Favorite Books from 2021

Picture Books

Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña ; pictures by Christian Robinson

While Milo and his sister travel to a detention center to visit their incarcerated mother, he observes strangers on the subway and draws what he imagines their lives to be. Reserve this book.

We All Play by Julie Flett

From chasing, chirping birds, to swimming, squirting whales, this book for young readers reminds them how animals play just like them. Reserve this book.

Change Sings : a children’s anthem by Amanda Gorman ; illustrated by Loren Long

As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes–big or small–in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves. Reserve this book.

Maybe… by Chris Haughton

Three little monkeys and their big monkey are sitting high on a branch in the forest canopy. “OK, monkeys! I’m off,” says the big monkey. “Remember . . . Whatever you do, do NOT go down to the mango tree. There are tigers down there.” Mmm . . . mangoes! think the little monkeys. They LOVE mangoes. Hmm . . . Maybe . . . maybe they could just look at the mangoes. That would be OK, right? Reserve this book.

Uma Wimple Charts Her House by Reif Larsen and Ben Gibson

A young chart maker faces a challenge when she is given an assignment to make a chart of her own home. Reserve this book.

Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham

Something strange happened on an unremarkable day just before the season changed. Everybody who was outside . . . . . . went inside. Outside, it was quieter, wilder, and different. Inside, we laughed, we cried, and we grew. We remembered to protect the ones we love and love the ones who protect us. Reserve this book.

Chez Bob by Bob Shea

A lazy alligator comes up with a plan to lure his prey by opening up a restaurant for birds–until he realizes that birds are even better as friends. Reserve this book.

The Longest Storm by Dan Yaccarino

When a strange storm confines a fractured family in tight quarters, leaving them all in the dark, they must find a way to reconnect and face whatever the future brings-together. Reserve this book.

Juvenile Fiction

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly

Marisol, who has a big imagination and likes to name inanimate objects, has a tree in her backyard named Peppina…but she’s way too scared to climb it. Will Marisol find the courage to climb Peppina? Maybe… Reserve this book.

Take Back the Block by Chrystal D. Giles

Sixth-grader Wes Henderson sets out to save the Oaks, the neighborhood where he’s lived his whole life, from being sold to a real estate developer. Reserve this book.

Dog Squad by Chris Grabenstein ; illustrations by Beth Hughes

Fred, a scrappy and lovable dog, gets cast as a stand-in for the lead role in Dog Squad, a show about crime-fighting dogs, and he soon finds out the action doesn’t always stop on screen. Reserve this book.

Marcus Makes a Movie by Kevin Hart ; with Geoff Rodkey ; illustrated by David Cooper

Marcus is NOT happy to be stuck in after-school film class . . . until he realizes he can turn the story of the cartoon superhero he’s been drawing for years into an actual MOVIE! There’s just one problem: he has no idea what he’s doing. So he’ll need help, from his friends, his teachers, Sierra, the strong-willed classmate with creative dreams of her own, even Tyrell, the local bully who’d be a perfect movie villain if he weren’t too terrifying to talk to. Reserve this book.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan

Aidan disappeared for six days. Six agonizing days of searches and police and questions and constant vigils. Then, just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply. . . impossible. But it’s the story Aidan is sticking to. His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. Reserve this book.

Fast Pitch by Nic Stone

Shenice Lockwood dreams of leading the Fulton Firebirds to the U12 softball regional championship. But Shenice’s focus gets shaken when her great-uncle Jack reveals that a career-ending-and family-name-ruining-crime may have been a setup. It’s up to Shenice to discover the truth about her family’s past-and fast-before secrets take the Firebirds out of the game forever. Reserve this book.

The Many Meanings of Meilan by Andrea Wang

A family feud before the start of seventh grade propels Meilan from Boston’s Chinatown to rural Ohio, where she must tap into her inner strength and sense of justice to make a new place for herself. Reserve this book.

Graphic Novels

Kitty Quest written & illustrated by Phil Corbett

Guided by the last, incorporeal member of an ancient guild of protectors, aspiring adventurers Perigold and Woolfrik successfully subdue a rampaging monster and the bumbling wizard controlling it. Reserve this book.

¡¡Manu!! by Kelly Fernández

Set at a magical school for girls, a funny and heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel adventure about friendship, defying expectations, and finding your place. Manu is always getting into trouble. The headmistress at school believes Manu has the potential to help people with her magic, but Manu would rather have fun than fit in. Reserve this book.

Pawcasso by Remy Lai

Every Saturday, Pawcasso trots into town with a basket, a shopping list, and cash in paw to buy groceries for his family. One day, he passes eleven-year-old Jo, peering out the window of her house, bored and lonely. Astonished by the sight of an adorable basket-toting dog on his own, Jo follows Pawcasso, and when she’s seen alongside him by a group of kids from her school, they mistake her for Pawcasso’s owner. Reserve this book.

Ms. Marvel. Stretched thin by Nadia Shammas ; illustrated by Nabi H. Ali 

An original middle-grade graphic novel starring breakout character (and New Jersey’s own) Ms. Marvel! Kamala Khan (a.k.a Ms. Marvel) is stretched too thin-literally. She’s having a hard time balancing schoolwork with being a good friend, being there for her family, becoming the best fanfic writer this side of the Hudson River … and, you know, becoming a Super Hero. She’s tired and just barely keeping control, BUT she’s handling it. Totally. Reserve this book.

Blancaflor, the hero with secret powers : a folktale from Latin America by Nadja Spiegelman & Sergio García Sánchez

In this updated adaptation of a classic Latin American folktale, Blancaflor, a young ogre with magical powers, decides to secretly help a charming prince who has made a foolish bet with her father. Through saving the prince and the kingdom, she learns to be honest with herself and others about the things that make her special. Reserve this book.

Monster Friends by Kaeti Vandorn

Despite their differences, monster neighbors Reggie and Emily make the perfect pair of explorers, and with a map to make, a beach party to plan, and a sea monster to find, Reggie will have to learn to talk about his feelings and let new friends in. Reserve this book.