Guts by Raina Telgemeier

In yet another graphic memoir, young Raina struggles with anxiety about mean girls, feeling left out, food sensitivity, and a fear of getting sick and puking – all of which Telegemeier writes about with compassion and humor. She reminds us that we all experience worry and stress – it’s part of growing up – but that we can learn to control how much we suffer from it.

Guest: A Changeling Tale by Mary Downing Hahn

What would you do if your baby brother was snatched away and replaced with a nasty changeling? And what if it was your fault? That’s the trouble young Mollie Coverall is facing. She may never see her adorable baby brother again, her family is falling apart and the worst part is that her mother is forced to care for the sickly, mean-spirited Kinde Folk child who they call Guest. Summoning her courage, Mollie decides that it’s her job to take Guest back to the changelings and beg for her brother’s return. But there are many dangers on the road to the dark lands – who is a young girl to trust? Mary Downing Hahn weaves another exciting, magical tale with many unexpected twists that will enthrall readers of all ages. Recommended for readers 4th grade and up.

The 101 Great Books for Kids (2019 Edition) Is Here!

November 25, 2019

I don’t like to brag, but honestly if you want to find THE best recommended list of books for kids, you needn’t look any further than Evanston Public Library. Oh, Chicago has their list, and New York’s is fine, but I daresay you will never find the level of love and dedication as is evident on ours. For 10 months of the year, EPL employees use their free time to read as many children’s books as possible. The sheer scale of it would blow your mind. Then, in October, we whittle them down to a mere 101 so that you, oh seekers of great gift books for children, will have access to the best of the best of the best.

The categories here are:

Picture Books

Folktales and Fairy Tales

Easy and Chapter Books



Comics and Graphic Novels


You can download a truly beautiful PDF of the list here, if you like.

And now, without further ado . . . the list!


Picture Books


B is for Baby by Atinuke, ill. Angela Brooksbank.

Brother loads a Basket of Bananas onto his Bicycle but he doesn’t notice that Baby comes too. A sweet celebration of the letter “B” for the younger readers set in Nigeria today. Call Number: JPicture Atinuke

Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together by Andrea Tsurumi.


Crab bakes cakes. Crab bakes lots of cakes. But what can crab do when tragedy strikes? This environmental tale provides sound advice in the face of disaster. Call Number: JPicture Tsuru.A

The Full House and the Empty House by LK James.

Two best friends dance and appreciate their differences in this strange, kind, dreamlike little book. Call Number: JPicture James.L

The Girl and the Wolf by Katherena Vermette, ill. Julie Flett.

A little girl in red gets lost in the woods. Think you’ve heard this story before? Think again. A Métis take on a European fairy tale. Call Number: JPicture Verme.K

Going Down Home With Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, ill. Daniel Minter.

When Lil Alan’s family travels “down home” to Granny’s home in the country, what will he do to pay tribute to his family? Rendered in meticulous acrylics, Lyons celebrates the close ties of a modern black family. Call Number: JPicture Lyons.K

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, ill. Vanessa Brantley-Newton.

Witty, reassuring language and warm art celebrate a boy’s first day of kindergarten. A book that makes readers feel like royalty. Call Number: JPicture Barne.D

Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour, ill. Daniel Egnéus.

When Lubna arrived off the boat, she found Pebble. Pebble listens when she talks about the war and what she lost. But when it’s time to leave, will Lubna find someone else who needs Pebble more? Call Number: JPicture Meddo.W

Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell, ill. Ana Ramírez González.

Elba drags a block behind her wherever she goes. Norris dances. But when he’s with Elba, Norris will help carry her block, and give her space to be sad. A beautiful glimpse of the buoying power of friends. Call Number: JPicture Agell.C

My Footprints by Bao Phi, ill. Basia Tran.

Thuy chants “My footprints” when kids tease her for being different. But as her moms point out, you don’t have to be alone when things get tough. Celebrates the “unexpected combination of beautiful things”. Call Number: JPicture Phi.B

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, ill. Zeke Peña.

When Papi comes home from work he may be tired, but he still has enough energy to take his girl for a ride on his moto. A simple ride can feel like an adventure, in this loving paean to daddies everywhere. Call Number: JPicture Quint.I

Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe.

“The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her a drum.” So begins this wild, raucous, slightly twisted, but always interesting, picture book infused with deep pulsating colors. Call Number: JPicture Forsy.M

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali, ill. Hatem Aly.

Faizah greatly admires her older sister Asiyah’s bravery when she wears her “first-day hijab” to school and then stands strong in the face of bullying. Call Number: JPicture Muham.I

Saturday by Oge Mora.

A mother and daughter try to have a perfect Saturday but a series of mishaps and disappointments thwart their plans. Call Number: JPicture Mora.O

Small in the City by Sydney Smith.

It’s hard to be small in the city. Especially on a cold wintry day when you search for something–or someone– gone missing. Evocative illustrations cast a spell in this haunting masterpiece. Call Number: JPicture Smith.S

A Stone Sat Still by Brenden Wenzel.

A stone “was as it was where it was in the world.” And to every creature, it means something different. A quiet, utterly beautiful ode to nature. Call Number: JPicture Wenze.B

Stormy: A Story About Finding a Forever Home by Guojing.

A wordless tale of a woman, a dog, and what it takes to trust someone at last. Call Number: JPicture Guoji

Truman by Jean Reidy ill. Lucy Ruth Cummins.

Peaceful and pensive, tiny turtle Truman loves his owner Sarah. But when Sarah leaves him one day on the number 11 bus, he summons all his bravery to trek out and find her again. Undeniably sweet. Call Number: JPicture Reidy.J

¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market! by Raúl the Third, colors by Elaine Bay.

Little Lobo heads to a very busy town to trade some goods and see the sights. Inventive and wildly funny illustrations packed with amusing details and Spanish words that invite further exploration. Call Number: JPicture Raul

The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach.

Hilarity ensues when a frantic caterpillar learns that the metamorphosis process takes TWO WHOLE WEEKS! Will this jittery critter learn to relax? Call Number: JPicture Burac.R

When Aidan Became A Brother by Kyle Lukoff, ill. Kaylani Juanita.

Now a new baby is on the way and Aidan wants everything to be perfect for the baby from the start. A smart trans child narrative replete with gorgeous illustrations. Call Number: JPicture Lukof.K

Who Wet My Pants? by Bob Shea, ill. Zachariah Ohora.

Bear goes on the offensive to prove his wet pants are not his fault. Not a potty book, this tale shows us that it’s okay to acknowledge our mistakes. Call Number: JPicture Shea.B


Folktales and Fairy Tales


The Clever Tailor by Srividhya Venkat, ill. Nayantara Surendranath.

When Rupa Ram gets a beautiful saafa at a wedding he knows just what to do with the fabric. A classic folktale made new again, just like Rupa Ram’s saafa. Call Number: JPicture Venka.S

Ghost: Thirteen Haunting Tales to Tell by Blaise Hemingway and Jesse Reffsin, ill. Chris Sasaki and Jeff Turley.

There are only thirteen true ghost stories in the world. Are you brave enough to read them all? Beware, you might find the last one involves YOU! Call Number: 83 Ghost

Good Night Wind by Linda Elovitz Marshall, ill. Maëlle Doliveux.

The Winter Wind goes looking for a place to rest, but everywhere it goes people shut it out! Only a clever girl and her brother can give it precisely what it needs. Beautiful art complements a tale inspired by a Yiddish folktale. Call Number: JPicture Marsh.E

Lion and Mouse by Jairo Buitrago, ill. Rafael Yockteng, translated by Elisa Amado.

The old story of the mouse that saved a lion with a twist. Sometimes the reasons we help people turn from gratitude to genuine friendship. Call Number: JPicture Buitr.J

Riding a Donkey Backwards: Wise and Foolish Tales of Mulla Nasruddin, retold by Sean Taylor and the Khayaal Theatre, ill. Shirin Adl.

Trickster or fool? Twenty-one classic tales from Muslim cultures follow the adventures of Mulla Nasruddin, illustrated with great flair and humor. Call Number: x398.22 Taylo.S

Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women, retold by Kate Forsyth, ill. Lorena Carrington.

Seven ancient fairytales showcase strong girls and women that get themselves out of trouble with brains and bravery. Evocative photographed silhouettes heighten each story’s excitement and foreboding. Call Number: 8 Forsy.K


Easy and Early Chapter Books


Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories by Max Brallier, ill. Letizia Rubegni.

Ready for some ghoulish chills? Let Mr. Shivers tell you five stories that are bound to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Call Number: JChapter Brall.M

The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer, ill. P.J. Lynch.

To help heal an abused puppy, a boy is told to teach it to bark. But how can you convince someone to trust you when the world has let them down? Call Number: JChapter Colfe.E

Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas by Juana Medina.

You think you have problems? Look at what Juana’s going through! Not only is her mom marrying again, but the whole family is now going to move to a new casa in Bogotá. What’s a kid to do? Call Number: JChapter Medin.J

Let’s Have a Sleepover! by Norm Feuti.

Harry’s just thrilled to be staying the night at his best friend’s house. But when Hedgehog reveals that they’ll be camping in the backyard, things don’t seem so great anymore. Call Number: JEasy Feuti.N

Penguin and the Lost Treasure by Alex T. Smith.

