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Picture Book and Middle Grade Fiction 2017 Staff Selections

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2017 was a wonderful year for children’s books for all ages! From newly-discovered classics to beautiful picture books, there are so many great books you should have in your children’s library. Here are the ten best picture books and middle grade stories from this calendar year.

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553523225
Availability: Not in store - Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Doubleday Books for Young Readers - September 26th, 2017

Recently discovered among Mark Twain’s papers, the notes for the stories that Twain created to tell his daughters have been beautifully brought to light and completed by the husband and wife author / illustrator team, Philip and Erin Stead.  This delightful children’s book is gentle yet funny, intelligent, yet playful and is a treasure of children’s literature brought to light. 

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse Cover Image
By Mac Barnett, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763677541
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - October 10th, 2017

What a wonderful story about making the best of a bad situation and finding friends in the most unusual places and under the most unusual circumstances. This clever book will bring laughter every time it is read. The subtle nod to Moby Dick will delight the adults reading this to the little ones.

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) Cover Image
By Dan Santat, Dan Santat (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781626726826
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - October 3rd, 2017

We all know the story of Humpty Dumpty, but until now, we did not know about Humpty’s resilience and bravery in picking himself up and facing his fears. Wittily narrated by Humpty himself, he shares his story of what happened “after the fall”. 

Staff Pick Badge
Wishtree Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250043221
Availability: Not in store - Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Feiwel & Friends - September 26th, 2017

This little gem of a book for young readers is narrated by Red, the ancient and wise old oak tree on whose branches the neighbors and townspeople have for years been hanging bits of paper and cloth with their wishes, hopes and dreams on them, in hopes that they will come true. There is a new little girl in the neighborhood who needs a wish and Red wants more than anything to help that wish come true. A beautiful story of love, acceptance and friendship.

Tumble & Blue Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525428442
Availability: Not in store - Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Dial Books - August 29th, 2017

This heartfelt fantasy takes place in a swamp and is partially narrated by the resident crocodile. I love the weird and wonderful characters who take destiny into their own hands in this tale of family and friendship, bravery and daring, and believing in something you cannot see.

The Explorer Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481419451
Availability: Not in store - Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 12th, 2017

Impeccably written, this adventure and survival story finds four youth stranded in the Amazon rainforest after a plane crash. They believe that they are utterly alone in the jungle until they find a secret map left behind by someone else who has been there first. This story of courage, trust, risk and friendship will keep readers on the edge of their seats. 

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780997895827
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rebel Girls - November 20th, 2017

Volume two of the inspiring Rebel Girls Collection is filled with 100 more stories of women who changed the world. Whether a mountaineer, scientist, writer, mathematician, explorer, artist, athlete, astronaut, poet or spy, each of these women’s actions, good deeds and big hearts will elevate a new generation of rebel women.

York: The Shadow Cipher Cover Image
By Laura Ruby, Dave Stevenson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062306937
Availability: Not in store - Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Walden Pond Press - May 16th, 2017

This innovative first book of what will be a trilogy for middle grade readers takes place in a fantastical steam-punky version of present day New York City where two kids are trying to solve the infamous Old York Cipher, that was rumored to have been left behind by the visionary Morningstar Twins who were the architects of the city. It is rumored that treasures and inventions long forgotten are to be found within it, but the kids have to solve the cipher before an unscrupulous developer buries it forever.

The Antlered Ship Cover Image
By Dashka Slater, Terry Fan (Illustrator), Eric Fan (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781481451604
Availability: Not in store - Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: Beach Lane Books - September 12th, 2017

This is one of the most beautiful picture books I have seen, and sure to become a classic.  An inquisitive fox, a flock of courageous pigeons and a herd of adventurous deer set sail on an antlered ship in search of some of life’s most mysterious questions, and find much more along their journey. 

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544876392
Availability: Not in store - Usually ships in 1-5 days
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 3rd, 2017

This is the new family of children’s fiction, the Vanderbeekers - five kids, three pets and their parents who live in a humble red brownstone in Harlem. Each person in this wonderful, eclectic, and biracial family is unique and quirky and help contribute to both the chaos and the joy that happens as this adventure unfolds. This will be a modern classic!