Best Children’s Books of 2016

As 2016 comes to an end, the children’s staff at DBRL have been reminiscing about the fabulous new books that arrived on our shelves this year. While it’s hard to pick a favorite, there were some books that stood apart from the rest. Here are our top 11 favorite picture books and chapter books published in 2016.

"We Found a Hat" book cover

We Found A Hat” by Jon Klassen

Klassen has a knack for creating an engaging story on a simple premise. The sneaky turtles are fun to watch as they try to decide who gets to wear the hat they found. It’s just a really funny book, and it is beautiful to look at. ~Josh

Jon Klassen’s illustrations are as charming as ever, and I loved the story’s conflict-free, dreamy ending. ~Otter

"A Mix of Concrete Poems" book cover

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems” by Bob Raczka 

Bob Raczka says it all when he describes his book — “I like to think of poems as word paintings. A poet uses words like colors to paint pictures inside your head.” The quirky poetry is “painted” on the page in a way that both shows and tells different meanings and concepts. ~Kristy

"Everything is Awkward" book cover

Everything Is Awkward” by Mike Bender

“Everything Is Awkward” features funny pictures that celebrate the awkwardness in us all. ~Hilary

"Tell Me a Tattoo Story" book cover

Tell Me a Tattoo Story” by Alison McGhee

This is sort of off-beat, but I really loved this book! ~Aimee

“Tell Me a Tattoo Story” is a sweet tale about a good guy with tattoos. ~Hilary

"Rain Fish" book cover

Rain Fish” by Lois Ehlert 

“Rain Fish” shows different fish that wash up in the rain. The book is made of amazing collages (from materials that have actually washed up in gutters)! ~Mark

"What Do You Do With a Problem" book cover

What Do You Do With A Problem?” by Kobi Yamada

“What Do You Do With A Problem” is wonderfully abstract and addresses why you shouldn’t avoid your problems. It proves that working through problems can bring about positive changes. ~Katie

"A Child of Books" book cover

A Child of Books” by Oliver Jeffers

Jeffers creates imaginative and fantastical landscapes, much of it crafted from the literal written word of literary classics. There are giant, crashing waves made from passages of “Moby Dick” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and winding hillside paths created from famous lines from “The Wizard of Oz.”~Josh

"Lift-the-Flap Fairy Tales" book cover

Lift-the-flap Fairy Tales” by Emma Jennings

This is my new favorite board book! ~Aimee

"Mark the Plague" book cover

Mark of the Plague” by Kevin Sands

This is the second of the series “The Blackthorn Key” that continues with intriguing puzzles, mysteries and suspense set during the last great plague of London. ~Mark

"Poor Little Guy" book cover

Poor Little Guy” by Elanna Allen

“Poor Little Guy” is a funny story about how being the little guy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be taken seriously. ~Katie

It has a fun surprise ending! ~Hilary

"Not Today, Celeste!" book cover

Not Today, Celeste!: A Dog’s Tale About Her Human’s Depression” by  Liza Stevens 

This book does a great job of explaining what it looks like when a loved one is depressed (without being clinical or bleak). It normalizes a hard subject and includes 10 key helpful messages to share with a child living with a depressed family member. ~Otter

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog” by Lisa Papp, “The Thank You Book” by Mo Willems and “The Cow Who Climbed a Tree” by Merino Gemma were also staff favorites.