Mr. Penguin and his spider partner Colin have always dreamed of being real honest-to-goodness adventurers. So when Boudicca Bones from the Museum of Extraordinary Objects asks them to find a secret treasure, you know this intrepid duo will be on the case! Call Number: J Smith.A

Poof! A Bot! (Adventures of Zip) by David Milgrim.

Zip thinks he can create a bot who will wait on him. Hilarity ensues for the earliest of readers. Call Number: JEasy Milgri.D

Sasha and Puck and the Potion of Luck (The Elixer Fixers) by Daniel Nayero, ill. Janneliese Mak.

Sasha’s in a real pickle. Her dad keeps selling fake luck potions, leaving her to clean up the mess. Can she help a local chocolatier with her love life or will Sasha’s father be exposed? Call Number: JChapter Nayer.D

Save the Cake! by Molly Coxe.

Kate and Nate have baked a cake for Grandpa Jake. Can they keep it safe? Highlighting the long “a” sound, the trials and tribulations of these two snails will keep readers on their toes. Call Number: JBegin Coxe.M

Smell My Foot by Cece Bell.

Chick and Brain are friends, and Chick insists on proper manners. So what happens when someone polite thinks you smell delicious? Another easy reader gut-buster from a Newbery Honor winner. Call Number: JEasy Bell.C




Clackety Track: Poems About Trains by Skila Brown, ill. Jamey Christoph.


From sleeper cars to bullet trains, pantographs to locomotive snowplows, this little work of train poetry goes above and beyond the call of duty. Choo-choo-choose this one. Call Number: 6 Brown.S

Predator and Prey: Conversation in Verse by Susannah Buhrman-Deever, ill. Bert Kitchen.

Not your usual predators. Not your usual prey. Natural selection like you’ve never seen it before, with killer poetry (literally) to match. Call Number: 53 Buhrm.S

Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me by Eloise Greenfield, ill. Ehsan Abdollahi.

A child’s new pet dog loves thinking up and reciting poems of his own creation. It’s a puppy P.O.V.! Call Number: x811 Green.E

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, ill. Kadir Nelson.

Sumptuous portraits of great black heroes illustrate a poem celebrating the brave, worthy, audacious, and undefeated. Call Number: x811 Alexa.K

The Women Who Caught the Babies: A Story of African American Midwives by Eloise Greenfield, ill. Daniel Minter.

“They caught the babies, / and catch them still, / welcome them into the world, / for loving.” A lushly illustrated epic ode to black midwives of the past and the present. Call Number: 20089 Green.E




Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord.

Emma is starting public school for the first time as a rising fifth-grader when her father rescues a trapped rabbit. Now she must learn to make a real friend while deciding whether or not to keep the bunny. Call Number: J Lord.C

The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy.

Gay Indian-American seventh grader Rahul Kapoor feels like an outsider in his small Indiana town. So what is he best at (Football? Acting? Math?)? A great and hopeful It Gets Better story. Call Number: J Panch.M

Captain Rosalie by Timothée de Fombelle, ill. Isabelle Arsenault, translated by Sam Gordon.

Rosalie is on a secret mission. While her father serves in the war, she declares herself a captain and sets about completing the secret operations that will bring her closer to a terrible truth. Call Number: J Fombe.T

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy.

Plus-size Sweet Pea faces some major changes in her life. When the advice columnist next door leaves town, Sweet Pea starts answering some of her private letters. What could go wrong? Call Number: J Murph.J

Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya.

12-yr-old neurodiverse Cuban-American Emilia Rosa faces down historical prejudice and contemporary challenges alongside her family in this smartly written story. Call Number: J Carta.P

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée.

Shayla navigates her first year of junior high, struggling with friends, joining the track team, and becoming a Black Lives Matter activist fighting against racial injustice. Call Number: J Ramee.L

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day.

Edie, a Suquamis/Duwamish girl, attempts to solve a mystery involving her identity and her family’s history in this compelling page turner. Warm, poignant, heartbreaking, unforgettable. Call Number: J Day.C

Just Jaime by Terri Libenson.

What do you do when your best friends dump you? Jaime used to be the school “gossip girl” but now her bestie Maya thinks she’s babyish. A funny graphic novel hybrid about finding your people. Call Number: JGraphic Liben.T

The Line Tender by Kate Allen.

How do you mourn something that’s lost forever while moving ahead? A stunning novel, delicate and brutal by turns. Call Number: J Allen.K

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, ill. Alexander Nabaum.

School’s out and ten different stories are all happening at the same time. These kids are planning an escape, a con, a show, a romance, an apology, and more on just an ordinary day. Call Number: J Reyno.J

Max and the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce.

One minute you’re tooling around the country with your Uncle Budrick, the troubadour. Next, Budrick’s been kidnapped by the evil King Gastley, and it’s up to you and a band of ragtag adventurers to overturn the monarchy. Call Number: J Peirc.L

Maximillian Fly by Angie Sage.

Max is the kind of sweet fellow who would go out of his way to rescue two desperate kids. Too bad he’s (A) A human/cockroach hybrid and (B) Living in a dystopian world held in the grip of some serious baddies. Call Number: J Sage.A

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake.

After a heart transplant saves her life, Sunny decides to kiss a boy. But is it boys she likes? A creative, funny and insightful work on getting to know yourself. Call Number: J Blake.A

More to the Story by Hena Khan.

Little Women gets a 21st century Pakistani-American update that retains the original’s heart. Call Number:  J Khan.H

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai.

Dropped into a new country with his mom (who forbids him to touch the stove) and annoying little brother, Yanghao, Jingwen’s going to have to be sneaky if he wants to get some baking done. After all, it’s how he remembers his dad best. Call Number: J Lai.R

A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata.

Disillusioned after WWII by their experience in America’s internment camps, Hanako and her parents move to Hiroshima, a place she has never seen. Features emotionally complex storytelling. Call Number: J Kadoh.C

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart.

For five years Coyote has lived with her father Rodeo on a school bus. Now Coyote wants to go home, but that means getting her dad to face a painful past. A powerful, funny heartbreaker of a novel. Call Number: J Gemei.D

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker, ill. Junyi Wu.

These tales of horror are guaranteed to turn your tails white and your whiskers gray in fear. You have been warned. Call Number: J Heidi.C

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson.

When Amara travels to her dad’s childhood home in Harlem to meet her estranged grandfather, she finds herself trying to solve a family mystery. Why hasn’t her father talked to her grandfather for 12 years? Call Number: J Watso.R

Stay by Bobbie Pyron.

Chapters alternate between the story of a newly homeless girl, and a young dog belonging to a fellow woman in the shelter. A challenging, ultimately uplifting story. Call Number: J Pyron.B

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia.

Thrown into a world where African-American folk heroes mix and mingle with West African gods, it’s up to seventh grader Tristan to use his newfound powers to heal a dying world. Call Number: J Mbali.K

The Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus.

When a gun is found near his school, Thelonius and his pals become instant suspects. Thelonius knows how this story could play out, which means he needs to do some investigating of his own. Call Number: J Broad.M

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey.

How do you convince aliens that the human race (now refugees from a destroyed earth) isn’t hopelessly violent? It’s up to Lan to use humor and music to show the creatures of Choom how vital humans can be . . . if they don’t get killed first, of course. Call Number: J Rodke.G

Wildfire: When Trees Explode by Rodman Philbrick.

Fans of the I Survived series, or survival stories like Hatchet, will find this lean page-turner, about a boy and a girl trying to outrace a raging forest fire, thrilling. Call Number: J Philb.R


Comics and Graphic Novels


Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home by Scott Morse.

The Bad News Bears meets Monster Squad. When Gina puts a spell on her twin Stacy’s baseball glove the end result is a goofy ball chasing zombie that turns out to be the best practice her team’s ever had. Call Number: JGraphic Morse.S

Guts by Raina Telgemeier.

What started as just an upset stomach snowballs into something out of Raina’s control in this personal story about the connection between the mind and body, and how everyone has something going on in their lives. Call Number: JGraphic Telge.R

Lupin Leaps In: A Breaking Cat News Adventure by Georgia Dunn.

This just in! Elvis, Lupin, and Puck are three cats bringing you the latest in Cat News. Whether it’s spiders, houseplants, a new baby, or the cats upstairs (what are they DOING up there?) these intrepid reporters are here to give YOU the story. Call Number: JGraphic Dunn.G

New Kid by Jerry Craft.

Packed with biting satirical humor and inventive imagery, this thought-provoking comic stars 7th grade budding cartoonist Jordan Banks who becomes the “new kid” at a posh private school where he is one of the few students of color attending. Call Number: JGraphic Craft.J

Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades by Mike Cavallaro.

Where do gods get their goods? From Nico Bravo, of course! And when a headstrong ancestor of Beowulf comes in looking for a sword to kill off Cerberus, Nico has to set off to stop her before she causes a zombie apocalypse. Call Number: JGraphic Caval.M

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner.

Some kids might be freaked out if they found out that they were a witch. Not Moth! She can’t wait to use her new powers, but first she’ll have to tackle a tricky past that refuses to let her family go. Call Number: JGraphic Stein.E

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis.

For Margaret, growing up on an island of nuns has been the only life she’s ever known. So when dispossessed ruler Eleanor (dethroned by her own sister) comes to stay, the kid finds herself wrapped up in a tangle of secrets, lies, and unexpected truths. Call Number: JGraphic Mecon.D

Red Panda & Moon Bear by Jarod Roselló.

