Award Book)
 
Woodpecker Wham! By April Pulley Sayre. Illus. by Steve Jenkins. Holt.
 
Enter the world of woodpeckers and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of their everyday life. A variety of woodpecker species fly through these beautifully illustrated pages.
 
Written and Drawn by Henrietta. By Liniers. Illus. by the author. Tr. by the author. TOON.
 
Henrietta is writing and illustrating a story about a three-headed monster. Liniers’ thin-lined, expressive cartoons, complete with Henrietta’s crayon-thick scrawls, track her joyful creation of a scary and funny adventure. (Batchelder Honor Book)

Middle Readers

28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World. By Charles R. Smith Jr. Illus. by Shane W. Evans. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter.
 
From the shooting of Crispus Attucks to the inauguration of President Barack Obama, 28 moments in Black history are celebrated through poetry, prose, and vivid illustrations.
 
Adam and Thomas. By Aharon Appelfeld. Illus. by Philippe Dumas. Tr. by Jeffrey M. Green. Seven Stories/Triangle Square.
 
In the last months of World War II, two Jewish boys are taken from the Ghetto by their mothers to the forest of the Eastern Front and told to wait for their return. The boys forge a strong friendship, learning from one another and helping others escape through the woods. (Batchelder Honor Book)
 
Adventures with Waffles. By Maria Parr. Illus. by Kate Forrester. Tr. by Guy Puzey. Candlewick.
 
Whether sledding with chickens or boating with cows, there’s never a dull moment when neighbors Lena and Trille are together. The Norwegian village comes alive in this tale of family, friendship, and adventure. 
 
Blackbird Fly. By Erin Entrada Kelly. HarperCollins/Greenwillow.
 
Eighth-grader Apple, a Filipino American, faces bullying, parental conflicts, fickle friends, and a lack of self-confidence with the help of a Beatles cassette, new friends, and the determination to play the guitar.
 
The Blackthorn Key. By Kevin Sands. Aladdin.
 
In 1665 London, Christopher, an apothecary’s apprentice, and his best friend Tom attempt to uncover the truth behind a mysterious cult. They follow a trail of puzzles, codes, pranks, and danger toward a powerful secret.
 
Echo. By Pam Muñoz Ryan. Scholastic.
 
This original fairytale intertwines with historical fiction to explore music and its power to save, heal, and set free. (Newbery Honor Book)
 
Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E. Cummings. By Matthew Burgess. Illus. by Kris Di Giacomo. Enchanted Lion.
 
From an early age, poet E. E. Cummings loved words. Burgess’s text, enhanced by Di Giacomo’s collage illustrations, explores Cummings’ life from his childhood to his career as a poet.
 
Fish in a Tree. By Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen.
 
With the help of an insightful teacher and quirky friends, Ally discovers how smart she really is in spite of being identified as dyslexic.
 
Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass. By Doreen Rappaport. Illus. by London Ladd. Disney/Jump at the Sun.
 
The story of Frederick Douglass’ inspirational life and quest for equal rights unfolds with dramatic illustrations and powerful language, including quotes from Douglass.
 
Full Cicada Moon. By Marilyn Hilton. Penguin/Dial.
 
Set against the backdrop of the first lunar landing, this free verse novel features Mimi Oliver, a half Japanese, half African American girl who learns about fitting in and standing up for what’s right.
 
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras. By Duncan Tonatiuh. Illus. by the author. Abrams.
 
In this book about artist José Guadalupe Posada, Tonatiuh juxtaposes his own artwork with Posada’s iconic Dia de Muertos illustrations and life, telling the story of a remarkable man and time in Mexican history. (Sibert Medal Book & Belpré Illustrator Honor Book)
 
Fuzzy Mud. By Louis Sachar. Random/Delacorte.
 
Taking a shortcut through the off-limits woods to avoid a bully, Tamaya and Marshall encounter fuzzy-looking mud that unleashes a medical and environmental disaster.
 
George. By Alex Gino. Scholastic.
 
George identifies as a girl; if only the rest of the world would too. With the help of best friend Kelly, George takes the first steps to becoming Melissa, her true self.
 
Gone Crazy in Alabama. By Rita Williams-Garcia. HarperCollins/Amistad.
 
Sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern travel to rural Alabama to visit Big Ma during the summer of 1969, where they find out about southern culture, animal rights, and the strength of their family, both past and present.
 
