441 E. Vandalia St., Edwardsville, IL
“A good place to start is to pick up a free copy of The ABC Group Best Books for Young Readers 2017 catalog (available at Afterwords!), which is a great resource of top picks for the youngest of readers to what's hot in YA titles,” suggested Afterwords Books store owner LuAnn Lock. “The catalog is distributed by the American Booksellers Association and features wonderful selections compiled by booksellers all over the country.”
Other books Lock loves:
“Little Pea, Little Hoot, Little Oink,” by Amy Krause Rosenthal
“Peekaboo,” by Giuliano Ferri
“This Is Not A Book,” by Jean Jullien
Scanimation book series, by Rufus Butler Seder
BabyLit books, by Jennifer Adams
“Bottoms Up!,” by Yusuke Yonezu
For a holiday theme for babies, check out “Dream Snow,” by Eric Carle; “S is for Santa,” by Grep Paprocki; and “Little Blue Truck's Christmas,” by Alice Schertle.
Picture books for young readers (ages 4-7)
Lock has several picture books available for young readers; as an added treat, Afterwords also has plush companions available for purchase that accompany many of its picture books. Lock loves anything by Oliver Jeffers and Mo Willems for this age group. Other top picks from Afterwords:
“Dragons Love Tacos,” by Adam Rubin
“Uni the Unicorn,” by Amy Krause Rosenthal
“Ada Twist, Scientist,” by Andrea Beaty
“Princess Smartypants,” by Babette Cole
“Falling for Rapunzel,” by Leah Wilcox
“The Day the Crayons Quit,” by Drew Daywalt
“The Book With No Pictures,” by BJ Novak
“A Child's Book of Poems,” by Gyo Fujikawa
“The Wolf, The Duck, and The Mouse,” by Mac Barnett
“When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons,” by Julie Fogliano
“On a Magical Do-Nothing Day,” by Beatrice Alemagna
For a holiday theme, Lock suggests “Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree,” by Robert Barry; “Christmas with the Mousekins,” by Maggie Smith; and “Snow,” by Cynthia Rylant.
Great reads ages 8-12
“We LOVE ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’ by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli and are thrilled to offer the boxed set which includes over 200 stories of extraordinary women!” Lock said.
Lock’s other favorite picks for this age group:
“The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” by Kelly Barnill
“Pax,” by Sara Pennypacker
“Wishtree,” by Katherine Applegate
“Wolf Hollow,” by Lauren Wolk
“The Poet's Dog,” by Patricia MacLachlan.
Bestsellers for young adults:
“There's a gorgeous recently released illustrated edition of ‘The Princess Bride’ by William Golding that's perfect for holiday gift giving,” Lock shared. Other picks for young adults include the illustrated Harry Potter series; “Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, 75th Anniversary Illustrated Edition,” by Edith Hamilton; “The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas; “Turtles All The Way Down,” by John Green; and “The Book of Dust,” by Phillip Pullman
Holiday hits for all ages
Because you never outgrow the magic and wonder of a great book, Lock offers several top choices that are sure to appeal to the young and young at heart, including “A Little House Christmas Treasury,” by Laura Ingalls Wilder; “Something for Christmas,” by Palmer Brown; “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (pop-up edition); “The Night Before Christmas, A Magical Cut-Paper Edition,” illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat.
Ferguson Municipal Library
35 North Florissant Rd., Ferguson, MO
Amy Randazzo, Children’s Services and Programming Librarian for Ferguson Municipal Public Library, shared her top picks for young literature lovers:
“Books That Drive Kids Crazy!: This is a Ball,” by Beck Stanton and Matt Stanton. Says Randazzo: “While the words may say that the picture is of a ball, kids will delight in pointing out that it's clearly a box. This madcap book will give kids the chance to correct their adults for once.”
“Where's Halmoni?,” by Julie Kim. Says Randazzo: “Noona and Joon arrive at their grandmother's house for a visit, but she's nowhere to be found. While searching for her, they discover a new cabinet that opens up to reveal a whole new world of clever rabbits, dangerous tigers, goblins, and tricksy foxes. Inspired by the Korean folktales the author grew up with, ‘Where's Halmoni?’ will delight readers of all ages.”
“All's Faire in Middle School,” by Victoria Jamieson. “Jamieson's previous graphic novel, 'Roller Girl,' spent a lot of time checked out of my library over the last two years, and this one is following that same path," Randazzo said. "Hands this to fans of Raina Telgemeier's ‘Smile.’”
“York: The Shadow Cipher,” by Laura Ruby. Randazzo said, “A mysterious puzzle promising a prize and a group of plucky kids determined to solve it and save their home — what’s not to love?”
“The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas. According to Randazzo: “One of the best young adult debut novels from this year, it deftly handles weighty subjects like racial identity, police brutality, and the usual teen stuff. ‘The Hate U Give’ is already popping up on best-of-2017 lists, but if you have a teen in your life, there is a chance that all of their friends have already read it and raved about it, so they will be curious to know what all the fuss is about.”
