The year 2015 is drawing to a close. It’s been a whirlwind year, but as sad as we are to see it end, we can’t help but look back and reflect on all of the new books that were published this year. Some were funny, some sad; some were short and some were long, and all of them represented months (and in some cases, years) of work by their authors and illustrators. In celebration of these new books and of reading itself, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite books released in the year 2015. This New Year’s Eve, try reading some of them with your family!
Favorite board book: Letters Are For Learning, by Andrew Neyer
Why we like it: This is more than your traditional alphabet book. Not only does Neyer use action words instead of nouns to represent each letter of the alphabet, the illustrations contain additional objects and animals beginning with that letter, making this book a hit on multiple levels. Read it with little ones who are just learning their letters, or older children who may want to show off what they know!
Other board book favorites:
Whose Tools? by Toni Buzzeo & Jim Datz
Walter’s Wheels, by Noelle Dingeldein
Black & White Nighty-Night, by Sarah Jones
Favorite picture book: Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt De La Peña & Christian Robinson
Why we like it: It’s beautifully illustrated and profoundly told. Robinson’s illustrations are rich with detail, and de la Peña’s text conveys an important message to people of all ages about the value of focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t.
Other picture book favorites:
The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers
The Princess and the Pony, by Kate Beaton
The Queen’s Hat, by Steve Antony
Lloyd Llama, by Sarah Jones
Where Are My Books? by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Little Tree, by Loren Long
We’re in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne
Favorite beginning reader: Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret, by Bob Shea
Why we like it: It’s fun and funny, but it also addresses the familiar problem of what to do when friends disagree. Luckily (spoiler alert), Sparkles the Pony and Ballet Cat learn how to work out their differences for the sake of their friendship. Because even though they might like different things, they agree that what they like the most is being friends!
Other beginning reader favorites:
What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig, by Emma J. Virjan
I Really Like Slop! (An Elephant & Piggie Book), by Mo Willems
Danny and the Dinosaur: Too Tall, by Syd Hoff & Bruce Hale
Pete the Cat’s Train Trip, by James Dean
Favorite Chapter Book: The Seventh Most Important Thing, by Shelley Pearsall
Why we like it: There’s nothing worse than a book with a main character that you’re only lukewarm about. This is NOT one of those books. Pearsall weaves an engaging narrative that has you rooting for Arthur from the start. Best of all, it’s based on a true story, and the artwork mentioned is on display in the Smithsonian.
Other chapter book favorites:
The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin
Stella by Starlight, by Sharon Draper
Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell
Why we like them: They’re just so interesting! FitzSimmons’s profiles of various creatures are simple, yet captivating. Marine offers a closer look at some of our favorite water-dwellers, and the board book Ohio is great for little ones who might want to learn about animals that they can see in their own backyards.
Other nonfiction favorites:
Creaturepedia: Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth, by Adrienne Barman
Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, by Randall Munroe
Polar: A Photicular Book, by Dan Kainen & Carol Kaufmann
The Octopus Scientists, by Sy Montgomery & Keith Ellenbogen
What are some of your favorite books from 2015? Tell us in the comments below!