CCB/BCCB Staff Favorites
Selected and annotated by Hannah Mueller, Stacia McKeever and Sam Greenfield
There is a book for just about everyone in this large collection of picture books, chapter books, and titles for young adults. The CCB’s current graduate assistants compiled a number of their favorite books for youth in this end of the year bibliography.
Alvarez, Lorena. Nightlights; written and illus. by Lorena Alvarez. Nobrow, 2017 64p. Gr. 3-5. Recommended by Sam.
Sandy is an extremely creative young girl who spends her days drawing colorful imaginary creatures, to the detriment of her real life friendships. Her ability is noticed evil spirit who wants to harness it for their own gain, and Sandy will have to use all of the creative energy she has to save herself from the spirit’s grasp. Her artwork is brought to life in full page spreads throughout the oversized graphic novel format.
Bloom, Naama. HelloFlo: The Guide, Period; illus. by Fleur Sciortino. Dutton, 2017 [176p] Gr. 4-8 Recommended by Stacia
Naama Bloom, the founder of HelloFlo.com, tells it straight in this honest guide to female puberty as she details, “all the facts, even the messy ones and the ones you may find most embarrassing to talk about.” Bloom takes the edge off with humor and a conversational tone discussing breast development, menstruation, hormones, hygiene, and even friendship. Shared stories throughout remind readers that whatever their experience is, they are not the first to go through it nor will they be the last. Puberty is challenging, but with this guide, girls will come away feeling more confident and empowered to make decisions for themselves.
Cajoleas, Jimmy. Goldeline; Harper/HarperCollins, 2017 [256p] Gr. 4-6 Recommended by Stacia
After her mother is burned for witchcraft by the town preacher, eleven-year-old Goldeline flees to the woods where she finds a role among a group of bandits led by father-figure Gruff. With her golden eyes and white hair she acts as Ghost Girl, luring travelers to stop and “help,” leaving them an easy target for the robbers. Though Goldeline struggles with the morality of her job, the ever-present memory of the same Townies allowing the Preacher (who is still searching for her) to take her mother away keeps her in line—until a young boy throws a wrench in things. This fast-paced adventure explores the grey areas between good and bad, and the difficulties of friendship, learning who you are, and defining family and home for yourself. With bits of fairy-tale and magic mixed in you never know what lies around the corner for Goldeline, but our spunky and strong protagonist is always ready for the challenge. “It’s like the Book says, if you bring forth what is within you, it’ll save you. But if you don’t bring forth what is within you, well, that’ll destroy you.”
Cornwall, Gaia. Jabari Jumps, written and illus. by Gaia Cornwall. Candlewick, 2017 [32p]. 3-6 yrs. Recommended by Sam.
Jabari is a great jumper, and he is ready to test his skills on the diving board. Jumping off suddenly seems scarier from the top of the board, but with a little help from his dad, Jabari is able to overcome his fears and have a great day at the pool. Pencil, watercolor, and digital collage art capture both Jabari’s fear and his triumph.
Denos, Julia. Windows; illus. by E. B. Goodale. Candlewick, 2017 [26p] 4-8 yrs Recommended by Stacia
Windows takes you on an evening stroll through a peaceful neighborhood with a young child and their dog. The sky burns brightly as buildings begin their shift into shade. While the world outside darkens, windows illuminate and dot the sky providing viewers with a voyeuristic scavenger hunt. As they look for scenes to match the text (“There might be a hug, or a piano, and someone might be learning to dance”), they discover unexpected surprises along the way, like a tiny cat peering out from a distant window. The washy bleeds of the fiery sky contrast with digitally collaged silhouettes of the neighborhood homes and buildings, capturing a perfect image of “almost-night”.
French, Gillian. Grit. HarperTeen/HarperCollins, 2017 [304p]. Gr. 9-12. Recommended by Sam.
Seventeen-year-old Darcy’s partying has earned her a reputation in her working class rural Maine town. But beneath the reputation, Darcy is a hard worker and a dedicated sister and cousin who is struggling under the weight of secrets that have the potential to shake the entire town to its core. Someone in the town decides to play a cruel prank Darcy be nominating her as a contestant in the town’s beauty pageant, and it seems like the last straw. How much longer can she be expected to keep it all together?
Hale, Shannon. Real Friends; illus. by LeUyen Pham; color by Jane Poole. First Second, 2017 224p Gr. 4-6 Recommended by Hannah
Making friends is hard, and sometimes keeping them is even harder. This graphic novel memoir, follows Shannon as she struggles with the complexities of friendship. Each chapter is about a specific friend she had in the past, and how they affected her life. Sometimes, for the better, and sometimes for the worst. Hale treats these friendships with honesty, and any reader that struggles with intricacies of friendship will appreciate her story.
Heiligman, Deborah. Vincent and Theo; Holt, 2017 [464p] illus. with photographs Gr. 7-12 Recommended by Hannah, Stacia, and Sam
Deborah Heiligman paints a beautiful story of the relationship between one of the world’s most famous artists, Vincent van Gogh, and his lesser known brother Theo van Gogh. The brothers’ relationship, while close, is often difficult because of Vincent’s battles with mental illness. The two brothers’ struggles with love, careers, and illness take a center stage in this novel. Ultimately, Vincent and Theo is a heartbreaking tale of two brothers’ love for art and one another.
