2015 Best Children's Books of the Year: A List of Lists and Awards

It's raining books, hallelujah!

The holiday season means an abundance of online "best books" lists, and here on Chicken Spaghetti I collect the ones for kids' books. The focus is on material published in 2015, although you'll find that a few lineups also incorporate titles from previous years. Some of them cover way more than children's books; a mention here means that somewhere on the list is at least one kids' category. I plan to update the big list regularly.

©Susan Thomsen, 2015.

Be sure to see the magnificent list of all 2015 book lists at Largehearted Boy. And my list-loving Irish friends at St. Columba's College English Department have started their annual roundup, too. Travis Jonker, over at School Library Journal's 100 Scope Notes blog, writes about "2015 Children's Lit: The Year in Miscellanea."

AAAS: SB&F holiday gift guide. (AAAS=American Association for the Advancement of Science. SB&F=Science Books & Film review journal)

AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize finalists. Science books. 

Abby the Librarian. Favorites.

The Age. Same list as Sydney Morning Herald. (Australia)

A.V. Club. One-shot comics and graphic novels, a few for kids. Same with ongoing and serial comics.

Air & Space Magazine (Smithsonian). Aviation- and space-themed books.

Alaska Dispatch News. Favorite Alaska books include a couple for younger readers.

Alex Awards. Adult books appropriate for teens.

All the Wonders. Nonfiction.
All the Wonders. Picture books.

Alligator's Mouth (UK)

Amazon. Children.
Amazon. Young adult.

Anorak Magazine. Picture books. (UK)

Asian Pacific American Library Association (APALA) Literary Award. Via the Lee & Low Books blog.

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Notable books of the year.

Atlantic. One YA book on the list.

Audubon Magazine. Bird books, with a couple for children.


Autostraddle. "Top 10 queer and feminist" books and runners-up include a few YA titles.

Bank Street Center for Children's Literature: Children's Book Awards

Batchelder Award. For children's books in translation.

Ben Clanton's Squiggles & Scribbles

Birmingham Mail. Christmas books. (UK)

Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension. Teacher Pernille Ripp's YA gift list.

Blue Peter Book Awards. Shortlists. (UK)

BN (Barnes & Noble) Teen Blog

Boing Boing. A few kids' books in the gift guide.

Book Chook (Australia)

Book Dragon (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center blog). Books for adults & children.

Book Riot. List includes YA. Same with another Book Riot list, best books "you might have missed," and audiobooks.

Book Voyagers. Young adult and new adult, mostly.

Booklist. Religion and spirituality.
Booklist. Arts.
Booklist. First novels.
Booklist. Romance fiction.
Booklist. Science and health.

BookPage. Children and teens. Plus, gift books.
BookPage. YA.

Books for Keeps. Gifts. (UK)

Books Live. A couple of titles for younger readers on a long list of reviewers' favorites. (South Africa)

Booktopia. Scroll down on the list. (Australia)

Bord Gáis Energy (BGE) Irish Book Awards shortlists. Junior and senior. (Ireland)

Boston Globe. Kids.
Boston Globe. Young adult.

Boys' Life Book Zone

Brain Pickings. Art books, including one kids' title. Same with science books.
Brain Pickings. Children's books.

British Comic Awards. Shortlists & longlists. (UK)

Brown Bookshelf

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. Blue Ribbons, for best books of the year.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's books. Gift guide (PDF). 

Bustle. Best YA book covers.

BuzzFeed. "Beautifully illustrated" picture books.
BuzzFeed. Fantasy books, including a few for kids.
BuzzFeed. Gifts for "activisty families."
BuzzFeed. Young adult.

Caldecott Medal

Canadian Children's Book Centre Awards

Carnegie Medal. For children's video.

CBC/Radio-Canada. List includes a few books for kids. (Canada)

Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature (Pinterest page)

Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) UK

Centro Voices. "Essential Boricua Reading for the Holiday Season" includes some kids' & YA books.

Charlotte Zolotow Award

Chen Bochui Awards (China). Via the Bookseller.

Chicago Public Library. Fiction for older readers (3rd through 8th grades).
Chicago Public Library. Informational books for older readers (3rd through 8th grades).
Chicago Public Library. Informational books for younger readers (Kindergarten through 3rd grade).
Chicago Public Library. Picture books.
Chicago Public Library. Teen fiction.
Chicago Public Library. Teen graphic novels and manga.
Chicago Public Library. Teen nonfiction.

