Is it that time of year again already? I was so confident last year but this year?! Man, it snuck up on me. I have my present bag (as always) but it’s not as full as I would prefer. I wasn’t as attentive… oh well. Something to shoot for I suppose.
Just like last year, this list of favorite books weren’t all published in 2017 and they haven’t all been reviewed on this website. I have read and loved each one though and I will probably review the ones that I haven’t yet featured. But whether or not they’ve been featured or were published this year, these are all books I have absolutely adored and have been big hits in our home. I’ve linked each title to an Amazon affiliate link so proceeds from your purchases will be put towards helping support Homegrown Reader. There’s also a review link at the end of each snippet if you want more info. So without further ado….
Favorite books of 2017
- Beyond the Pond – I have recommended this book to a crazy number of people this year. Following a Ernest D and his dog as they bum around their boring backyard for something to do, this story travels with them into a pond and their imagination. Fun, interactive, and definitely able to leave your readers with a new outlook on imagination and the marvelous world around them. Review Available Here
- Jabari Jumps – This was another favorite of mine. I loved the illustration style, the story about overcoming fears, and the strong way Jabari’s dad helps him face his emotions. So sweet and perfect for the swimmers and non-swimmers out there, because let’s face it, we all have fears. Review Available Here
- Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color – A fearless color-tamer is reminded that the colors she hunts are wild and don’t belong in jars. When she respects that they take her on a once-in-a-lifetime ride across the sky swirling with Yellowest Yellow, In-between Grey, Just-Laid Blue, and many more. Astounding illustrations that are amazing for a budding artist or free-spirit. Review Available Here
- Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea – A quirky chapter book about two unlikely friends (Narwhal and Jelly) and the adventures and silliness they can get up to with some optimism and imagination. Perfect for emerging readers or little ones and even better because each chapter is it’s own story. Sit down for a long haul or break it up, depending on your time schedule. This book has been a favorite for the last six months and Bug still laughs each time we read it. Review Available Here
- Her Right Foot – I’m so in love with this book. I love the illustration style (blocky and bold). I love the dry humor (I swear I chuckled outloud every other page). And I love the message of acceptance and inclusion (if you’re familiar with my website you know that’s something we emphasize). It’s informative, it’s deep, and Bug loves that it uses the word oxidize. If you haven’t checked this out, DO! And if you already have seen it…well isn’t it amazing?!
- The Bear and the Piano – This book is so sweet, it makes me cry almost every time we read it. And David Litchfield’s illustrations are like something from and enchanted forest at twilight. Moving and beautiful, it’s a real gem. PLUS! There’s a new version out with musical button accompaniment(But only in the UK!). Those of you who know me, know how I feel about toys that make noise. But I’d be ok with it for this book. Review Available Here
- Ada Twist, Scientist – This book goes along with a really inspirational set (Rosie Revere Engineer & Iggy Peck Architect) that inspires kids to keep working towards their dreams and desires, specifically in a scientific/technical way. Each book features cameos of the other characters but Ada Twist has a uniquely retro-vibe that is really fun. Review Available Here
- Sam and Dave Dig a Hole – We had so much fun with this book and as many of you know I’m a huge Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen fan. Sam and Dave is a simple story about two brothers who set off to find something spectacular. Fate and the illustrator seem destined to disappoint though as they’re thwarted at every turn. It’s only when they take a rest that something spectacular finds them. It’s fun, quirky, has a fun twist at the end, and will have your little one shouting spectacular! Review Available Here
- Punkte (We Are All Dots) – This is available now in German but still won’t be out until March 2018 in English. However, if you want to share a book with your kids and sprechen Deutsch, then I’d highly recommend this book. It’s a fabulously simple and strong display of generosity and immigration that can help inspire and answer questions. Review Available Here
- Gorilla Loves Vanilla – For any ice cream lovers out there, this book is a must and one I can recite from memory. Bug LOVES this story and with it’s bright colors and exciting illustrations, it’s easy to see why. Along with a fun rhyming text and silly ice cream request (daisies and grass for the cow and fish finger ice cream for the cat), it’ll induce fun and laughter. Both wins in our house. Review Available Here
- Please Bring Balloons – A stunning depiction involving a polar bear from a carousel ride and a girl who’s not afraid to let her imagination take her to unimaginable heights. Wonderfully whimsical and imaginative with brilliant illustrations. Review Available Here
- The Lumberjack’s Beard – When Jim’s actions leave his friends homeless, there’s only one place they can live: his beard. As you can imagine, having a porcupine, a beaver, and a bird living in your beard isn’t comfortable and when Jim reaches his breaking point he finds another solution instead. Great for exploring actions and consequences, problem solving, and environmental impacts. Review Available Here
- Wolfie the Bunny – Bug was chuckling for days after we read this. The quirky story and retro-style illustrations made this book a really fun read. The bunny family finds an abandoned wolf cub and adopts him but the sister bunny, Dot, is sure the wolf will eat them all given time. But later through an unforeseen sequence of events at a local co-op the two siblings are brought closer together. A great book about acceptance and family. Review Available Here
- The Cloud Spinner – With the feel of a classic fairy tale and absolutely unique and stunning illustrations, this book was a fabulous dive into imagination and the consequences of our actions on the environment. The Cloud Spinner can do just that, spin clouds into clothes but he only only makes just what he needs. But when a greedy king demands mountains of garments made of the fine material his kingdom suffers for it. Review Available Here
- Playground (Spielplatz) – Mies Van Hout strikes again with amazing illustrations that bring s imagination into everyday environments. A fun maze-like book with an open page that allows for multiple ideas and solutions as two kids and their grumpy cat make their way to the playground. In the end with many new friends they find the journey was better than the destination. Vibrant and tons of fun. Review Available Here
- Nobody Likes a Goblin – This was a birthday present for Bug and a month later we know it by heart. The story is a bit of twist on a normal fantasy tale with the adventurers coming in and ruining everything by raiding a dungeon and making off with Goblin’s best friend, Skeleton. Determined to get him back, Goblin will have to be quick-thinking as he’s not very popular in the outside world. A great read for fantasy nerds (like me!) hoping to raise their own geek.
- Up, Up and Away – We loved this book so much that we made a craft to go along with it. This is a story about letting something go that we love, so that it can be happy. But beyond that, it’s about learning, being resourceful, and problem solving. Great illustrations from Tom McLaughlin and a fabulous story about a boy and his planet, whose gravitational pull becomes too much. Review Available Here
- The Great Word Factory (Die grosse Woerterfabrik) – Valerie Decampo does some pretty fabulous illustrations in this tale about how the meaning behind the words we say is more important that what we actually say. In a world where people must buy words to say them, a poor boy struggles to tell a girl he loves her. But it turns out Cherry, Dust, and Chair can do that for him. Review Available Here
- Good Night Like This – This is my new go-to for baby showers. It’s so soft, sweet, and full of a lovely warm feeling. The illustrations are reminiscent of twilight and the lift-the-flaps allow for gentle interaction from little readers. A great bedtime read full of cuddling sweetness and love. Review Available Here
- Warthog – One of my favorite counting books, period. This book makes a warthog look adorable and follows him as he inadvertently prances into a lion’s den. The lift-the-flaps are cleverly constructed and the rhyming text is perfect for younger readers. Review Available Here
- Have You Seen Elephant? – A sweet and relateable story about anyone who’s played hide-and-seek with a child. In this fun twist a little boy searches for his friend elephant who is cleverly (if not obviously) hidden in each page. A giggle inducing, fun read, especially for hide-and-go-seek masters. Review Available Here
Want more ideas? Check out my post from last year with some equally awesome reads: Favorites of 2016