One of my favorite times of the year is the end-of-year book lists. Public libraries, journals, authors, publishing companies, educators—they are all posting their favorite books from the year. Are you a middle-grade librarian? There are lists just for the middle grades. Do you need to improve your picture book or graphic novel section? There are lists specifically for those. Not only are many people posting their favorite books of the year, they are also posting lists of books to look forward to in the year to come. For school librarians, this is a great time to start making those wish lists for new books we may want to purchase.
Whenever I am perusing these lists, I will also have a book review site such as Titlewave up to read the book reviews. If it looks like a book my students might like, I will add it to a wish list. If I think a list is particularly good, I will add it to a Wakelet board for future reference. Whenever I receive funding from the district, grants, or fundraisers, I have my wish list ready to go. Something new I started last year was showcasing several book lists to the students. I provided them with several book lists and had them pick their top three favorites for me to order. This let me know to order extra copies of certain books. I would also take a few books off of my wish list if none of the students seemed interested in those titles.
It seems like there are lists everywhere, but if you do not know where to start, I’ve listed some of my favorite book lists below.
- Colby Sharp’s Awesome 2021 Books: Colby Sharp is a fifth-grade teacher who posts his favorite books each year. The list is divided into picture books, middle grade, nonfiction, and YA. I am a huge fan of his book selections and find that my students always agree with his book choices.
- School Library Journal Best Books of 2021: This is a handy PDF of picture books, chapter books, poetry, graphic novels, and more. Interested in manga? They also have a list of their Top 10 Manga of 2021 and Top 10 Audiobooks of 2021.
- YALSA’s 2021 Best Fiction for Young Adults: You can never go wrong with a book list from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). They have several lists on their website including the above list, as well as Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Teens’ Top 10, and more!
- Brightly’s Best Middle Grade and Chapter Books of 2021: Brightly’s website features many book lists for kids of all ages. You can search by age range and topic. I have found that their lists are usually spot on with what my students love to read.
- 2022 Mock Caldecott List: Mr. Schu and Colby Sharp team up to give their favorite picks for a mock Caldecott list. Not only will you find the book titles, you can also see their criteria in selecting these books for the list.
- ALSC’s Notable Children’s Books of 2021: The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) has a list of notable books divided into books for younger, middle, and older students. On this website, you will also find lists of the 2021 award winners for awards such as the Coretta Scott King Book Award, Stonewall Book Awards, Printz Award, and more.
- The Most Exciting Picture Books Coming in 2022: Check out this list of picture books and their publishing dates for 2022.
- Beyond the Bookends: 37 New Release Books for 2022: This list has something for all ages from babies to young adults.
- 100 Middle Grade Books to Read in 2022: If you aren’t signed up for Afoma Umesi’s newsletter, I recommend signing up today. She blogs and curates book lists, book reviews, read-alikes, and other related resources for the middle grades.
If you have a favorite book list not mentioned, please list it in the comment section. We are all #BetterTogether by sharing our favorite resources and lists.
Author: Amanda Jones
Amanda is the 2021 School Library Journal Co-Librarian of the Year, a 2021 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, the 2020 Louisiana School Librarian of the Year, and a 21 year educator from Watson, LA. She’s a teacher-librarian and certified reading specialist at a 5-6 grade middle school. She is Vice President of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians and is the 2019 AASL Social Media Superstar Program Pioneer. Amanda is an active member of several committees for AASL and is on the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Awards Committee. Visit her library website at lomlibrary.org and/or find out more about her at http://librarianjones.com/.