This entry is part 9 of 14 in the series Community

For the past several years, I’ve been living as an English-language writer, artist and language/writing coach in a small German town.

Every year, the librarians at my local library ask me for my list of must-have storybooks and the other night I realized others might want to take a look at it. This is a list of eight books I requested last week.

Happy Palmtree

After reading to the kids, we move to the large blue table for a crafts project.

My pick of the top English-language kids books for the new year.

1. Exclamation Mark from Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld.

Rosenthal is known for a lot of different projects to different people. She’s written for adults and kids, and you may have even seen her TEDx Talks on YouTube. As a writer of children’s books, her best and most known are Bedtime for Mommy illustrated by LeUyen Pham and Plant A Kiss, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. These two books are incredible must-haves, created by some of the most talented people in the business.

When I found out that Rosenthal had paired up now with Tom Lichtenhelt, I got really excited. This is bound to be another great book. [UPDATE: It is. Now that I’ve read this book to kids at the library as well as several of my students, here are my thoughts about this particular book.]

2. The Day the Crayons Quit from Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers.

Drew Daywalt is a screenwriter most known for his films, Stark Raving Mad and Bedfellows. This is his first illustrated storybook, and it is illustrated by none other than Oliver Jeffers. If you aren’t familiar with Jeffers’ books, get to know them. The Crayons is now the third Jeffers book I’ve requested. The others: This Moose Belongs to Me and Stuck.

3. Sam and Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.

Mac Barnett, like Amy Krouse Rosenthal, has presented a TED Talk. He’s funny and inspiring and writes imaginative stories for kids. He has again paired up with Jon Klassen (another favorite), after their success with Extra Yarn, another book I read to the kids at the local library. Other Klassen books I’ve presented: This Is Not My Hat.
Bottom line, you need to know about Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.
[UPDATE: As I suspected, this book was a huge hit. It’s become one of my all time favorite storybooks. Here are my thoughts about this book.]

4. Meet the Parents by Peter Bently and Sara Ogilvie.

Peter Bently is new to me, but he’s been around for a while and very successfully. I found him while pecking around the Internet to find out more about Sara Ogilvie. She caught my attention with her artwork for Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp, which is one of my all-time favorite books. I’m very excited about this new book she’s done with Bently.

5. A Possum’s Tail by Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow.

I don’t remember how I stumbled on this book, but it looks like really solid work. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the kids in town react to this one.

6. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.

Ashley Spires is one of the top writers and illustrators, and I think she’s someone to follow. Her work gets stronger with every project. [UPDATE: This book is lovely. Here’s what I have to say about it now that I’ve presented it to several groups of kids.]

7. Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie.

Anna Kemp is the author of Dogs Don’t Do Ballet (see above), which she did with Sara Ogilvie – an absolute favorite. I can’t wait to get Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes, their latest collaboration.

8. The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak.

B.J. Novak is an actor and comedian. Like Drew Daywalt (and many others), he has shifted his creative efforts from film to children’s books. I hope to see more than this one book from him, but it’s possible this is it. Get it. If you want to see kids screaming with laughter, rolling in the isles, this is the one to get.
Better than any joke book. Here’s my full take on it.
These are the books I’ll be reading to kids (and their parents) at my local library during the beginning months of 2015. I can hardly wait.
Keep creating, no matter what.


--Download TOP Books for the Local Library 2015 as PDF --

This entry is part of the series
Be sure to check out the other posts:
<< International Appeal: how to write for itMy List of Top Storybooks 2017 >>
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