Publishers Weekly asked staffers at children’s publishing houses to tell them about the favourite children’s book they had read this year (new or backlist), and how they discovered it. The only proviso: it couldn’t be a book that their company had published.
Here are just a few of the recommendations. For the full list follow the link…
Laurel Symonds, associate marketing manager, Albert Whitman & Company
Pax by Sara Pennypacker and Jon Klassen has stuck with me since I read it nearly a year ago. Gemma Cooper of the Bent Agency and I were chatting over coffee about being recent transplants to Chicago, and she highly recommended her recent read, Pax. I’ve always had great respect for Balzer + Bray’s list, so I got my hands on an advance copy and devoured it. Heartbreaking yet affirming, the story of Peter and his pet fox separated in a war-torn country and its themes of friendship, loss, and loyalty could be just the book we need right now, and the bittersweet ending felt just right. Plus, Jon Klassen’s gorgeous illustrations and deckled edges make Pax a beautiful package, inside and out.
Kate Sullivan, sales manager, Random House Children’s Books
Tomi Ungerer’s Rufus: The Bat Who Loved Colors had been a favorite of mine since childhood, and out of print for years. Imagine my delight when I saw it on display at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vt. It was as lovely as I remembered – the story of a bat who discovers color and decides to stay up during the day to experience more of it. Sweet, briefly dramatic and sad, and ultimately as wonderful as it was the first time it was read to me. Some stories never get old.
Elayne Becker, junior associate editor, Tor Teen
Ruta Sepetys’s novels always leave me speechless. I finished her latest one, Salt to the Sea, on a nighttime flight and just sat there, staring blankly at the seat in front of me, awed. The book was beautiful. Devastating. Important. What I admire so much is not just Ruta’s characters, her prose, and her ability to evoke the past with such vibrancy and care; it’s her decision to highlight moments in history that are not often spoken of or studied, her determination to give voices to the people that are so often denied voices in our textbooks and our cultural awareness. These are the kinds of books I’d love to see more of in the YA world. In the meantime, I’ll be eagerly awaiting her next novel; anything she writes, I will buy.
Nancy Mercado, editorial director, Scholastic Press
A book that has given me breath with its ferocious and hilarious voice and steady, beating heart is debut novel Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera. I heard about it where one hears about all the great books… on Twitter. Juliet Takes a Breath is the kind of book you read with a pencil so you can underline your favorite passages, it’s a book that I wish I’d had as a teenager, and it’s an invigorating dose of fresh air. An essential #postelectionread!
full list via Children’s Publishers Choose Their Favorite Reads of 2016.