Meet the superheroes destined to protect their Cuban-American neighborhood (and, by extension, the world). Armed with magic hoodies, this sister and brother pair are ready to take on monsters, ghosts, robots, you name it! Call Number: JGraphic Rosel.J

Stargazing by Jen Wang.

Christine feels like she has to do everything absolutely perfectly all the time. Moon is laid back, easy to know, and fun. Unalike in many ways, these two figure out how to be the friend the other one needs. Call Number: JGraphic Wang.J

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews.

Where do the paper lanterns tossed into the river during the Autumn Equinox Festival go? Two boys, Ben and Nathaniel, follow them, only to find a world of talking bears, magic, tiny suns, and more in this dreamy, epic adventure. Call Number: JGraphic Andre.R

White Bird written and illustrated by R.J. Palacio.

A Jewish girl growing up in France during WWII, survives the face of Nazi cruelty in this gripping, powerful story. Call Number: JGraphic Palac.R




The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow, ill. Steven Salerno.

What’s your favorite color? For Edwin Binney, every color was his favorite. Discover how crayons became as ubiquitous and beautiful as they are today. Call Number: 23 Biebo.N

Firefighters’ Handbook by Meghan McCarthy.

So you want to be a firefighter? Well strap in and hold tight, kids! With this deep dive you’ll learn about everything from how to pass the CPAT to the difference between a fire truck and a fire engine, and more! Call Number: 925 Mccar.M

Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate by Sara Levine, ill. Masha D’Yans.

No color choice is random. A purple prickly pear gives a cantankerous rundown of the job of each color when a flower wears it and how it uses hues to attract different kinds of critters. Call Number: 13 Levin.S

Follow Your Stuff: Who Makes It, Where Does It Come From, How Does It Get to You? by Kevin Sylvester and Michael Hlinka.

Who makes the things you buy and why should you even care? With meticulous attention, Sylvester and Hlinka follow the life cycle of the t-shirts, medicines, books, cell phones, and glasses you buy. Prepare to become a responsible global citizen! Call Number: x306.3 Sylve.K

Hello, Crochet Friends! by Jonah Larson with Jennifer Larson.

Adopted from Ethiopia, Jonah had a hard time concentrating in school. So when his 5th grade teacher suggested he bring in his calming crochet work it led to an amazing transformation. The true tale of the ultimate crafting fidget spinner. Call Number: 434 Larso.J

Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis.

A masterful display of water in it all its myriad forms. Perfect for both the youngest of readers and older kids, behold the mighty the water cycle! Call Number: 7 Porti.A

It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear, ill. Julie Morstad.

A stunning encapsulation of the Japanese-American woman who fought racism, sexism, and more through the power of her children’s book art. Call Number: xBiog Fujik.G Macle.K

Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang ill. Kana Urbanowicz.

After the devastation of WWII, Momofuku Ando became obsessed with the notion of creating cheap, delicious, nutritious food for the poor. The birth of ramen as we know and love it today! Call Number: 822 Wang.A

Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch, ill. Teresa Martínez.

What do you do when you can see a looming disaster that could wipe out all life on Earth and nobody will listen to you? A stellar bio of Nobel Prize winner Mario Molina, who discovered the dangers of CFCs. Call Number: xBiog Molin.M Rusch.E

Monument Maker: Daniel Chester French and the Lincoln Memorial by Linda Booth Sweeney, ill. Shawn Fields.

“A sculptor is nine-tenths mechanic, and one-tenth poet.” How did a small town mechanic, builder, inventor, and designer get to create the statue of Lincoln that sits in the Lincoln Memorial? Learn the story here. Call Number: xBiog Frenc.D Sween.L

Mummies Exposed! by Kerrie Logan Hollihan.

From bog bodies exhumed in Ireland to mummies found in the Aztec mountains, this globe-trotting account explores the startling discoveries of mummified bodies and how studying them unlocks mysteries about the past. Call Number: 3 Holli.K

Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda Paul, ill. Jason Chin.

As a little girl prepares for the new baby coming, readers get to see every trimester, embryo, and stage of growth inside the mommy. A wonderful introduction to life as we know it. Call Number: x612.6 Paul.M

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein, ill. Jerry Pinkney.

King’s words at the 1963 March on Washington are legendary now, but creating them was no easy task. In this true story, kids learn about the collaboration and last minute inspiration that led to the “I Have a Dream” speech we know today. Call Number: xBiog King.M Witte.B

Queer Heroes: Meet 52 LGBTQ Heroes from Past & Present by Arabelle Sicardi, ill. Sarah Tanat-Jones.

From Sappho to Freddie Mercury, from Alvin Ailey to Alan Turing, meet the queer pioneers from long ago and those still fighting the good fight today. A collected biography featuring the truly courageous. Call Number: 76 Sicar.A

Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by Bethany Hegedus, ill. Tonya Engel.

Small and vulnerable, young Maya moved from place to place with her brother Bailey, enduring abuse and ultimately rising above it all to become a national treasure. Sumptuous art and brave writing tell her story with honesty and love. Call Number: xBiog Angel.M Heged.B

Rocket to the Moon! by Don Brown.

Going to the moon? Now that’s a big idea. So how the heck did we get there? From “the rockets red glare” to “one giant leap” kids get a whirlwind breakdown of the history of flight itself. Call Number: JGraphic Brown.D

The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. Frank Morrison.

Vibrant illustrations enhance this poetic tribute to rap and hip-hop and the cultural forces that helped this exciting form of music develop and take shape. Call Number: x782.421549 Weath.C

Running with Wolves by Jim and Jamie Dutcher.

In the 90s, the Dutchers lived with the Sawtooth wolf pack and learned surprising things about how the wolves interact and play with each other. This account allows readers to experience the dangers and joys of howling along with the wolves. Call Number: x599.773 Dutch.J

Skulls! by Blair Thornburgh, ill. Scott Campbell.

“Skulls are safe and snug, like a car seat for your brain.” Join one little girl as she tells you all about your incredible, amazing, fantastic, irrepressible skull. Call Number: 8 Thorn.B

Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution by Rob Sanders, ill. Jamey Christoph.

A testament and history of America’s first major protest for LGBTQ+ rights and equality, this eloquent look at the Stonewall protest is the civil rights story every child needs to hear. Call Number: x323 Sande.R

This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy.

This powerful account, a memoir-in-verse, puts readers in the shoes of Jo Ann Allen, one of the 12 African-American students who integrated her high school in Clinton, TN in 1956 and maintained her hopeful spirit as the world around her exploded into racist violence. Call Number: 263 Boyce.J

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” by Deborah Heiligman, ill. Lawrence Lee.

It is September 1940, and 100 children have been placed on the S.S. City of Benares, heading towards Canada and safety. The ship never makes its destination. Here is the tale of the survivors and the ones who never surfaced again. Call Number: x940.5429 Heili.D

Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature by Marcie Flinchum Atkins.

When the going gets tough, the tough wait, rest, and pause. Magnificent photography introduces dormancy to the youngest of readers. Call Number: x78 Atkin.M

What Is a Refugee? by Elise Gravel.

“A refugee is a person just like you and me.” Simple language and art make this complicated topic comprehensible to younger readers. Call Number: 9069 Grave.E

What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett, ill. Diana Sudyka.

In the 1840s Maria Mitchell was taught to “sweep the sky” using her father’s telescope. Being the first to spot a comet wasn’t in the plan. A marvelously wrought tale, gorgeously rendered, of an early woman scientist, illustrated by an Evanston artist! Call Number: xBiog Mitch.M Barre.H



Committee Members

Patricia Alm, Allison Arkin, Betsy Bird, Mariana Bojorquez, Hilda Gonzalez, Jessica Iverson, Katy Jacob, Hannah Johnson, Leigh Kennelly, Kerry Littel, Judith Mathews, Christina Mendez, Martha Meyer, Jennifer Wasilewski Mills, Olivia Mo, Bill Ohms, Paula Shapiro, Bridget Sweeney, Amy Louise Tripp, Brian Wilson, and Kristen Wood

Announcing Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids (2018)!!

November 20, 2018

It’s that time of year again!! The time when the librarians, clerks, and other staff members of Evanston Public Library that have been reading all year long, finally reveal their 101 favorite children’s books. When I moved to Evanston from New York City, I took with me New York Public Library’s idea for an annual accounting of the state of kids books today. NYPL has created this same list for 117 years. EPL has created it for two. But whatta two it’s been!

If you’d like to get a physical copy of the list (pdf copy here!), they are available at the Main location (with copies available at the branches as well). All books are available in the library system and all of our local bookstores should be able to get you whatever titles strike your fancy. There’s something for everyone here, so enjoy!

101 Great Books for Kids (2018)


Picture Books

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

Call Number: JPicture Marti.J

Alma feels burdened by her extraordinarily long name. That is, until her father explains all the relatives it honors and what their stories were.


Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Call Number: JPicture Seege.L

Die-cuts and a single color revealed through a multitude of hues help tell the story of a boy and his dog.


Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings

Call Number: JPicture Cummi.T

A sunny pup with a heart full of hope tries to acquire a loving owner, only to find them in the least expected place.


