Each year, Orem Library staff compile a list of our favorite books, movies, and music released in that year. Past lists featured now classics like We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt, Wolf Hollow, Flora and Ulysses, and many books by Mo Willems. Today we bring you the best children’s books of 2021, according to our librarians. Add these books to your “To Read” list, or check them out from the library today! Check back next week for our list of the best teen books of 2021. Enjoy!

Best Picture Books of 2021

Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

Sheepish (Wolf Under Cover)

By Helen Yoon
Picture Book

Hungry Wolf disguises himself as a sheep and nobody suspects a thing! (Or do they?) With a charming twist ending and lots of visual fun—including the running theme of Wolf’s disguise not being quite as convincing as he thinks—this hilarious take on the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing will have readers howling for more.


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

Wanda’s Words Got Stuck

By Lucy Rowland
Picture Book

Wanda the witch is so shy she can’t talk at school. No matter how hard she tries, the words simply won’t come out. But when another quiet little witch named Flo joins her class, it seems that Wanda’s not the only one who gets nervous sometimes. Then disaster strikes at the school-wide magic contest. Will Wanda have the courage to shout out the magic words and save her new friend?


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

The Midnight Fair

By Gideon Sterer
Picture Book

A fairground in the evening is a glowing beacon of treats and delights. Bright lights paint the midway in cotton-candy pink, lemon yellow, and candy-apple red. Alluring prizes invite folks to try a game of skill or chance. The aromas of spun sugar, warm popcorn, and baking pretzels fill the air. It is any wonder, then, that after the lights go out and the people go home, the creatures in the nearby forest want to take their turn in this color-soaked fantasyland? Join them as they take a wild joyride through the magical, marvelous midnight fair!


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

The Rock from the Sky

By Jon Klassen
Picture Book

Turtle really likes standing in his favorite spot. He likes it so much that he asks his friend Armadillo to come over and stand in it, too. But now that Armadillo is standing in that spot, he has a bad feeling about it . . . This book is a meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there’s something off somewhere, but you just can’t put your finger on it


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem

By Amanda Gorman
Picture Book

As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes–big or small–in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves.

Best Beginner and Intermediate Books of 2021

Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

Grumpy Monkey Freshly Squeezed

By Suzanne Lang
Intermediate Book

Jim Panzee is out for his usual Wednesday walk when he accidentally squishes his stress orange into orange juice. Now Jim and his friends must cross the jungle before all of the fresh oranges are gone in this warm and funny chapter book graphic novel about how to handle all of life’s ups and downs.


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

See the Dog: Three Stories about a Cat

By David LaRochelle
Beginner Book

Max the dog is sick today, but have no fear – Baby Cakes the cat is happy to take his place! But when the book tells her to dig a hole, fetch a stick, and guard the sheep, the cat responds in very un-doglike ways


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

Frog and Ball

By Kathy Caple
Beginner Book

When frog tries to fix a flat ball with a magic spell, he accidentally brings it to life–and has to flee for his life, pursued by the ball.


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

Stella Endicott and the Anything-is-Possible Poem

By Kate DiCamillo
Intermediate Book

Stella Endicott loves her teacher, Miss Liliana, and she is thrilled when the class is assigned to write a poem. Stella crafts a beautiful poem about Mercy Watson, the pig who lives next door — a poem complete with a metaphor and full of curiosity and courage. But Horace Broom, Stella’s irritating classmate, insists that Stella’s poem is full of lies and that pigs do not live in houses. And when Stella and Horace get into a shouting match in the classroom, Miss Liliana banishes them to the principal’s office. Will the two of them find a way to turn this opposite-of-a-poem day around?


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

I’m On It!

By Andrea Tsurumi
Beginner Book

When Frog and Goat turn a simple game into an all-out competition, things get out of hand…until finally, they’re over it.

Best Junior Books of 2021

Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

The Beatryce Prophecy

By Kate DiCamillo
Junior Book

In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all—for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

Sparrow Rising

By Jessica Khoury
Junior Book

To honor her parents’ memories, Ellie Meadows, a Sparrow destined to be a farmer, sets out on a perilous journey to join the Goldwings–famed knights who defend all the people of the Clandoms–and learns, along the way, what truly makes a hero.


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

Everywhere Blue

By Joanne Rossmassler Fritz
Junior Book

Twelve-year-old Maddie, who suffers from anxiety, loves music, math, and everything in its place, but when her older brother Strum disappears from his college campus, her family starts slipping away from her.


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aiden S. (as Told to His Brother)

By David Levithan
Junior Book

Aidan disappeared for six days. Six agonizing days of searches and police and questions and constant vigils. Then, just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply. . . impossible. But it’s the story Aidan is sticking to. His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. But Lucas is aware of what other people, including their parents, are saying: that Aidan is making it all up to disguise the fact that he ran away. When the kids in school hear Aidan’s story, they taunt him. But still Aidan clings to his story. And as he becomes more of an outcast, Lucas becomes more and more concerned. Being on Aidan’s side would mean believing in the impossible. But how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

By Nizrana Farook
Junior Book

When Chaya steals first the queen’s jewels, then the king’s prized elephant, her prison escape leads her and her friends on an adventure through the jungle.

Best Junior Nonfiction Books of 2021

Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

The Mysterious Sea Bunny

By Peter Raymundo
Junior Nonfiction Book

As an inch-long sea bunny makes its way slowly across the ocean floor, readers discover that there is a lot more to this sea slug species than meets the eye—which comes in handy when a predator swoops in!


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

And I Paint It: Henriette Wyeth’s World

By Beth Kephart
Junior Nonfiction Book

A picture-book biography of painter Henriette Wyeth, depicting a day in her childhood, learning how to paint and be inspired from her father, painter N. C. Wyeth


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

Goblin

By Eric Grissom
Junior Nonfiction Book

After a sinister human warrior raids the home of young goblin Rikt and leaves him orphaned, he vows to avenge the death of his parents and embarks on a perilous journey, learning of a secret power hidden in the heart of the First Tree.


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

The Way of the Hive: A Honey Bee’s Story

By Jay Hosler
Junior Nonfiction Book

Nyuki is a brand-new honey bee, and she has a lot of questions. Follow her on a lifelong journey as she annoys her sisters, avoids predators, and learns to trust her inner voice as she masters the way of the hive.


Best Children's Books of 2021 | Librarian List

I Am Smoke

By Henry Herz
Junior Nonfiction Book

A history of smoke and its ability to help in areas such as cooking and medicine and its ability to harm such as in a fire.

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