Joy's Top Ten Books to Make You Feel Good About the World

So I started writing my top ten list a COMPLETELY different way. Books to get you ‘woke’ was what I thought of. Because there are so many problems and so much we need to fix and kidlit and its authors are very much in the center of that awareness--writing books that everyone, not just kids and teens, should read. So let me just say briefly, if you haven’t read Angie Thomas’s THE HATE U GIVE, you need to. And Jason Reynold’s raw and fierce verse in LONG WAY DOWN is on the YA part of my store holiday list so you need to pick up a copy. Follow it with Nic Stone’s thoughtful debut DEAR MARTIN. For certain, you need to read PIECING ME TOGETHER by Renee Watson, who is simply brilliant in all her books, including this one about gender and racism in Portland, Oregon. I kept putting it on my staff staff shelf because it’s such an important book and I want everyone to know about Watson! Get a copy of Alan Gratz’s REFUGEE, which was our first middle grade book club title. Make sure you’ve read AMERICAN STREET by Ibi Zoboi. And for sure give Elana Arnold’s edgy NBA finalist WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF a read. That will get you started, although honestly it’s just the tiniest tip of the iceberg. I haven’t even mentioned John Green’s no holds barred depiction of mental illness in TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN. Or dozens of other titles.

I don’t want to diminish the titles I just listed above. But. It’s coming on the holidays. And I think we’re also all in need of books that lift our hearts and spirits. (the above books do, too, but in rougher ways). The ones that make us cry the good tears or laugh the good laughs or in the case of PROFESSIONAL CROCODILE, make me and Marketing Director Sara smile like maniacs every time we talk about it, much less read it. Seriously, Sara and I are like PROFESSIONAL CROCODILE evangelists!

Professional Crocodile Cover Image
ISBN: 9781452165066
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - August 1st, 2017

As mentioned in my intro above, I am in love with this book. It is charming and wordless and when you get to the end and find out where the titular croc is headed and what his profession is, you will laugh and smile for the rest of time. Possibly you will act out scenes from the book while at work. As one does.

Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud Cover Image
ISBN: 9781911171157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nobrow Press - August 15th, 2017

<p>A grumpy girl named Ivy. A lonely raincloud. Precious illustrations. A happy ending. A diverse cast of characters. I guarantee you’ll fall in love with this girl and her cloud.</p>

Why Am I Me? Cover Image
By Paige Britt, Selina Alko (Illustrator), Sean Qualls (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781338053142
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - August 29th, 2017

A diversely cast picture book that asks big questions in simple yet profound ways. This book is a celebration of what makes each of us unique and special and human.

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

This is the Humpty Dumpty book you need. He’s been patched up. But now he’s got an understandable fear of heights. And the ending is perfect as it is unexpected! Or maybe we should have expected it, but either way it will delight you.This is the Humpty Dumpty book you need. He’s been patched up. But now he’s got an understandable fear of heights. And the ending is perfect as it is unexpected! Or maybe we should have expected it, but either way it will delight you.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus Cover Image
ISBN: 9781454923459
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Sterling Children's Books - September 5th, 2017

I love this debut middle grade so much that I’ve chosen it for our next Middle Grade book club in January. Aven was born with no arms. Aven is witty and funny and awesome and she lives her best life. And then her dad gets a new job running a dilapidated Western theme park in Arizona. Part mystery, part family story, part friendship story, this book will uplift you and make your heart happy.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316508889
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - October 31st, 2017

Morrigan Crow is (supposedly) a cursed child. At least that’s what everyone thinks, including her family, who makes her write sorry notes to everyone whose milk curdles or who gets a hangnail or whatever! And then, just as her curse is supposed to result in her death, she is whisked away by a Willie Wonka-esque character to a magical world to compete for a place in the Wundrous Society. Morrigan is everything you want in a narrator and hero--and girl who has always been amazing, just waiting for the world to take notice.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062382801
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - June 27th, 2017

This 1700s-set historical adventure romance with LGBTQ themes is irresistible, as is Henry ‘Monty’ Montague, who takes Europe and the reader’s heart by storm. Funny, sweet, moving and wonderful.

When Dimple Met Rishi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481478687
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon Pulse - May 30th, 2017

Delightful, funny, filled with voice YA about two Indian-American teens who both defy and manage to please their parents in this nerdy wonderful romance.

Moxie Cover Image
ISBN: 9781626726352
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 19th, 2017

Small-town Texas girl tires of the endless sexism at her high school. She takes a page (literally) from her mother’s zine-making Riot Grrrl protesting days and ends up starting a feminist revolution. Sweet. Hearfelt. I love a book that takes its issues seriously but also gives you the ending you want and need. #moxiegirlsfightback has been the hashtag for this one, which will make you think and cheer.

The Upside of Unrequited Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062348708
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - April 11th, 2017

Molly Peskin-Suso has had a ton of crushes. But she’s never found quite the right guy. She’s always felt reasons to be cautious, even as she wants to find love--unlike her cynical twin sister Cassie. But love has a way of finding you even when you’re expecting something else. With its wonderfully diverse cast of characters (size, race, family, sexual orientation, religion/culture and more)--this sophomore novel from the author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda, is just the sweet treat you need to ride out this crazy year with a smile.

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