Announcing Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids List of 2021!

Evanston Public Library is pleased to announce the results of our incredibly hardworking 101 Great Books for Kids committee! In 2021 we still felt many of the residual effects of 2020 throughout the year. Our library didn’t return to full-time hours until the Summer. Many publishers opted for PDFs rather than physical copies of advanced reading galleys, complicating our reading. Our meetings, for the most part, were kept virtual. Many staff were unable to attend due to scheduling issues as well. Even so we persevered and the end result is a list we can all be proud of. We were even able to work with the staff of our local children’s bookstore Booked to get their perspective and find titles we might not have noticed before!

Please be sure to stop by our library to request any of the titles you would like to see. They represent some of the best books of the year and should not be missed.

All 101 books on this list are appropriate for readers two to twelve.

For your convenience, here are the categories of the list:

 

Picture Books

Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Religious Tales

Easy and Early Chapter Books

Poetry and Short Stories

Fiction

Comics and Graphic Novels

Nonfiction Picture Books

Nonfiction for Older Readers


 

Picture Books

1. The Big Bath House by Kyo Maclear, ill. Gracey Zhang

A girl and her Japanese grandmother don’t share a language, but they do share a love of bathing! A gentle story of family and loving all kinds of bodies, big and small. JPicture Macle.K

2. Bodies are Cool by Tyler Feder

One body type is boring. We like bodies in ALL their shapes, sizes, colors, and more. Body positivity gets cranked up to 11 in this fantastic, wild, wonderful title. JPicture Feder.T

3. Bright Star by Yuyi Morales

A visually striking and powerful allegorical work about the young  finding their way in an uncertain world. A companion to the author/illustrator’s award-winning Dreamers. JPicture Moral.Y

4. Ergo by Alexis Deacon, ill. Viviane Schwarz

Ergo the chick only knows the smooth, round world in which she lives, so she very quickly comes to the belief that she IS the world. But when evidence suggests there might be more, this little chicken is unafraid to burst through barriers to discover what is and isn’t real. JPicture Deaco.A

5. I Dream of Popo by Livia Blackburne, ill. Julia Kuo

The distance between Taiwan and America is vast but over time (and Zoom!) a granddaughter and her popo stay in touch with one another. Heartfelt illustrations help bridge the gap between nations. JPicture Black.L

6. The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld

When a childless king and queen seek kids of their own, they end up with a wooden robot and a girl made from a log. And as tragedy places the siblings in danger, they’ll do anything they can to keep one another from harm. JPicture Gauld.T

7. Magic Candies by Heena Baek, translated by Sophie Bowman

When Tong Tong purchases a bag of strange round candies, he discovers that each one allows him to hear the hidden speech of someone or some thing. Marvelous models bring this kooky story to life. JPicture Baek.H

8. The Me I Choose to Be by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, ill. Regis and Kahran Bethencourt

“I am a superhero yet unnamed / I am laughter that falls like rain.” Fantastic, surreal Afro-futuristic photography coupled with a life-affirming text helps turn ordinary kids into their extraordinary selves. JPicture Tarpl.N

9. Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor

Little kingfisher Mel takes her first flight (or is it a plunge?), falling through the air at rapid speed as other animals watch with concern. Be ready for some tricks and laughs that amaze and delight. JPicture Tabor.C

10. Midnight Fair by Gideon Sterer, ill. Mariachiara Di Giorgio

When the fair has closed and the night has come, what happens to the merry-go-rounds, rides, and games? Join a troop of intrepid animal adventurers in this beautifully rendered wordless romp. JPicture Stere.G

11. Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña, ill. Christian Robinson

On a long subway ride, Milo draws and imagines the lives of the people around him. But is there more to their stories than at first glance? Is there more to his own? JPicture Delap.M

12. Mr. Watson’s Chickens by Jarrett Dapier, ill. Andrea Tsurumi

Mr. Watson wants some chickens, so he and his partner Mr. Nelson get three. But what happens when those three turn into 456 or more? JPicture Dapie.J

13. My First Day by Phùng Nguyên Quang and Huynh Kim Liên

A child in Vietnam experiences an eventful journey down the Mekong River. Where is he going? What natural wonders (and dangers) will he encounter next? Visually riveting. JPicture Quang.P

14. On the Trapline by David A. Robertson, ill. Julie Flett

A trip with his grandpa to see the trapline, a place where he once hunted, takes a child into the heart of his family’s history. JPicture Rober.D

15. The Rock From the Sky by Jon Klassen

Five short chapters follow three behatted animals as they avoid death, aliens, and rocks falling from the sky. Not necessarily in that order. JPicture Klass.J

16. Ship in a Bottle by Andrew Prahin

Mouse dreams of a better life so one day she sets sail for distant lands. Peaceful watercolors illustrate her gentle search for a new home. JPicture Prahi.A

17. Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler ill. Loren Long

Architects, artists, scientists, and more all dream but . . . someone has to build what they dream up. A clever and respectful celebration of skilled laborers. JPicture Wheel.L

18. Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham, ill. C.G. Esperanza

It’s Sunday at Granny’s and her grandson is old enough to help get that dinner ready. Meat’s got to be primed, greens cleaned, cheese grated. Vibrant eye-popping colors explode off the page in a book so good you can practically smell the food cooking. JPicture Bingh.W

19. We Wait for the Sun by Dovey Johnson Roundtree & Katie McCabe, ill. Raissa Figueroa

Fruit picking as resistance. In a time of terror in the South, a girl accompanies her grandmother and other Black women for an early morning ritual. Warm and sweet, just like a blackberry. xBiog Round.D Round.D

20. Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn, ill. Victo Ngai

This visually striking book chronicles the scary journey by boat made by people fleeing Vietnam to Hong Kong  in 1980. A true story based on the author’s experiences. JPicture Van.M

21. Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos, ill. Jacqueline Alcántara

Your mama is strong, powerful, friendly, beautiful. A multifaceted Latinx celebration of motherhood takes an old insult, and turns it completely on its head. JPicture Ramos.N


 

Folktales, Fairy Tales, and Religious Tales

22. Blancaflor, The Hero With Secret Powers: A Folktale from Latin America by Nadja Spiegelman, ill. Sergio García Sánchez 

Can true love triumph when your dad’s an ogre? Only daughter Blancaflor can defeat her dad’s tricks and traps as she aids a young prince on his daring quest. JGraphic Spieg.N

23. Boo Stew by Donna L. Washington, ill. Jeffrey Ebbeler

Nobody in Toadsuck Swamp can stomach the food Curly Locks dishes up. But when three Scares invade the Mayor’s home, her oddball cooking comes to the rescue. A twist on the classic Goldilocks tale. x398.2 Washi.D

24. Living Ghosts & Mischievous Monsters: Chilling American Indian Stories by Dan Sasuweh Jones, ill. Weshoyot Alvitre

This collection of 32 ghost stories gathered from American Indians across the U.S. will chill your bones and ignite your paranoia. Deliciously eerie and perfect for fans of Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. x398.20897 Jones.D

25. Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World’s First Female Rabbi by Sigal Samuel, ill. Vali Mintzi

Almost five hundred years ago, Osnat defied tradition and became the world’s first female rabbi! This beautifully illustrated book mixes fact with surreal folk tale to tell her story. xBiog Barza.A Samue.S

26. Peacemaker by Joseph Bruchac 

The creation of the Iroquois Confederacy is told through the perspective of a twelve-year-old boy. What happens when a heart set on revenge meets a man dedicated to peace? Mythology and history mix in a resonant tale. J Bruch.J

27. Run, Little Chaski! An Inka Trail Adventure by Mariana Llanos, ill. Mariana Ruiz Johnson

Entrusted with a royal message, Little Chaski longs to be  strong, swift, and sharp. But when different animals need help on his route, will he stop to aid them or continue on his way? JPicture Llano.M

28. The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas by María García Esperón, ill. Amanda Mijangos, translated by David Bowles

Fifty stories from Indigenous civilizations across the Americas come together in this single glorious retelling.  x398.2097 Garci.M


 

Easy and Early Chapter Books

29. Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite by Ashley Spires

Burt’s just your average ten-lined june beetle so there’s not too much that’s interesting about him. Yet even the most average bug can be a hero if it uses what it’s got. And what Burt has… are hugs. JEasy Spire.A

30. Can You Whistle, Johanna? by Ulf Stark, ill. Anna Höglund, translated by Julia Marshall 

Need a grandfather? Why not hop over to the retirement home to pick one out for yourself? A remarkably sweet story, funny and moving by turns. JChapter Stark.U

31. J.D. and the Great Barber Battle by J. Dillard, ill. Akeem S. Roberts

What would you do if your mom gave you the worst haircut of your life? J.D. turns a personal tragedy into a thriving business when he picks up some clippers and taps into his true talent. That is, until someone tries to shut him down… JChapter Dilla.J

