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50 Favorite Illustrated Children’s Books of 2017

This year, I had the great honor of being a judge for the 2017 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award.  On a morning in early October, my fellow judges and I met in a large conference room in the New York Times building.  There were two rows of tables just overflowing with 1000+ books.  In the months prior to selection day,  I had tried to prepare myself by reading more than 500 illustrated titles.  All this reading did not fully ready me for the piles of books in that conference room.  By the end of the day, we had narrowed the field down to the 10 winners.  We were thrilled with our choices and a bit sad for some of our favorites that were abandoned along the way.

There were lots of wonderful books published in 2017.  Not all of them are going to make the “best of” lists, but here are 50 of my favorites.  As a librarian, I believe that each child should have a personal library at home with lots of library books mixed in.  If you are looking for gift ideas or would like a booklist to use at your local public library, here are some titles to get you started.     

After the Fall by Dan Santat 







 

Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James E. Ransome







 

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper






 

The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler










 

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus; illustrated by Kadir Nelson








The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken










Bravo! : Poems about Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Rafael López








 

Carrot & Pea by Morag Hood







 

Claymates by Dev Petty; illustrated by Lauren Eldridge







The Crane Girl by Curtis Manley; illustrated by Lin Wang






 

Dance is for Everyone by Andrea Zuill









Danza! : Amalia Hernández and el Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh









Dazzle Ships : World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton; illustrated    by Victo Ngai







 

A Different Pond by Bao Phi; illustrated by Thi Bui








 

Feather by Rémi Courgeon

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award






 

The Fog by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Kenard Pak









 

The Fox Wish by Kimiko Aman; illustrated by Komako Sakai






 

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown;  illustrated by John Parra

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award





 

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin








 

King of the Sky by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Laura Carlin

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award



 

 A Letter to My Teacher by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Nancy Carpenter





 

 Lines by Suzy Lee









 

 Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin





 

 Mama Lion Wins the Race by Jon J. Muth





 

Mighty Moby by Ed Young









 

Muddy: the Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael J. Mahin; illustrated    by Evan Turk

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award



 

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award






 

Plume by Isabelle Simler

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award






 

Priscilla Gorilla by Barbara Bottner; illustrated by Michael Emberley








 

 Rain by Sam Usher








 

Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin






 

A River by Marc Martin

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award


 

Round by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Taeeun Yoo






 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: the Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter; illustrated by Stacy Innerst

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award




 

Schomburg: the Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Eric Velasquez






 

Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say








 

That is My Dream! by Langston Hughes; illustrated by Daniel Miyares





 

That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares






 

This House, Once by Deborah Freedman








 

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney





 

Tony by Ed Galing; illustrated by Erin E. Stead





 

Trees by Lemniscates







 

Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz; illustrated by Sydney Smith

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award


 

The Way Home in the Night by Akiko Miyakoshi

Winner - New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award






 

When's My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Christian Robinson














 

Where's Rodney? by Carmen Bogan; illustrated by Floyd Cooper









 

Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt; illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko







 

Windows by Julia Denos; illustrated by E.B. Goodale

 

 

 

 

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell






 

The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen











 

Comments

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2017 books

Thanks for the suggestions!

50 Favorites

Great choices. I see a few I'm interested in for my Sunday School Youth group that they can use for our Black History program. Thanks for making my job easier

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