Seattle Staff Faves 2021: Books for Kids

We asked our staff across the system for their favorite picture books and chapter books published this past year — and what a tremendous response we had! Here is a sampling of staff faves, with a link at the end to 38 books for the  young readers in  your life.

Book descriptions provided either by our enthusiastic staff or from Kirkus Reviews, as noted. 


Milo Imagines the World written by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
“This is my favorite picture book of the year! Newbery winner Matt de la Pena and Caldecott winner Christian Robinson team up for this lovely story of young Milo imagining the inner lives of the many people he passes on his way to visit his mother who is currently incarcerated.”–Jane

We All Play by Julie Flett
“A vibrant, bilingual (English/Cree) picture book from the prolific Indigenous author/illustrator Julie Flett (Cree-Métis). This simple, lilting story is perfect for showing babies, toddlers, and early readers the joyful interconnections between animals and humans.”–Bean

We Move Together by Kelly Fritsch
(Nonfiction) “We Move Together is a love letter to the next generation of disabled kids, and a provocation for their nondisabled peers to rethink an ableist society’s assumptions about how our bodies should move, what they should look like, and how our brains should work … This gorgeously illustrated book offers a powerful message rooted in the Disability Justice movement—we care for and love each other, and we move together, with nobody left behind.” —Lydia X. Z. Brown, disability justice advocate

A Home Under the Stars by Andy Chou Musser:
Charming book about a boy who moves to Seattle and sorely misses seeing the stars. His moms suggest creating their own, an idea he resists. One sleepless night he’s visited by a lost lion, and they head out in search of the north star. This book is wonderful! —Linda

Mel Fell  written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor
Mel, a stout kingfisher fledgling, marches to the end of her branch, jumps, flips, spreads her wings—and falls. Down she goes, beak-first, eyes shut, smiling broadly… Encourages children to feel brave, to try, and to believe they can soar. (Kirkus)


Too Small Tola written by Atinuke; illustrations by Onyinye Iwu
Tola, a young girl who lives with her grandmommy and siblings in Lagos, Nigeria, learns that she doesn’t have to be big to make a difference. Short chapter book. (Kirkus)

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day
A Native American (Makah/Piscataway) girl learns about her inner strength. An insightful, stirring read about healing and resilience. (Kirkus)

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
* LOCAL AUTHOR * CHAPTER BOOK / with Halley’s comet barreling toward Earth, humanity’s last hope—including a young Latinx storyteller—retreats into the stars. An exquisite tonic for storytellers far and wide, young and old. (Kirkus)

Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff
CHAPTER BOOK / In the wake of his uncle’s death, a transgender boy on the cusp of middle school grapples with grief, friendship, and identity. Haunting and healing. (Kirkus)


The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld
“There once lived,” the tale begins, and it ends quite satisfactorily with “happily ever after.” In between, two heroic adventures are linked together, each complete with difficulties, brave rescues, kindnesses, and magical coincidences. (Kirkus)

You’ll find 28 more books on the full list: Seattle Staff Faves 2021: Books for Kids. 





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