by Caroline Ward
With over 8,000 new children’s and teen books published annually, it’s often bewildering for parents, and even librarians, to find just the right book for a particular child. One way to narrow the selection is to check out the Best of the Best lists and award winners that start appearing as 2017 begins to wind down. Of course, the most important children’s book awards, The John Newbery Medal and The Randolph Caldecott Medal, won’t be announced until the first week in February. We have selected some of our favorites of 2017, all of which would make great holiday gifts.
These books have received multiple starred reviews, and several have already been named to the Best Books of the Year lists.
With After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again, Caldecott Medalist-winner Dan Santat imagines the aftermath of Humpty Dumpty’s infamous moment, turning a familiar nursery rhyme into a memorable exploration of trauma, anxiety and fear — that ultimately builds to a freeing experience.
Baabwaa & Wooliam is a hilarious and satisfying tale of literacy, dental hygiene and friendship from David Elliott. Along with the whimsical and playful art by Melissa Sweet, this is sure to have readers in stitches from start to finish. Plus it sends a timely message — that even our enemies can become friends when we discover common threads and common stories.
Storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy’s masterfully crafted allegory, The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! and Eugene Yelchin’s bright, whimsical mixed-media paintings celebrate the spirit of freedom — and the courage of those who are born to sing at any cost.
In Windows by Julia Denos, a boy walking his dog at dusk catches glimpses of the lives around him in this lovely ode to autumn evenings, exploring your neighborhood and coming home. E.B Goodale’s delicately detailed ink, watercolor, letterpress and digital collage illustrations display palettes of the evening and night skies with beautifully nuanced shades of yellow, gold and blue.
Calling all Raina Telgemeier fans! Victoria Jamieson, the Newbery Honor-winning author of Roller Girl is back with a heartwarming graphic novel All’s Faire in Middle School about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family and the Renaissance Faire.
From beloved Newbery Honor-winner and three-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground is a powerful and heartfelt novel about loss, family and love that will appeal to fans of Jason Reynolds and Kwame Alexander.
Former winner of the Newbery Medal for The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate is a master at telling stories from unique points of view. In Wishtree, the narrator is Red, a 216 year-old oak tree that serves as the community’s “Wish Tree.” When an ugly act of Islamophobia threatens the neighborhood, Red, along with his buddy, Bongo the Crow, rallies support for newcomer Samar and her family.
Drawing upon the latest scientific research and the author’s own expedition to Kenya, and brimming with lush watercolor illustrations and detailed diagrams, How to be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wildby Katherine Roy vividly portrays the life and development of an elephant from an uncertain newborn into a majestic adult.
Curious about constructions? In Curious Constructions: A Peculiar Portfolio of Fifty Fascinating Structures by Michael Hearst you’ll come face-to-face with incredible structures, including: a fire-breathing octopus sculpture; the skateboard ramp you’d need to jump the Great Wall of China; a whole community of tree houses in Costa Rica; and a lifesize X-Wing Starfighter built from LEGOS®. These all await inquisitive readers and aspiring engineers.
With his signature collage illustrations in Apex Predators, Steve Jenkins takes readers on a trip through history to discover apex predators both past and present, from the earliest sea creatures to the modern African lion and giant freshwater ray, which can grow to over 15 feet.
Events at the Ferguson Library
At the Ferguson Library, the Youth Services Department is the library home for children from birth through the teen years, and the parents, teachers and professionals who care for them.
During December we will be offering many drop-in programs for young children. There will be something going on every day during vacation week including a blockbuster movie, a science program, Crafternoon and an afternoon of constructing and flying paper airplanes.
Don’t miss a special January Mystery night for teens featuring Zombies. The Youth Maker Space — The M.A.C.H Room — is open three days a week giving kids opportunities to learn, imagine, tinker, make and share.
Registration for all of our early childhood programs begins on January 2. From Baby Time and Toddler Time to Every Child Ready to Read, Sing and Stomp and Preschool Storytime, our professional staff offers a wide variety of learning and fun experiences for young children.
The Ferguson Library is located at 96 Broad Street in Stamford. For more information, call 203-964-1000 or visit www.fergusonlibrary.org.
Caroline Ward is the Youth Services Coordinator at The Ferguson Library in Stamford.