32. Jop and Blip Wanna Know: Can You Hear a Penguin Fart on Mars and Other Excellent Questions by Jim Benton

Just because a question is silly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask it. Join two intrepid robots as they give strangely straightforward answers to some seriously silly queries. JChapter Bento.J

33. Jojo Makoons: The Used-To-Be-Best-Friend by Dawn Quigley, ill. Tara Audibert

What do you do when your best friend doesn’t want to sit with you at lunch anymore? Meet Jojo Makoons, an Ojibwe seven-year-old just trying to navigate school and her own kooky inclinations. JChapter Quigl.D

34. Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly

Introvert Marisol loves her family, best friend, silent movies and cats. But she worries a LOT about things, like learning how to climb the backyard tree. Will she ever learn to rise above her fears? JChapter Kelly.E

35. Too Small Tola by Atinuke, ill. Onyinye Iwu

Tola lives in an apartment in Lagos, Nigeria with her Grandmommy, brother, and sister. Smaller than everyone, Tola soon learns that it isn’t size that makes you mighty, and tiny isn’t bad. JChapter Atinuke

36. Tag Team and Training Day (El Toro and Friends) by Raúl the Third, colors by Elaine Bay

The wrestlers from the hilarious Vamos books star in their very own easy reader spinoffs, mixing Spanish with English words and serving up a lot of hilarious action. JEasy Raul

37. We Have a Play Date by Frank W. Dormer

Three friends must navigate playground equipment and the addition of a fourth friend in this hilarious series of misunderstandings and hijinks. JEasy Dorme.F


 

Poetry

38. Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman, ill. Diana Sudyka

Slip into the secret spots of your garden and meet a coy creature unafraid to be silent and stealthy. Contains lovely poems and delicious facts about the tiny treefrog. JPicture Sidma.J

39. Honey for You, Honey for Me: A First Book of Nursery Rhymes collected by Michael Rosen, ill. Chris Riddell

Our youngest readers will bounce with glee when read this array of rhymes both old and new. Big beautiful art is sure to entrance toddlers far and wide. x398.8 Honey

40. Hoop Kings 2: New Royalty by Charles R. Smith Jr. 

“Shimmy, shake, spin, stride / dribble in, step back, dribble out, slide.” Meet 12 of today’s hottest basketball champs as Charles R. Smith Jr. makes their poetry on the court into poetry on the page. x811 Smith.C

41. Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes

Award-winning poet and author Nikki Grimes introduces the poems of women from the Harlem Renaissance then answers them with poems of her own. x811 Grime.N

42. Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile by María José Ferrada, Ill. María Elena Valdez, translated by Lawrence Schimel

Thirty-four poems honor the thirty-four children killed during the dictatorship of General Pinochet. Poignant, loving, beautiful words display each child full of life and hope and wonder. x861.7 Ferra.M

43. The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, ill. Nikkolas Smith

A class assignment to “trace your roots” leads one Black child to ask her grandmother about their family history. Grandma tells the story of Black pride, history, and what it means to come from a resilient people that have loved, resisted, and persevered. x973.0496 Hanna.N


 

Fiction

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

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. Amari desperately wants to fit in and at her new school by becoming “more American,” but should she accept help from a magical witch? A funny, suspenseful look about holding on to your culture. J Arnol.M


 

Comics and Graphic Novels

66. Artie and the Wolf Moon by Olivia Stephens

When Artemis discovers that she and her mom come from a long line of werewolves, she also finds a family she never knew she had. But what’s hunting Artie and her family? And will they be strong enough to survive? JGraphic Steph.O

67. Borders by Thomas King, ill. Natasha Donovan

A boy and his mother end up caught between the American and Canadian border when they refuse to deny their Blackfoot citizenship. A powerful story of identity and standing up for yourself. JGraphic King.T

68. Chunky by Yehudi Mercado

What do you do when your parents push you to try out for sports? If you’re Yehudi, the only Jewish-Mexican kid in your neighborhood, you create Chunky: A personalized mascot. But what happens when Yehudi stops listening to Chunky’s advice? JGraphic Merca.Y

69. Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen

In Witch Agnes’s village of vegetable people, there’s little to fear. So when a vampire moves into a nearby castle, will timid Garlic have the guts to face him alone? JGraphic Pauls.B

70. The Girl From the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag

Morgan Kwon should never have kissed that girl. Now she has a lovestruck selkie hanging around when all she wants to do is disappear. But maybe stepping out of her comfort zone is exactly what Morgan needs. JGraphic Oster.M

71. Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, ill. Stephanie Yue

Katie needs a job to save up money for summer camp. But can she handle catsitting 200 mysterious, mischievous kitties? A clever and whimsical romp with felines, superheroes, supervillains and lots of laughs. JGraphic Venab.C

72. The Leak by Kate Reed Petty, ill. Andrea Bell

Something’s rotten in Ruth’s town and this young reporter is out to get to the bottom of it. A rollicking kid-friendly examination of corruption and freedom of the press. JGraphic Petty.K

73. Other Boys by Damian Alexander

Why would a kid take a vow of silence upon entering his new school? For Damian, nothing in 7th grade is easy. Can he take a risk and start talking again? A stunning memoir that ends on a note of hope. JGraphic Alexa.D

74. Power Up by Sam Nisson, ill. Darnell Johnson

In a virtual world, Miles and Rhys make up the amazing team of Gryphon and Backslash. In real life though, Miles doesn’t know that Rhys is the quiet, friendless new kid in class. Will they discover their friendship can exist IRL? JGraphic Nisso.S

75. Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear by Trang Nguyen, ill. Jeet Zdung

Gorgeous art accompanies the story of Chang, a 12-year-old rescue center volunteer in Vietnam. Her mission? To return the sun bear cub Sorya successfully to the wild. A lushly illustrated environmental tale. JGraphic Nguye.T

76. Shark Summer by Ira Marcks 

It’s summer on Martha’s Island and a big Hollywood film crew has come to shoot a blockbuster movie. Meanwhile Gayle and her friends investigate rumors of a creepy cult leader from a century ago. Turns out, some secrets should definitely stay buried. JGraphic Marck.I

77. Simon and Chester: Super Detectives by Cale Atkinson

Simon’s a ghost, Chester’s a human, and they’re both seriously bored. When Simon decides they should open a detective agency, they never expect to encounter a real mystery involving a mysterious, rather cute, pug. JGraphic Atkin.C


 

Nonfiction Picture Books

78. Begin With a Bee by Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Phyllis Root, ill. Claudia McGehee

Every bumblebee colony begins with just a single queen, waking in the spring, doing everything herself. Colored woodcuts highlight one of the more peculiar tales in the insect kingdom. x595.799 Ketch.L

79. How to Find a Fox by Kate Gardner, ill. Ossi Saarinen

Breathtaking photography instructs young readers on where and how one might spot a fox in the wild. x599.775 Gardn.K

80. I Am Smoke by Henry Herz, ill. Merce Lopez 

Water isn’t the only one that gets a cycle. A rhythmically powerful narration of the many uses of smoke, complemented by illustrations of the swirling substance so important to human life and history. JPicture Herz.H

81. Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D. Williams, ill. Jacqueline Alcántara 

There once lived a girl “who was attracted to tales like mosquitoes to skin.” Hear the tale of one of our greatest American writers, and see how it was stories that buoyed her up, even in bleakest of times. xBiog Hurst.Z Willi.A

82. Klezmer! by Kyra Teis

Clap along to this bouncy celebration of this Jewish musical style. A burst of pure joy from start to finish. x781.62 Teis.K

83. Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís

“I was not a hero… I only saw what needed to be done.” The story of a man who saved 669 children during WWII, beautifully rendered by a picture book master. xBiog Winto.N Sis.P

84. Nina: A Story of Nina Simone by Traci N. Todd, ill. Christian Robinson

When history demands you speak, what happens when you sing? The story of Nina Simone’s life, from child prodigy to voice of multiple generations. xBiog Simon.N Todd.T

85. The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art by Cynthia Levinson, ill. Evan Turk

A finely wrought telling of the life of a boy who went from shtetl to tenement apartment to becoming an artist who would always fight for the oppressed. xBiog Shahn.B Levin.C

86. Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories by Annette Bay Pimentel, ill. Magaly Morales

What do you do when your library contains none of your culture’s stories? Pura Belpré broke the rules to bring the tales of Puerto Rico to life for kids everywhere! xBiog Belpr.P Pimen.A

87. Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids with Nancy K. Mays, ill. Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley 

How did a Bruce Lee-obsessed Native American kid grow up to become one of the first Indigenous women in Congress? Sharice Davids tells her inspiring tale. xBiog David.S David.S

88. Song for Jimi: The Story of Guitar Legend Jimi Hendrix by Charles R. Smith Jr., ill. Edel Rodriguez

 

From Jimmy to Jimi. A young motherless boy goes on to become a rock-and-roll legend in this eye-popping deep dive into Jimi Hendrix’s life and legacy.. xBiog Hendr.J Smith.C

89. 13 Ways to Eat a Fly by Sue Heavenrich, ill. David Clark

How do different creatures eat flies? They zap them and wrap them, poke and soak them, and sometimes even turn them into zombies! Silly and strangely informative. x595.77 Heave.S

90. Two Grooms On a Cake: The Story of America’s First Gay Wedding by Rob Sanders, ill. Robbie Cathro

The true story of the first same-sex couple in America to marry legally. A tale of law, love, and what you need to build a strong relationship. x306.848 Sande.R

91. Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott by Joyce Scott with Brie Spangler, ill. Melissa Sweet

The triumphant story of an artist with Down syndrome who went on to conquer the art world, told by her twin sister. Magnificent colorful art brings Judy’s story to vibrant life. x730.92 Scott.J

92. Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. Floyd Cooper

Once in Tulsa, Oklahoma there was a thriving Black community of successful businesses, churches, libraries, and more. A terrible violence was perpetrated on those residents. This is that story. x976.686 Weath.C

93. When Cloud Became a Cloud by Rob Hodgson

On a hot day a little cloud forms over a lake. What follows is a robust series of adventures backed up with clear science. A marvelous introduction to the water cycle for younger readers. x551.48 Hodgs.R


 

Nonfiction for Older Readers

94. Escape at 10,000 Feet (Unsolved Case Files) by Tom Sullivan / Jailbreak at Alcatraz (Unsolved Case Files) by Tom Sullivan

In 1962 three men made an impossible escape from the notorious island prison Alcatraz. The case remains unsolved. Later in 1971 a man hijacked a plane and stole $200,000 before parachuting out. He was never found. Read their stories and try to solve the mysteries for yourself!  x364.15 Sulli.T & x365.641 Sulli.T

95. The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Eugene Yelchin 

Poor Yevgeny. Growing up in Cold War Russia, all he wants is to find his talent, the way his figure-skating older brother has. But nothing Yevgeny does ever seems to turn out well. Will he ever find his genius gift? xBiog Yelch.E Yelch.E

96. Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen

The author of Hatchet recounts the true tale of his own survival. A gripping story of formative experiences and, ultimately, hope. xBiog Pauls.G Pauls.G

97. How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other by Naomi Klein with Rebecca Stefoff

A terrific, incendiary book that tells it like it is! Complex issues get broken down, showing what young people around the world are doing to protect the environment for future generations to come. x363.73874 Klein.N

98. Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean by Patricia Newman, photos by Annie Crawley

From the Coral Triangle near Indonesia and the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic Ocean at the top of the world, find out how local people are leading the way to reverse the ways in which humans have harmed the ocean. x551.46 Newma.P

99. Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

In 1919, twelve innocent Black men sat on death row, their fate sealed. In this gripping thriller, it took the smarts and resourcefulness of African-American lawyer, Scipio Jones, to free them. A pulse-pounding look at history with a happy ending. x976.788 Walla.S

100. A Shot in the Arm! (Big Ideas That Changed the World) by Don Brown

From smallpox to measles, from polio to COVID-19, we owe vaccines a lot. Take a trip back in time to see where they came from, how they work, and why we need them right now more than ever. JGraphic Brown.D

101. While I Was Away by Waka T. Brown

Waka’s plans for the summer are completely uprooted when her mom sends her off to Japan to live with her grandmother. Worse, can you imagine spending your whole summer in school? A funny, fantastic memoir.J Brown.W

Committee Members

Patricia Alm, Laura Antolin, Sally Battle, Betsy Bird, Chelsea Elward, Kellye Fleming, Jessica Iverson, Katy Jacob, Hannah Johnson, Kennedy Joseph, Leigh Kennelly, Kerry Littel, Grace Menary-Winefield, Martha Meyer, Jennifer Wasilewski Mills, Olivia Mo, Bill Ohms, Bridget Petrites, Livia Pierre, Julie Rand, Rachel Round, Reenie Ruckdaeschel, Mary Kate Schneider, Jonathan Scotese, Robin Sindelar, Amy Louise Tripp, Brian Wilson, and Sarah Jo Zaharako


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

October 18, 2021

Picture Books

1. The Big Bath House by Kyo Maclear, ill. Gracey Zhang

A girl and her Japanese grandmother don’t share a language, but they do share a love of bathing! A gentle story of family and loving all kinds of bodies, big and small. JPicture Macle.K

2. Bodies are Cool by Tyler Feder

One body type is boring. We like bodies in ALL their shapes, sizes, colors, and more. Body positivity gets cranked up to 11 in this fantastic, wild, wonderful title. JPicture Feder.T

3. Bright Star by Yuyi Morales

A visually striking and powerful allegorical work about the young  finding their way in an uncertain world. A companion to the author/illustrator’s award-winning Dreamers. JPicture Moral.Y

4. Ergo by Alexis Deacon, ill. Viviane Schwarz

Ergo the chick only knows the smooth, round world in which she lives, so she very quickly comes to the belief that she IS the world. But when evidence suggests there might be more, this little chicken is unafraid to burst through barriers to discover what is and isn’t real. JPicture Deaco.A

5. I Dream of Popo by Livia Blackburne, ill. Julia Kuo

The distance between Taiwan and America is vast but over time (and Zoom!) a granddaughter and her popo stay in touch with one another. Heartfelt illustrations bridge the gap between nations. JPicture Black.L

6. The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld

When a childless king and queen seek kids of their own, they end up with a wooden robot and a girl made from a log. And as tragedy places the siblings in danger, they’ll do anything they can to keep one another from harm. JPicture Gauld.T

7. Magic Candies by Heena Baek, translated by Sophie Bowman

When Tong Tong purchases a bag of strange round candies, he discovers that each one allows him to hear the hidden speech of someone or some thing. Marvelous models bring this kooky story to life. JPicture Baek.H

8. The Me I Choose to Be by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley, ill. Regis and Kahran Bethencourt

“I am a superhero yet unnamed / I am laughter that falls like rain.” Fantastic, surreal Afro-futuristic photography coupled with a life-affirming text helps turn ordinary kids into their extraordinary selves. JPicture Tarpl.N

9. Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor

Little kingfisher Mel takes her first flight (or is it a plunge?), falling through the air at rapid speed as other animals watch with concern. Be ready for some tricks and laughs that amaze and delight. JPicture Tabor.C

10. Midnight Fair by Gideon Sterer, ill. Mariachiara Di Giorgio

When the fair has closed and the night has come, what happens to the merry-go-rounds, rides, and games? Join a troop of intrepid animal adventurers in this beautifully rendered wordless romp. JPicture Stere.G

11. Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña, ill. Christian Robinson

On a long subway ride, Milo draws and imagines the lives of the people around him. But is there more to their stories than at first glance? Is there more to his own? JPicture Delap.M

12. Mr. Watson’s Chickens by Jarrett Dapier, ill. Andrea Tsurumi

Mr. Watson wants some chickens, so he and his partner Mr. Nelson get three. But what happens when those three turn into 456 or more? JPicture Dapie.J

13. My First Day by Phùng Nguyên Quang and Huynh Kim Liên

A child in Vietnam experiences an eventful journey down the Mekong River. Where is he going? What natural wonders (and dangers) will he encounter next? Visually riveting. JPicture Quang.P

14. On the Trapline by David A. Robertson, ill. Julie Flett

A trip with his grandpa to see the trapline, a place where he once hunted, takes a child into the heart of his family’s history. JPicture Rober.D

15. The Rock From the Sky by Jon Klassen

Five short chapters follow three behatted animals as they avoid death, aliens, and rocks falling from the sky. Not necessarily in that order. JPicture Klass.J

16. Ship in a Bottle by Andrew Prahin

Mouse dreams of a better life so one day she sets sail for distant lands. Peaceful watercolors illustrate her gentle search for a new home. JPicture Prahi.A

17. Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler illustrated by Loren Long

Architects, artists, scientists, and more all dream but . . . someone has to build what they dream up. A clever and respectful celebration of skilled laborers. JPicture Wheel.L

18. Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham, ill. C.G. Esperanza

It’s Sunday at Granny’s and her grandson is old enough to help get that dinner ready. Meat’s got to be primed, greens cleaned, cheese grated. Vibrant eye-popping colors explode off the page in a book so good you can practically smell the food cooking. JPicture Bingh.W

