Top Ten Reads in 2016

I escaped into the pages of  676 books this year. Whittling those reads down to my top ten was painful and nearly impossible, but here are the final picks. 

For YA:

1. The Catalyst, by Helena Coggan

the-catalystI was completely shocked to discover that the author of this book is 15. Her author bio mentions that she wrote the rough draft at age 13, so I researched her. I was completely impressed before I knew the age of the author and now I’m blown away. This story pulled me in immediately. I felt engaged with the characters who were authentic and flawed. The plot was fast paced and compelling. I loved the world building and the idea of angels and demons and hybrids and MAGIC. I was intrigued with the exploration of whether it’s possible to be innocently evil.

For Middle Grade:

2. Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan

I finished this on the day that Echo won a literary award.


It’s  lyrically written historical fiction with a magical element. This book is a tribute to the power of music and relationships. The complex interweaving of characters and events makes for a powerful read that will stay with you for months afterwards. My entire family still talks about this incredibly moving story of hope and healing!




3. Full Cicada Moon, by Marilyn Hilton

full-cicada-moonThis is a refreshing historical fiction written in lyrical verse. Told from 13 year old Mimi’s point of view, this story is raw and complicated and beautiful.  Mimi’s experience with discrimination and and displacement are met with her resilience which she explains eloquently:

“Like raindrops on granite.” I say,
because we know that’s how I persist—
drip, drip, drip
until the granite cracks.”

For Chapter Books:

4. Super Happy Party Bears: Gnawing Around, by Marcie Colleen

My six old son loved this book so much, he was a blue super happy party bear for Halloween.

super-happy-party-bearThis book is clever, cheerful and easy to read. Filled with likable animal critters who are comically flawed, and a simple, action-filled plot, this book is fun for kids and adults. I read this book in one sitting with my 6 and 8 year olds. Both of them wanted to move on to the next in the series immediately. My 8 year old took the book to bed and re-read it that night. The next day I got requests from her brother for more SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS!

His words: “These are awesome. I love them! They are super fun and funny. Everyone should read them!”

For Graphic Novels:

5. Narwal: Unicorn of the Sea, by Ben Clanton

narwalFilled with engaging illustrations and humor, this book is pure delight. My 6 year old has decided this is the perfect book for mid morning, mid day, mid afternoon, before bed and after he should be asleep. So MUCH fun!




For Picture Books:

6. Ida Always, by Caron Levis


Wow! This book is lyrical and lovely. It touches on death in a peaceful and hopeful way. It’s a great book for evoking discussion of death and friendship. The illustrations add depth and power to the well chosen words. The bond between Ida and Gus is unmistakable and there’s an emotional resonance to this story that stays with you long after you’ve read it.



7. A Hungry Lion, or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals, by Lucy Ruth Cummins

a-hungry-lionThis is a brilliantly funny book, filled with surprises. The illustrations work seamlessly with the text to create a story that you will want to read over and over again.





8. Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty  and  David Roberts


Written in rhyme, this rollicking book highlights a brilliant little girl who asks what, why and how? She answers her questions with creative experiments.  I love the message that girls can and should do science.




9. Normal Norman, by Tara Lazar and S. Britt

normal-normanNormal Norman celebrates being different. It’s an extraordinary book filled with quirky humor, bright and lively illustrations and a message of how powerful it is to be an individual.



10. Norbert’s Big Dream, by Lori Degman


I love how this book evokes discussion on goals and dreams and persistence! Norbert’s endearing character pursues a dream and shows us that anything is possible when we work hard and persist.



What are your favorite books in 2016? Share them in the comments!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s