Favorite Picture Books of 2017

The “Best Books of the Year” lists are out in abundance, and your Children’s Librarians from the Seattle Public Library are eager to share some of their favorite books of the year as well.

Picture books will always be my favorite format for children’s books. There’s so much variety, so much invention, and they simply provide a perfect way to explore the world one book at a time. You are never too old to enjoy the magical combination of illustration and storytelling, and 2017 was a particularly great year for picture books. We have 50 favorites to share with you!  Below are just a few books I found particularly special.

Every year, I seem to find one picture book I want to share with everyone, and this year that book was The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet by Carmen Agra Deedy. It’s a fantastic read-aloud, and little ones will surely want to crow along with you! Kee Kee Kree Kee!  Colorful and quirky illustrations bring this story of resilience to life. The town is too noisy, and its residents are up in arms. But when a new mayor begins to enforce a glut of rules, the town does finally grow quiet – too quiet – until this determined rooster shows the citizens just how important it is to sing your own song, and to sing a song for others. It’s a nuanced exploration of community building and social justice.

At first read, Where’s Rodney may seem a simple story of a child who wants to go outside, but Carmen Bogan packs so much more into this simple text. Many of us know or perhaps were that child who simply couldn’t sit still in school. This is Rodney – packed full of energy and curiosity that simply isn’t satisfied in a traditional school setting. But when Rodney finally makes it outside – “more outside than he’s ever been” – he is finally able to release, explore, and discover the magic of nature in what readers will recognize as one of America’s national parks. Floyd Cooper’s illustrations really create the sweeping effect of nature’s spectacles, and Rodney’s wonderment is truly inspiring.

This picture book is more melancholy than the previous titles, but the message of A Different Pond is so incredibly relevant and important, I had to share this one. In this semi-autobiographical tale, Phi is a young Vietnamese boy living with his struggling refugee family in Minneapolis. Every day before dawn, he fishes with his father at the pond. It’s a perfect time to listen to his father’s stories – which on this day features the pond where he used to fish in Vietnam. This affectionate tale is packed with meaning and social commentary, a poignant look at the struggles so many refugee families face and the importance of family when working to overcome those challenges. It’s a must read.

For more spectacular picture books published this year, check out this list curated by your local children’s librarians!

50 Favorite Picture Books 2017

~posted by Erin M.

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