Great Books from 2017 Add these titles to your 'must-read' list

‘Tis the season. We hearken to the nip in the air, the pull to an earlier bedtime and the desire to escape from the impending hustle and bustle of upcoming celebrations. With the help of Rona Sue London from The Ivy Bookshop, we pulled together a list of this year’s favorite reads, for our wee ones to even the pickiest of teens.


“Before & After” by Jean Jullien

This isn’t your average baby board book. Master storyteller and illustrator, Jean Jullien creates scenarios that are witty and humorous, depicting sophisticated concepts in a tangible way. Equally fun to reader and audience.

“Welcome” by Mo Williams

Mo Williams, a previous Caldecott award winner, now offers an introductory style-guide for babies. This witty read-aloud book helps newbies navigate their environment with helpful tips about family, friendship, pets and emotions. A great choice if you need to entertain kids under 6 at your festivities this year.

Picture Books:

“The Book of Mistakes” by Corinna Luyken

What an amazing book! The story begins by demonstrating how an initial mistake with an illustration (making one eye too large) could provide an opportunity to give up or to use the mistake as a jumping point (let’s make goggles!).




“The Wish Tree” by Katherine Applegate

The Newberry Medalist once again writes a beautiful story with an unlikely narrator, the neighborhood’s red oak tree, whose years of observation and wisdom help guide a neighborhood when a new family moves in who is different. An important story of respect, tolerance and hope that could open the doors to conversation without being too heavy-handed.

“The Legend of Rock, Paper and Scissors” by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Adam Rex

Goofy, side-splitting, elementary school humor, that begs to be read aloud, this is the backstory to the epic rock, paper, scissors battle, and what could have been the catalyst for the game’s origin.



Young Readers:

“Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” by Elena Favilli

Known as the most Crowdfunded book in history thus far, Rebel Girls shares100 stories about inspiring, extraordinary women, along with accompanying illustrations of each heroine. This book not only offers stories to inspire any child, but also provides just enough information to whet the appetite, and then a bouncing off point for further research and conclusion.


“Save Me a Seat” by Sarah Weeks

This story involves Ravi, a new student who has just moved from India, and Joe, an existing student who is alone for the first time after his BFF has moved away. Ravi assumes he will find a friend with the only other Indian student in school but is rebuffed.  As Joe watches the rejection unfold, he becomes an unlikely ally to Ravi, and the two band together in solidarity against the school bully. Realistic dialogue and character development are assets to this story.

Middle Readers:

“The Player King” by Avi

Prolific novelist Avi has done it again, this time with this historical take on the political chaos of England in 1486, when the rightful heir to the throne, Prince Edward, suddenly disappears and in his stead, Henry VII takes the crown. Meanwhile a young, lower class boy is acquired and tutored to later emerge as the fraudulent, but long-lost Prince Edward. A story of intrigue, youthful naiveté and the inability to always understand how our actions today affect those of tomorrow, Lambert embraces the opportunity to take on a new identity for the trade off of power.

“The Purloing of Prince Oleomargarine” by Mark Twain and Philip Stead, Illustrated by Erin Stead

A previously unpublished series of notes from a tale Mr. Twain used to tell to his two daughters form the outline for the story which Stead has crafted and are artfully illustrated by his wife in an exquisite book, equally supported with language and illustrations.

Young Adult:

“Genuine Fraud” by E. Lockhart

From the author of “We Were Liars” comes a sophisticated novel, which will keep young readers engaged with biting, clever dialogue, spunky characters with chutzpah and an eventual plot twist. Two young girls, seemingly so different on the surface, are entangled in a web of lies and secrets. A mystery, ripe with class conflict and supported with engaging dialogue and tough characters to back it up.

“Words in Deep Blue” by Cath Crowley

This is a love story, told through the journey of unrequited childhood crush to second chances years later. Alternately sad and hopeful, the story unfolds as Rachel returns to the city and bookstore where she one resided, after the untimely death of her brother.  She works alongside her prior crush, Henry, and a friendship and love story unfolds as they leave notes to one another in the pages of books.


About Michon Zysman

Michon Zysman is the mother of a teen, tween and rising kindergartner. When not writing, she is knitting, rooting for the underdog and retaining her sense of wonder in this world. She lives in Pikesville.

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