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible. By Ursula Vernon. Illus. by the author. Penguin/Dial.
 
In a spunky graphic novel retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Harriet, a hamster princess, embarks on many wild adventures until the curse on her backfires and she needs to save her parents.
 
Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story. By Reem Faruqi. Illus. by Lea Lyon. Tilbury.
 
Lailah, a young girl who has been looking forward to fasting for Ramadan for her first time, suddenly feels shy because she is at a new school in a new country.
 
Lost in the Sun. By Lisa Graff. Penguin/Philomel.
 
In his efforts to make a fresh start in middle school, Trent struggles to put a traumatic event behind him. Fallon, the class outcast, strives to help Trent let go of his guilt.
 
Mad about Monkeys. By Owen Davey. Illus. by the author. Flying Eye. 
 
Learn about more than 250 species of monkeys from around the world through a series of warm illustrations and fascinating facts.
 
Mars Evacuees. By Sophia McDougall. HarperCollins.
 
A war between Earth and aliens leads to the evacuation of children to Mars. When the grown-ups disappear, Alice, her friends, and a robot goldfish make a discovery that might just change everything.
 
The Marvels. By Brian Selznick. Illus. by the author. Scholastic.
 
Two seemingly unrelated plots—Billy Marvel’s wordless, illustrated story set in 1776; and Joseph Jervis’s prose story set in 1990—come together in a tale of mystery, adventure, friendship, and family.
 
Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery That Baffled All of France. By Mara Rockliff. Illus. by Iacopo Bruno. Candlewick.
 
Follow along as Ben Franklin applies the scientific method to a new mysterious phenomenon Dr. Mesmer has been spreading across France. A whimsical look at science and history.
 
My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illus. by James E. Ransome. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman.
 
Once Robert Battle’s leg braces were off, nothing could keep him from flying. With determination and love of dance, he became the artistic director of the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
 
My Two Blankets. By Irena Kobald. Illus. by Freya Blackwood. HMH.
 
While learning a new language in a new country, a young woman compares her native language to a warm, comfortable blanket. Soon she has two comfortable blankets—the old and the new language.
 
Murder Is Bad Manners. By Robin Stevens. Simon & Schuster.
 
Hazel Wong and her best friend Daisy Wells form a secret detective agency at their boarding school. They open their first big case when their teacher, Miss Bell, turns up dead.
 
The Nest. By Kenneth Oppel. Illus. by Jon Klassen. Simon & Schuster.
 
Steve is always anxious and his baby brother’s health issues take it to another level.  When he is approached by the Wasp Queen, who claims she can solve his worries, he learns agreeing with the wasps comes with a dangerous price. Haunting and eerie. 
 
Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton. By Don Tate. Illus. by the author. Peachtree.
 
George Moses Horton overcame slavery and illiteracy to become a remarkable poet. His love of words and success as a poet will inspire readers.
 
Red Butterfly. By A. L. Sonnichsen. Illus. by Amy June Bates. Simon & Schuster.
 
Kara and her American mother are different from everyone they know in their Chinese neighborhood. When a medical emergency forces them into the mire of Chinese bureaucracy, Kara's future becomes desperate and unpredictable.
 
Roller Girl. By Victoria Jamieson. Illus. by the author. Penguin/Dial.
 
Astrid falls in love with roller derby and learns how to be tougher, stronger, and fearless. Jamieson perfectly captures the highs and lows of growing up in this dynamic graphic novel. (Newbery Honor Book)
 
Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU. By Cory Silverberg. Illus. by Fiona Smyth. Seven Stories/Triangle Square.
 
This age-appropriate and inclusive resource, featuring cartoon-style illustrations, is aimed at young children and their caregivers. It invites conversations about sex, gender, and the human body.
 
Stella by Starlight. By Sharon M. Draper. Atheneum. 
 
In 1932 North Carolina, Stella feels the effects of a Klan cross burning, segregation, voter registration, and a major house fire in a story of change in a close-knit community.
 
Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America. By Susan Campbell Bartoletti. illus. HMH.
 
Known as a carrier of the deadly typhoid fever, Mary Mallon was also a victim of civil rights violations and overly harsh treatment. Her nuanced biography reveals the true complexity of her infamous case.
 
Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower. By Greg Pizzoli. Illus. by the author. Penguin/Viking.
 