“The Adventures of Superhero Girl,” by Faith Erin Hicks. “Superhero Girl is here to save the world!" Randazzo said. "Well, as soon as she pays her rent. While this isn't a new book, watching Superhero Girl deal with sky-high monsters, ninjas, and her arch nemesis, Skeptical Guy, all while trying to make it as an adult will resonate with any teen about to head out into the wide world on their own.”
Kirkwood Public Library
140 East Jefferson Ave.
Board books and books for babies newborn through age 2
"A Band of Babies," by Carole Gerber
"Elmo Says," by Sarah Albee
"My Heart Fills With Happiness," by Monique Gray Smith
"One, Two, Three Mother Goose," edited by Iona Opie, illustrations Rosemary Wells
"Maggie and Michael Get Dressed," by Denise Fleming
"Mouse is Small," by Mary Murphy
"When Your Lion Needs A Bath," by Susanna Leonard Hill
"We Are Growing," by Laurie Keller
"We Are In A Book," by Mo Willems
"Spark," by Kallie George
"Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups," by Tadgh Bentley
"Singing in the Rain," by Tim Hopgood
"Little Excavator," by Anna Dewdney
"We’re All Wonders," by R.J Palacio
"Last Stop on Market Street," by Matt De La Pena
"Tap the Magic Tree," by Christie Matheson
Non-fiction for kids
Weird But True series
"Shark Lady," by Jess Keating
Middle grade fiction, ages 8-12
"Wishtree," by Catherine Applegate
"Echo," by Pam Munoz Ryan
"Save Me A Seat," by Sarah Weeks
"Ghost," by Jason Reynolds
"Fish in A Tree," by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
"Roller Girl," by Victoria Jamieson
"Ghost," by Raina Telgemeier
"Real Friends," by Shannon Hale
"The Last Kids on Earth," by Max Braillier
Series to hook the reluctant reader:
"Owl Diaries," by Rebecca Elliott (ages 5-7)
"Mercy Watson," by Kate DiCamillo (ages 5-7)
"Diary of a Winpy Kid: The Getaway," by Jeff Kinney (newest release) (ages 7-10)
"Baby-Sitters Club," (graphix) by Raina Telgemeier
"Thirteen Story Treehouse," by Andy Griffiths (Treehouse Book Series)
"The Hate U Give," by Angie Thomas
"Turtles All The Way Down," by John Green
"Everything, Everything," by Nicola Yoon
"Ready Player One," by Ernest Kline
Extra: any of the illustrated Harry Potter books, they're gorgeous and the whole family will enjoy.
Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO
Left Bank Books recently published a Kids Holiday Gift Guide for 2017. Here are some of the top picks:
“Come with Me,” by Holly M. McGhee & Pascal Lemaitre: "For most people right now…watching the news requires mental fortification. There’s just so much negativity and horror reported every day. This story follows one little girl and her family as they decide to fight back in the smallest yet most effective ways possible. A touching demonstration of how even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, all you need to do is walk out your door and make your corner of the world a little better."
“After the Fall,” by Dan Satat: "What happened to Humpty Dumpty after all the king’s horses and all the king’s men put humpty back together again? He was understandably wary of climbing that wall again. Who wouldn’t be? But life on the ground is so much less exciting than it is in the sky. A book about not letting a fall, even a bad one keep you from getting back up, this is a wonderful book from a favorite author of mine."
“Orphan Island,” by Laurel Snyder: "The island doesn’t have many rules, but the nine children living on it know they all must be followed without fail. And the biggest one is that when the boat comes with the new orphan, the oldest gets on it and sails away. But when Jinny’s best friend Deen gets on the boat, leaving her with toddler Ess to train, she’s not so sure she wants to keep playing by the rules. This beautifully lyrical novel could be read as a metaphor for growing up…or it could just be a fascinating mystery, exploring the ways and reasons of the island. One thing’s for sure, it’s a deeply compelling read that should appeal to fans of fantasy lands and contemporary realistic characters alike."
“Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic,” by Armand Baltazar: "If Rick Riordan and Brian Selznick ever decided to write a book together it would look a lot like this; a fantasy tale unlike any I’ve read. Time has collapsed into itself and thrown people (and dinosaurs!) from every time period together on a drastically reshaped earth. Enter Diego, son of a couple from different time periods. His engineer father is kidnapped by a group that would see time ‘corrected’ and everyone born post-Collision wiped out. Diego, his friends, and pirates must travel the Vastlantic to get him back and stop their plot. A beautifully illustrated labor of love that EVERYONE should read. Get into this series on the ground floor because it will be the talk of the town if it isn’t already."
“Long Way Down,” by Jason Reynolds: "I can’t promise this will be easy. In fact, it almost definitely won’t be. But if you’re looking for a book that knocks you out in every way, this is the one. Told in dazzling bursts of verse, we follow William through his brother’s violent death and the elevator ride that takes him toward revenge. Except that far from being the normal uneventful descent to his building’s lobby, on every floor Will is joined by someone he thought he’d never see again…because he’s already mourned their deaths as a result of gun violence. The short yet powerful chapters are perfect for the literary-minded as well as reluctant readers. Just don’t plan on being able to put it down before hitting the bottom floor."
