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Last night we had an important family meeting to nominate our favorite books of 2017. Always the diplomat, Lu said she couldn’t possibly pick favorites. She loves them all. The rest of us were a bit more opinionated. Below are our nominations for the best kids books we read in 2017, chosen with care by Bean and Luke.


Picture books

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

One of my favorite picture books of 2017 was JABARI JUMPS by author/illustrator Gaia Cornwall. We loved this story about overcoming fear, building confidence, and walking the talk. Listen to our podcast episode with Gaia Cornwall to hear more about the book.

Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris

HER RIGHT FOOT was one of the most surprising, inspiring, and enjoyable picture books we read in 2017. It’s a fascinating look at the history of the Statue of Liberty, with important social commentary on just exactly what is happening with her right foot. Read our full review.

Middle Grade

Lemons by Melissa Savage

When author Tracy Maurer was on the podcast this year, she mentioned a book her friend wrote called LEMONS. We picked up the audiobook at the library, and were hooked from the first minute. It’s a charming story about grief, family and friendship, with some Big Foot fanatacism thrown in for comic relief. Melissa Savage will be a guest on next week’s podcast, so keep your eyes peeled for the link.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townshend

NEVERMOOR positively blew us away! We are slowly reading the Harry Potter series as a family, one book per year. That leaves a lot of down time for the Harry Potter lovers in the family (namely, Lu). NEVERMOOR filled the void with some similar characteristics: fantasy, magic, likeable characters, and a big, unraveling mystery. I highly recommend it even you don’t *think* you like fantasy. Read our full review.

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

HELLO, UNIVERSE was Luke’s favorite book of 2017. He loved the underdog characters all banding together to overcome their unique challenges. He appreciated how author Erin Entrada Kelly introduced a bully character, but also gave us some insight into the forces that turned him into a bully. This is a great book for a family read aloud or for solo middle grade readers. Read my mini-review here.

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Bean’s 2017 book of the year was WISHTREE. This isn’t surprising, since author Katherine Applegate is a genius. It is surprising, however, since Bean is just learning to read and has trouble sitting still for middle grade read alouds. WISHTREE’s short chapters and straightforward language make this book perfect for younger readers and listeners. Older readers will enjoy it just as much. In fact, our entire extended family is using this for a family book club. Read our full review. 

Young Adult

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

This may have been one-third of the young adult novels I read this year, but it would have won this category no matter what. I spent the better part of 2017 recommending this book to everyone within earshot. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s an important book about race, family, frienship, and being true to yourself. Read our mini-review.

Okay, now it’s your turn! In the comments below, share your favorite book of 2017.

Best kids books of 2017

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