Christchurch City Libraries (New Zealand)

Charlotte Huck Award. For fiction; sponsored by NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).

Cleaver Magazine

Comics Alliance. Teens.

Conversations Book Club

Cool Mom Picks

Cooperative Children's Book Center. CCBC Choices. (PDF)

Coretta Scott King Book Award

Cosmos Magazine. Illustrated science books, with several for children. (Australia)

Costa Children's Book Award. Shortlist and winner. PDFs (UK)

Culture Whisper (UK)

Cuyahoga Public Library. Gifts & "great books for kids."

Cybils (Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards). Finalists in eleven categories. Winners to be announced Feb. 14, 2016.

Daily Beast

Daily Express (UK)

Daily O (India)

Denver Public Library. Gift guide.

EarlyWord. Spread sheet of various lists of best kids' books.

Edgar Awards. Sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America. Nominees, including "juvenile" and YA books. Winners to be announced April 28, 2016.

Elle UK. One kids' book on the list.

Entertainment Weekly. Comics, some for adults.
Entertainment Weekly. Gift guide: teens.

Entropy. Best fiction list includes a graphic novel for young adults.

Everything Zoomer. Gifts. (Canada)

Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award. See YALSA, below.

Ezra Jack Keats Awards. To be announced April 2016.

Financial Times (UK)

First Book

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

A Fuse #8 Production (School Library Journal blog). Librarian Elizabeth Bird's 100 Magnificent Children's Books 2015.

#GayYABookClub. 2015 Favorites from a Twitter chat, via Storify.

GeekDad. Gift guide, kids & adults.

Geisel Award. Beginning readers. Announced Jan. 11, 2016; link coming soon.

Globe and Mail (Canada)

Good Reads with Ronna. Picture books.

Goodreads Choice Awards. Graphic novels and comics. Some, not all, for children.
Goodreads Choice Awards. Middle grade.
Goodreads Choice Awards. Picture books.
Goodreads Choice Awards. Young adult fantasy and science fiction.
Goodreads Choice Awards. Young adult fiction.

Governor General Literary Awards. For children's literature, text (English and French), and illustrated books (English and French). (Canada)

Gransnet (UK)

Guardian. Best kids' books of the year. Plus, some author, editor, and reader favorites.
Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. Shortlist. Winner. (UK)
Guardian. Christmas books. (UK)
Guardian. Various authors' favorites of the year. See Lauren Child's picks for some children's books. (UK)
Guardian. Young Critics Competition winners. (UK)

Heavy Medal, A Mock Newbery Blog. Shortlist.

Herald (Scotland). Picture books. (UK)
Herald (Scotland). YA. (UK)
Herald (Scotland). Younger readers. (UK)

Horn Book Magazine. Fanfare, year's best.
Horn Book Magazine. Holiday High Notes, new holiday books.

Hudson Booksellers

Huffington Post. Picture books.
Huffington Post. YA.

Imagination Soup. Board books.

Independent. Books for babies. (UK)
Independent. Picture books.
Independent. Readers aged 8 to 11.
Independent. Young adult. (UK)

Indigo (Canada)

io9. Science fiction and fantasy, including some YA books.

Irish Times. Robert Dunbar's favourites. (Ireland)

Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger. Gifts recommended by a Lemuria Books staffer.
Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger. Top Mississippi books, including books for kids.

Japan Times. Books on Japan, including several for children. (Japan)

Jefferson County (Colorado) Public Library. Best monster books. Now we're talkin'.

Jewish Journal. Hanukkah books.

Jewish Press

Kansas City Star

KCUR/Johson County (Kansas) Library

Kid Lit Frenzy


Kirkus Reviews. Middle grade.
Kirkus Reviews. Picture books.
Kirkus Reviews. Teen. Plus, columnist Leila Roy's "stand-out YA" books of the year.

LA Weekly. LA books, one YA.

Latina Book Club. Some kids' and YA titles on the list.

Latin@s in Kid Lit

Latinas for Latino Lit

Literary Hub. Booksellers' favorites, with a couple of titles for younger readers.

Londonist. Best London books, with a couple for kids. (UK)

Lone Star Literary Life. Texas books for younger readers, and Texas YA.

Los Angeles Public Library. Children.
Los Angeles Public Library. Teens.