19. We Wait for the Sun by Dovey Johnson Roundtree & Katie McCabe, ill. Raissa Figueroa

Fruit picking as resistance. In a time of terror in the South, a girl accompanies her grandmother and other Black women for an early morning ritual. Warm and sweet, just like a blackberry. xBiog Round.D Round.D

20. Wishes by Mượn Thị Văn, ill. Victo Ngai

This visually striking book chronicles the scary journey by boat made by people fleeing Vietnam to Hong Kong  in 1980. A true story based on the author’s experiences. JPicture Van.M

21. Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos, ill. Jacqueline Alcántara

Your mama is strong, powerful, friendly, beautiful. A multifaceted Latinx celebration of motherhood takes an old insult, and turns it completely on its head. JPicture Ramos.N

 

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


Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2021: Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Religious Tales

Folktales, Fairy Tales, and Religious Tales

22. Blancaflor, The Hero With Secret Powers: A Folktale from Latin America by Nadja Spiegelman, ill. Sergio García Sánchez 

Can true love triumph when your dad’s an ogre? Only daughter Blancaflor can defeat her dad’s tricks and traps as she aids a young prince on his daring quest. JGraphic Spieg.N

23. Boo Stew by Donna L. Washington, ill. Jeffrey Ebbeler

Nobody in Toadsuck Swamp can stomach the food Curly Locks dishes up. But when three Scares invade the Mayor’s home, her oddball cooking comes to the rescue. A twist on the classic Goldilocks tale. x398.2 Washi.D

24. Living Ghosts & Mischievous Monsters: Chilling American Indian Stories by Dan Sasuweh Jones, ill. by Weshoyot Alvitre

This collection of 32 ghost stories gathered from American Indians across the U.S. will chill your bones and ignite your paranoia. Deliciously eerie and perfect for fans of Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. x398.20897 Jones.D

25. Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World’s First Female Rabbi by Sigal Samuel, ill. Vali Mintzi

Almost five hundred years ago, Osnat defied tradition and became the world’s first female rabbi! This beautifully illustrated book mixes fact with surreal folk tale to tell her story. xBiog Barza.A Samue.S

26. Peacemaker by Joseph Bruchac 

The creation of the Iroquois Confederacy is told through the perspective of a twelve-year-old boy. What happens when a heart set on revenge meets a man dedicated to peace? Mythology and history mix in a resonant tale. J Bruch.J

27. Run, Little Chaski! An Inka Trail Adventure by Mariana Llanos, ill. Mariana Ruiz Johnson

Entrusted with a royal message, Little Chaski longs to be  strong, swift, and sharp. But when different animals need help on his route, will he stop to aid them or continue on his way? JPicture LLano.M

28. The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas by María García Esperón, ill. Amanda Mijangos, translated by David Bowles

Fifty stories from Indigenous civilizations across the Americas come together in this single glorious retelling.  x398.2097 Garci.M

 

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


Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2021: Easy Books and Early Chapter Books

Easy and Early Chapter Books

29. Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite by Ashley Spires

Burt’s just your average ten-lined june beetle so there’s not too much that’s interesting about him. Yet even the most average bug can be a hero if it uses what it’s got. And what Burt has… are hugs. JEasy Spire.A

30. Can You Whistle, Johanna? by Ulf Stark, ill. Anna Höglund, translated by Julia Marshall 

Need a grandfather? Why not hop over to the retirement home to pick one out for yourself? A remarkably sweet story, funny and moving by turns. JChapter Stark.U

31. J.D. and the Great Barber Battle by J. Dillard, ill. Akeem S. Roberts

What would you do if your mom gave you the worst haircut of your life? J.D. turns a personal tragedy into a thriving business when he picks up some clippers and taps into his true talent. That is, until someone tries to shut him down… JChapter Dilla.J

32. Jop and Blip Wanna Know: Can You Hear a Penguin Fart on Mars and Other Excellent Questions by Jim Benton

Just because a question is silly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask it. Join two intrepid robots as they give strangely straightforward answers to some seriously silly queries. JChapter Bento.J

33. Jojo Makoons: The Used-To-Be-Best-Friend by Dawn Quigley, ill. Tara Audibert

What do you do when your best friend doesn’t want to sit with you at lunch anymore? Meet Jojo Makoons, an Ojibwe seven-year-old just trying to navigate school and her own kooky inclinations. JChapter Quigl.D

34. Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly

Introvert Marisol loves her family, best friend, silent movies and cats. But she worries a LOT about things, like learning how to climb the backyard tree. Will she ever learn to rise above her fears? JChapter Kelly.E

35. Too Small Tola by Atinuke, ill. Onyinye Iwu

Tola lives in an apartment in Lagos, Nigeria with her Grandmommy, brother, and sister. Smaller than everyone, Tola soon learns that it isn’t size that makes you mighty, and tiny isn’t bad. JChapter Atinuke

36. Tag Team and Training Day (El Toro and Friends) by Raúl the Third, colors by Elaine Bay

The wrestlers from the hilarious Vamos books star in their very own easy reader spinoffs, mixing Spanish with English words and serving up a lot of hilarious action. JEasy Raul

37. We Have a Play Date by Frank W. Dormer

Three friends must navigate playground equipment and the addition of a fourth friend in this hilarious series of misunderstandings and hijinks. JEasy Dorme.F


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

Poetry

38. Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman, ill. Diana Sudyka

Slip into the secret spots of your garden and meet a coy creature unafraid to be silent and stealthy. Contains lovely poems and delicious facts about the tiny treefrog. JPicture Sidma.J

39. Honey for You, Honey for Me: A First Book of Nursery Rhymes collected by Michael Rosen, ill. Chris Riddell

Our youngest readers will bounce with glee when read this array of rhymes both old and new. Big beautiful art is sure to entrance toddlers far and wide. x398.8 Honey

40. Hoop Kings 2: New Royalty by Charles R. Smith Jr. 

“Shimmy, shake, spin, stride / dribble in, step back, dribble out, slide.” Meet 12 of today’s hottest basketball champs as Charles R. Smith Jr. makes their poetry on the court into poetry on the page. x811 Smith.C

41. Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes

Award-winning poet and author Nikki Grimes introduces the poems of women from the Harlem Renaissance then answers them with poems of her own. x811 Grime.N

42. Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile by María José Ferrada, Ill. María Elena Valdez, translated by Lawrence Schimel

Thirty-four poems honor the thirty-four children killed during the dictatorship of General Pinochet. Poignant, loving, beautiful words display each child full of life and hope and wonder. J861.7 Ferra.M

43. The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, ill. Nikkolas Smith

A class assignment to “trace your roots” leads one Black child to ask her grandmother about their family history. Grandma tells the story of Black pride, history, and what it means to come from a resilient people that have loved, resisted, and persevered. x973.0496 Hanna.N

 

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


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

Fiction

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.


Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2021: Comics and Graphic Novels

Comics and Graphic Novels

66. Artie and the Wolf Moon by Olivia Stephens

When Artemis discovers that she and her mom come from a long line of werewolves, she also finds a family she never knew she had. But what’s hunting Artie and her family? And will they be strong enough to survive? JGraphic Steph.O

67. Borders by Thomas King, ill. Natasha Donovan

A boy and his mother end up caught between the American and Canadian border when they refuse to deny their Blackfoot citizenship. A powerful story of identity and standing up for yourself. JGraphic King.T

68. Chunky by Yehudi Mercado

What do you do when your parents push you to try out for sports? If you’re Yehudi, the only Jewish-Mexican kid in your neighborhood, you create Chunky: A personalized mascot. But what happens when Yehudi stops listening to Chunky’s advice? JGraphic Merca.Y

69. Garlic and the Vampire by Bree Paulsen

In Witch Agnes’s village of vegetable people, there’s little to fear. So when a vampire moves into a nearby castle, will timid Garlic have the guts to face him alone? JGraphic Pauls.B

70. The Girl From the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag

Morgan Kwon should never have kissed that girl. Now she has a lovestruck selkie hanging around when all she wants to do is disappear. But maybe stepping out of her comfort zone is exactly what Morgan needs. JGraphic Oster.M

71. Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, ill. Stephanie Yue

Katie needs a job to save up money for summer camp. But can she handle catsitting 200 mysterious, mischievous kitties? A clever and whimsical romp with felines, superheroes, supervillains and lots of laughs. JGraphic Venab.C

72. The Leak by Kate Reed Petty, ill. Andrea Bell

Something’s rotten in Ruth’s town and this young reporter is out to get to the bottom of it. A rollicking kid-friendly examination of corruption and freedom of the press. JGraphic Petty.K

73. Other Boys by Damian Alexander

Why would a kid take a vow of silence upon entering his new school? For Damian, nothing in 7th grade is easy. Can he take a risk and start talking again? A stunning memoir that ends on a note of hope. JGraphic Alexa.D

