The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

Best of 2016 and Happy Holidays

img_2167It has been another extraordinary year in children’s and young adult literature. On January 2nd, we’ll be back with a regular posting. In the meantime, we wanted to share a collection of “Best of 2016″ lists so that you have them all in one place. Part of our book selection process involves reading reviews by others. We spend time in the stacks of our local libraries and bookstores but we also highly regard and follow the voices of others in the field. Some lists below you may recognize from our past “best of” lists.We have added some new lists this year including Brainpickings and Goodreads Choice awards.

The holidays are always a great time to sit back with a good book and to gift new books to others in your life. These lists can help in that decision-making process. If you have purchasing power in your schools and local communities, these lists are a great launching place as you start your search. Please feel free to add to our collection of links by submitting a favorite “best of” listing of your own in a comment.

We look forward to the full slate of ALA Youth Media Awards being announced on Monday, January 23rd starting at 8 AM. Even if you are far from the Georgia World Conference Center, you and your students can watch the awards announcement live via webcast.

We’d like to extend our deep appreciation to the teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, and publishers who join us in our efforts to put wonderful books in the hands of children.

We wish all of you a peaceful and joyous holiday season.
Katie, Grace, Erika, and Mary Ann

Best of 2016
Click on each title for the full list.

NCTE’s Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children 2017

Mary Ann was a member of this year’s committee!

NCTE’s Charlotte Huck Award for Outstanding Fiction for Children 2017

Erika was a member of this year’s committee!

Horn Book Fanfare 2016

New York Times Best Illustrated Books 2016

New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2016

Kirkus Reviews: Best Middle Grade Books of 2016

Kirkus Reviews: Best Picture Books of 2016

School Library Journal: Best Picture Books of 2016

School Library Journal: Best Middle Grade Books of 2016

School Library Journal: Best Nonfiction of 2016

School Library Journal: Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2016

School Library Journal’s Top Ten Apps of 2016

School Library Journal Top Ten Audio Books 2016

Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 2016

Publisher’s Weekly: Best Picture Books of 2016

Publisher’s Weekly: Best Middle Grade Books of 2016

NSTA: Outstanding Science Trade Books K-12 for 2017

Brainpickings: The Best Children’s Books of 2016

Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Picture Books 2016

Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Middle Grade and Children’s Books 2016


Katie Cunningham About Katie Cunningham

Katie is an associate professor of literacy at Manhattanville College. Her work focuses on children’s literature, literacy methods, and literacy leadership. Katie is the author of Story: Still the Heart of Literacy Learning and co-author of Literacy Leadership in Changing Schools. She is passionate about the power of stories to transform lives.


  1. Hi Katie – We also did a list at KitaabWorld about best of South asian kid lit in 2016 – please take a look here: