Best Books for Kids 2016: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

  • by Lynn Lobash

    Welcome to Best Books for Kids 2016: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing!​

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    This annual list is a century-old tradition in which the New York Public Library’s book experts select 100 noteworthy children's titles from categories including: picture books, young readers, fiction, graphic novels, folklore & fairy tales, poetry, and nonfiction.

    The committee read every children's book, published in 2016, that they could get their hands on. Below are their top 10 showstopper favorites.

    Check out the whole list online at  Let us know what you think in the comments below, or on social media with the hashtag #BestBooks.

    Top 10 (arranged alphabetically) 

    The Great Pet Escape

    The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson

    Graphic novel, Animals, Friendship, Funny

    Join the class pets of Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary School for a hilarious adventure as they make a break for freedom and save their school along the way.





    It Ain't So Awful, Falafel

    It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

    Middle-grade fiction, Coming of age, Culturally diverse, Family, Friendship, Funny, Historical

    It’s 1979 and Zomorod (Cindy) is trying to fit into her new life in southern California. When the hostage crisis hits the headlines, she finds herself explaining all things Iranian, when all she wants is to rock a pom-pom belt.





    Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill & Francis Vallejo

    Nonfiction, Culturally diverse, Historical, Multiple perspectives, Poetry

    Neighborhood children, a photographer, and a group of musicians share laughter and music on a hot day in Harlem.


    The Night Gardener


    The Night Gardener by Terry & Eric Fan

    Picture books, Really great art

    Grimloch Lane is transformed by a mysterious stranger who creates magical topiaries by moonlight and inspires a young boy’s imagination.



    Pink is for Blobfish

    Pink Is for Blobfish: Discovering the World’s Perfectly Pink Animals by Jess Keating & David DeGrand

    Nonfiction, Animals

    Pretty in pink? Think again! Have fun with this informative study of the extraordinary rosy- hued creatures that populate our world.

    The Princess and the Warrior

    The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh

    Fairy tales & Folklore, Culturally diverse, Really great art

    These illustrations in the style of the Mixtec Codices bring 12 to life an ancient, Aztec love story.


    Pugs of the Frozen North

    Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre

    Easy readers, Animals, Family, Fantasy, Friendship, Funny, Offbeat

    Sika and Shen (and their team of 66 pugs!) want to win the Great Northern Race and meet the Snowfather, who will reward them with their heart’s desire.




    The Secret Subway

    The Secret Subway by Shana Corey & Red Nose Studio

    Nonfiction, Historical, Picture books, Really great art, True stories

    Discover New York City’s earliest incarnation of the subway system, told with exquisite stop-motion-esque figures.


    Thunder Boy Jr.

    Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie & Yuyi Morales

    Picture books, Culturally diverse, Family, Really great art

    What’s in a name? Find out in this story about a father and son.



    The Wild Robot

    The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

    Middle-grade fiction, Animals, Coming of age, Emotionally intense, Family, Friendship, Inspiring, Really great art, Science fiction

    Shipwrecked on a deserted island, robot Roz must adapt her factory settings and learn how to live in the natural world.





    Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.

    Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!