The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, ill. Rafael López

Call Number: JPicture Woods.J

Everyone feels different sometimes. A book that celebrates the strength it takes to be yourself and tell your own story.


Ducks Away! by Mem Fox, ill. Judy Horacek

Call Number: JPicture Fox.M

A marvelous read aloud and peppy counting book for the youngest of readers.


The Field by Baptiste Paul, ill. Jacqueline Alcántara

Call Number: JPicture Paul.B

The ultimate Caribbean futbol mud match, complete with excitement, Creole phrases, and the occasional gooooooooal!


First Laugh, Welcome, Baby! by Rose Ann Tahe and Nancy Bo Flood, ill. Jonathan Nelson

Call Number: JPicture Tahe.R

Members of a Navajo family compete to be the first to make the new baby giggle, kicking off the child’s First Laugh Ceremony.


The Funeral by Matt James

Call Number: JPicture James.M

Two cousins at a funeral while away the hours, acting like total kids.


Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel

Call Number: JPicture Wenze.B

Disparate animals can still have a lot in common, as this eye-poppingly colorful romp in the animal kingdom shows.


The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall, ill. Isabelle Arsenault

Call Number: JPicture Hall.K

This little bee book goes way beyond the waggle dance to tell kids more than they ever thought they could know about insects, honey, and more.


A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano, ill. Lane Smith

Call Number: JPicture Fogli.J

What becomes of a house forgotten, and what kinds of people lived there before?


I Am a Cat by Galia Bernstein

Call Number: JPicture Berns.G

It might be roly-poly, cuddly, and cute, but don’t doubt that this little housecat has more in common with its fierce relatives than meets the eye.


Imagine! by Raúl Colón

Call Number: JPicture Colon.R

Smell the sugared nuts, hear the horns of the taxis, and join a boy and some surprising friends as they take in the sights of NYC.


Jerome by Heart by Thomas Scotto, ill. Olivier Tallec, translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick and Karin Snelson

Call Number: JPicture Scott.T

A remarkably sweet tale of two boys that love each other, and how just holding hands can sometimes feel like an act of resistance.


Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Call Number: JPicture Love.J

Julián dreams of elegant mermaids, but what will his abuela think when he tries to become one himself?


Love by Matt de la Peña, ill. Loren Long

Call Number: JPicture Delap.M

A celebration of love, with all its complications, highs, lows, tears, and joy.


My Hair Is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Call Number: JPicture Cabre.C

The kids at school make fun of Mackenzie’s unkempt hair. Fortunately she has her neighbor Miss Tillie to show her that every strand can be tended like a garden. From an Evanston author!


Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

Call Number: JPicture Fan.T

A dreamlike voyage takes a boy to a fantastical place where at long last he can commune with the grandfather he misses so much.


A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes

Call Number: JPicture Henke.K

It’s a counting book! It’s a bedtime book! It’s a perfect book for the youngest of readers to snuggle up to and enjoy.


The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke, ill. Van Thanh Rudd

Call Number: JPicture Clark.M

Wind, speed, brothers, and fun. When your bike’s made by your own two hands there’s nothing you can’t do!


The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerfeld

Call Number: JPicture Doerr.C

When something bad happens to someone else what should you do? The rabbit just stays and listens. A remarkable tale of compassion for younger readers.


The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, ill. Ekua Holmes

Call Number: JPicture Bauer.M

Handmade paper art that swirls like the cosmos itself evokes the chaos of creation that gave birth to us all.


Teddy’s Favorite Toy by Christian Trimmer, ill. Madeline Valentine

Call Number: JPicture Trimm.C

A boy and his doll are not easily parted, but when the mighty Bren-Da accidentally ends up in the trash it’s up to mom to save the day!


This Is My Eye by Neela Vaswani

Call Number: JPicture Vaswa.N

Hand a kid a camera and see the world through their eyes. You might be surprised at everything you could have missed.


We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Call Number: JPicture Higgi.R

It’s not easy to make new friends on your first day of school. Especially when they’re just so darn tasty.




Folktales and Fairy Tales


The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America by Jaime Hernandez, ill. F. Isabel Campoy

Call Number: JGraphic Herna.J

Three classic Latinx stories get a whole new look in this fresh and funny melding of comics and fables.


The Frog Prince by The Brothers Grimm, ill. Sybille Schenker

Call Number: x398.20943 Grimm.J

Luscious die-cuts, gold and gilt, and transparent pages render this classic fairytale in truly magnificent splendor.


The King of Birds (Gamayun Tales) by Alexander Utkin

Call Number: JGraphic Utkin.A

A poor woodsman saves The King of the Birds, only to be drawn into an epic adventure in the sky.


The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier, ill. Sonia Sánchez

Call Number: JPicture Maier.B

The tale of the Little Red Hen gets fully modernized in this story of a girl with architectural dreams and the lazy boys who won’t lift a finger to help.


Never Satisfied: The Story of the Stonecutter by Dave Horowitz

Call Number: x398.20951 Horow.D

What goes around comes around. A stonecutter unhappy with his lot continually upgrades his life, until he reaches a funny conclusion.


Ramayana: An Illustrated Retelling by Arshia Sattar, ill. Sonali Zohra

Call Number: x398.6 Satta.A

In this epic tale, Prince Rama’s story is brought to bold, brilliantly illustrated life. Ten-headed demons, magical monkeys, betrayal, love, death, and more!


The Tiger Prince by Chen Jiang Hong

A king offers his own child to a vicious foe, but love and affection save the boy’s life. A keenly told folktale rendered in deep, velvety colors.



Easy Books and Early Chapter Books


Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

Call Number: JEasy Selzn.B

No crime is too big for this tiny detective. Missing jewels? Pizza? Spaceships? Baby Monkey is on the case!


Houndsley and Catina and Cousin Wagster by James Howe, ill. Marie-Louise Gay

Call Number: JEasy Howe.J

When Houndsley’s fabulous and outgoing cousin Wagster comes for a visit, the simple hound worries that his best friend Catina won’t like him as much anymore.


Kick It, Mo! by David A. Adler, ill. Sam Ricks

Call Number: JEasy Adler.D

Sport-loving Mo loves to kick balls high into the sky, but that’s not a good idea in a soccer game. Can he learn to be a team player?


Min Makes a Machine by Emily Arnold McCully

Call Number: JBegin Mccul.E

A young pachyderm with an engineering streak finds a clever solution to a thirsty problem in this one-of-a-kind easy book.


The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Call Number: JEasy Ruzzi.S

Fox may find Chick a little exasperating at times, but these pals definitely stick together in a collection of three bite-sized stories.


Power Forward by Hena Khan

Call Number: JChapter Khan.H

You know what Zayd loves? Basketball. You know what his parents give him? Violin lessons. What’s a kid who just wants to play gotta do to get what he wants?


They Didn’t Teach THIS In Worm School!: One Worm’s Tale of Survival by Simone Lia

Call Number: J Lia.M

It may not be easy to be friends with someone who wants to eat you, but it is by no means impossible!





Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

Call Number: x811 Latha.I

Two classmates navigate the waters of race and friendship in this thoughtful consideration of how we treat one another.


In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More than 500 Million Years by David Elliott, ill. Matthew Trueman

Call Number: x811 Ellio.D

Funny poetry filled to brimming with wit, weirdness, and facts about the ancient denizens of the Earth.


Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms by Robert Paul Weston, ill. Misa Saburi

Call Number: JPicture Westo.R

Tanka poems tell the tale of a little girl who moves to America from Japan and misses her grandmother terribly.


Seeing Into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright, ill. Nina Crews

Call Number: x811 Wrigh.R

Overlapping photographs reimagine a dozen of Richard Wright’s haikus, showing black boys as they investigate and observe the natural world around them.


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina & 13 Artists

Call Number: x811 Medin.T

Stylistically diverse artists accompany tanka poems dedicated to showing the family, spirituality, self-confidence, and stresses of black and brown kids today.


Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color by Julie Paschkis

Call Number: x811 Pasch.J

A quirky colorfest that celebrates the art and the science of every hue in the rainbow.





Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Call Number: J Choks.R

Witty sisterly repartee, cosmic battles, and Hindu Mythology combine when Aru Shah discovers she’s the daughter of a god with a quest of mammoth proportions.


The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson, ill. Eugene Yelchin

Call Number: J Ander.M

Just your average Middle Earth, Cold War, buddy comedy with an unreliable but brilliant visual narrator.


The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert, ill. Ian Schoenherr

Call Number: J Murdo.C

A relic thief and a misfit boy who can talk to animals team up in this extraordinary story of a Medieval pilgrimage to Rome.


The Button War by Avi

Call Number: J Avi

WWI Poland sets the scene for this dark tale of a button collecting contest gone horribly, tragically wrong.


Dear Sister by Alison McGhee, ill. Joe Bluhm

Call Number: J Mcghe.A

An epistolary novel between an older brother and the younger sister he hates/tolerates/loves over the course of seven years.


Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Call Number: J Yang.K

While her parents secretly shelter new immigrants in the motel where they work, Mia Tang reflects on immigration, racism, and her own belief that “sometimes you have to … be creative to get what you want.”


Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Call Number: J Rhode.J

Jerome has been shot and killed by a white police officer. Now a ghost stuck on earth, Jerome must find out what to do so he can move on. But first he needs to understand why he can talk with the daughter of his killer and why the ghost of Emmett Till keeps appearing to him. A powerful call to action.


Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Call Number: J Woods.J

Six misfits join together, listen to one another, and help when one of them confesses his father has been deported from the country.


Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring

Call Number: J Blake.A

It isn’t enough that Ivy’s house was hit by a tornado. Now she’s not speaking to her beloved older sister, mysterious notes appear in her locker, and she’s terrified to confess her crush on another girl. What’s going on?


The Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge

Call Number: J Edge.C

When there’s an alien on your cellphone and your parents are splitting up, things are far from normal. Outlandish science fiction at its finest.


The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

Call Number: J Curti.C

Coerced into helping the despicable overseer Cap’n Buck travel North to track down some stolen property, Little Charlie is horrified to discover the “property” is people.


Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Call Number: J Dicam.K

Believing that she and her Granny are cursed, Louisiana Elephante finds herself abandoned at a motel in the middle of nowhere. A stunning tale of forgiveness and small delights.


The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Call Number: J Magra.D

Young Drest watches as her whole family is captured by the king’s soldiers. Now it’s up to her to cut a swath through medieval Europe and get them back!


Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

Call Number: J Carta.P

Marcus is six feet tall, 180 pounds, and in the eighth grade. Now he, his mom, and his brother Charlie, who has Down syndrome, are travelling to Puerto Rico to find the family he never met, but deserves.


Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

Call Number: J Medin.M

Cuban-American Merci is more than just a scholarship kid in a private school. She wants to save up for a bike, but before she can she’ll have to mentor a new kid, deal with a bully, and face the fact that her beloved Grandfather is acting less and less like himself.


The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

Call Number: J Mcanu.S

After being struck by lightning at age six, Lucy Callahan became a math genius. Now for the first time, her grandmother is forcing her to attend public school. Math can solve a lot of problems, but this is one Lucy will have to work out herself.


My Year in the Middle by Lila Quintero Weaver

Call Number: J Weave.L

Set in 1970s Alabama, Argentinian immigrant Lu Olivera just wants to be a runner. But in a time when white and black kids are kept separate, where do kids in the middle, like Lu, belong?


The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Call Number: J Johns.V

The Westing Game meets Holes in this twisty mystery involving a town’s bleak racial past, a hidden treasure, and two kids determined to uncover secrets everyone thought were buried for good.


Rebound by Kwame Alexander

Call Number: J Alexa.K

It’s 1988 and Charlie Bell is floundering in grief over the recent death of his father. When he’s sent to spend the summer with his grandparents, he’s sure it’s going to be the worst time ever. Is he right or is he wrong?


The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

Call Number: J Magoo.K

Rule-breaking, laugh-out-loud humor, and nail-biting adventure combine when two brothers meet the incredible Styx Malone. Their summer will never be the same.


Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Call Number: J Arden.K

Are you afraid of scarecrows? After reading this book, you will be.


The Stone Girl’s Story by Sarah Beth Durst

Call Number: J Durst.S

A girl carved entirely of stone sets off on a quest to save herself and her friends in this deeply thought out fantasy novel full of danger and an incredible, inventive world.



Comics and Graphic Novels


Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

Call Number: JGraphic Brosg.V

High on the misery scale, and even higher on the humor, this semi-autobiographical tale follows young Vera as she navigates a Russian-American camp experience that’s nothing like she’d expected.


Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell and Various

Call Number: JGraphic Sell. C

What do you want to be? A mad scientist? An evil queen? A monster? In this neighborhood all it takes is some cardboard and imagination to live your dreams.


Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, ill. Giovanni Rigano

Call Number: JGraphic Colfe.E

Two brothers take a harrowing journey from Ghana to Europe in this deftly illustrated, agonizing tale for older readers. Beautifully wrought.


Lowriders: Blast From the Past by Cathy Camper, ill. Raúl the Third

Call Number: JGraphic Campe.C

Three children with big dreams have to face down the nasty Las Matamoscas who are trying to prevent both women and kids from entering the big car show. Humor, Spanish words, and low-riders combine in a fabuloso tale.


Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

Call Number: JGraphic Eliop.C

Science genius Zoe is convinced that friends are more trouble than they’re worth. But when she’s befriended by a gigantic sea creature straight out of her favorite kaiju movies, she discovers it’s not so bad having your pals at your side.


The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Call Number: JGraphic Wang.J

With the help of talented dressmaker Frances, Prince Sebastian transforms nightly into the magnificent Lady Crystallia, but is terrified someone might learn his secret. A lushly illustrated, gorgeous tale of gowns, secrets, and love.


Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

Call Number: JGraphic Brooks.M

Smart science girls in space! When Sanity’s three-headed kitten escapes into the walls of her space station, she and best friend Tallulah must find it and convince everyone that it’s not responsible for the mysterious power outages.


Sci-Fu: Book 1: Kick it Off by Yehudi Mercado

Call Number: JGraphic Merca.Y

In this 1980s tale, all Wax wants is to be the greatest DJ in Brooklyn. When he and his friends and family are abducted by evil space robots, he’ll find it’s those same DJ skills (and a new robotic hand) that are needed to save the day.


Small Things by Mel Tregonning

Call Number: JGraphic Trego.M

In this silent black-and-white tale, a boy is eaten up both literally and figuratively by anxiety. A quiet, evocative story with unique art and a smart message.





Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery by Sandra Neil Wallace, ill. Bryan Collier

Call Number: xBiog Barne.E Walla.S

Ernie Barnes always loved art, but thanks to his sports skills ended up a professional footballer player instead. Determined to follow his dreams, Barnes committed to his passion, eventually becoming the American Football League’s official artist.


The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, and Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self by Katty Kay, Claire Shipman, JillEllyn Riley, ill. Nan Lawson

Call Number: x305.235 Kay.K

Written for all those kids that identify as girls, this book builds a strong foundation of self-awareness, knowledge, and resilience. A title where girls can feel at home.


Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak, ill. Julian Frost, photography by Linnea Rundgren

Call Number: x579 Benba.I

Combining the tone of an interactive book with high resolution microscopic photography, this book lets kids see firsthand that germs and microbes are everywhere (and how easy it is to move them around). Gross, goofy fun for everyone.


Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Call Number: xBiog Moral.Y Moral.Y

Yuyi Morales recounts her journey from Mexico to America and how it was libraries and books that opened new worlds for her and her son. A tribute to reading and a beautifully illustrated personal tale.


Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years by Stacy McAnulty, Ill by David Litchfield

Call Number: x550 Mcanu.S

A quick but comprehensive look at Earth’s life, likes, and pet peeves over the last few millennia. Quirky, cute, and fun.


The Eye That Never Sleeps: How Detective Pinkerton Saved President Lincoln by Marissa Moss, ill. Jeremy Holmes

This behind-the-scenes look at America’s first private eye and his role in protecting Abraham Lincoln from early assassination attempts offers mysterious illustrations in an always interesting presentation.


The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix

Call Number: xBiog Bonho.D Hendr.J

If you believe murder is a sin, is it wrong to kill Hitler? A mature graphic-hybrid novel tells the life and dark times of a good man caught in a world gone mad.


Frenemies in the Family: Famous Brothers and Sisters Who Butted Heads and Had Each Other’s Backs by Kathleen Krull, ill. Maple Lam

Call Number: x306.875 Krull.K

You’re stuck with the family you have. Covering everyone from Queen Elizabeth and Bloody Mary to the Jacksons and beyond, the good, the bad, and the downright dirty lives of historical siblings are presented, warts and all.


The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman

Call Number: xBiog Meria.M Sidma.J

Meet the 17th century naturalist that inspired Linnaeus, Darwin, and many other scientists to come. Poetry, art, and engaging writing bring Maria to life once more.


The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague by Julia Finley Mosca, ill. Daniel Rieley

Call Number: xBiog Monta.R Mosca.J

Imagine designing a battleship and then not being allowed to attend its opening because you’re black!  Meet a heroine every kid should know.


Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing by Nancy Churnin, ill. James Rey Sanchez

Call Number: xBiog Berli.I Churn.N

A refugee from Tsarist Russia, Berlin, his humble beginnings, and rise to fame are chronicled alongside handsomely stylized graphics and pops of intense color.


Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez, ill. Felicita Sala

Call Number: xBiog Proct.J Valde.P

Could you love a komodo dragon so much you’d walk him around like a dog? The world wasn’t made for Joan Proctor to succeed as a naturalist, so she paved her own way and taught everyone else around her in the process.


Lovely Beasts: The Surprising Truth by Kate Gardner, ill. Heidi Smith

Call Number: x590 Gardn.K

Think you know the animal kingdom? This little book upsets expectations, showing how kind, fierce, and clever animals can sometimes can be.


Mallko and Dad by Gusti

Sometimes in our quest for perfection we fail to appreciate the truly wonderful. The true story in an eclectic presentation of an artist father and his son with Down syndrome.


Marley Dias Gets It Done (And So Can You) by Marley Dias

Call Number: x305.2308 Dias.M

When Marley Dias started her #1000blackgirlbooks campaign she never could have dreamed it would take off like it did. Now she’s here to give tips to kids on reading, style, activism, and being your best self.


Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein by Linda Bailey, ill. Júlia Sardà

Call Number: xBiog Shell.M Baile.L

How did an 18-year-old girl come to write one of the greatest horror stories of all time? Told with dark, gothic illustrations and a keen knowledge of Mary’s early years and influences. Kids will see how creation can be born out of darkness.