74. Power Up by Sam Nisson, ill. Darnell Johnson

In a virtual world, Miles and Rhys make up the amazing team of Gryphon and Backslash. In real life though, Miles doesn’t know that Rhys is the quiet, friendless new kid in class. Will they discover their friendship can exist IRL? JGraphic Nisso.S

75. Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear by Trang Nguyen, ill. Jeet Zdung

Gorgeous art accompanies the story of Chang, a 12-year-old rescue center volunteer in Vietnam. Her mission? To return the sun bear cub Sorya successfully to the wild. A lushly illustrated environmental tale. JGraphic Nguye.T

76. Shark Summer by Ira Marcks 

It’s summer on Martha’s Island and a big Hollywood film crew has come to shoot a blockbuster movie. Meanwhile Gayle and her friends investigate rumors of a creepy cult leader from a century ago. Turns out, some secrets should definitely stay buried. JGraphic Marck.I

77. Simon and Chester: Super Detectives by Cale Atkinson

Simon’s a ghost, Chester’s a human, and they’re both seriously bored. When Simon decides they should open a detective agency, they never expect to encounter a real mystery involving a mysterious, rather cute, pug. JGraphic Atkin.C

 

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


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

Nonfiction Picture Books

78. Begin With a Bee by Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Phyllis Root, ill. Claudia McGehee

Every bumblebee colony begins with just a single queen, waking in the spring, doing everything herself. Colored woodcuts highlight one of the more peculiar tales in the insect kingdom. x595.799 Ketch.L

79. How to Find a Fox by Kate Gardner, ill. Ossi Saarinen

Breathtaking photography instructs young readers on where and how one might spot a fox in the wild. x599.775 Gardn.K

80. I Am Smoke by Henry Herz, ill. Merce Lopez 

Water isn’t the only one that gets a cycle. A rhythmically powerful narration of the many uses of smoke, complemented by illustrations of the swirling substance so important to human life and history. JPic Herz.H

81. Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D. Williams, ill. Jacqueline Alcántara 

There once lived a girl “who was attracted to tales like mosquitoes to skin.” Hear the tale of one of our greatest American writers, and see how it was stories that buoyed her up, even in bleakest of times. xBiog Hurst.Z Willi.A

82. Klezmer! by Kyra Teis

Clap along to this bouncy celebration of this Jewish musical style. A burst of pure joy from start to finish. x781.62 Teis.K

83. Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís

“I was not a hero… I only saw what needed to be done.” The story of a man who saved 669 children during WWII, beautifully rendered by a picture book master. xBiog Winto.N Sis.P

84. Nina: A Story of Nina Simone by Traci N. Todd, ill. Christian Robinson

When history demands you speak, what happens when you sing? The story of Nina Simone’s life, from child prodigy to voice of multiple generations. xBiog Simon.N Todd.T

85. The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art by Cynthia Levinson, ill. Evan Turk

A finely wrought telling of the life of a boy who went from shtetl to tenement apartment to becoming an artist who would always fight for the oppressed. xBiog Shahn.B Levin.C

86. Pura’s Cuentos: How Pura Belpré Reshaped Libraries with Her Stories by Annette Bay Pimentel, ill. Magaly Morales

What do you do when your library contains none of your culture’s stories? Pura Belpré broke the rules to bring the tales of Puerto Rico to life for kids everywhere! xBiog Belpr.P Pimen.A

87. Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids with Nancy K. Mays, ill. Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley 

How did a Bruce Lee-obsessed Native American kid grow up to become one of the first Indigenous women in Congress? Sharice Davids tells her inspiring tale. xBiog David.S David.S

88. Song for Jimi: The Story of Guitar Legend Jimi Hendrix by Charles R. Smith Jr., ill. Edel Rodriguez

 

From Jimmy to Jimi. A young motherless boy goes on to become a rock-and-roll legend in a eye-popping deep dive into the Jimi Hendrix life and legacy. xBiog Hendr.J Smith.C

89. 13 Ways to Eat a Fly by Sue Heavenrich, ill. David Clark

How do different creatures eat flies? They zap them and wrap them, poke and soak them, and sometimes even turn them into zombies! Silly and strangely informative. x595.77 Heave.S

90. Two Grooms On a Cake: The Story of America’s First Gay Wedding by Rob Sanders, ill. Robbie Cathro

The true story of the first same-sex couple in America to marry legally. A tale of law, love, and what you need to build a strong relationship. x306.848 Sande.R

91. Unbound: The Life and Art of Judith Scott by Joyce Scott with Brie Spangler, ill. Melissa Sweet

The triumphant story of an artist with Down syndrome who went on to conquer the art world, told by her twin sister. Magnificent colorful art brings Judy’s story to vibrant life. x730.92 Scott.J

92. Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. Floyd Cooper

Once in Tulsa, Oklahoma there was a thriving Black community of successful businesses, churches, libraries, and more. Once, a terrible violence was perpetrated on those residents. This is that story. x976.686 Weath.C

93. When Cloud Became a Cloud by Rob Hodgson

On a hot day a little cloud forms over a lake. What follows is a robust series of adventures backed up with clear science. A marvelous introduction to the water cycle for younger readers. x551.48 Hodgs.R

 

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


Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids 2021: Nonfiction for Older Readers

Nonfiction for Older Readers

94. Escape at 10,000 Feet (Unsolved Case Files) by Tom Sullivan / Jailbreak at Alcatraz (Unsolved Case Files) by Tom Sullivan

In 1962 three men made an impossible escape from the notorious island prison Alcatraz. The case remains unsolved. Later in 1971 a man hijacked a plane and stole $200,000 before parachuting out. He was never found. Read their stories and try to solve the mysteries for yourself!  x364.15 Sulli.T & x365.641 Sulli.T

95. The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Eugene Yelchin 

Poor Yevgeny. Growing up in Cold War Russia, all he wants is to find his talent, the way his figure-skating older brother has. But nothing Yevgeny does ever seems to turn out well. Will he ever find his genius gift? xBiog Yelch.E Yelch.E

96. Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen

The author of Hatchet recounts the true tale of his own survival. A gripping story of formative experiences and, ultimately, hope. xBiog Pauls.G Pauls.G

97. How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other by Naomi Klein

A terrific, incendiary book that tells it like it is! Complex issues get broken down, showing what young people around the world are doing to protect the environment for future generations to come. x363.73874 Klein.N

98. Planet Ocean: Why We All Need a Healthy Ocean by Patricia Newman, photos by Annie Crawley

From the Coral Triangle near Indonesia and the Salish Sea in the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic Ocean at the top of the world, find out how local people are leading the way to reverse the ways in which humans have harmed the ocean. x551.46 Newma.P

99. Race Against Time: The Untold Story of Scipio Jones and the Battle to Save Twelve Innocent Men by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace

In 1919, twelve innocent Black men sat on death row, their fate sealed. In this gripping thriller, it took the smarts and resourcefulness of African-American lawyer, Scipio Jones, to free them. A pulse-pounding look at history with a happy ending. x976.788 Walla.S

100. A Shot in the Arm! (Big Ideas That Changed the World) by Don Brown

From smallpox to measles, from polio to COVID-19, we owe vaccines a lot. Take a trip back in time to see where they came from, how they work, and why we need them right now more than ever. JGraphic Brown.D

101. While I Was Away by Waka T. Brown

Waka’s plans for the summer are completely uprooted when her mom sends her off to Japan to live with her grandmother. Worse, can you imagine spending your whole summer in school? A funny, fantastic memoir.J Brown.W

 

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

 

 


Announcing Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids List of 2020!

November 6, 2020

 

Evanston Public Library is pleased to announce the results of our incredibly hardworking 101 Great Books for Kids committee. 2020 proved to be a particularly difficult year for us. When the pandemic closed our library in March it also kept all the books we were trying to read sequestered away. Thanks to the magnificent efforts of staff members like Jessica Iverson, however, deliveries were made in a safe and efficient manner to everyone in their homes. In the end, we may have ended up reading more books for this committee than ever before.

Today’s list is a testament to the dedication of the people of this committee. Please be sure to stop by our library to request any of the titles you would like to see. They represent some of the best books of the year and should not be missed.

All 101 books on this list are appropriate for readers 2-12. You can download a PDF of these titles here at: 101 Great Books for Kids 2020.

For your convenience, here are the categories of the list:

 

Picture Books

Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Religious Tales

Easy and Early Chapter Books

Poetry and Short Stories

Fiction

Comics and Graphic Novels

Nonfiction Picture Books

Nonfiction for Older Readers


 

 

Picture Books

 

  1. The Barnabus Project by Terry, Eric and Devin Fan.

 

Barnabus is half mouse, half elephant, and 100% an utter failure as a genetically modified pet. When he and his imperfect friends decide to make a break for freedom, you’ll root for them every step of the way. Call Number: JPicture Fan.T

 

 

2. Danbi Leads the School Parade by Anna Kim.

 

Charming illustrations tell the tale of how a young Korean immigrant child’s first day of school goes from tragedy to triumph. Call Number: JPicture Kim.A

 

3. Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina, ill. Sonia Sánchez.

