Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Favorite Children's Books of 2016

I am super exited to be joining a wonderful group of authors and bloggers today to discuss our favorite children's books of 2016! Each of us has written about one book; simply follow the links included at the bottom of each of our posts to see the remaining recommended list. You can also find out more about who we are at the bottom of this post. 

And now, I present to you...

If there's one thing that can make or break a book's standing on my personal list of favorites, it's the book becoming a preferred read of my preschooler. If any book can survive night after night of multiple readings, and I don't end up hiding it under a rug, then it's gotta be top notch. Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah O'Hora not only survived a potential life of rug exile, I found myself suggesting it when my four year old ventured to stray from tradition.

Horrible Bear! begins when Bear breaks Girl's kite. The incident sends Girl stomping away screaming HORRIBLE BEAR! But bear didn't mean to break Girl's kite, and this unfair proclamation sends bear into a tirade of his own, until he has a "Horrible Bear idea." He stomps after the girl to show her what a horrible bear truly looks like, but just as he reaches her house, something happens that takes all the horrible right out of the bear... Girl apologizes.

A mere 258 words, Dyckman packs a tremendous amount of emotion into this story of forgiveness and acceptance. Every word in this simple story is used to great effect, and the fun language repetition makes for a lively read aloud. Accentuated by O'Hora's expressive illustrations, the story's emotional outbursts are felt just as much in the bold black brushstrokes, the girl's mop of red, curly hair, and the bright orange of the bear.  O'Hora's jewel toned color palette give the illustrations a richness, and his creative use of vignettes echo the parallel storylines.

Together, Dyckman and O'Hora have delivered an adorable, offbeat story with a lovely sentiment. Horrible Bear! has not only captured my four year old's heart, it's charmed this reader enough to keep it at the top of our nightly reading list! Plus, I kind of like getting to read in a Horrible Bear voice.

nessa dee

Ready for the rest of our 2016 recommendations? Just follow the links! 

So...who the heck are these suggestion-making people? 

Cate Berry is an author, performer, songwriter, and teacher. She's the author of two original shows, one of which (Dish) was produced at the Long Center for Performing Arts in 2014. Cate's debut picture book, Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don't Do Bedtime will be available in Spring 2018 (Balzar + Bray).

Charnaie Gordon, a computer programmer by trade and a Distinguished Toastmaster, is the blogger behind the popular Here Wee Read blog, where you'll find tips and suggestions for finding the best children's books, and be inspired to make the most of your read aloud time, however much that is.

Danna Smith is the author of many books for children, including her most recent fiction titles, Swallow the Leader and Arctic White, as well as numerous non-fiction titles, such as Balloon Trees and the forthcoming The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry (Candlewick, 2017).

Eileen Manes is a writer, an artist and the blogger behind Pickle Corn Jam, a blog about books and writing for children of all ages. She was recently nominated as a finalist for the SCBWI-Austin Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award, and her current projects include picture books, a middle grade novel and a novel for adults, all in various stages of completion.

Henry L. Herz is the author of numerous books for children, including Mabel and the Queen of DreamsLittle Red Cuttlefish and the forthcoming Dinosaur Pirates (Sterling, 2017). He's a regular panelist at conventions, including San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon, and has been a guest blogger on several blogs, including Tara Lazar's amazing Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) and Angie Karcher's Rhyming Picture Book Month (RhyPiBoMo).

Karen Santhanam is a writer, an artist, a blogger and host of the popular Storybook Spotlight podcast. Storybook Spotlight is about reading with kids, children’s books and family fun, including interviews with children’s books authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, preschool folks and friends. She was also recently nominated as a finalist for the SCBWI-Austin Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award.

Kell Andrews writes novels and picture books for children and nonfiction for adults. A little bit of magic helps with both. Her first novel, Deadwood, was published in 2014 and her debut picture book, Mira Forecasts the Future, came out this year (2016, Sterling).

Keyosha Atwater is an avid reader, Instagramer and blogger. When she isn't reading to her own kiddos or reviewing books on Instagram @weebooklovers, you'll find her working on her brand new blog, Wee Book Lovers, where she'll be reviewing even more books and suggesting the best of the best kid-tested, mom-approved books to try with your own family.

Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of numerous beloved books for young people, including the highly-acclaimed, Caldecott-honored picture book, All the World, and her debut novel for middle grade readers, The Great Good Summer. She's also a poet, a teacher and a frequent, popular presenter at schools, libraries and conferences.

Vanessa Roeder (Nessa Dee) is an illustrator, painter and self-proclaimed crafty mess-maker. She's worked as a muralist and made art for magazines, children's books and homes around the world. She's taught art, writes stories, has been featured in Highlights Magazine and on Apartment Therapy and was the grand prize winner in the Austin SCBWI 2016 portfolio contest.


PickleCornJam said...

Isn't it great when you don't have to hide it under the rug, AND you can steer your kiddos toward it? Those are the books that make it to our list, too. I was reminded of CS Lewis' quote yesterday in the New Yorker, which is very fitting for your post! “I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last. A waltz which you can like only when you are waltzing is a bad waltz.” (

Liz Garton Scanlon said...

This looks so wonderful -- and I love the cover art.
Thanks for the tip!

Here Wee Read said...

This sounds wonderful - we'll be sure to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation.

Unknown said...

This was a great read, my kids and I both liked this book and still talk about it to this day! Great review!