Lucie's List

Marin Mommies

Masala Mommas. South Asian kids' books, with some older titles. (Canada)

Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List, from the Texas Library Association.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. List includes two kids' books.

Minneapolis Star Tribune. Critics' Choices include one book for children.
Minneapolis Star Tribune. Middle-grade and YA books by Minnesota authors.

MPR (Minnesota Public Radio)

Morris Award. For debut young adult fiction. Finalists. Winner.

Motherland. Books for preschoolers. (UK)

Mountain Xpress. Kids' books by local Asheville, NC, area authors.

Multnomah County Library. Kids.
Multnomah County Library. Picture books.
Multnomah County Library. Teens.

NAACP Image Awards. Nominees in many categories, including outstanding literary works for children and for youth/teens.

Nashville Lifestyles. Southern titles, with one picture book on the list.

National Book Award for Young People's Literature

National Outdoor Book Awards

National Science Teachers Association. Outstanding science trade books for students K-12.

NBC News Latino. Latino books from small presses; one kids' title on the list.

Nerdy Book Club. Early readers and chapter books.
Nerdy Book Club. Fiction picture books.
Nerdy Book Club. Graphic novels.
Nerdy Book Club. Middle grade fiction
Nerdy Book Club. Nonfiction.
Nerdy Book Club. Nonfiction picture books.
Nerdy Book Club. Poetry and novels in verse.
Nerdy Book Club. Young adult fiction, Part 1 and Part 2.

New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards

New Scientist. One kids' book on the list. (UK)

New Statesman. Critic Amanda Craig's selections. (UK)

New York Public Library. "100 Notable Titles for Reading and Sharing."
New York Public Library. Teens.

New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books
New York Times Notable Children's Books

Newbery Medal

News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)

Nonfiction Detectives

Not My Typewriter. List includes a few books for kids.

NPR. Kids.
NPR. Young adult.

Odyssey Award. For audiobooks.

Oklahoman. Gifts.

Orbis Pictus Award. For nonfiction; sponsored by NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).

Pages & Pages (Australia)

Parents Magazine

Parents' Choice Awards

Parnassus Musing. Gift list for children and teens.

Paste. Comic books, some for kids. 
Paste. Young adult.

Peaceful Reader

Penn GSE [Graduate School of Education] Newsroom. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas's picks.

Picture Books Blogger (UK)

Planetary Society. Books about space.

Port Huron (Mich.) Times Herald. Gifts.

Powell's Books. Plus, "picks of the season" for adults and kids.

Prime Minister's Literary Awards. Shortlists. (Australia)

Printz Award. Announced Jan. 11, 2016; link coming soon.

Project Eve Moms. Picture books.

Publishers Weekly. Comics. Some, not all, for children.
Publishers Weekly. Middle grade.
Publishers Weekly. Picture books.
Publishers Weekly. Young adult.

Pura Belpré Awards

Queensland Literary Awards (Australia)

Quill & Quire (Canada)

Rainbow List. GLBTQ books.

Raising Arizona Kids

Reading Is Fundamental

Reading (MA) Public Library

Reading Rockets. Gift guide.

Readings. Emily Gale's picks for her family. (Australia)
Readings. Junior fiction. (Australia)
Readings. Middle fiction. (Australia)
Readings. Picture books. (Australia)
Readings. Young adult. (Australia)

Red Magazine (UK)

Rich in Color. Favorite diverse books from K. Imani, Jessica, Crystal, and Audrey.

Rookie. Gifts (teens).

Royal Society Young People's Book Prize. Science books. (UK)

Sakura Medal. Nominees. (Japan)

San Francisco Chronicle. Gift guide include books for children.

San Jose Mercury News. Middle-school readers.
San Jose Mercury News. Younger readers.

Sarah Webb (Ireland)

Schneider Family Book Award. Announced Jan. 11, 2016; link coming soon.

School Library Journal. Adult books for teens.
School Library Journal. Middle grade.
School Library Journal. Nonfiction.
School Library Journal. Picture books.
School Library Journal. Top 10 audiobooks
School Library Journal. Top 10 graphic novels.
School Library Journal. Top 10 Latin@ books.
School Library Journal. Young adult.

Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Via Read Roger at the Horn Book.

Seattle Review of Books. Teens.

Shelf Awareness

Sibert Informational Book Award

Slate. Laura Miller's list includes a kids' book.

