Tis the season for best of the year lists. These lists always come in handy for finding great gifts for yourself and others. The only problem? There sure are a lot of them. To help you avoid ‘best of year list fatigue’ let us humbly suggest you look no further than our Best of 2015 list.
Our list is put together by the dedicated staff of the Everett Public Library who know a thing or two about all the great books, movies and music that have come out in 2015. Not only do we select these materials for the library collection, but we are avid consumers ourselves. As you might suspect, our list is a tad long so we will be publishing our selections a day at a time for a week here on A Reading Life. If you want to see the complete list in all its glory, take a look at the December Newsletter to get the PDF.
So, without further ado, let’s get this list started. Today we will be taking a look at all the great fiction and graphic novels for children that came out in 2015.
Waiting by Kevin Henkes
An owl, puppy, bear, bunny, and pig wait for marvelous things to happen.
Kevin Henkes has the soul of a poet and the precision of a scientist. His books are warm, lovely, and philosophical. The twist in this one, involving a nesting doll, is breathtaking…and the lesson is patience and gratitude in minutiae. -Alan’s pick
How to Grow a Friend by Sara Gillingham
In bold, adorable wood block prints, the author describes in toddler-friendly detail (very few words) how friendship works.
Gillingham analogizes growing a friend to how things grow in nature with ample talking points for the storyteller (“don’t let your friend get stuck in the weeds”). -Alan’s pick
If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
With spare text and breathtaking oil paintings, If You Plant a Seed demonstrates not only the process of planting and growing for young children but also how a seed of kindness can bear sweet fruit.
The illustrations of this simple tale are whimsical and beautiful. The animals are so very expressive. -Andrea’s pick
Such a Little Mouse by Alice Schertle
Every season a little mouse pops out of his hole in the meadow and explores his world, gathering the food and supplies he will need when winter comes.
This charming story is told in rhymes and is a delight. -Leslie’s pick
Smick! by Doreen Cronin
Smick is a very minimally drawn dog in a children’s book. He retrieves a stick (done with a photo) and meets Chick (made from a photo of a petal and drawn upon).
With very simple line drawings, Smick is portrayed as being very lively, cute, and good. He plays well with Chick, and he stole my heart. A charming book for ages 2 and up, Smick uses simple rhyming text to tell the story. -Margaret’s pick
Superworm byJulia Donaldson
Our super hero is a worm! “Superworm is super long! Superworm is super strong! Watch him wiggle! Watch him squirm! Hip Hip Hooray for Superworm!”
I love all of Julia Donaldson’s books (The Gruffalo is awesome), and this one doesn’t disappoint. -Leslie’s pick
Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
At an English boarding school in the 1930s, crime-solving friends Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells struggle to find an exciting mystery to investigate. They hit pay-dirt when Hazel discovers the dead body of Miss Bell, the science teacher.
Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong speak to the large portion of my soul still in love with all the Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew stories. We have a bit of a delay getting the U.S. versions (book 4 is already out in the UK), but it’s going to be worth the wait! -Carol’s pick
Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio
These stories are an extra peek at Auggie before he started at Beecher Prep and during his first year there. Readers get to see him through the eyes of Julian, the bully; Christopher, Auggie’s oldest friend; and Charlotte, Auggie’s new friend at school.
This book is a companion to Palacio’s Wonder. These chapters were not included in the original book, because Wonder was Auggie Pullman’s story. This is a glimpse of the lives of three more people whose paths crossed with Auggie’s. -Andrea’s pick
A Boy and His Horse by Nate Cosby
Story of a young bounty hunter determined to send his entire outlaw family to jail. He travels the Old West on a horse that ain’t his, and won’t stop til every one’a his kin’s in the clink.
From the Old West slang and drawl to the adorable illustrations, this graphic novel aimed at a younger audience will have adults like you and me enthralled as well. -Carol’s pick
Lumberjanes Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy & Lumberjanes Volume 2: Friendship to the Max by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen
At Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hardcore lady-types, things are not what they seem.
Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. The Lumberjanes are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer.
I picked up issue 1 of this comic book series at Everett Comics on a whim. Little did I know how quickly I would fall in love with this magical series. Get caught up on these hardcore lady-types before the movie comes out (yep, film optioned!). -Carol’s pick
Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring by Kate Leth
When the water supply of Fraggle Rock mysteriously runs dry, the Fraggles will have to journey deep in the caves of Fraggle Rock to find the fabled Everspring where adventure awaits and no Fraggle has ever gone before! Dance your cares away!
I was raised on Fraggle Rock and have come to be completely obsessed with Kate Leth. This is a match made in heaven, perfect for the young and young-at-heart. -Carol’s pick
Punky Brewster Volume 1 by Joelle Sellner
Punky Brewster has been abandoned by her mother and lives on the streets of Chicago with her puppy sidekick, Brandon. Punky thinks she doesn’t need help, but after getting picked up by the police, she enters a foster home and searches for a new family.
When I was growing up, Punky Brewster was the one TV show my friends and I all watched religiously (well, as religious as a small child can). She was the friend we all wanted, and this comic brings me back to those days of wonder. -Carol’s pick
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Astrid becomes infatuated with roller derby after attending a bout with her mom and best friend, Nicole. The girls sign up for a roller derby boot camp, and Astrid soon realizes she’s in over her head.
Fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile will eat this up. -Sarah’s pick