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Staff Favorites of 2017: Children's Books

What was the County of Los Angeles Public Library staff reading in 2017? Here are some selections from our staff of the best books we read this year.

See our Staff Favorites of 2017: Adult and Teen list too. Find even more reading suggestions at Books & Media.

 A Perfect Day book jacket

A Perfect Day by Lane Smith

This charming picture book features four adorable creatures - a cat, a dog, a chickadee, and a squirrel - and beautifully illustrates their perfect day. That is, until bear lumbers through and creates a perfect day of his own. Funny and sweet, this book cleverly demonstrates the significance of perspective.

Genre: Picture Book, 2017

Recommended by: Allison of Wiseburn Library

 The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors book jacket

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt

This is a great story about a traditional children's game. It is hilarious for kids of all ages. It opens up a myriad of discussion topics especially with older children. It's about being the best in something only to discover that there is always someone or something better than you. It's about celebrating your achievements along with your defeats.

Genre: Picture Book, 2017

Recommended by: Gina of A C Bilbrew Library

 Maverick and Me book jacket

Maverick and Me by Katherine Schwarzenegger

A heartwarming story about Maverick, a puppy who is in desperate need of a home! He is brought into a pet store for an adoption event. Scarlett and her mom attend and decide to adopt Maverick. Scarlett even throws him a welcome to the family party! This is a wonderful book to share with children about adopting a pet and is based on a true story.

Genre: Picture Book, 2017

Recommended by: Kristen of Lawndale Library

 The Night Gardener book jacket

The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers

This magical picture book depicts a neighborhood transformed and united through the artistic tree trimming of the mysterious night gardener who shapes the local foliage into fantastical topiaries as the residents sleep.

Genre: Picture Book, 2016

Recommended by: Katharine of North Regional Office

 I Am a Story book jacket

I Am a Story by Dan Yaccarino

This simple but powerful picture book takes the reader on a journey throughout human history. From the days of the cave man through today, readers discover that people have always had a love of storytelling, only the methods have changed.

Genre: Picture Book, 2016

Recommended by: Victoria of Castaic Library

 Thornhill book jacket

Thornhill by Pam Smy

Ella is new in town and lonely. She sees a girl across the street in an abandoned building that used to be Thornhill Institute and tries very hard to become her friend. Two stories are told in this book: Ella in the present day told through text and a girl who lived in Thornhill 35 years ago told in black and white illustrations. I couldn't put it down.

Genre: Mystery, 2017

Recommended by: Grisel of Collection Development

 It All Comes Down to This book jacket

It All Comes Down to This by Karen English

Sophie is navigating life in 1960s Los Angeles and awaiting her sister's departure to college. She also begins to experience discrimination from neighbors and classmates as racial tensions grow in nearby Watts. I was thrilled that this book took place in LA and included some of my favorite things like tennis, theater, and historical fiction.

Genre: Historical Fiction, 2017

Recommended by: Claire of Manhattan Beach Library

 The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World book jacket

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

Fourteen-year-old Doreen Green has a bushy squirrel's tail, buck teeth, and super strength! One day she'll be the heroic Squirrel Girl, but in "Squirrel Meets World" we see how Doreen adopted her moniker, the friends she makes, and the first supervillain she has to defeat. It's a fun, charming novel for middle schoolers and younger teens.

Genre: Superhero Fiction, 2017

Recommended by: Matisse of West Hollywood Library

 Ghost book jacket

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Castle "Ghost" Crenshaw has a tough life, but something different happens when he comes across a team of runners and their driven coach. I'm recommending this book because of the great pace and spunky and engaging characters. The ending left me appreciative but wanting more.

Genre: Sports Fiction, 2016

Recommended by: Kascia of Alondra Library

 Saving Marty book jacket

Saving Marty by Paul Griffin

Animal lovers will fall in love with this Charlotte's Web for the 21st century. In this touching story of a boy and his best friend, Marty the runt piglet is saved by a young boy and a dog who raise him like a puppy. But when he grows too big to be a house pet, will Marty end up as a side of bacon? A touching tale for middle grade readers.

Genre: Realistic Fiction, 2017

Recommended by: Margo of San Dimas Library

 The War I Finally Won book jacket

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Truly excellent follow-up to the excellent The War That Saved My Life.

Genre: Historical Fiction, 2017

Recommended by: Melissa of Malibu Library

 The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog book jacket

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz

Two staff members recommend this book! It is well-written, with strong, diverse characters, epic adventure, moral dilemmas, and even some gory violence. The varying narrative perspectives challenge the reader as to whom to trust, and the illustrations rock!

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, 2016

Recommended by: Carolyn of Hawaiian Gardens & Kascia of Alondra Library

 Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems book jacket

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka

If you are not a fan of poetry, give this book a try as it is both a quick read and highly entertaining. In case you did not know, concrete poems are shaped like the subject of the poem. Bob Raczka gives us poems about clocks, the Little Dipper, fireflies and much more. It might even inspire you to create your own concrete poem.

Genre: Poetry, 2016

Recommended by: Victoria of Castaic Library