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ALSC names 2021 Notable Children’s Books

CHICAGO — The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has selected its 2021 Notable Children’s Books. The list of titles, published in the previous year, includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry and picture books of special interest, quality, creativity and value to children 14 years of age and younger.

The titles include:

Younger Readers

“Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball.” By Jen Bryant. Illus. by Frank Morrison. Abrams

“All Because You Matter.” By Tami Charles. Illus. by Bryan Collier. Orchard

“The Bear in My Family.” By Maya Tatsukawa. Illus. by the author. Dial

“Black Is a Rainbow Color.” By Angela Joy. Illus. by Ekua Holmes. Roaring Brook

“The Camping Trip.” By Jennifer K. Mann. Illus. by the author. Candlewick

“Cat Dog Dog: The Story of a Blended Family.” By Nelly Buchet. Illus. by Andrea Zuill. Schwartz & Wade

“The Cat Man of Aleppo.” By Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha. Illus. by Yuko Shimizu. Putnam

“Crossings: Extraordinary Structures for Extraordinary Animals.” By Katy S. Duffield. Illus. by Mike Orodán. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane

“Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built.” By Angela Burke Kunkel. Illus. by Paola Escobar. Schwartz & Wade

“Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away.” By Meg Medina. Illus. by Sonia Sánchez. Candlewick

“Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story.” By Nikki Tate. Illus. by Katie Kath. Holiday

“Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera.” By Candace Fleming. Illus. by Eric Rohmann. Holiday/Neal Porter

“I Am Every Good Thing.” By Derrick Barnes. Illus. by Gordon C. James. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen

“I Talk Like a River.” By Jordan Scott. Illus. by Sydney Smith. Holiday/Neal Porter

“If You Take Away the Otter.” By Susannah Buhrman-Deever. Illus. by Matthew Trueman. Candlewick

“Julián at the Wedding.” By Jessica Love. Illus. by the author. Candlewick

“Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures.” By Tricia Springstubb. Illus. by Elaheh Taherian. Candlewick

“Lift.” By Minh Lê. Illus. by Dan Santat. Little, Brown

“Me & Mama.” By Cozbi A. Cabrera. Illus. by the author. Simon & Schuster/Denene Millner

“The Most Beautiful Thing.” By Kao Kalia Yang. Illus. by Khoa Le. Carolrhoda/Lerner

“Nana Akua Goes to School.” By Tricia Elam Walker. Illus. by April Harrison. Schwartz & Wade

“’Ohana Means Family.” By Ilima Loomis. Illus. by Kenard Pak. Holiday/Neal Porter

“The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read.” By Rita Lorraine Hubbard. Illus. by Oge Mora. Schwartz & Wade

“One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey.” By Henry Cole. Illus. by the author. Scholastic

“Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us.” By Lauren Castillo. Illus. by the author. Knopf

“Outside In.” By Deborah Underwood. Illus. by Cindy Derby. HMH

“Overground Railroad.” By Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illus. by James E. Ransome. Holiday

“A Polar Bear in the Snow.” By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Shawn Harris. Candlewick

“Prairie Days.” By Patricia MacLachlan. Illus. By Micha Archer. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry

“Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” By Doreen Rappaport. Illus. by Eric Velasquez. Little, Brown

“Salma the Syrian Chef.” By Danny Ramadan. Illus. by Anna Bron. Annick

“See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog.” By David LaRochelle. Illus. by Mike Wohnoutka. Candlewick

“Snail Crossing.” By Corey R. Tabor. Illus. by the author. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray

“Southwest Sunrise.” By Nikki Grimes. Illus. by Wendell Minor. Bloomsbury

“Sugar in Milk.” By Thrity Umrigar. Illus. by Khoa Le. Running Press Kids

“Swashby and the Sea.” By Beth Ferry. Illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal. HMH

“Telephone Tales.” By Gianni Rodari. Illus. by Valerio Vidali. Tr. by Antony Shugaar. Enchanted Lion

“The Three Billy Goats Buenos.” By Susan Middleton Elya. Illus. by Miguel Ordóñez. Putnam

“Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom!” By Kelly Starling Lyons. Illus. by Nina Mata. Harper

“¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat.” By Raúl Gonzalez. Illus. by the author. HMH/Versify

“A Way with Wild Things.” By Larissa Theule. Illus. by Sara Palacios. Bloomsbury

“We Are Water Protectors.” By Carole Lindstrom. Illus. by Michaela Goade. Roaring Brook