South Coast Today (MA)

Spectator. One kids' book included. (UK)

Spinoff  (New Zealand)

Stonewall Book Award

Sunday Express (UK)

Sydney Morning Herald. Plus, Colin Steele's gift picks, which include a couple of kids' and YA books. (Australia)

Sydney Taylor Book Awards. Sponsored by the Association of Jewish Libraries. (PDF)

Tablet Magazine. Marjorie Ingall's roundup of the best Jewish children's books.

Teaching for Change

TD Canadian Children's Literature Award shortlist

Tejas Star Reading List. Bilingual English/Spanish books, and books in Spanish.

Telegraph. Young adult. (UK)


Today's Parent. Picture books. (Canada)

Tor.com. Staff favorites include some YA.

Toronto Public Library. Books for children under 5. (Canada)

Tri-City News (Canada)

USA Today. Christmas books.

Vampire Book Club. Some YA books on the list.

Victorian Premier's Literary Awards  (Australia)

Vikki VanSickle (Canada)

Vox. Comics, some for kids.

Vulture (New York Magazine). Graphic novels, some for kids.

Waking Brain Cells. Fiction.
Waking Brain Cells. Graphic novels.
Waking Brain Cells. Nonfiction.
Waking Brain Cells. Picture books.

Wall Street Journal. Gifts. Also, a "Best of the Best-of Lists" includes YA. And Meghan Cox Gurdon's list (behind a pay wall).

We Need Diverse Books/B&N [Barnes and Noble] Teen Blog

What Do We Do All Day? Picture books: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Plus, middle grade books.

Washington Post. Children's books.
Washington Post. Graphic novels. Some, not all, for kids.

Waterstones' Book of the Year (UK)

We Need Diverse Books. Middle grade.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Finalists. Winner. (YALSA = Young Adult Library Services Association) 

YALSA lists

Zooglobble. Best kids' music. Not books but still fun.

Chicken Spaghetti's Best Kids' Books 2013: A List of Lists and Awards

6a00d834516d9569e200e550070a188834-150wiYippee! It's "best books of the year" season. Once again I'll be gathering the online lists of best kids' books right here. The Chicken Spaghetti compilation features books published in 2013, no matter when the list or awards are announced. Readers can expect to see this post amended many times, especially over the next few months.

Looking for older titles? Since this blog has been around a while, you'll find more Chicken Spaghetti lists at the following links: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Don't miss Largehearted Boy's amazing annual roundup of all the best-book lists.

And please do give me a holler if you see any I've overlooked, via Susan_Thomsen on Twitter or c_spaghetti AT yahoo DOT com.


AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books: Finalists and winners

Air & Space magazine/Smithsonian: Aviation- and space-themed children's books

Alex Awards

Amazon: Ages 0-2 (board books)
Amazon: Ages 3-5
Amazon: Ages 6-8
Amazon: Ages 9-12
Amazon: Editors' picks, including teen and young adults

Amelia Bloomer Project (feminist books for children)

American Indian Youth Literature Award

Arthur Ellis Awards. Presented by the Crime Writers of Canada, prizes include a children's/YA category.

Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Awards

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC): Tween Recommended Reads (PDF file; books from 2012 and 2013)

Band of Thebes. 92 writers recommend best LGBT books of the year, including a couple of YA titles. (Some older books on this list, too.)

Bank Street Children's Book Committee Awards

Bank Street College: Best Children's Books

Barnes and Noble

Batchelder Award (for books in translation)

Bellingham (WA) Herald

Belmont (MA) Public Library Children's Room

Blue Peter Book Awards shortlist (UK)

Boing Boing Gift Guide: Books (some YA and kids' titles in a longer list)

Book Diaries: Picture books

Bookie Woogie

Booklist: Arts
Booklist: Audiobooks
Booklist: Black history
Booklist: Crafts and gardening
Booklist: Religion and spirituality
Booklist: Science and health
Booklist: Sports


Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. Titles from 2013 and 2014.

Brain Pickings

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. Annual gift guide (PDF) includes 2013 titles and older books. Also, Blue Ribbons (best-of-the-year books).

