Librarians Choose Favorite Children’s Books of 2021

When it comes to books, your friendly children’s librarians have a hard time choosing favorites! (We can find something to love in just about every book, you see.) Nevertheless, here are some books that stood out to Tulsa City-County Library Youth Librarians Julia Cantrell, Joy Carr, Sarah Davis, Dana Henson, Steven Hulford, Haley Hurt, Maureen O’Keefe, Melody Palmer and Shelly Wimberley this year.

Heartfelt Picture Books

These picture books captured deep emotions with beautiful stories, extraordinary illustrations, and an empathy we all want our children to develop.

Wishes written by Muon Thi Van and illustrated by Victo Ngai


A family moves across the sea, carried moment by moment with their wishes for a safe future together.

The Cot in the Living Room written by Hilda Eunice Burgos and illustrated by Gaby D’Alessandro

Cot In The Living Room

The main character in this warm picture book debut moves from envy to compassion as she recognizes how lucky she is – and how other children deserve her kindness.

Best Day Ever! written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Leah Nixon

Best Day Ever

On the more joyful and exuberant side of emotions, this book follows a puppy and boy as they have small adventures together.

Nonfiction Standouts

2021 has been a banner year for outstanding nonfiction books for children – so good that they easily intrigue and educate adults, too!

Just You and Me: Remarkable Relationships in the Wild written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Alexander Vidal

Just You And Me

Nature is as much about cooperation as it is competition, and this book explores the different ways plants, animals and humans work together for survival and more.

Masters of Disguise: Camouflaging Creatures and Magnificent Mimics written and illustrated  by Marc Martin

Masters Of Diguise

Cosplay is nothing new for these creatures! Discover all the amazing ways plants and animals appear to be what they are not.

Game, Set, Sisters! The Story of Venus and Serena Williams written by Jay Leslie and illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Game Set Sisters

Find out about how these famous sisters became the tennis superstars they are today.

Honorable Mentions: Invented By Animals by Christiane Dorion and Unconventional Vehicles by Michael Hearst

Looking for a Laugh?

Hilarity ensues with these laugh-centric titles.

No Pants! written and illustrated by Jacob Grant

No Pants

What can you do with pants when you decide not to wear them? A young boy finds out!

Arlo & Pips. Volume 1, King of the Birds written and illustrated by Elise Gravel

King Of The Birds

This beginning reader graphic novel teaches children many different facts about crows (truly the king of the birds) while introducing readers to a delightful pair of characters.

I Am Not a Penguin by Liz Wong

I Am Not A Penguin

In a classic case of mistaken identities, a pangolin tries to convince readers that it is NOT a penguin (or any other animal), despite its collection of quirky characteristics.

Charming Chapter Books

For independent readers or for family read-alouds, these chapter books feature fascinating characters and engaging settings.

Aven Green, Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling

Aven Green

The second in a series (more, please!), this chapter book follows amateur detective Aven Green as she tries to unravel the mysteries of a missing lunch AND a missing dog.

Willa of Dark Hollow by Robert Beatty


A book for the child who loves gentle fantasies with mysterious creatures and lush settings.

Ancestor Approved edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Ancestor Approved

Set during a powwow with different tribes, these interconnected stories by Native writers introduce readers into a world of dreams, hopes, humor and daily life.

Sui Generis

What Would You Do in a Book About You? written by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Joey Chou

What Would You Do

Just as each child is one of a kind (“sui generis”), this final book is one unto itself: all about future selves, possibilities and the wideness of life.

Dec 2021 Books Pin

Categories: Books and Literacy