 

What do you do when your “numero uno” best friend is moving away? Daniela and Evelyn squeeze every bit of fun out of their last day in this sweet, hopeful narrative. Call Number: JPicture Medin.M

 

 

4. Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots by Michael Rex.

 

A bunch of cheery robots help readers learn the difference between facts and opinions in this colorful, funny, much-needed romp. Call Number: JPicture Rex.M

 

5. Friday Night Wrestlefest by J.F. Fox, ill. Micah Player.

 

Are you ready to RUMBLE??? Where will your loyalties lie when Dangerous Daddoo takes on the Tag Team Twins with Mama-Rama joining in the fun? Call Number: JPicture Fox.J

 

6. The Haunted Lake by P.J. Lynch.

 

Jacob loves Ellen and Ellen loves Jacob. But when Jacob explores a mysterious light in an underwater tower, he’s sucked into the embrace of the beautiful, very dead, Lillith. Can Ellen rescue her love? Call Number: JPicture Lynch.P

 

7. Hike by Pete Oswald.

A father and child travel to the mountains and enjoy the great outdoors in this warm wordless book. Call Number: J Picture Oswal.P

 

8. I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes, ill. Gordon C. James.

“I am a roaring flame of creativity. / I am a lightning round of questions, and / a star-filled sky of solutions”. An empowering ode to Black boy joy. Call Number: JPicture Barne.D

 

9. I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott, ill. Sydney Smith.

“I wake up each morning with the sounds of words all around me. And I can’t say them all . . .” This exquisitely illustrated book tells the tale of a stuttering kid who finds comfort in his father’s advice. Call Number: JPicture Scott.J

 

10. My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano, ill. Jillian Tamaki.

“she is my best friend i think / i’ve never had a best friend so i’m not sure.” Two girls meet, play, and enact what may be the world’s most perfect example of friendship. Call Number: JPicture Fogli.J

 

11. Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker, ill. April Harrison.

Grandparents Day is coming up and Zura’s Nana Akua intends to arrive. But with the traditional tribal marks on her face, will Zura’s classmates be nice or be mean? Call Number: JPicture Walke.T

 

12. A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis.

From a “comma in the long, long sentence of the stream” (a tadpole!) to “a black coat slipped around Earth’s shoulders” (night!) simple riddles and breathtaking pictures produce a beautiful book. Call Number: JPicture Porti.A

 

13. Old Rock (Is Not Boring) by Deb Pilutti.

The other forest creatures think Old Rock lives a boring life, but it astounds them with stories of its surprisingly eventful existence. A clever, humorous science lesson. Call Number: JPicture Pilut.D

 

14. On Account of the Gum by Adam Rex.

Oh no. There’s gum stuck in your hair? Don’t worry, I know a surefire solution. A book where things get increasingly, hilariously, catastrophically worse. Call Number: JPicture Rex.A

 

15. Outside In by Deborah Underwood, ill. Cindy Derby.

When you forget that the Outside exists, it has ways of gently reminding you. Nature is the true star of the show in this gentle, poetic celebration of the outdoors. Call Number: JPicture Under.D

 

16. Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome, ill. James E. Ransome.

At the crack of dawn Ruth Ellen clutches her book of the life of Frederick Douglass as she and her family climb a train bound for New York City. A thrilling historic tale of one family’s hope for a better life. Call Number: JPicture Cline.L

 

17. A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart by Zetta Elliott, ill. Noa Denmon.

Deep down inside you might feel joy, fear, anger, and peace. But more than anything else, feel the love. A poem of pride by an Evanston author. Call Number: JPicture Ellio.Z

 

18. Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan, ill. Anna Bron.

Salma, a Syrian refugee living in Vancouver, hopes she can make her mother happy again by cooking one of her favorite dishes. A lovely celebration of community and compassion. Call Number: JPicture Ramad.D

 

19. Smashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha, ill. Dan Yaccarino.

Who’s looking for some serious smash time? Join Mr. Gilly as he crashes, tumbles and crumbles a great big building down to smithereens. Expect to read this one out loud again and again! Call Number: JPicture Zimme.A

 

20. This Old Dog by Martha Brockenbrough, ill. Gabriel Alborozo.

Old Dog likes to take things slow to explore the world, but his people just rush rush rush. Will New Girl be the friend he needs? Call Number: JPicture Brock.M

 

21. We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, ill. Michaela Goade.

A powerful look at the Indigenous-led movements in the United States to stop the oil pipelines from ruining the natural world. Call Number: JPicture Linds.C

 

22. Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, ill. Luisa Uribe.

On the first day of her new school, no one can pronounce a little girl’s name. Fortunately, her mother has a surefire solution. A celebration of names of every kind. Call Number: JPicture Thomp.J

 


 

Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Religious Tales

 

23. Chia and the Fox Man: An Alaskan Dena’ina Fable adapted by Barbara J. Atwater and Ethan J. Atwater, ill. Mindy Dwyer.

Orphaned Chia does a fox a great wrong by stealing its axe. Will he do what’s right or reject his elders’ teachings? Call Number: JPicture Atwat.B

 

24. The Fabled Life of Aesop by Ian Lendler, ill. Pamela Zagarenski.

Born a slave, young Aesop learned early on that by using his gift of storytelling he could dispense wisdom and outwit oppression at the same time. Contains twelve of Aesop’s folktales. Call Number: xBiog Aesop Lendl.I

 

25. The Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth by Duncan Tonatiuh.

 

When the gods of Mesoamerica fail to create human creatures, they give the sacred bones of creation to the lord of the underworld. Only Quetzalcóatl, the Feathered Serpent, is brave enough to take back the bones and try again. Call Number: x398.208972 Tonat.D

 

26. The Secret of the Tattered Shoes by Jackie Morris, ill. Ehsan Abdollahi.

A weary soldier encounters a castle with a mystery. The king needs to know why his daughters’ shoes are tattered and torn every night. But is the answer worth dying for? Call Number: x398.20943 Morri.J

 

27. Tales of the Feathered Serpent: Rise of the Halfling King by David Bowles, ill. Charlene Bowles.

Sayam’s just your average half-human boy in this Mayan tale. When he pops out of an egg and is raised by a kind witch, he has no idea he’ll soon be challenging a tyrant for his throne. Call Number: JGraphic Bowle.D

 

28. Three Billy Goats Buenos by Susan Middleton Elya, ill. Miguel Ordóñez.

A beautiful blend of Spanish and English retells the classic story of three plump little cabritos and the hungry gigante that wants to munch them up. Call Number: JPicture Elya.S


 

Easy and Early Chapter Books

 

29. Albert Hopper, Science Hero by John Himmelman.

Join intrepid science explorer Albert Hopper and his equally fearless (sorta) niece and nephew as they drill down to the center of the Earth! Science facts merge with wacky adventures. Fun for all! Call Number: J Himme.J

 

30. All the Dear Little Animals by Ulf Nilsson, ill. Eva Eriksson, translated by Julia Marshall.

When Esther finds a dead bumblebee, she joins her friend and her little brother Puttie in becoming the neighborhood funeral directors for a day. A funny, strangely touching look at the lighter side of death. Call Number: J Nilss.U

 

31. A Bear Named Bjorn by Delphine Perret, translated by Antony Shugaar.

Six small stories tell the tale of a bear and his friends. Fans of Winnie-the-Pooh will find much to love in this charming collection. Call Number: JChapter Perre.D

 

32. The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows, ill. Sam Ricks.

“Iggy is the hero of this book because he’s the one who does the things in it. All the things he does (in this book) are bad. Every last one of them.” Intrigued? Then find out just what Iggy did. Call Number: JChapter Barro.A

 

33. Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business by Lyla Lee, ill. Dung Ho.

Being the new kid is hard enough, but what happens when people make fun of your food? Enterprising Mindy Kim has a solution, and it might just get her a friend in the process. Call Number: JChapter Lee.L

 

34. See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle, ill. Mike Wohnoutka.

In this easy book charmer, a much put upon dog must contend with simple narration that clearly wishes him ill. Call Number: JEasy Laroc.D

 

35. Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem by Kate DiCamillo, ill. Chris Van Dusen.

