Best Books of the Year: Childrens and Young Adult Titles

January 30, 2018 | Book Buzz

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At the end of the year, Toronto Public Library staff members select their favourite reading experiences of the past 12 months. There are so many great responses that we end up with a series of blog posts. This installment is dedicated to books written for children and teens because we love books, even the ones we're supposed to be too old to read. 

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." – C. S. Lewis
 

Picture Books

 

Colette  

Colette's Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault

Colette wants to make friends in her new neighbourhood, so she invents a lost pet and gathers a search party. Recommended by Elaine.

Regular Print

     
Dinosaur the pooped a planet  

The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter; illustrated by Garry Parsons

Quite possibly the finest space adventure ever written about a boy, a dinosaur and some poop. Recommended by Jennifer. 

Regular Print
ebook

     
Jammie day  

Jammie Day by Carrie Snyder; illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan

Cliffy doesn't feel like getting dressed so he tells his distracted mom that it's jammie day at school. Then he does it the next day and the day after that and soon his schoolmates join him and every day becomes jammie day. Recommended by Kara.

Regular Print 

     
Letter to my teacher  

A Letter to My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson; pictures by Nancy Carpenter

A once-challenging student writes a letter to the teacher that changed her life. Recommended by Elaine.

Regular Print
ebook

     
Stay a girl a dog and a bucket list  

Stay: A Girl, a Dog and a Bucket List by Kate Klise; illustrated by M. Sarah Klise

Astrid's best friend Eli the dog is getting older so she writes a bucket list of fun things they can do together. Recommended by Elaine.

Regular Print

     
Still stuck  

Still Stuck by Shinsuke Yoshitake

A boy who believes he is capable of dressing and undressing himself gets stuck in his clothes and imagines what it will be like if he can't get out. 

Regular Print

Children's Fiction

     
Amina's voice  

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan

Middle school is full of changes and anxiety for Amina, a Pakistani-American Muslim girl. How can she stay true to her family traditions and fit in with her school friends? Staff member Amena selected this as one of her favourites of 2017.

Regular Print
ebook

     
     
From ant to eagle  

From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle

After moving to a small town, Cal is bored with only his younger brother Sammy for company. Cal devises a game to make Sammy do his chores so the boy can increase his personal level in their game. When Sammy becomes ill, Cal decides he must make amends. Recommended by Kara.

Regular Print
ebook

     
     
The swallow  

The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter

Donna writes: Set in the Toronto of the 1960s, in what is now the Regent Park area (near the Parliament Street branch), it is a story of friendship, loss and invisibility. Two lonely, early-teen girls feel invisible to their families and peers. They find each other and become friends. It’s a ghost story, and a story about families who have been disrupted. It’s not one of those “teen issue” books, it’s part mystery, part adventure, part ghost story. It looks at mental health, and growing up in the Toronto of the 1960s (a very different Toronto than it is today).


It’s gripping, and moving, and an excellent read.

Regular Print
ebook

Young Adult Fiction

     
Hate u give  

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr is a witness when her friend is killed by a police officer and everyone wants to know what happened. She's suddenly getting attention from the law and from a local drug lord and what she has to say may endanger the lives of the people she loves. It's one of the most talked about books of 2017 but Alice says it's worth the hype. 

Regular Print
e-audiobook
ebook
Large Print

     
Illuminae  

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Jamie describes this one as "2001: A Space Odyssey meets hackers and zombies. There is also romance."

Regular Print 
e-audiobook
ebook

     
Landscape with invisible  

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M. T. Anderson

Kate describes it as "a YA (young adult) social satire about what happens when semi-benevolent aliens come and purport to make our lives better by automating all our jobs and providing futuristic medicine but maintain our uncompassionate class/economic system. The haves have more and then have-nots have less, and the voice of the protagonist is hilarious and believable."

Regular Print
ebook

     
Language of thorns  

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo; illustrated by Sara Kipin

Recommended by Isabel who calls it "visually stunning, gorgeously written retellings of fairytales". 

Regular Print
ebook

     
Nowhere girls  

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Three socially awkward girls unite to create a movement that challenges the sexist culture of their school and avenges a classmate who was forced to leave town after being sexually assaulted. 

Regular Print
ebook

     
Release  

Release by Patrick Ness

Recommended by Cameron who calls it an "homage to "Mrs. Dalloway" and "Forever" by Judy Blume – this coming of age novel is about self acceptance and what happens to ourselves when we start tearing down walls that other people built for us". 

Regular Print
e-audiobook
ebook

Interested in more staff suggestions?

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