Top Ten Reads in 2016

I escaped into the pages of  676 books this year. Whittling those reads down to my top ten was painful and nearly impossible, but here are the final picks. 
For YA:
the-catalystI was completely shocked to discover that the author of this book is 15. Her author bio mentions that she wrote the rough draft at age 13, so I researched her. I was completely impressed before I knew the age of the author and now I’m blown away. This story pulled me in immediately. I felt engaged with the characters who were authentic and flawed. The plot was fast paced and compelling. I loved the world building and the idea of angels and demons and hybrids and MAGIC. I was intrigued with the exploration of whether it’s possible to be innocently evil.
For Middle Grade:
I finished this on the day that Echo won a literary award.
echo
It’s  lyrically written historical fiction with a magical element. This book is a tribute to the power of music and relationships. The complex interweaving of characters and events makes for a powerful read that will stay with you for months afterwards. My entire family still talks about this incredibly moving story of hope and healing!



full-cicada-moonThis is a refreshing historical fiction written in lyrical verse. Told from 13 year old Mimi’s point of view, this story is raw and complicated and beautiful.  Mimi’s experience with discrimination and and displacement are met with her resilience which she explains eloquently:
“Like raindrops on granite.” I say,
because we know that’s how I persist—
drip, drip, drip
until the granite cracks.”
For Chapter Books:
My six old son loved this book so much, he was a blue super happy party bear for Halloween.
super-happy-party-bearThis book is clever, cheerful and easy to read. Filled with likable animal critters who are comically flawed, and a simple, action-filled plot, this book is fun for kids and adults. I read this book in one sitting with my 6 and 8 year olds. Both of them wanted to move on to the next in the series immediately. My 8 year old took the book to bed and re-read it that night. The next day I got requests from her brother for more SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS!
His words: “These are awesome. I love them! They are super fun and funny. Everyone should read them!”
For Graphic Novels:
narwalFilled with engaging illustrations and humor, this book is pure delight. My 6 year old has decided this is the perfect book for mid morning, mid day, mid afternoon, before bed and after he should be asleep. So MUCH fun!



For Picture Books:
ida-always
Wow! This book is lyrical and lovely. It touches on death in a peaceful and hopeful way. It’s a great book for evoking discussion of death and friendship. The illustrations add depth and power to the well chosen words. The bond between Ida and Gus is unmistakable and there’s an emotional resonance to this story that stays with you long after you’ve read it.


a-hungry-lionThis is a brilliantly funny book, filled with surprises. The illustrations work seamlessly with the text to create a story that you will want to read over and over again.




ada-twist
Written in rhyme, this rollicking book highlights a brilliant little girl who asks what, why and how? She answers her questions with creative experiments.  I love the message that girls can and should do science.



normal-normanNormal Norman celebrates being different. It’s an extraordinary book filled with quirky humor, bright and lively illustrations and a message of how powerful it is to be an individual.


norberts-big-dream
To read the rest of this review, go to Writer's Rumpus, here.

What are your favorite books in 2016? 

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