Stella likes school and she does not like know-it-all Horace Broom. But when she and Horace accidentally end up locked in a closet in the pitch black, the solution to their problem lies in friendship. Call Number: JChapter Dicam.K

 

36. Ty’s Travels: All Aboard! by Kelly Starling Lyons, ill. Nina Mata.

“Woo-woo!” All aboard the Ty express! When no one in his family will play with him, Ty makes his own fun and soon everyone’s getting involved. Call Number: JBegin Lyons.K

 

37. What About Worms? by Ryan T. Higgins.

Tigers may be big and brave, but they do have one fear: WORMS! So what happens when the worms decide that Tiger’s a wonderful guy? Call Number: JPicture Wille.M

 


 

Poetry and Short Stories

 

38. A Hatful of Dragons: And More Than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems by Vikram Madan.

Hilarity abounds in this wild and wacky conglomeration of unique (and goofy) poems! Expect 13.8 billion laughs! Call Number: x811 Madan.V

39. I Wish by Toon Tellegen, ill. Ingrid Godon, translated by David Colmer.

A strange, melancholy, oddly hopeful book for our strange, melancholy, oddly hopeful little world. Call Number: x811 Telle.T

 

40. Just Like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

The girls in this book might be drummers, little sisters, shy, or “door buster”s, but each one has something important to say, so you better sit back and listen. Call Number: x811 Brant.V

 

41. On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring by Buffy Silverman.

Are you ready to take a deep dive into a drip-droppy, slip-sloppy, hawk-squawking, woods-walking, crocus-poking, mitten-soaking, snow-melting day? Gorgeous photography celebrates the arrival of spring. Call Number: x508.2 Silve.B

 

42. Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices, edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed, ill. Sara Alfageeh.

These captivating short stories–some funny, some poignant–by some of the best Muslim authors writing today, capture the various ways Eid is celebrated. Call Number: x297.36 Once


 

Fiction

 

43. The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman.

In 1986 Ukraine two girls become unlikely friends after experiencing the fallout from the horrifying Chernobyl crisis. Call Number: J Blank.A

 

44. Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk.

Everyone blames Ellie for her father’s accident but this city girl turned mountain expert is determined to find a cure for his coma. A Depression-era tale of fortitude punctuated with scintillating descriptions and writing. Call Number: J Wolk.L

 

45. Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros.

Fifth grader Efrén’s life turns upside down after he discovers his beloved mother has been deported. This powerful, fast-paced novel shows a boy struggling to keep his family together. Call Number: J Cisne.E

 

46. Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

Sisters Della and Suki have always stuck together, even when they had to live with their mom’s terrible boyfriend. Now he’s headed to jail but Suki’s still not okay. A tough and gripping story of abuse and hope. Call Number: J Bradl.K

 

47. Fly On the Wall by Remy Lai.

Henry Khoo’s family treats him like a baby, so he does the only natural thing in response: he buys a ticket and hops a plane to Shanghai! A hilarious and clever adventure. Call Number: J Lai.R

 

48. From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks.

Budding chef Zoe discovers a letter from her estranged birth father serving time in jail for murder. When he tells her he didn’t do it, Zoe will stop at nothing to prove his innocence. Call Number: J Marks.J

 

49. A Game of Fox and Squirrels by Jenn Reese.

If you could have only one wish, what would it be? When Samantha plays a game with a charming fox, she has a chance to make everything go back to the way it was. But should she? Call Number: J Reese.J

 

50. Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen by Sarah Kapit.

Autistic Vivy can throw a mean knuckleball and wants to play on an all-boys’ little league team. Made up of emails between Vivy and a Major League pitching star, this engaging book is a home run. Call Number: J Kapit.S

 

51. The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf.

Suraya’s best friend has always been a ghost. He’s cruel and terrible and scary and he adores Suraya. So what happens when she decides the two can’t be together anymore? Call Number: J Hanna

 

52. Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker.

Ware loves the age of knights and chivalry. Jolene prefers the reality of plants and trees. A powerful look at friendship and the birth of a budding artist. Call Number: J Penny.S

 

53. Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon.

A simple game of Hide and Seek turns into a nightmare when a malevolent monster starts pulling kids into its terrifying world. You can run, but you cannot hide! Call Number: J Hermo.D

 

54. King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender.

In this visceral Louisiana-set novel, twelve-year-old Kingston experiences racism and homophobia while grieving the death of an older brother who may now be a dragonfly. Call Number: J Calle.K

 

55. Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransome.

In the 1940s, Lymon loves music and his grandpops. However, after tragedy strikes, he must leave his home and travel into an uncertain future up North. Call Number: J Cline.L

 

56. The Magic in Changing Your Stars by Leah Henderson.

After Ailey botches his audition for The Wiz, his grandfather hands him magical shoes that once belonged to the legendary Bo Bojangles Robinson. Soon Ailey’s transported to 1939 Harlem where he meets his grandfather…as a boy with tapdance dreams! Call Number: J Hende.L

 

57. The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert.

California surfer Alberta is the only Black girl in her grade until goth Brooklynite Edie moves into the house next door. Can such different people become friends? Call Number: J Colbe.B

 

58. Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian, ill. Nasaya Mafaridik.

A Pakistani Muslim boy living in England faces big changes when he starts school in a new town. Fans of Wimpy Kid and Big Nate, meet the one and only Omar! Call Number: J Mian.Z

 

59. Second Dad Summer by Benjamin Klas, ill. Fian Arroyo.

Jeremiah spends the summer with his dad. The only problem: his father’s flamboyant new boyfriend embarrasses him. Will Jeremiah learn to accept the new dad in his life? Call Number: J Klas.B

 

60. Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare Le Zotte.

Set in 1805, this atmospheric novel introduces Mary Lambert, a proud Deaf girl who lives among other Deaf people on Martha’s Vineyard. Still mourning the death of her beloved older brother, Mary finds her world shaken up by the arrival of a troubling stranger. Call Number: J Lezot.A

 

61. Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, ill. Jon Klassen.

As far as Badger’s concerned, he’s happiest holed up in his brownstone doing “important rock work”. But that’s before Skunk arrives and turns his life upside down in this kooky, charming bedtime read. Call Number: J Timbe.A

 

62. Stand Up, Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim.

Shy Yumi wants to be a stand-up comedian, but her parents do not see a future in telling jokes. When she sneaks a peek at a summer comedy camp, the instructor mistakes her for someone else…and Yumi goes along with it! Breezy fun. Call Number: J Kim.J

 

63. The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas.

Cuban-American Army brat Nestor moves from town to town. The upside? He can talk to animals. Soon after he arrives in New Haven, Texas, he learns that he must solve a mystery involving missing pets, his abuela, and sinister forces in the woods. Call Number: J Cueva.A

 

64. Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson, ill. Nina Mata.

After her family experiences some financial hardship, Ryan Hart has to move to a new house and face new challenges in Coretta Scott King Author winner Watson’s chipper series opener. Call Number: J Watso.R

 

65. Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar.

The wacky kids of Wayside School have all kinds of problems. So when a great big, nasty cloud of doom perches on top of their school, things go from weird to wild. Call Number: J Sacha.L

 

66. What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado.

In this fast-paced realistic novel, Black sixth grader Stephen’s eyes become open to a world divided by race and force him to choose different lanes. Call Number: J Madlo.T

 

67. Wink by Rob Harrell.

It’s hard to blend in when you’re losing your hair, forced to wear a floppy cowboy hat, and get called “the cancer kid” behind your back. But when Ross Maloy becomes obsessed with learning the guitar, things go from awful to awesome. Call Number: J Harre.R


 

Comics and Graphic Novels

68. Go With the Flow by Lily Williams, ill. Karen Schneemann.

How do you battle injustice when you’re young? When Abby discovers that the tampon/tampax machines in her school are always empty, she and her friends band together to fight for what’s right. Call Number: JGraphic Willi.L

 

69. Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê, ill. Andie Tong.

After his grandmother dies, Tai Pham is left with more than just his sadness. He’s left with her jade ring and legacy as the last Green Lantern. But can Tai get a hold on his emotions long enough to learn how the ring truly works? Call Number: JGraphic Le.M

 

70. Mister Invincible: Local Hero by Pascal Jousselin with Laurence Croix, translated by David Bryon and Ivanka T. Hahnenberger.

Evildoers, beware! Mister Invincible is here! With the power of playing with panels and sequential pacing, consider this French import one of the funniest and cleverest books of the year. Call Number: JGraphic Jouss.P

 

71. My Video Game Ate My Homework by Dustin Hansen.

What do you do when a virtual reality game eats the science fair project that was going to save you from summer school? This accessible adventure has the answer. Call Number: JGraphic Hanse.D

 

72. The Postman From Space by Guillaume Perreault, translated by Françoise Bui.

Bob’s a simple space postman who loves his regular routine. So what’s he supposed to do when the Boss gives him a wacky new route with strange planets and kooky inhabitants? A younger comic with a gentle lesson of getting out of your comfort zone. Call Number: JGraphic Perre.G

 

73. The Runaway Princess by Johan Troïanowski, translated by Anne Collins Smith and Owen M. Smith.

Princess Robin just can’t stay put! In three lushly illustrated stories she helps new friends, outwits a witch, and defeats a crew of nasty pirates. Call Number: JGraphic Troia.J

 

74. Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz.

