Best Children’s Books of 2016

As Children’s Services Coordinator for the Tulsa City-County Library, I am in the happy position of reading a LOT of children’s books every year, particularly picture books. Here are some of my favorites from 2016 that are worthy to end up under your holiday tree… You also can check out these great reads from any Tulsa City-County Library location.

Best Frints in the Whole Universe written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis. Portis can always be counted on for mind-bendingly colorful illustrations combined with an unusual humor. Two aliens (Yelfred and Omek) of planet Boborp may be best frints (friends, in the Boborp-ian vernacular), but they don’t always get along. See how they manage their disagreements while still being frints. Children who are starting to read will delight in the made-up language.


Strictly No Elephants written by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo. A young boy cares for his tiny pet elephant, carrying his pachyderm friend over sidewalk cracks (they are scary!) and dressing him warmly in a matching red scarf. But when they attempt to enter a meeting of pet owners, they – and those with other unusual pets – are turned away. The answer makes for a sweet and heartwarming story about acceptance and friendship.


The Knowing Book written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. While this gentle picture book appears to start in the material realm (standing on a grassy yard and looking at the night sky), it ends in a philosophical exploration of much deeper issues: truth, the magic of the world, and what it means to be alive. A good one to introduce to your natural philosophers and discover what amazing thoughts they carry around every day.


Thunder Boy, Jr. written by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Yuyi Morales. A name is a powerful thing, as Little Thunder – son of Big Thunder – discovers. Exquisite illustrations, humor that is both gentle and incisive, and a larger thematic look at identity and family that will resonate with many children.


School’s First Day of School written by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson. There are many wonderful books about children getting ready for the first day of school… but what happens when it’s the first day for a newly built school? A clever twist on an old idea, complete with the school being nervous, making new friends, and getting used to the rhythm and rewards of daily school.

Categories: Little Ones

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