12 Best Kid Books 2015 Update 05/2022

There are a few books each year that we simply must read again. Even if it’s because of their stunning artwork or stunning writing or significant messages or breakthrough topics, certain books are genuinely unforgettable.

Brightly contributors, who are experts in books, were asked to nominate their favorite novels of the year, and now we’re sharing their picks with you. Prepare to be enthralled with the year’s best.

Waiting by Kevin Henkes

It’s ironic that my favorite novel of 2015 was Kevin Henkes’ Waiting. Each item in the window sill in Waiting is waiting for something to happen in this peaceful, gentle picture book about waiting. This book is filled with Henkes’s stunning pastel pictures and crystallized writing. This is a great book to read before bed. My 6-month-old niece is going to love it.

Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera

With Polar Bear’s Underwear, I surprised myself by reading a children’s book about underwear. It was adorable, creative, and amusing all at the same time without going over the top. I had no idea it was even possible!

All the Lost Things by Kelly Canby

A young woman follows her heart and makes a difference in the world. This is one of my favorite books of the year because of its beautiful visuals and uplifting content.

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

It’s the fourth novel in the Penderwick series by Jeanne Birdsall, which follows the adventures of four sisters in springtime. For the first time in her life, my 8-year old Penderwick fan devoured the entire book that her Nana had given her. Because I like seeing what happens to Penderwick’s characters as much as my daughter does, I firmly resisted the need to tell her what was going on with her favorites.

Lockwood & Co.: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud

Books by Jonathan Stroud always put a smile on my face. I’ve been hoarding them like a hoarder, waiting for the right moment to share them with my kid and blow her mind. “Supernatural YA” might be one of the most oversaturated literary genres ever, but Stroud’s novels are so good, his worldbuilding is so assured, and his characters are so vivid that they stand out. Following a group of preteen ghost hunters as they strive to make a difference in a spirit-filled London, Stroud’s latest series has me as invested as any favourite TV series that I’ve ever binge-watched on Netflix or Hulu. With the latest book, The Hollow Boy. My excitement is building for the upcoming installment.

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

A bookshop reading by Baptiste reminded my daughter that she has the power to tell the things she wants to tell, and she was ecstatic about it. Everything changed when she heard a passage from this book about a brave young woman who battles supernatural powers with panache. In what felt like minutes, she devoured the novel, even though I was urging, “Put that book down now and eat/do your homework/go to bed” in a tone I’d never used before. I’m not going to deny that she wanted me to read it as well, but she was especially interested in Baptiste’s subtle story of power, culture, and ownership. When my daughter insisted on reading the book with me, I couldn’t put it down and couldn’t wait to hear what she thought. Definitely left me breathless and pondering… and both of us were so desperate for a sequel that we couldn’t wait to get started!

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

This fantastic work of historical fiction takes place in World War II-era England, and it will have you turning the pages. Ada, a 10-year-old girl born with a clubfoot who has spent her whole life stashed away in a cupboard and taught that she is useless, is at the core of the story. The world opens up to her when she flees her London apartment with other children fleeing Hitler’s German army’s coming attack. This story touches on a wide range of issues, from how living with a disability affects a person’s identity to the influence of war on society. Aside from the fascinating characters and a plot that moved at a wonderful pace, this story had me completely engrossed from beginning to end. It is a book that I’ve been promoting to fourth- and fifth-graders who enjoy historical adventure stories like Number the Stars.

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

A young woman’s journey to overcome her obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is beautifully depicted in Tamara Ireland Stone’s novel, Every Last Word. As a young adult novel, Stone’s empathy for the subject of OCD shines through in this modern masterpiece.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Gary D. Schmidt’s Orbiting Jupiter is a devastating narrative that has stayed with me for months. It was so moving that it brought tears to my eyes. It prompted some reflection on my part. It opened my eyes to a new perspective on love. Every everybody has a story, even the 14-year-old foster boy on the dairy farm, desperate to see the child he fathered by the only love that he ever known, a now-gone love.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

What about you, sir? Because this year, I get to select the list, I don’t have to choose between “The Thing About Jellyfish” and “The Marvels.” One of the few middle-grade novels that accurately portrays the emotional turmoil of late elementary school and features a protagonist that readers can identify to is The Thing About Jellyfish. Ali Benjamin does an excellent job of handling death and survivor’s guilt in a developmentally appropriate and sympathetic manner.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

When it comes to both writing and illustrating, Brian Selznick continues to shine in The Marvels, which tells the story of a single family over the course of several generations. In addition to the stunning artwork, the story is a compelling one.

A B See by Elizabeth Doyle

For each letter of the alphabet in this board book, Elizabeth Doyle has meticulously illustrated it in a unique way, and your goal is to find all of the objects that begin with that letter.

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