Happy New Year’s Eve, friends! It’s been a long and grueling year for so many of us, and so The Baby Bookworm would like to go out on a positive note: our last Top 5 list of the year. This week’s theme is The Best Of The Rest, i.e our absolute favorite books that we read in 2016 that didn’t fit into the other weeks’ themes. These books were just too good not to get their turn in the spotlight: some are joyful, some sad, but all were books that left an impact. So without further ado, here are the Top 5 Best Of The Rest Books of 2016:
This book was AWESOME. So awesome that I wish it had been written when I was a child and nervous about getting glasses of my own. Through adorable illustrations and a joyfully silly story, Adamson walks children through the process of getting their first pair of glasses and the improvement it can make on their lives. As a woman with a degenerative eye disorder who has had to wear corrective lenses since childhood, I’m so glad that this book is around for young readers to help guide them through, and maybe even get them excited about, this sometimes daunting process.
A deeply moving true story about the power of empathy and generosity. 14 Cows For America tells the tale of a young Maasai man’s trip home to visit his village after witnessing the September 11th attacks (a tale relayed with great subtlety for young readers), and his people’s remarkable show of friendship and support to a grieving nation. Featuring some of the best artwork in a children’s book ever, this story will bring a tear to your eye and leave a lasting impact with its timeless message: no sincere gesture is ever too small.
Speaking of tearjerkers. Sadly, The Baby Bookworm family has lost quite a few loved ones in the past few years: JJ’s great-grandmother and grandfather passed away in the two years before she was born, and we lost both of her surviving great-grandfathers in the last few months. Grief can a difficult concept for a child, and that she will never know or barely knew these remarkable people is a source of sadness for our family. But in our times of mourning, we found deep comfort in the remarkable book Always Remember, a story not about what happens after death, but how those left behind cope with loss by keeping our loved ones alive in stories and memories. The undersea art by Jago is breathtaking, but the message that those who have left us will live on within our memories of them is moving and powerful.
A wonderful book about positive body image and believing in your dreams that has quickly become one of our favorite bedtime stories. The apatosaurus who knows that she was meant to be a ballerina despite her size, and the unwavering support of her friends to help her achieve that dream against the odds, is uplifting and inspiring, with a final page that gets me choked up during every repeat reading. Adorable illustrations and a perfect length support the book’s simple yet universal message: no dream (or dreamer) is ever too big or too small.
Last but not least, one of our favorite books that we discovered this year, a gorgeous fantasy about the power, joy, and legacy of a life lived in words. The story of a man who becomes the caretaker of magical flying books, caring for them and sharing them with those who need their stories most, is a gorgeous fable about the color and meaning that books and stories bring to our lives, and how the impact they make on us influences the impact we make on our world. The illustrations are intricate and enchanting, and the ending will leave a peaceful, solid feeling in your heart.
That’s it, friends! Our Top 5 Best Of The Rest Books of 2016! Did we leave any out? What were your favorite children’s books from this year? And while this is the last Top 5 of 2016, not to fret: we have decided to make our Top 5 lists a monthly feature starting in the new year! Hooray! So join us again in 2017 for more books, more stories, and more love for the power of reading. Happy New Year!