Cooke, Nicole. Information Services to Diverse Populations: Developing Culturally Competent Library Professionals. Libraries Unlimited, 2016. 166p Reference Recommended by Stacia
This textbook is an excellent resource for information professionals at any stage in their career. Cooke, assistant professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois, brings together recent research and best practices to address cultural competence, and inclusive library service emphasizing the importance of making education around social justice and diversity a standard within the information sciences. “This is how we can ensure that more library and information science (LIS) professionals treat diversity as more than just a trend and actually make diversity a priority and a dedicated career path.”
Lee, Mackenzi. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue; Tegen/HarperCollins, 2017[528p] Gr. 9–12 Recommended by Hannah
Henry Montague, his sister Felicity, and his best friend Percy set off for their Grand Tour of Europe, a rite of passage for wealthy 18th century teenaged boys. Of course, not everything goes according to plan with this motley crew. Henry, who drinks too much, studies too little, and kisses boys, is constantly getting himself into trouble. This is despite the attempts by his fierce book-reading younger sister and his loving best friend to control his troublesome behavior. This young adult novel is part adventure, part road trip, and all about forbidden love.
Mabry, Samantha. All the Wind in the World. Algonquin, 2017 [272p]. Gr. 8-12. Recommended by Sam.
Set in the futuristic southwest, All the Wind in the World tells the story of young jimadors Sarah Jac and James. Years of working in the fields has taught them to always keep moving and to harden their hearts, except to each other. When an accident forces them take up work at the rumored-to-be-cursed Real Marvelous ranch, the once skeptical young lovers will find their trust tested in ways they would have never imagined.
Reynolds, Jason .Long Way Down; Atheneum, 2017 [320p] Gr. 6-10 Recommended by Stacia
When Will witnesses his brother Shawn’s murder he knows he must follow The Rules: 1) No crying, 2) No snitching, and 3) Revenge. “If someone you love gets killed, find the person who killed them and kill them.” Even though he has never held a gun, Will is determined to seek justice. As the elevator descends the ghosts of family members, friends, and neighborhood culprits visit Will, revealing how following the code has led to this moment, challenging what until now has never been questioned. This novel in verse is a raw, emotional, and gripping story. Read first and then listen to the audiobook read by the author.
Slater, Dashka. Escargot; illus. by Sydney Hanson. Farrar, 2017. [34p] 4-6 yrs Recommended by Hannah
Escargot, our shimmery snail narrator, is on a journey to a salad with croutons, light vinaigrette and no carrots. As he travels through the book, this self-proclaimed beautiful snail tries to convince audiences that snails should be their favorite animal. This picture book encourages audience interaction, and is perfect for read-a-louds, with a French accent of course.
Smy, Pam. Thornhill; written and illus. By Pam Smy. Roaring Brook, 2017. [544p]. Gr. 5-8. Recommended by Sam.
When Ella catches a glimpse of a girl in the window of the Thornhill Institute for Children, an abandoned former orphanage across the street from her new house, she pictures a potential first friend in town. As Ella goes on a search for the mysterious girl, readers of this hybrid novel/graphic novel will soon discover that everything at Thornhill is not all that it seems.
Terry, Laura. Graveyard Shakes; written and illus. by Laura Terry. Graphix/Scholastic, 2017 [208p] Gr. 4-6 Recommended by Hannah
In this graphic novel, sisters Katia and Victoria arrive at boarding school. A new school is a difficult adjustment for anyone. For the formerly homeschooled sisters it’s even more difficult for most, and it’s not just because of Katia’s quirky behavior. Rather, it’s because of ghosts and a man named Nikola, who is desperate to keep his ailing son alive by any means necessary.
Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give; Balzer + Bray, 2017 [464p] Gr. 8-12 Recommended by Hannah, Stacia, and Sam
Starr Carter lives in two different worlds, the poor black neighborhood where she was born and raised, and the suburban private preparatory school she attends. The balance of these two worlds comes crashing down when her childhood friend Khalid is shot and killed by a police officer. Khalid’s death makes national headlines, and protests start. Everyone wants to know what really happened that night Khalid was pulled over, and Starr is the only one with answers. Starr’s struggles with Khalid’s death and her colliding worlds will grip young adult readers.
Walden, Tillie. Spinning; written and illus. by Tillie Walden. First Second, 2017 400p Gr. 8-12 Recommended by Hannah
The world of synchronized ice skating is a brutal world of two-a-days practices, catty girls, and long hours of traveling for competitions. Even so, the ice rink remains Tille Walden’s safe haven. In this graphic novel memoir, the reader watches Tillie grow up and grow out of ice skating. Tille’s world and problems grow larger than the rink can handle. She must learn how to walk away from the sport that used to consume all of her waking moments, and find meaning beyond ice skating.