BuzzFeed Books


Continue reading "Chicken Spaghetti's Best Kids' Books 2013: A List of Lists and Awards" »

Listening to Books, January 2013

Over at Booklist's Audiobooker blog, I came across a great roundup of lists of best audiobooks of the year. In the Guardian I see that there's a new collection of Ian Fleming's first seven James Bond novels. Wouldn't that be cool to listen to in the car?

Right now J. (age 13) likes the audio version of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart, a highly praised middle-grade fantasy from 2003. (I chose it from The Librariest's Top 20 Children's Audiobooks.) But while I appreciate Lynn Redgrave's narration and accents, by turns tony and sinister, sometimes I think that if I hear the word "book" again I may scream. Books, the love of books, book binding, book collecting, book thievery, etc., all figure into the story. Bookbookbookbookbook. Anyway, the plot is about to pick up, so perhaps that will distract me.

A favorite of ours last year was The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963, written by Christopher Paul Curtis and read by LeVar Burton. Funny, sad, and thought-provoking, this autobiographical middle-grade novel details an African American family's road trip from Michigan to Alabama during a troubled time in our country's history. The Watsons was a Newbery Honor book back in 1996.


Inkheart, written by Cornelia Caroline Funke and translated from the German by Anthea Bell
Read by Lynn Redgrave
Random House/Listening Library, 2003
(library copy)

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis
Read by LeVar Burton
Listening Library, 2003
(library copy) 

Best Books Season Begins! Book Lists Galore

Let it snow! For those of us who love a good list, the last two months of the year bring a flurry of online "best of the year" roundups of books. Starting in 2008, I've been collecting the lists for children's books, including links to various newspapers, magazines, journals, and blogs, as well as different literature prizes and awards given out. I update the big list often.

Here is a link to this year's page:

The Best Children's Books of 2012: A List of Lists and Awards

Also, David Gutowski collects all the "best of" lists for books (for grown-ups and kids alike) at his blog, Largehearted Boy.

Meanwhile, speaking of snow, don't miss Kids' Science Books for Stormy Weather, at Scientific American's Budding Scientist blog.

Eudora Welty Considers "Charlotte's Web"

Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, was published nearly sixty years ago, on October 15, 1952. Eudora Welty reviewed the now-classic children's novel shortly thereafter, in the New York Times Book Review. She wrote, 

"What the book is about is friendship on earth, affection and protection, adventure and miracle, life and death, trust and treachery, pleasure and pain, and the passing of time. As a piece of work it is just about perfect, and just about magical in the way it is done."

From Eudora Welty: A Writer's Eye: Collected Book Reviews, edited by Pearl Amelia McHaney, University of Mississippi Press, 1994.

I highly recommend the audiobook, read by White himself. The kiddo and I listened to it with pleasure this spring. Some pig!

Audiobooking May 2012

This week J. (my 12-year-old son) and I finished the audiobook version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in J.K. Rowling's epic series. We started listening to the first one in September 2010. J. was just starting sixth grade at a new school, and, until then, J. would have nothing to do with the series whatsoever. (Occasionally, and unfortunately, people become competitive about who has read what, and the same holds true even in elementary school.) I had read only the first book, and was neither here nor there about it. But the audiobooks! We became complete converts to the series and to Jim Dale's fabulous narration. Some evenings we sat in the car in the driveway, just to hear what would happen next, and I almost cried exiting I-95 as the last book came to an end. J. has read the books many times over, while I read ahead only once, preferring to be surprised. 

As the HPs got longer and longer, I did need a break between 5 and 6. We listened to and enjoyed When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead's Newbery-winning novel, although I have to admit that I am thick-headed when it comes to understanding time travel. I loved the New York setting and could completely picture those kids working in the sandwich shop. 

Now we're onto a classic, Charlotte's Web, read by its author, E.B. White. Isn't that so cool that you can still hear E.B. White's voice? Out of nowhere J. remarked, "This is a good book." High praise!

My friend Mary Parmelee at the Westport Library says Eva Ibbotson's One Dog and His Boy, read by Steve West, is one of the best audiobooks she's ever heard. Now that we're dog owners, this novel sounds perfect. The online card catalogue summarizes the story this way, "When lonely, ten-year-old Hal learns that his wealthy but neglectful parents only rented Fleck, the dog he always wanted, he and new friend Pippa take Fleck and four other dogs from the rental agency on a trek from London to Scotland, where Hal's grandparents live." I'm putting it on the list now.

Correction: An earlier version of this post had the wrong last name for Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me. My apologies.