The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel

Call Number: x579.6 Grave.E

Hilarious and informative by turns, Gravel shares her deep and abiding love for mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. Just try and not be charmed.


My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope by Diane Guerrero

Call Number: xBiog Guerr.D Guerr.D

Imagine coming home from school one day to find your whole family has been deported by ICE. Actress Guerrero tells her story while shining a light on the plight of so many other kids facing the same problems today.


Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham

Call Number: x305.8 Higgi.A

Collage and candor combine in this dissection of white privilege. Provides a solid foundation for critical discussions of white people and racism for young readers everywhere.


Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain by Cheryl Bardoe, ill. Barbara McClintock

Call Number: xBiog Germa.S Bardo.C

Neither sexism nor the French Revolution could stop Sophie Germain from embracing her love of math and solving the riddle behind the vibrations that surround us. The most engaging book on mathematics you may ever encounter.


Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock, ill. Katherine Roy

Call Number: x551.46 Rosen.B

Imagine diving to 803 feet in a homemade device. Engaging and accurate art as well as a riveting text tell the story of the two men who plunged deep into the sea to see what they could see. Warning: Do not read if prone to claustrophobia.


Spooked! How a Radio Broadcast and The War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America by Gail Jarrow

Call Number: x791.4472 Jarro.G

What would you do if aliens attacked? Jarrow offers a blow-by-blow account of the day Orson Wells put fear into the hearts of Americans everywhere.


Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot’s World War II Story by Marc Tyler Nobleman, ill. Melissa Iwai

Call Number: x940.5428 Noble.M

Nobleman highlights a WWII Japanese attack on Oregon, following how the bomber and the people of Oregon came to terms with one another, forging a friendship that stands as an example for us today.


This Is the Nest That Robin Built by Denise Fleming

Call Number: JPicture Flemi.D

Utilizing a classic cumulative format, this book introduces kids to robins’ nest-building methods and the ways that animals “help” with the process.

The Truth About Bears by Maxwell Eaton III

Call Number: x599.78 Eaton.M

The Truth About Dolphins by Maxwell Eaton III

Call Number: x599.532 Eaton.M

The Truth About Hippos by Maxwell Eaton III

Call Number: x599.635 Eaton.M

In these three thoroughly engaging books, Eaton uses his signature cartoony style to talk about facts with abundant humor and a lot of laughs.

Announcing the Debut of Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids List (2017)

November 17, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 edition of Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids! Just in time for the holiday season this list provides books of mystery, science, poetry, hilarity, sorrow, and more. There’s bound to be something perfect for the child in your life. This year’s list contains books chosen by our librarians from the thousands published in 2017.

In its very first year, this list reflects the diversity and beauty of Evanston’s readership. You’ll escape the destruction of Mars, get a ride to Havana in a classic car, snap photos of the brightest stars of the Harlem Renaissance, and discover once and for all which is more treacherous: dragons or middle school. There are books for kids who are always looking for the newest comics, stories of facts and history for nonfiction loving children, gorgeous picture books for the youngest ages, and hilarity found in works of poetry, early readers, fairy tales and more.

All of these books are available through Evanston Public Library. Be sure to reserve your copies or, if you’re interested in purchasing them, download the PDF of the Children’s Books 2017 Booklet for a nice printed version to share with family and friends.

Special thanks to the committee members that spent countless hours all year reading, considering, discussing, rejecting, and ultimately selecting the best books that you will find on this list. They are Laura Antolin, Betsy Bird, Hilda Gonzalez, Jessica Iverson, Leigh Kennelly, Kerry Littel, Renee Neumeier, Paula Shapiro, Ranea Surbrook, Bridget Sweeney, Jennifer Wasilewski, and Brian Wilson.



  • Picture Books (for Children Ages 2-7)
  • Folktales and Fairy Tales
  • Easy Books (for Children Ages 4-6)
  • Early Chapter Books (for Children Ages 6-9)
  • Middle Grade Fiction (for Children Ages 9-12)
  • Poetry (for Children Ages 7-12)
  • Comics (for Children Ages 7-12)
  • Nonfiction (for All Ages)


Picture Books

For Children Ages 2-7

Accident! by Andrea Tsurumi

Lola the armadillo has just caused a magnificent accident. But is running away to live in the library forever really the best solution to her problem?

After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat

We all know the story of how Humpty Dumpty fell down. But did anyone ever tell you about how he climbed his way out of his fears afterwards?

All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle, ill. Mike Curato

Cuban-American award winning author Margarita Engle tells the story of a boy, a classic car, and a family trip into the heart of Havana.

The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater, ill. The Fan Brothers

When a fox with too many question joins a seaworthy crew of deer and pigeons, be prepared for a lush, eye-popping adventure like none you’ve ever seen before.

Be Quiet by Ryan T. Higgins

Ruper the mouse wants to star in a wordless picture book (they’re more artistic that way) but his plans are upended when his friends just won’t. stop. TALKING!!!

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper

A quiet, contemplative, lovely little book about an old cat, a new cat, and what happens when one cat has to leave the other.

The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler

Take a trip to the magic hour between sunset and nighttime, when all the world is awash in radiant, breathtaking blue.

Boo! by Ben Newman

The perfect hilarious read aloud story for large crowds or one-on-one lap reads. Each animal that struts onto the page thinks that IT is the bravest. Can you prove them wrong?

Claymates by Dev Petty, ill. Lauren Eldridge

Told entirely in the medium of clay, this rollicking tale of two best friends is the very definition of wacky, kooky fun.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, ill. Gordon C. James

This magnificent book from Evanston publisher Agate Press is getting on ALL the Best of the Year lists, and for good reason. Let this young man’s strut, pizzaz, and pride show you what happens when you get a truly great haircut.

Double Take: A New Look at Opposites by Susan Hood, ill. Jay Fleck


Far more than your usual opposite book. When it comes to opposites, there’s a lot to be said about perspective and point of view. A simple story, but a necessary one.

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

This introduction to earth by the author to his son has all the gentle humor, poignancy, and customary wit we’ve come to expect in an Oliver Jeffers book.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

We see lots of stories about overcoming your fears, but few are as sweet, real, and honest as this charmer of a picture book.

The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt, ill by Adam Rex

An epic tale forged in the heat of battle. LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!

Lucía the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza, ill. Alyssa Bermudez

Who says girls can’t be superheroes? With the aid of her abuela’s luchadora costume, Lucía is transformed into the hero of the playground. But with great power comes great responsibility.

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna, translated by Jill Davis

What parent hasn’t quailed in terror of those two most horrid words emanating from a kid’s mouth, “I’m boooored!” In this tale a rainy day proves to be far more exciting than anything screen time can conjure up.

Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli, ill. Mariachiara Di Giorgio

An utter charmer. In this wordless tale a crocodile prepares for the day and his regular commute to work. Elegant in its simplicity.

The Ring Bearer by Floyd Cooper

Blended families and nervous jitters come together in this utterly sweet tale. When Jackson finds a way to save new stepsister Sophie at Mama’s wedding, he ends up saving the day (and forgetting his worries too).

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy, ill. Eugene Yelchin

A message of non-violent resistance in the face of oppressors lies at the heart of this clever fable about a rooster and the dictatorial mayor that seeks to shut him up.

Spunky Little Monkey by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson, ill. Brian Won

Get out your dancing shoes cause this little monkey is ready to shine. A perfect read aloud for large groups, we dare you not to bop along to the wake-up instructions highlighted in this book by the author of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Town is By the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, ill. Sydney Smith

Thoughtful, haunting, moving and marvelous is this glimpse of a day in the life of a boy and his father in a maritime mining town.

The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi

Snuggled tight on mama’s shoulder, a child peeks in the windows of her neighbors and wonders what their lives are really like.

What’s My Superpower? by Aviaq Johnston, ill. Tim Mack

Convinced that all her other friends already have superpowers, Nalvana tries to figure out what it is that makes her special.

Where’s Rodney? by Carmen Bogan, ill. Floyd Cooper

Bottled up, brimming with energy, and always on the move, it isn’t until he goes on a class trip to the great outdoors that Rodney finally finds a place where he can truly be himself.

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

A marvelous near-wordless tale of a girl, a wolf cub, and the ways in which we can transcend our own little bubbles and reach out to those that are different from us.

Folktales and Fairy Tales

The Crane Girl adapted by Curtis Manley, ill. Lin Wang

Based on a classic Japanese folktale, Manley weaves the tale of a boy who aids an injured crane, and the beautiful girl that rewards him tenfold.

The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais

A sweet little wolf in a red cape sets off through the woods but is warned to watch out for sneaky little girls with murder on their minds. Sound familiar?

Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor, and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland, ill. Jeffrey Alan Love

Fans of Thor, rejoice! This gorgeous compendium of Norse myths is rife with all the best tales, and is accompanied by lavish illustrations that complement the storytelling perfectly.

Pattan’s Pumpkin : A Traditional Flood Story From Southern India by Chitra Soundar, ill. by Frane Lessac

Flood stories around the world abound, and this tale of a great big pumpkin that saves a man, his family, and all their animals from certain destruction is one to remember.