“They Both Die at the End,” by Adam Silvera: "Mateo and Rufus live in a world almost exactly like ours. Except that a mysterious company called Death-Cast makes phone calls every morning to everyone who is going to die that day. And Mateo and Rufus just got theirs. Normally, a Decker would spend their End Day saying goodbye to everyone they love, but for various reasons, Rufus and Mateo don’t have that option. Luckily there’s an app called Last Friend that’s able to connect them to each other and maybe, through that, to the rest of the world. This unique examination of love, loss and life captures the best and worst of the world in an addictively witty package.”
The Novel Neighbor
7905 Big Bend Blvd., St. Louis, MO
Melissa Posten, Children's Buy and Event Coordinator for The Novel Neighbor, offers these great stocking stuffers for young readers:
"The Cook in a Book" series, by Lotta Nieminen. "These clever interactive books allow kids to 'cook' pancakes, tacos, or pizza as they turn the pages," Posten said.
"Once There Was a Story: Tales From Around the World," by Jane Yolen. Posten's recommendation: "This beautifully illustrated collection of well-known and not-so-well-known stories from many cultures is perfect for a winter storytime snuggle."
"Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow," by Jessica Townsend. According to Posten, "When a cursed girl escapes death into a secret magical city, she must pass a series of difficult trials in order to keep her new life and figure out who she really is. Our favorite new fantasy of the year!"
"I'm Just No Good at Rhyming," by Chris Harris. "Harris is the heir apparent to Shel Silverstein, and this hilarious (and sometimes moving) poetry collection will delight readers of all ages," Posten said.
"The Epic Crush of Genie Lo," by F.C. Lee. "Genie's college dreams are shattered when she learns that she is a celestial spirit powerful enough to bring down heaven itself," Posten said. "Based in Chinese folklore, this epic young adult novel will enthrall readers."
"They Both Die at the End," by Adam Silvera. "In a near-future where you are notified on the day of your death, strangers Mateo and Rufus face the challenge of living a lifetime on their End Day," Posten said. "Riveting, gorgeous, and, surprisingly, often funny.
St. Charles City-County Library District
Various locations throughout St. Charles County
The St. Charles City-County Library District Youth Services team, led by Youth Services Manager Maggie Melson, suggests these novel gifts to get kids excited about reading:
"Dance," by Matthew Van Fleet: "What’s more fun — pulling the tabs to help Chickie Baby learn to dance, or watching your little one imitate his moves?"
"Lines," by Sarvinder Naberhaus. What the library team loves: "Little fingers can follow the lines up, down, around, out of town and into the great beyond."
"After the Fall," by Dan Santat: "Santat offers an inspirational answer to the question, what if Humpty Dumpty decided to put himself together and try to get back up on the wall?"
"Life on Mars," by Jon Agee: "A young astronaut travels to Mars determined to find life," the library writes. "The contrast between Jon Agee’s words and pictures is humorous and charming."Tweens
"Real Friends," by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham: The library describes it as, "A graphic novel memoir sharing Hale’s own experience and struggles with childhood friendships, Shannon Hale’s writing is, as always, honest and entertaining."
"Refugee," by Alan Gratz: "Gratz shares three fictional stories of child refugees from across time and draws connections between past and present challenges for refugees searching for safety."
"Turtles All the Way Down," by John Green. According to the library: "An open, frank, and personal portrayal of obsessive-compulsive disorder and friendships, John Green continues to speak deeply to teen readers in a way only he does best."
"The Hate U Give," by Angie Thomas: "Standing atop bestseller lists all year, Angie Thomas’s 'The Hate U Give,' inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, has resonated with people across the country, regardless of age or race."
St. Louis County Library
St. Louis County Library Headquarters
1640 S. Lindbergh
St. Louis, MO
The Youth Services Department at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters offers these top picks:
"Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth,” by Oliver Jeffers
"Where Do Pants Go?,” By Rebecca Van Slyke
"Shark Lady: the True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist,” by Jess Keating
"Recess Warriors: Hero is a Four-Letter Word,” by Marcus Emerson
"You Bring the Distant Near,” by Mitali Perkins
"Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team,” by Steve Sheinkin
St. Louis Public Library
1415 Olive St., St. Louis, MO
When it comes to must-reads, Tiger Reed, Central Youth Services Specialist at St. Louis Public Library, and Jenny Song, Young Adult Specialist at St. Louis Public Library, say these are their favorites for 2017:
“That Is My Dream!,” a picture book of Langston Hughes's "Dream Variation,” by Langston Hughes
“Smoot: a Rebellious Shadow,” by Michelle Cuevas
“Things To Do,” by Elaine Magliaro
“Dragons and Marshmallows” (Zoey and Sassafras), by Asia Citro
“Wolfie & Fly,” by Carrie Fagan
“Thornhill,” by Pam Smy
“Tumble and Blue,” by Cassie Beasley
“See You In the Cosmos,” by Jack Cheng
“Clayton Byrd Goes Underground,” by Rita Garcia Williams
“The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas
“Warcross,” by Marie Lu
“Wonder Woman: Warbringer,” by Leigh Bardugo
“Turtles All The Way Down,” by John Green
“Long Way Down,” by Jason Reynolds