Best current novels
Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways.
According to ALSC policy, the current year's Newbery, Caldecott, Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books automatically are added to the Notable Children's Books list.
According to the ALSC Notable Children’s Books Committee manual, these categories loosely represent the following: Younger Readers – Preschool-grade 2 (age 7), including easy-to-read books; Middle Readers – Grades 3-5, ages 8-10; Older Readers – Grades 6-8, ages 11-14; All Ages – Has appeal and interest for children in all of the above age ranges
An Ambush of Tigers: A Wild Gathering of Collective Nouns. By Betsy R. Rosenthal. Illus. by Jago. Lerner/Millbrook.
This collection of humorous illustrations and clever word play introduces children to the wide variety of animal groups, such as a prickle of porcupines and a tower of giraffes.
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore. By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. Lerner/Carolrhoda.
Lewis Michaux Jr.takes readers through the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem. This one-of-a-kind store offered a place for African Americans to read, learn, and debate ideas for over 40 years.
Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret. By Bob Shea. Illus. by the author. Disney/Hyperion.
Ballet Cat loves ballet more than anything. What happens when her best friend Sparkles doesn’t want to play ballet every day? Find out in an early reader that breezily dances along.
Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! By Todd Tarpley. Illus. by John Rocco. Little, Brown.
Three rowdy robots keep a young boy awake with their requests for more oil, tightened bolts, loosened fan belts, and more. Will a bedtime story finally lead to sleep?
Boats for Papa. By Jessixa Bagley. Illus. by the author. Roaring Book/Neal Porter.
Bagley’s gentle artwork and warm story sensitively portray Buckley’s way of coping with the absence of his father by making boats from found beach objects.
A Chicken Followed Me Home! Questions and Answers about a Familiar Fowl. By Robin Page. Illus. by the author. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane.
Whether they own chickens or not, young readers will use this handy guide to answer their basic questions about the familiar fowl.
Detective Gordon: The First Case. By Ulf Nilsson. Illus. by Gitte Spee. Tr. by Julia Marshall. Gecko.
Squirrel’s nuts have been stolen! Never fear, a bulbous toad, Detective Gordon, and his new mouse assistant, Buffy, are on the case. A delightful mystery.
Don’t Throw It to Mo! By David A. Adler. Illus. by Sam Ricks. Penguin.
Underdog football player Mo Jackson may be the smallest kid on his team, but Coach Steve has a plan for him to save the day. (Geisel Medal Book)
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music. By Margarita Engle. Illus. by Rafael López. HMH.
In this story inspired by a real musician, a girl in Cuba longs to play the drums, and with perseverance, she breaks down the gender barrier, eventually becoming a famous drummer. Belpré Illustrator Medal Book)
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. By Laurie Ann Thompson. Illus. by Sean Qualls. Random/Schwartz & Wade.
Emmanuel doesn't allow his malformed leg to deter him from riding a bike to crusade for disability rights in Ghana. His successes chronicled in this biography are inspirational.
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. By Lindsay Mattick. Illus. by Sophie Blackall. Little, Brown.
This heartening tale is an incredible account of the friendship and love shared between a soldier and the real bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. (Caldecott Medal Book)
Float. By Daniel Miyares. Illus. by the author. Simon & Schuster.
In this wordless picture book, a gray, rainy day turns into an adventure when a boy makes a paper boat and plays outside in the rain.
Flop to the Top! By Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing. Illus. by the authors. TOON.
Wanda is shocked to learn that her dog, Wilbur—not Wanda—has become an instant celebrity when a selfie goes viral. Bright, bold cartoon art tells this story, emphasizing that friendship and family are more important than fame.
Flutter & Hum / Aleteo y zumbido: Animal Poems / Poemas de animales. Ed. by Julie Paschkis. Illus. by the author. Holt.
Fourteen poems of mammals, birds, insects, fish, and reptiles are presented in both English and Spanish. Embedded within the lively illustrations are additional words in both languages.
Gingerbread for Liberty: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution. By Mara Rockliff. Illus. by Vincent X. Kirsch. HMH.
Little-known hero baker of the American Revolution Christopher Ludwick stars in this engaging picture book biography with a tasty twist.
Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village. By Fang Suzhen. Illus. by Sonja Danowski. Tr. by Huang Xiumin. NorthSouth.
Xiao Le’s grandmother passes away soon after he spends a rare day visiting her. His mother is sad, but Xiao Le helps her feel better, telling her what Grandma is doing in Heaven. (Batchelder Honor Book)
The Grasshopper and the Ants. By Jerry Pinkney. Illus. by the author. Little, Brown.
In this adaptation of Aesop’s fable, vivid, intricate watercolors bring to life hardworking ants as they prepare for the winter, while a playful grasshopper wishes they would join in his merrymaking instead.
Growing Up Pedro. By Matt Tavares. Illus. by the author. Candlewick.
A young Pedro Martinez, inspired by his brother Ramon, rises from humble beginnings in the Dominican Republic to become one of the best Major League Baseball players of our time.
Hippos Are Huge! By Jonathan London. Illus. by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick.
The hippo, with its monstrous jaw and razor-sharp tusks, is the most dangerous animal in Africa. Filled with fascinating facts about the fierce, but sometimes playful, hippopotamus.
I Yam a Donkey! By Cece Bell. Illus. by the author. Clarion.
Correcting a donkey’s grammar and pronunciation comically leads to one yam’s demise.
If You Plant a Seed. By Kadir Nelson. Illus. by the author. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray.
A rabbit and mouse wait patiently for the seeds they planted to grow into delicious vegetables. When some birds want part of the harvest, everyone learns being kind is the most fruitful way to be.
Last Stop on Market Street. By Matt de la Peña. Illus. by Christian Robinson. Putnam.
CJ’s journey with his Nana is not just a simple bus ride; it is a multi-sensory experience through which he discovers that beautiful music, nature, and people surround him. (Newbery Medal Book & Caldecott Honor Book)
Lenny & Lucy. By Philip C. Stead. Illus. by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Book/Neal Porter.
Homemade guardians Lenny and Lucy protect Peter and his dog from the dark, scary woods and help him find fun and friendship at his new home. Pops of color bring life to the charcoal illustrations.
Leo: A Ghost Story. By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Christian Robinson. Chronicle.
Leo, a child ghost, leaves his home when its new occupants fear him. He soon meets Jane and discovers the wonder and joy of a true friend. Cut-paper collages capture Leo’s emotional journey.