La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, ill. Juana Martinez-Neal

The Hans Christian Andersen classic is recast in Peru where a lonely prince finds his princess in an unexpected manner. Filled with Spanish words and bright colors, this is a fresh reimagining of a classic.

Easy Books

For Children Ages 4-6

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder, ill. Emily Hughes

Small, slight, delightful little adventures of two brothers abound in this book. Comparisons to Frog and Toad would not be surprising.

King and Kayla (The Case of the Missing Dog TreatsThe Case of the Mysterious MouseThe Case of the Secret Code) by Dori Hillestad Butler, ill. Nancy Meyers

Get a dog’s eye view of how to solve mysteries with King, Kayla’s pet and a very good detective (if he does say so himself).

Meet Woof & Quack by Jamie A. Swenson, ill. by Ryan Sias

Woof and Quack want to play a game of fetch but not in the way you might expect. Warning: Watch out for flying cake!

Snail and Worm Again by Tina Kugler

These two best friends may not have a backbone between them, but when it comes to wings, mirrors, and good old-fashioned envy, they’re there for one another.

There’s a Pest in the Garden! by Jan Thomas

Sometimes the simplest words are the funniest. Hold onto you turnips. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Early Chapter Books

For Children Ages 6-9

Coyote Tales, by Thomas King, ill. Byron Eggenschwile

Everyone’s favorite trickster is back, and this time he’s stealing everybody’s fur and insulting the moon while he’s at it.

Jasmine Toguchi:  Mochi Queen, by Debbi Michiko Florence, ill. Elizabet Vukovic

Everyone says Jasmine is too small to pound mochi, but she’ll show them! The power of determination in a somewhat small package.

The New Kid by Karen English, ill. Laura Freeman

Third-grader Gavin is 100% convinced that new kid Khufu was the thief who stole his new bike. But what happens when you let your assumptions run away with you?

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz, ill by Brian Floca

Overscheduled Princess Cora just wants a little time to herself and maybe a dog. What she gets is a naughty crocodile with a penchant for cream puffs and nipping royal ankles.

Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty

It’s Monty Python for the third grader set. Two siblings set off to save the kingdom from a pack of malicious badgers with the help of a shopping cart named Eric, a cat, and a king who often poses as his own butler.

You’re Amazing, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke

This latest tale in the amazing Anna Hibiscus series takes a serious turn when Anna’s beloved grandfather dies and she and her siblings process their grief in both good and bad ways.

Middle Grade Fiction

For Children Ages 9-12

Ashes to Asheville by Sarah Dooley

Road trip time! Two sisters set off in a car headed to Asheville, NC to spread their mama’s ashes (even though they’re really not supposed to have the ashes or the car or even each other anymore).

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

All the people in town are nice to Crow but they refuse to touch her and seem downright scared of her. Why? And what does it have to do with that mysterious man on the nearby island digging lots of holes?

A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold

When Bat’s mother brings home a baby skunk that needs care she warns her son not to get attached. Uh-huh. Guess what. He gets attached.

Bronze and Sunflower by Wenxuan Cao, ill. Helen Wang, translated by Helen Wang

A marvelous sweeping tale set in China during the Cultural Revolution. When Sunflower is suddenly orphaned in the middle of the country, a boy named Bronze and his family come to her aid and the two kids become a true brother and sister.

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis, ill. Freya Hartas

A chocolate-loving dragon transforms into a human girl with one clear desire: to become an apprentice in a chocolate house. How hard could it be?

Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker

What’s worse than having an alien welded to your DNA? Having to navigate middle school, the boy you like, and an upcoming surgery to remove the (rather sweet) alien from your body, that’s what.

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez

Chicago-native Perez introduces readers to Malú, a punk-loving Mexican-American kid forced to move with her mom to Chicago. Will she find like-minded friends in this great big city? Will she find her voice?

Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever, edited by Betsy Bird

Evanston librarian Betsy Bird wanted an anthology of some of the funniest women writing for kids today, so she made one herself. Contains such luminaries as Rita Williams-Garcia, Raina Telgemeier, Shannon Hale, Carmen Agra Deedy, Libba Bray, and more!

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Born without arms, thirteen-year-old Aven finds that when she moves with her family to a dying western theme park there’s a mystery to be solved, and she’s just the gal to solve it.

Jake the Fake Keeps It Real by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach, ill. by Keith Knight

Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Meet Jake. He’s just faked his way into a prestigious Music and Art Academy and he’s pretty sure the jig is up . . . or gonna be soon.

Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson

Here’s some advice. When the Earth is slated to be destroyed by a sun that’s collapsing way too soon, be careful when uncovering alien conspiracies. Those things will kill ya.

Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

Fitted out in the full-body cast, Cuban-Jewish Ruthie doesn’t feel particularly lucky, until she realizes how her friends, neighbors, and love of the arts can help her through this.

Mango Delight by Fracaswell Hyman

From bad best friend to singing YouTube sensation, Mango Delight Fuller’s life is one wild ride where nothing is as simple as it seems.

The Matchstick Castle by Keir Graff

Boring, Illinois doesn’t live up its name when eleven-year-old Brian discovers a kooky family and their one-of-a-kind home in the woods. Hijinks ensue in this book by Chicago-native, Graff.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

On an island without adults, the children come and the children go. If they don’t go, the rhyme they chant says “the sky will fall.” You guessed it. Someone stays. A book that worms its way into your brain and makes you think and think.

The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

Getting your school dress code to allow girls to wear pants? Hard. Telling your parents you’re transgender and were meant to be a boy all along? Harder.

Patina by Jason Reynolds

Young Patina’s lost a lot of things in her life but she’s never lost a race . . . until now. She’s always been a loner, but all that’s about to change and she’d better be ready.

Posted by John David Anderson

When a public school bans all cell phone activity, the students start leaving old-fashioned Post-It notes as a way of communicating. But what happens when something so simple spirals out of control?

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain and Philip Stead, ill. Erin Stead

Based on the unfinished notes of Mark Twain, the Steads spin a delightful fable about a book, a chicken, a prince, his parents, and a very very hungry tiger.

The Real McCoys by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr

Moxie McCoy (possibly the best named character in the whole of children’s literature) is on the search for a best friend, a missing mascot, and a suspect (not necessarily in that order) with the help of her little brother.

Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres

You think your dad’s embarrassing? Imagine if you got picked up every day by a taco truck. A touching, funny tale of friends and family.

This Is Just a Test by Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg

If David Da-Wei Horowitz has any more to deal with (his bar mitzvah is coming soon,  his teammates for the upcoming trivia contest do not like each other, etc.) he’s just gonna dig a fallout shelter and never come out again.

York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby

For fans of tricky puzzles like those in The Westing Game. In an alternate Manhattan where ancient mechanics infuse everyday life, three kids try to crack the puzzles that will save their home and maybe the city itself.


For Children Ages 7-12

Family Poems for Every Day of the Week / Poemas Familiares Para Cada Dia de la Semana by Francisco X. Alarcon, ill. Maya Christina Gonzalez

This great posthumous work by great Chicano poet Alarcon (who died in 2016) ties together our days our lives our families and our sense of community with vibrant, eye-popping art on every page.

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris, ill. Lane Smith

Is Chris Harris funnier than Shel Silverstein? Only one way to find out. Let’s just say he gives old Shel a run for his money.

Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout, Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs, and Stories from an African American Childhood by Patricia McKissack, ill. Brian Pinkney

A seminal collection of Black poems, games, rhymes, parables, prayers, and more. As an extra added bonus, Brian Pinkney’s art whirls and swirls on the page beautifully.

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes  

Grimes takes classic poems from the Harlem Renaissance and then integrates the words into her own, creating something new and vibrant with distinct ties to the past.

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, ill. Ekua Holmes

Features twenty poems honoring twenty different poets in twenty new and entirely distinct ways. Come for the poetry, stay for the gloriously colored art.


For Children Ages 7-12

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Eleven-year-old Imogene has been homeschooled her whole life by her Renaissance Faire employed parents. Now she has to attend middle school for the first time, all the while proving herself as a squire at the faire. Penned by the creator of Roller Girl.

The Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner

A fox with aspirations of evil attempts to raise baby chickens for the slaughter but finds himself too darn attached to the little blood-thirsty brood that call him “mama”.

Bolivar by Sean Rubin

In New York City, no one knows if you’re a dinosaur. A sweet creature from the Cretaceous is discovered by his next door neighbor, and with her help comes to terms with people paying attention to him for the first time.

The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo, ill. Dice Tsutsumi

Behind the dam walls the world is safe and cozy. Outside the walls lies a black fog that means certain death. But when Pig, the dam keeper, leaves his safety for adventure he’ll need to question everything he took for granted before.

One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale

Fury Road meets Misty of Chincoteague in this gripping tale of aliens, ruthless road warriors, and a girl’s love for her pony.

Real Friends: A True Story about Cool Kids and Crybabies by Shannon Hale, ill. LeUyen Pham

Making friends is never easy, particular when those friends have a tendency to be cruel. A fun but awfully realistic look at what it takes to make and keep a friend.


For All Ages

Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome, ill. James E. Ransome

Spy. Nurse. Activist. Conductor. Told backwards, this incredibly simple text at Harriet Tubman’s life examines her through the lens of all the jobs she held before.

