Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2021: Fiction

October 18, 2021


44. Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Men in Black meets Harry Potter! When Amari Peters discovers that her brother has nominated her to attend the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs she discovers powers she never knew she had. J Alsto.B

45. Amber and Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz

A girl as precious as amber. A boy as common as clay. Two children in ancient Greece dance with bears, play with ghosts, and live in a time of gods and philosophers. J Schli.L

46. Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith

An amazing group of Native writers contribute interconnected short stories about young people (and one cool rez dog) heading to an Intertribal powwow. x808.83 Ancesto

47. The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, ill. Sophie Blackall 

A young girl, hunted by the king, is found in a monastery where she is nursed back to health by a monk. So begins an epic medieval tale. Lyrical narration is supported by gorgeous black and white illustrations. J Dicam.K

48. Black Boy Joy: 17 Stories Celebrating Black Boyhood, edited by Kwame Mbalia

Seventeen stories by acclaimed Black authors that celebrate joy form a collection that has humor, heart, sci-fi action, a story in verse and even a new comic by Newbery-winner Jerry Craft. x808.83 Black

49. The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel by E.L. Shen

Competitive ice skater Maxine Chen is determined to be the best. But with anti-Asian racism at school and a new top ice skater in the rink, will she withstand the pressure or crack like ice? J Shen.E

50. Frankie & Bug by Gayle Forman 

Summertime and Bug’s stuck with the neighbor’s odd nephew instead of with her older brother at the beach like she planned. What to do? A poignant coming-of-age novel that addresses social issues and complicated emotions. J Forma.G

51. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

When Petra escaped Earth with her family for a new life, she had no idea what would happen when she awoke from her cryogenic sleep. Now it’s 300 years later and she’s the only person left with memories and stories of the past. What went wrong? And how can she survive? J Higue.D

52. The Losers at the Center of the Galaxy by Mary Winn Heider

Siblings Louise and Winston encounter weird happenings at their school like falling tubas and secretive teachers. A Chicago-based mix of absurd humor and heartbreak. J Heide.M

53. Lotería by Karla Arenas Valenti

Each year Life and Death play the card game Lotería with a single soul held in the balance. Unknowingly, Clara plunges deep into a fantasy world, determined to save her missing cousin. J Valen.K

54. Maya and the Robot by Eve L. Ewing, ill. Christine Almeda

Wanting to show off her serious science prowess, Maya fixes up an old robot and gets more than she bargained for. A sweet, funny STEM story. J Ewing.E

55. Much Ado About Baseball by Rajani LaRocca, ill. Chloe Dijon 

Being the only girl on a baseball team is tough enough, but Trish never expected to be playing alongside rival math prodigy Ben. Can the two become friends in spite of their competition or will it take a bit of magic? J Laroc.R

56. Pity Party by Kathleen Lane

A deft and daring collection of stories, quizzes, advertisements, and more. A book for anyone who has ever wanted a funny, strange, sad book to soothe their anxieties. J Lane.K

57. Playing the Cards You’re Dealt by Varian Johnson

Ant hopes to impress his dad by becoming the next in his family to win a card tournament. However, he must deal with some surprising truths that throw him off his game. J Johns.V

58. The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book by Kate Milford, ill. Nicole Wong

Twelve guests, trapped at the Blue Vein Tavern by floodwaters, tell stories to pass the time.  An infinitely clever tale of the crossover between storytelling and reality. J Milfo.K

59. Root Magic by Eden Royce

An atmospheric and creepy historical novel (set among the Gullah people in 1963 South Carolina) stars twins Jezebel and Jay who want nothing more than to learn how to use potions and powders to save their family…and maybe even get some revenge.  J Royce.E

60. Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Imagine if perfect strangers walked up and insulted you regularly. Imagine if even your own mom was awful! Ellie’s been bullied about her weight since she was five. Now it’s time to fight back and embrace what makes her special. J Fipps.L

61. Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas

Music-loving Ezra has developed a crush on his shy, nervous friend Brian and cannot tell anyone. Meanwhile, Brian has to land on his feet after a major family crisis. J Lucas.C

62. Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff 

Bug’s house has always been haunted, but it wasn’t until Uncle Rodrick died that things started to get weird. Is Rodrick trying to tell Bug something? And is it something Bug’s ready to hear? J Lukof.K

63. Trouble in the Stars by Sarah Prineas 

Trouble has no memory of his past but he knows one thing: He’s a shapeshifter, the only one in the galaxy, and now he’s just stowed away on a spaceship to who knows where.  J Prine.S

64. The Wild Huntsboys by Martin Stewart

Set in a futuristic England at war, three boys find themselves in danger when they anger the fairies and must battle enemies on every side. J Stewa.M

65. The Year I Flew Away by Marie Arnold 

A girl from Haiti gets a chance to immigrate to Brooklyn to live with her aunt and uncle. She wants to be American, know English perfectly, and fit in at her new school. That’s all normal, but is it wise to accept help and advice from a magical witch?  What do we trade of our culture when we move to a new place? What do we lose? J Arnol.M


Return to the full list of 101 Great Books for Kids here.


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