Basketball loving Jamila and super sleuth Shirley team up to escape unwanted summer camps and to solve a mystery involving a pool and a missing gecko. Call Number: JGraphic Goerz.G

 

75. Snapdragon by Kat Leyh.

When she stumbles on the local witch in the woods, Snapdragon discovers a whole wide world where being the odd one is a blessing, not a curse. Call Number: JGraphic Leyh.K

76. Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley, colored by Whitney Cogar.

Jen does not want the following: To move to the country with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend, to get to know his kids, and to work on a farm. But what happens when she starts to like not just one but ALL of those things? An Evanston artist’s story. Call Number: JGraphic Knisl.L

 

77. Twins by Varian Johnson, ill. Shannon Wright.

Shy Maureen can’t understand why her twin sister Francine keeps pulling away from her. Hurt and betrayed, their split culminates in each girl running against the other for class president. May the best twin win! Call Number: JGraphic Johns.V

 

78. Yorick and Bones by Jeremy Tankard and Hermione Tankard.

Poor Yorick. Stuck in the ground he’s rescued by a friendly pup and sets off on a quest to find a real, true friend. Can the answer to his prayers be closer than he thinks? Call Number: JGraphic Tanka.J


 

Nonfiction Picture Books

79. All of a Sudden and Forever: Help and Healing After the Oklahoma City Bombing by Chris Barton, ill. Nicole Xu.

When something horrible happens, what do you do? One April morning in Oklahoma a truck with a bomb exploded. In its wake, a single tree remained. A true story of healing and recovery. Call Number: x363.32 Barto.C

 

80. The Cat Man of Aleppo by Irene Latham and Karim Shamsi-Basha, ill. Yuko Shimizu.

It’s not just humans that suffer when there’s war. When ambulance driver Alaa Aljaleel discovers the hungry and abandoned cats on the streets of Aleppo, Syria, he rallies the world to help him care for the small and the weak. Call Number: JPicture Latha.I

 

81. Clever Hans: The True Story of the Counting, Adding, and Time-Telling Horse by Kerri Kokias, ill. Mike Lowery.

Can a horse really be as smart as a human? Clever Hans sure seemed like it. A fascinating story of the equine that fooled the world with his true intelligence. Call Number: x636.1 Kokia.K

 

82. Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson’s Journey to the Stars by Gary Golio, ill. E.B. Lewis.

How did the voice of a blind man, travelling this country by train, literally reach to the stars? Golio brings to life the beautiful story of how Willie Johnson’s singing ended up on the Golden Record of Voyager I. Call Number: xBiog Johns.B Golio.G

 

83. Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring by Matthew Burgess, ill. Josh Cochran.

“I think it is very important to be in love with life.” Since he was a young child, Keith Haring wanted to draw and paint. Now the full story of his life comes to life in this eye-catching, vibrant, joyful biography. Call Number: xBiog Harin.K Burge.M

 

84. Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade, ill. Cozbi A. Cabrera.

When she was a child in Chicago, this future Poet Laureate would look at the clouds and “dream about the future, which was going to be ecstatically exquisite.” A gorgeously rendered look at the power of perseverance by an Evanston artist. Call Number: xBiog Brook.G Slade.S

 

85. Fauja Singh Keeps Going: The True Story of the Oldest Person to Ever Run a Marathon by Simran Jeet Singh, ill. Baljinder Kaur.

What happens when you decide to run your first marathon at the age of 81? What happens when you start finishing marathons at 100? The inspiring story of a man that has never let the world slow him down. Call Number: xBiog Faujasi Singh.S

 

86. A Garden in Your Belly: Meet the Microbes in Your Gut by Masha D’Yans.

Take a gorgeous trip into your microbiome, where good food and exercise will keep the more than 100 trillion microorganisms there happy and healthy. Lush and funny watercolors bring the impossibly small to life! Call Number: x612.3 Dyans.M

 

87. Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming, ill. Eric Rohmann.

The life cycle of a bee is so much more than just getting honey. Follow an Apis mellifera as she cycles through multiple jobs in the hive, complemented by luscious, velvety oil paints. Call Number: x595.799 Flemi.C

 

88. If You Take Away the Otter by Susannah Buhrman-Deever, ill. by Matthew Trueman.

Playful sea otters aren’t merely cute. Once they were hunted to near extinction causing an army of sea urchins to wreak devastation. A clever, enticing, and beautiful look at the interconnectedness of nature. Call Number: x599.7695 Buhrm.S

 

89. Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of by Natalie Labarre.

Tired of grown-ups asking you what you want to be when you grow up? Then take some tips from a book that offers you such options as water slide tester, dinosaur duster, gross stunt tester, and more! Call Number: x331.702 Labar.N

 

90. The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang, ill. Khoa Le.

Kalia’s grandmother has one tooth, but her smile is the most beautiful her granddaughter has ever seen. A moving picture book memoir filled with jaw-dropping art about growing up with little money in a Hmong-American home. Call Number: x305.9069 Yang.K

 

91. A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story by Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan, ill. Floyd Cooper.

Sharon Langley looks back at 1963, the year she became the first African-American child to ride the carousel in Baltimore’s Gwynn Oak Amusement Park. Call Number: x305.8 Langl.S

92. Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb! by Veronica Chambers, ill. Rachelle Baker.

“A catalyst for change in America” gets her due in this riveting, inspirational, magnificent biography of a figure that so much more than just the first Black woman to make a bid for the presidency. Call Number: xBiog Chish.S Chamb.V

 

93. Swish! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters by Suzanne Slade, ill. Don Tate.

“Skilled athletes, expert players, and electrifying performers all rolled into one.” Meet the ballplayers that broke racial barriers even as they went on to live up to their globe trotting name. Call Number: x796.323 Slade.S

 

94. Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin.

From kids to the cosmic web of the universe, gorgeous watercolors encompass the sheer scope and scale of everything inside and beyond our own galaxy. Call Number: x523.1 Chin.J


 

Nonfiction for Older Readers

 

95. All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat.

In 2018, saving twelve boys and their soccer coach trapped in a Thai cave became a worldwide rescue effort. This account chronicles how the plan came together and offers a rewarding Thai perspective along the way. Call Number: x796.525 Soont.C

 

96. The Bird in Me Flies by Sara Lundberg, translated by B.J. Epstein.

Berta may be just a farm girl, but she desperately yearns to be an artist. But in 1920s Sweden, a dream like that is impossible . . . or is it? Call Number: J Lundb.S

 

97. Darwin’s Rival: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Search for Evolution by Christiane Dorion, ill. Harry Tennant.

Living a life of adventure and exploration, this canny scientist helped Darwin unlock the secrets of evolution, though his name is practically lost to history today. Call Number: xBiog Walla.A Dorio.C

 

98. The Eagle Huntress: The True Story of the Girl Who Soared Above Expectations by Aisholpan Nurgaiv with Liz Welch.

The long tradition of Kazakh eagle training has always been handed down from father to son. Now meet Aisholpan, the girl who lives to defy expectations. Call Number: xBiog Aisho.N Aisho.N

 

99. A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games by Lori Alexander, ill. Allan Drummond.

In the mid-1900s, a time when disabled people with spinal injuries had little hope, doctor Ludwig Guttmann discovered ways to help them not only survive but thrive. His efforts led to the creation of the wildly popular Paralympic Games. Call Number: xBiog Guttm.L Alexa.L

 

100. The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth, edited by Wade and Cheryl Willis Hudson.

Thirty excellent authors and artists from different backgrounds talk about how to be anti-racist in a series of powerful short essays, stories, poems, and illustrations. Call Number: x305.8 Talk

 

101. Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem by Kate Messner.

It’s a master of disguise, can swallow an entire baby deer, and is rapidly devouring the Florida natural wildlife. How do you stop an invasive species that’s practically invisible? These scientists may have found the answer. Call Number: x597.9678 Messn.K


 

Committee Members

Patricia Alm, Sally Battle, Betsy Bird, Chelsea Elward, Jessica Iverson, Katy Jacob, Hannah Johnson, Leigh Kennelly, Kerry Littel, Elacsha Madison, Judith Mathews, Susan McClelland, Christina Mendez, Martha Meyer, Jennifer Wasilewski Mills, Olivia Mo, Bill Ohms, Julie Rand, Reenie Ruckdaeschel, Paula Shapiro, Elizabeth English Steimle, Bridget Sweeney, Luke Thompson, Amy Louise Tripp, Jennifer Wasilewski, and Brian Wilson

 

 

 

 


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