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, ill. Man One

Killer art accompanies the true to life picture book biography of Roy Choi, the man who brought high end cuisine and street food together so that everybody could have an equal chance to eat. Special Bonus: Ramen endpapers.

Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico by Duncan Tonatiuh

Tonatiuh does it again! This time he zeroes in on the founder of the Mexican Folkloric Ballet, Amalia Hernández, and what it took for her to beat the odds and create something utterly timeless.

Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton, ill. Victo Ngai

One of the craziest war stories of all time comes to life with colors so bright they’ll knock your socks off. Can you believe there was a time when ships looked like Dali paintings to escape killer submarines. Believe it. Read it.

Germs:  Fact and Fiction, Friends and Foes by Lesa Cline- Ransome, ill. James Ransome

Good and bad bacteria duke it out for ultimate supremacy in this fun and funky battle for a body’s ultimate health.

Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark, ill. Katy Wu

Like your laptop? Then thank Grace Hopper, an early coder, who taught computers to “speak English” and had a keen sense of humor as well.

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, ill. Shawn Harris

Writing luminary Eggers takes some time away from his adult novels to zero in on Lady Liberty and a very striking fact about her. Did you ever notice that she’s walking? The question is, where is she going?

The Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Wechsler

Intimate and intricate photographs zero in on something that should be ordinary but, because of the closeness of the camera, becomes extraordinary. Simple enough for young ages, fascinating enough for all ages.

How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit On a Plane? Answers to Your Most Clever Math Questions by Laura Overdeck

Math kids, rejoice! There’s a hilarious and hopping book for you too. Math guru Overdeck poses ridiculous questions (if you put a cup out in the rain, how many drops would it take to fill it up?) with serious answers.

How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild by Katherine Roy

It’s hard not to like elephants, but were you aware of how meticulously they’re designed? Roy goes beyond the usual elephant tropes to examines the scientific connections behind how their bodies work and why they’re as amazing as they are.

If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams

Think you hate sharks? Think again. Williams perfectly delineates why these killers of the deep are an integral part of the greater ecosystem and why we should do everything we can to keep them safe.

Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton Reveal’d by Mary Losure

Imagine the magic of Harry Potter combined with the science of the ancient past. Issac Newton loved alchemy, but what he’s remembered for today are his scientific theorems. A fascinating biography for older readers.

Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush by Peter Lourie, ill Wendell Minor

Sure, Jack London’s stories are exciting but the crazy thing? His life was even more exciting. It’s Gold Rush of 1897 like you’ve never seen it before. Recommended for older readers.

Keith Haring:  The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay. A Haring, ill. Robert Neubecker

A sensitive picture book tribute to the artist that brought happiness to the world and was gone all too soon.

The Legendary Miss Lena Horne  by Carole Boston Weatherford, Elizabeth Zunon

Think you know the story of Lena Horne? Think again. More than just an actress, Weatherford zeroes in on Horne’s civil right activism and bravery at a time when many would have hid their heads in the sand.

Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports by Phil Bildner, ill. Brett Helquist

There have been lots of sports rivalries over the years, but few can compare with the showdowns between tennis stars Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. Competitors and friends, this book follows them from beginning to end.

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines, Designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Jeanne Walker Harvey, ill. Dow Phumiruk

Lin was just a college student when she submitted the winning entry selected for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This gentle picture book biography looks at a woman who was as much an artist as an architect.

Meet Cindy Sherman: Artist, Photographer, Chameleon by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan

What do you want to be when you grow up? Cindy wanted to be a photographer. Her best subject? Herself! The perfect book for older readers in the selfie generation.

Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Being Disabled by Shane Burcaw, ill. Matt Carr

When you’re disabled you have to deal with all kinds of questions on a daily basis. Shane Burcaw shows with his customary wit and wacky humor that you don’t have to pity him. He lives a pretty awesome life. Here are the questions you might have for him.

Older Than Dirt: A Kinda-Sorta Biography of Earth by Don Brown & Dr. M. Perfit

The entire history of the earth done in a comic format, hosted by a worm and a groundhog? Hope you like epic stories because this one’s a doozy!

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in the Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander

Inspirational quotes from famous sport figures are coupled with Newbery winner Kwame Alexander’s true stories of his own attempts to find the right sport in his life.

Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! by Andrea J. Loney, ill. Keith Mallett

If you lived during the Harlem Renaissance, odds are you would have had your studio portrait taken by James VanDerZee. A fun glimpse into the past through art.

Up Up Up Skyscraper by Anastasia Suen, ill. Ryan O’Rourke

How do actually make a skyscraper? Why don’t they just fall to the ground all the time? Written for the youngest readers, this clever picture book goes through all the step you’ll need to go up up up.

What Makes a Monster? Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures by Jess Keating, ill. David DeGrand

One kid’s monster is another kid’s delight.

Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories by Jack Gantos

The king of the kooky shows kids how your everyday life gives you all the material you need to be the best writer you can be.

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson, ill. Vanessa Brantley Newton

She was just a kid when she was arrested, but Audrey Faye Hendricks showed guts and bravery at a time when such feelings could be scarce. A great picture book biography.

And that’s all she wrote, folks!  There’s something here for everyone.

Silvia Rodriguez’s Best Reads of 2016

December 30, 2016

silvia rodriguezMy name is Silvia Rodriguez, and I’m a Venezuelan globetrotter. I arrived in Evanston around four years ago with my family, and since then have expanded with the birth of our second son, a true Evanstonian. We too have become Evanstonians by adoption, as this town has welcomed us with open arms. We love our community, which I think can always become stronger with contributions from all of us. I feel connected by being involved in volunteerism for causes I feel strongly about (race inequality, social justice). As a former book editor, I am glad we have such an amazing local library. I have always used library services extensively everywhere I have lived, but EPL has by far been my favorite. We are loyal, die-hard users!

1) Neuro Tribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman (2015)

This book is a great reminder that so much about what happens throughout history is deeply influenced by chance, by luck, by circumstance. Silberman’s meticulous research shows how a series of events led to one line of research prevailing over another resulting in the concept and imagery of autism we sadly share nowadays: that in which autistics are portrayed as less able, less valuable humans to society, as expendables. I am hopeful that with the work of disability self-advocates (Silberman does right in mentioning some in his book) and revisionist titles such as this, society will shift toward a more just and ethical idea of autism and the many contributions autistic citizens can bring to us all.

Continue reading “Silvia Rodriguez’s Best Reads of 2016”

Lisa Harries' Best Reads of 2014

December 18, 2014

harriesMy name is Lisa Harries.  I have lived in Evanston all my life.  I moved into the city for a bit during my 20s, but returned when my daughter became school-aged. I have been a teacher for 19 wonderful years and currently teach 2nd graders at Dewey Elementary School. I love to sleep, shop, read, eat, talk with friends, do jigsaw puzzles, run, and bowl. I try to find something to smile about everyday, usually my teenage daughter and my students help me accomplish that goal. I hope that you find some wonderful books to enjoy during this next year. Happy reading!

1) The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau (2000)

I re-read this book every year to my students because I love it so much. It is about generosity and community. It teachers students how good it feels to give to others and how giving just a little bit of yourself to someone else can help foster a sense of community. It also has BEAUTIFUL illustrations that students enjoy.

Continue reading “Lisa Harries' Best Reads of 2014”

Andalib Khelghati's Best Reads of 2014

December 13, 2014

mr khelghatiMy name is Andalib Khelghati.  I was born in West Africa and grew up in a home where we spoke French, English and Farsi.  I work at Dewey Elementary school and am proud of all our Dewey Tigers.  My favorite hobby is learning about new places, languages and traveling.  I believe reading is a powerful tool for unlocking life’s hidden secrets.

1) Command Authority by Tom Clancy (2013)

This fast-paced thriller brings together action and politics for a novel that is a true page turner.  This book is a must-read for anyone looking to get completely engrossed in classic Clancy.

Continue reading “Andalib Khelghati's Best Reads of 2014”

Why is George so curious? And what kind of monkey is he anyway?

January 3, 2012

Parents of toddlers might find themselves pondering the deeper mysteries of children’s books after reading a favorite story night after night seventeen bedtimes in a row.  They want to get beyond the obvious plot and characters.  Questions come to mind: Why is George curious? Are monkeys really that curious? What kind of monkey is he? Are some monkeys more curious than others? Now, thanks to authors Alexandra Horowitz and her husband Ammon Shea, some of these questions can be addressed. In this enlightening article in the January 1st  New York Times “Sunday Review” section, Horowitz and Shea present the cold, hard facts of scientific research to answer some of the knottier questions. They wisely stopped short of delving into too many of them in the interest of preserving the magic of childhood, but it is comforting to know that should I be blessed with grandchildren in the future, and should my mind wander during the umpteenth reading of, say, The Little Engine that Could, there is a good chance I’d be able to find out if that little engine really could have pulled it off.

Barbara L.

Should children read ebooks?

November 21, 2011

Today’s New York Times  points out that most  plugged in, etext-only adults still prefer physical print books for their children.  (For Their Children, Many E-book Fans Insist on Paper) The reasons vary: ebooks and ereaders are expensive, offer poorer selections, can’t convey illustrations well. There’s also a great deal of affection for the tactile, physical experience of sharing  books with a child, difficult to replicate with a Kindle.

But do physical books for children have any actual advanatge over  ebooks? Continue reading “Should children read ebooks?”