At the turn of the twentieth century, Czechoslovakian Robert Miller became a con artist. Calling himself Vic, he started with small schemes, working his way toward selling the Eiffel Tower.
 
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer. By Kelly Jones. Illus. by Katie Kath. Knopf.
 
Told primarily in letters, a series of humorous events kicks off when Sophie discovers chickens with astonishing abilities after her family inherits her great uncle’s farm. 
 
The War That Saved My Life. By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Penguin/Dial.
 
Bradley’s powerful plot, remarkably drawn characters, and sparse language are outstanding components of this novel about courage, community, and conviction. (Newbery Honor Book)

Older Readers

Baba Yaga’s Assistant. By Marika McCoola. Illus. by Emily Carroll. Candlewick.
 
Using skills learned from her beloved grandma, Masha must pass a series of tests to become a witch’s assistant and get her annoying stepsister home safely. Graphic panels magically blend the contemporary with the traditional.
 
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club. By Phillip Hoose. illus. Farrar.
 
This is a true World War II story of Danish teens who became resistance fighters while most adults in their country reacted passively to the Nazi takeover. Hoose weaves Pedersen’s words into an adventurous narrative about the young heroes. (Sibert Honor Book)
 
Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War. By Jessica Dee Humphreys and Michel Chikwanine. Illus. by Claudia Dávila. Kids Can.
 
Chikwanine chronicles the harrowing tale of his kidnapping at age five in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including the horrors of life as a child soldier. A graphic-novel biography.
 
Cuckoo Song. By Frances Hardinge. Abrams/Amulet.
 
After almost drowning, Triss deals with gaps in her memory, her brother’s ghost, a vengeful sister, and The Architect who seems to be orchestrating so much of her life. A cinematic and spine-tingling tale.
 
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. By Don Brown. Illus. by the author. HMH.
 
Heroes surface, and people find courage in this exceptional graphic novel that addresses incompetence, racism, and the resilience of the people of the Crescent City. (Sibert Honor Book)
 
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir. By Margarita Engle. Atheneum. 
 
The daughter of an American father and Cuban mother, poet and novelist Engle describes her childhood living between two countries during a time of political tension for Cuba and the U.S. (Belpré Auhtor Medal Book)
 
First Flight around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race. By Tim Grove. illus. Abrams.
 
In 1924, a group of brave men faced violent weather, unreliable navigation, crashes, and unfamiliar foreign cultures in their goal to win the race to be the first to circumnavigate the globe by plane.
 
Goodbye Stranger. By Rebecca Stead. Random/Wendy Lamb.
 
With multiple perspectives, this tale explores the bonds and limits of friendship, as Bridge and her friends navigate the inevitable changes of growing up.
 
The Hired Girl. By Laura Amy Schlitz. Candlewick.
 
Using diary entries, 14-year-old Joan shares her journey toward a better life. New surroundings and experiences in Baltimore lead to moments of adventure and self-discovery.
 
The Lightning Queen. By Laura Resau. Scholastic.
 
An unlikely friendship between Esma, a Romani girl, and Teo, a Mixteco boy, underpins an adventurous story that spans several generations and presents insights into two marginalized cultures.
 
Listen, Slowly. By Thanhhà Lại. HarperCollins.
 
California-born Mai learns the true meaning of family and friendship when she travels with her grandmother to her native Vietnam and learns about her grandfather’s fate.
 
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War. By Steve Sheinkin. illus. Roaring Brook.
 
Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon insider, risks everything in order to reveal the corruption and deception that led to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
 
My Seneca Village. By Marilyn Nelson. Namelos.
 
Forty-one vivid poems, with voices inspired by actual individuals, present a historical glimpse at Seneca Village, the first thriving African-American community in the U.S., which, before it was razed, stood where Central Park is today.  
 
Orbiting Jupiter. By Gary D. Schmidt. Clarion.
 
Jack’s new 13-year-old foster brother, Joseph, has a checkered past, including fathering a daughter named Jupiter. While Joseph’s love for Jupiter compels Jack’s family to do everything they can to help him, it may not be enough.
 
Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip through the Motown Sound. By Andrea Davis Pinkney. illus. Roaring Brook.
 
Take a ride with “the Groove” through Motown.  Discover how Berry Gordy Jr. created musical hits and grew his company from a small business in Detroit to a huge studio in California. 
 