“What About Worms!?” By Ryan T. Higgins. Illus. by the author. Disney/Hyperion

“Where’s Baby?” By Anne Hunter. Illus. by the author. Tundra

Middle Readers

“Becoming Muhammad Ali.” By James Patterson & Kwame Alexander. Illus. by Dawud Anyabwile. Little, Brown/JIMMY Patterson

“Black Brother, Black Brother.” By Jewell Parker Rhodes. Little, Brown

“The Blackbird Girls.” By Anne Blankman. Viking

“Catherine’s War.” By Julia Billet. Illus. by Claire Fauvel. Tr. by Ivanka Hahnenberger. Harper/HarperAlley

“Echo Mountain.” By Lauren Wolk. Dutton

“Efrén Divided.” By Ernesto Cisneros. Harper/Quill Tree

“From the Desk of Zoe Washington.” By Janae Marks. Illus. by Mirelle Ortega. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen

“King and the Dragonflies.” By Kacen Callender. Scholastic

“Letters from Cuba.” By Ruth Behar. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen

“Lupe Wong Won’t Dance.” By Donna Barba Higuera. Levine Querido

“Mañanaland.” By Pam Muñoz Ryan. Scholastic

“Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices.” Ed. by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed. Illus. by Sara Alfageeh. Abrams/Amulet

“The Only Black Girls in Town.” By Brandy Colbert. Little, Brown

“Prairie Lotus.” By Linda Sue Park. HMH

“Santiago’s Road Home.” By Alexandra Diaz. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman

“Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano/Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello.” By Monica Brown. Illus. by Elisa Chavarri. Lee & Low/Children’s Book Press.

“Show Me a Sign.” By Ann Clare LeZotte. Scholastic

“Three Keys (A Front Desk Novel).” By Kelly Yang. Scholastic

“The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez.” By Adrianna Cuevas. Farrar

“We Dream of Space.” By Erin Entrada Kelly. Illus. by the author and Celia Krampien. Greenwillow

“What Stars Are Made Of.” By Sarah Allen. Farrar

“When Stars Are Scattered.” By Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed. Illus. by Victoria Jamieson and Iman Geddy. Dial

“When You Trap a Tiger.” By Tae Keller. Random

“Wink.” By Rob Harrell. Illus. by the author. Dial

“A Wish in the Dark.” By Christina Soontornvat. Candlewick

“Your Place in the Universe.” By Jason Chin. Illus. by the author. Holiday/Neal Porter

Older Readers

“All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team.” By Christina Soontornvat. Illus. Candlewick

“Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir.” By Robin Ha. Illus. by the author. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray

“Before the Ever After.” By Jacqueline Woodson. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen

“Brother’s Keeper.” By Julie Lee. Holiday

“Dragon Hoops.” By Gene Luen Yang. Illus. by the author. First Second

“Elatsoe.” By Darcie Little Badger. Illus. by Rovina Cai. Levine Querido

“Fighting Words.” By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Dial

“Go with the Flow.” By Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann. Illus. by Lily Williams. First Second

“How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure.” By John Rocco. Illus. by the author. Crown

“Land of the Cranes.” By Aida Salazar. Scholastic

“The Magic Fish.” By Trung Le Nguyen. Illus. by the author. Random/RH Graphic

“Poisoned Water: How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan, Fought for Their Lives and Warned the Nation.” By Candy J. Cooper and Marc Aronson. Bloomsbury

“Raybearer.” By Jordan Ifueko. Abrams/Amulet

“Snapdragon.” By Kat Leyh. Illus. by the author. First Second

“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning.” By Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Little, Brown

“Superman Smashes the Klan.” By Gene Luen Yang. Illus. by Gurihiru. DC

“This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II.“ By Andrew Fukuda. Tor Teen

All Ages

“Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom.” By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illus. by Michele Wood. Candlewick

“Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks.” By Suzanne Slade. Illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Abrams

“A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart.” By Zetta Elliott. Illus. by Noa Denmon. Farrar

For the annotated 2021 list and past Notable Children’s Books lists, visit the ALSC website. More information about all the children’s notable media lists is available on the ALSC website.

Members of the 2021 Notable Children’s Books Committee are: Sada Mozer, chair, Los Angeles Public Library, California; Alexandra Bell, Bloomington Public Library, Illinois; Tammie Benham, Southeast Kansas Library System, Pittsburg, Kansas; Beatrice Canales, Alamo Colleges – San Antonio College, Texas; Christine Chai, Los Angeles Public Library, California; Anna R. Healy, East Hampton Library, East Hampton, New York; Sharon Levin, Redwood City, California; Janelle Mathis, University of North Texas, Denton; Madeline Tyner, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Bettina Wesloh, Baltimore County Public Library, Maryland; Laura Wilson, Pekin Public Library, Illinois.


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