Favorite Children’s Books from 2019

Favorite Children’s Books from 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, it’s nice to take a moment to look over the books we’ve read during the year. While everyone’s list will be different, here are a few titles published this year that we enjoyed.

Picture Books

The Balcony by Melissa Castrillon

A colorful story about change and bringing your home with you. A little girl moves to an apartment in a city, leaving behind her idyllic country home. But even the apartment has a balcony, and gradually the girl and her parents make it into a blooming garden.

Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe 

A wonderfully funny book with a great message. Pokko’s parents really should not have given her a drum. But they did. And eventually Pokko and her parents are swept up in a lively band of animal musicians. The illustrations are vibrant and sweet, slightly reminiscent of Arnold Lobel at his best.

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

An award winning author and illustrator team up to deliver an incredibly powerful love letter to Black America. With simple, repeating lyrics and beautiful illustrations celebrating centuries of history, this book manages to be both informative and touching.

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper and Carson Ellis

A celebration of the winter solstice, with Ellis’s delicate illustrations set to Cooper’s poetic text. Looking at various celebrations of the changing season, the book focuses on the idea of rebirth and celebration. A magical reminder that even in the darkest part of the year, people have always found joy.

Fry Bread by Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal

Fry bread is an important part of Native American cuisine, and this lovely story shows the many ways Native communities prepare and interact with it. The tender illustrations and warm text make this a lovely book to share with family and friends.

Chapter Books

Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Sal Vidon is a troublemaker, and Gabi Real loves to investigate trouble. But when Gabi uncovers the truth about the tricks Sal plays, the truth will test their friendship, their families, and even the makeup of the universe itself! This is a sweet story that uses a silly backdrop to ask big questions about the world.

Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson

Amara’s father never talks much about his family, and growing up in Portland, Oregon, Amara has never once visited them in New York City. When she convinces her parents to let her visit New York for her twelfth birthday, she finds a much different reality than she expected. As usual, Watson uses a wonderful sense of place to tell a warm story about growing up and finding out who you are.

Strange Birds by Celia Pérez

Four young girls in a small Florida town challenge tradition and form their own club. But when the grownups in their lives think they have gone too far, will they be able to truly change the future? This thoughtful book is perfect for any young reader who cares deeply about the world and wants to make it better.

Graphic Novels

Sincerely, Harriet by Sarah W. Searle

After moving to Chicago, Harriet is struggling. She writes long letters to her best friend back home but never hears back. To handle her loneliness and the isolating effects of her chronic illness, she imagines stories about the world around her. This is a quiet story about a flawed but complex character who ultimately has to face her own reality.

The Hidden Witch by Molly Knox Ostertag

The sequel to last year’s The Witch Boy, Ostertag continues the story of friends Aster and Charlie. In this book, they must discover the source of a curse that threatens Charlie, while Aster continues to learn magic from his great-uncle. The illustrations and text weave together to make something magical.

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis

Inspired by the story of Queen Elizabeth I, this graphic novel tells the story of Queen Eleanor of Albion, who is exiled to a tiny island populated by nuns. Told from the point of view of Margaret, a young girl who has been raised in the convent, it blends history with a touching story about family and identity.


We hope you enjoy some of these favorite books from 2019!