The Seventh Most Important Thing. By Shelley Pearsall. Knopf.
 
After throwing a brick at the Junk Man’s head, 13-year-old Arthur is sentenced to assist him. Little does he know that the junk he collects is part of a significant work of art.
 
The Smoking Mirror. By David Bowles. IFWG.
 
In an action-packed, fantasy novel, that combines Aztec and Mayan mythology with life in contemporary South Texas and Mexico, 12-year-old twins descend into the Land of the Dead to find their mother. (Belpré Author Honor Book)
 
The Thing about Jellyfish. By Ali Benjamin. Little, Brown.
 
Suzy Swanson suspects that a rare jellyfish sting caused the death of her friend. With imagination and determination, she sets out on a journey to prove her theory—and starts her journey of healing.
 
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March. By Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley. Illus. by P. J. Loughran. Penguin/Dial.
 
This highly personal account of the historic 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery gives voice to activists participating in Civil Rights history. (Sibert Honor Book)

All Ages

Bird and Diz. By Gary Golio. Illus. by Ed Young. Candlewick. 
 
Spare rhythmic text and swirling abstract illustrations take readers of all ages into the bebop world of John “Dizzy” Gillespie and Charlie “Bird” Parker.
 
Counting Lions. By Katie Cotton. Illus. by Stephen Walton. Candlewick.
 
Written in free verse poems, this oversize counting book features striking detailed portraits filled with emotion, which showcase a variety of creatures. 
 
Hiawatha and the Peacemaker. By Robbie Robertson. Illus. by David Shannon. Abrams.
 
After losing his family to war, the grieving Hiawatha is asked by the Peacemaker to help him unite the five warring Iroquois nations. Vivid oil paintings illustrate the fictional retelling of the true story.
 
Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure. By Nadja Spiegelman. Illus. by Sergio García Sánchez. TOON Graphics.
 
Explore the New York City subway system with Pablo and Alicia as they get separated from their class while finding their way to the Empire State Building. Includes maps, archival photos, and historical notes.
 
My Pen. By Christopher Myers. Illus. by the author. Disney/Hyperion.
 
In detailed, pen-and-ink illustrations, Myers relates the story of a boy and his pen, who, together, can build worlds, ride dinosaurs, and show love—all they have to do is let the worlds inside themselves out!
 
National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry: More Than 200 Poems with Photographs That Float, Zoom, and Bloom! Ed. by J. Patrick Lewis. illus. National Geographic.
 
Bold, colorful photos, paired with kid-friendly poems about nature, connect readers to the outside world and show how easily poetic inspiration comes from our planet.
 
The Only Child. By Guojing. Illus. by the author. Random/Schwartz & Wade.
 
An only child trying to find her way to grandma’s house becomes lost in an unknown world, but imaginative companions help her find her way back. A stunning wordless graphic novel that explores isolation and resourcefulness.
 
Pool. By JiHyeon Lee. Illus. by the author. Chronicle.
 
Pastel tones plunge readers into a world of discovery as a shy boy overwhelmed by a crowded pool discovers worlds of imagination in the watery realm below.  
 
Sail Away. By Langston Hughes. Illus. by Ashley Bryan. Atheneum.
 
Poems by legendary African American poet Langston Hughes celebrate water in many forms. His words are brought to life with brightly colored collage art by Ashley Bryan.
 
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Ekua Holmes. Candlewick.
 
The inspirational singer and Civil Rights activist comes to life in 22 brief, first person, free verse poems that seamlessly incorporate Hamer’s own words. The biography takes her from a sharecropping child to a community leader. (Caldecott & Sibert Honor Book)
 
Members of the 2016 Notable Children's Books Committee are:  Maralita (Micki) Freeny, College Park, Md., Chair; Allison Barney, Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library; Keary Bramwell, Mount Prospect (Ill.) Public Library; Paige Bentley-Flannery, Deschutes Public Library, Sisters, Ore.; Brenda Dales, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; Kimberly Probert Grad, Brooklyn (NY) Public Library; Sharon Haupt, San Luis Coastal Unified School District, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Joyce Laiosa, University at Albany (SUNY), Albany, NY; Gwen M. Taylor, Lewis Clark State College Library, Lewiston, Idaho; and Bina Williams, Bridgeport (Conn.) Public Library.
 
 

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