Best Children’s Books of 2017 as Picked by Experts
I live on a street that has a block party every year. The neighbors get together to talk and catch up and I love it. I didn’t know that when I moved in but, I found out a few weeks later. There used to be just a handful of kids in attendance but now, 7 years later, there is an entire area blocked off specifically for the dozens of kids to bike, draw with chalk and play ball.
This year, a neighbor who looked familiar to me introduced herself. My book fairy godmother, as I now call her, not only lived on my street but, she works in my favorite children’s bookstore. Her familiarity was not just proximity to where I live but, the countless hours I spend in Children’s Book World in Haverford.
The result of this fortuitous coincidence is that Kirsten and I were able to attend a fantastic event at Children’s Book World. At the event, the educators and owners of the shop shared with us the best children’s books of 2017. We now have a list of these fantastic, newly-released picture books, early readers, and middle-grade books to share with you.
** Note there are affiliate links in this post that will result in a small commission. However, we would highly encourage your to make your purchases at Children’s Book World as they are the ones who have selected these stories! It is truly a wonderful store and it is important to support indie booksellers!
Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro
Bunny sits and listens to books outside the library during the summer time. When the summer is over and the kids move inside, Bunny needs to find a way to get into the library to read. The pictures are adorable. Kirsten bought this book for her kids.
Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt
Both Kirsten and I have this hilarious book that explains the story behind the game of rock, paper, scissors. We included this book in a recent list of our kids’ favorite books.
Alfie (The Turtle That Disappeared) by Thyra Heder
Nia loves her pet turtle even if he is not cuddly and cannot do tricks. The night before her 7th birthday, the turtle disappears. This is when the book switches perspectives to the turtles. There are so many things that are great about this adorable book.
A Boy, A Mouse, and A Spider- The Story of E.B. White by Barbara Herkert
The adorable picture book tells the story of beloved children’s author E.B. White.
Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire by Amy Guglielmo
This book speaks to me as a lover of all things Disney. Mary Blaire was the first woman to work in illustration and Disney. I love reading about her ideas, her life, and her innovation. She went on the create “It’s a Small World”- my favorite ride in all of Disney. I have read this book every day and it is so emotionally touching for me. It is my new favorite!
Story Path by Kate Baker and Madelena Matoso
This book is like a picture version of a “Choose Your Own Adventure”. You follow a path to encounter different characters and travel to different places. Kids can choose the details and the names to make thousands of story options.
Big Machines: The story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Another picture book biography, this book tells the story of Virginia Lee Burton, a beloved children’s author and innovator.
The Wolf The Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett
This is a funny book that at its heart is about making a bad situation better. A duck and a mouse find themselves inside a wolves belly and decide that they like the life they have in there. There is good food, and it’s relaxing so when they find themselves back in the real world, they decide to find a way back. This is a strange and funny book.
This book talks about the Statue of Liberty and focuses on her right foot. Contrary to popular belief, the Statue’s foot is not flat on the ground so that it appears she is moving forward. This book is a perfect way to teach about one of the most recognizable statues of all time.
Balderdash!: John Newberry and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel
This is a picture book biography that tells about the life of John Newberry. In the 18th Century, children’s books were not what they were today. They were books with lessons, rules, and morals. John Newberry imagined a world where books for children had stories and imagination.
Piece by Piece by Stephanie Shaw
This book has magnificent language that takes sensory experiences and turns it into something more. The story is beautiful and touching with gorgeous illustrations. The weaver in this story takes her experiences and turns them into fabric from which she makes dresses. The shopkeeper does not want to sell her dresses. She starts over and over with the same results. There is a wonderful happy ending to this book. It was one of the books that I brought home for my kids.
Nico Draws a Feeling by Robert Raczka
This is about a boy who loves to draw his feelings. He carries his supplies with him where ever he goes but, his drawings are not what you would expect. Kirsten bought this amazing books about true friendship.
Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton
During the First World War, England needed to devise a way to get supplies to their island. The German submarines were bombing all supply ships. This book highlights the brilliant way the English saved themselves by painting their ships in dazzling and crazy colors.
Hector the Collector by Emily Beeny
This is a picture book that celebrates the love of collecting.
The African Orchestra by Wendy Hartmann
The story of musical beginnings with the animal sounds in Africa.
It Takes a Village by Hilary Rodham Clinton
This is a beautiful book about what can be accomplished when people work together for a goal.
La La La: A Story of Hope by Kate DiCamillo
With limited words, unlike Di Camillo’s other works, allows your child’s imagination to draw conclusions about what this book is about. Is it about making a connection, persistence, or hope?
Marty Frye, Private Eye: The Case of the Missing Action Figures by Janet Tashjian and Laurie Keller
Each book has three chapters and each chapter is three different adventures. This is a great beginning reader chapter book. It is funny with rhyming and simple short sentences.
Snail and Worm Again by Tina Kugler
This sequel book to the original Snail and Worm is a funny comic about friendship. This book is perfect for the new reader.
The Princess and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca
When a Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Medalist join forces, this book is the result. Can this overscheduled princess get a day off? The princess makes her misbehaving pet crocodile take her place so she can relax. Will this silly plan work?
The Van Gogh Deception by Deron R. Hicks
This book pulls you in right away. It is a mystery/ thriller about art fraud and lost identity. I bought this book for my oldest son but I think I will have to read it first
Half True Lies of Cricket Cohen by Catherine Lloyd Burns
This is the story of Cricket and her grandmother and their relationship. Throughout this book, Cricket learns to deal with some difficult truths about love and family
One Mixed Up Night by Catherine Newman
Frankie and Walter love the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and decide that they will spend the night in an IKEA. Kirsten picked this up because IKEA is her happy place!
When a beloved book is banned from the school library, Amy Anne takes matters into her own hands. This book will make you take another look at censorship. Alan Gratz has a great way of bringing serious topics to middle grade without making these topics too overwhelming. We reviewed this book in our upcoming new release kids books!
The Losers Club by Andrew Clements
This book is perfect for the dreamer. Alec is a boy who gets in trouble for reading too much. He decides to start a club as a way to pass the time in detention and names The Losers Club. The effects are not was Alec has planned.
I’m just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense For Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris
This is a new take on poetry and it is completely hilarious. There is an ongoing “feud” between the author and the illustrator throughout the book. The poetry is so funny it had me cracking up.
Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt
When the Trevor family needs to go into witness protection, the marshals decide to find another child to live with them. After all, the bad guys are looking for a family with only one child. This story is funny and poignant.
The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain (And Philip C. Stead)
This is a previously unfinished children’s book written by Mark Twain. Philip and Erin Stead, the creators of Caldecott Medal-Winning book a Sick Day for Amos.
Walking Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy
Alice has just moved to Rainbow Georgia and she is put in charge of walking the neighbor’s dog. The only problem? The dog won’t walk without his owner. And so, every day, Alice finds herself walking with Clarence and Miss Millie, an African American woman living in a white community in the 1960’s. This story is funny and poignant. I cannot wait to read it as soon as Kirsten is done.
Wish Tree by Katherine Applegate
This novel is about the personification of a tree who endeavors to create peace in a neighborhood. It is written by the author of The One and Only Ivan, a Newberry Award Winning book. Kirsten heard wonderful things about this on bookstagram, so she nabbed a copy.
That’s the list of Best Children’s Books of 2017! So what will you be purchasing?