Favorite Library Finds in 2021

Towards the end of the year, and a little more willingness to get out into the world after the start of the pandemic, the kids and I began venturing to the library to pick out books. Now, I will say that for several weeks, we stuck to requesting them online and then picking them up in the drive-thru. But in the early part of 2022, the library opted to start the toddler/preschool storytimes again and we were so glad to have a safe-ish place to see other people and engage with reading and the library as a whole.

My son was really beginning to nurture a joy of being at the library by the time the pandemic began, and I was anxious to get my daughter in the same routine. I also was turned on to the incredible reading lists from Read Aloud Revival and also from Brightly. Our favorite finds are from a combination of those lists and some that little hands randomly pulled off the shelves.

I’m going to make this list highlighting the ones we really enjoyed and then give our honorable mentions (just the other books we also checked out and weren’t terrible. haha)

“Mama, Do You Love Me?”
by Barbara M Joosse
and Barbara Lavallee (illust)

Children’s Storytime Book, Arctic and Wild Animal Picture Book, Native American Books for Toddlers

“Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb”
by Al Perkins
and Eric Gurney (illust)

The dancing, prancing monkey musicians in this Bright & Early Board Book will have kids (and their lucky parents) drumming and humming along with the story as they learn to identify their hands, fingers, and thumbs.
(0 – 3y)

“Mail Duck”
board book with flaps
by Erica Sirotich

Mail Duck is delivering differently shaped packages to all his friends on his mail route. (Trudy likes triangles, and Harry likes hearts!) Lift the flaps to peek inside and guess what each friend received. Then head back to the post office for a big surprise…
(0 – 3y)

“First Snow”
by Bomi Park

In this beautiful book from debut creator Bomi Park, a young girl wakes up to the year’s first snowy day.

“Wolf in the Snow”
wordless book
by Matthew Cordell

A girl is lost in a snowstorm. A wolf cub is lost, too. How will they find their way home?
(2 – 6y)

“The Birds of Bethlehem”
by Tomie dePaola

On the morning of the first Christmas, the birds of Bethlehem gather in the fields–not only to eat but to share the exciting news.
(3 – 5y)

“City Dog, Country Frog”
by Mo Willems
and Jon Muth (illust)

In spring, when City Dog runs free in the country for the first time, he spots Country Frog sitting on a rock, waiting for a friend.
(3 – 5y)

“Because of an Acorn”
by Lola & Adam Schaefer
and Frann Preston-Gannon (illust)

Because of an acorn, a tree grows, a bird nests, a seed becomes a flower.
(3 – 5y)

“Last Stop on Market Street”
by Matt De la Peña
and Christian Robinson (illust)

This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share.
(3 – 5y)

“High Five”
by Adam Rubin
and Daniel Salmieri (illust)

Discover the lost art of the high five and improve your slapping skills just in time for the annual high five contest!
(3 – 5y)

“Dumpy to the Rescue!
by Julie Andrews Edwards & Emma Walton Hamilton
and Tony Walton (illust)

After bringing dinner to some of his farm animal friends, Dumpy helps Mama Goat search the farm for her missing baby and solve the mystery of the farmyard thief.
(3 – 5y)

“The Mitten”
by Jan Brett

Grandmother knits snow-white mittens that Nikki takes on an adventure. Readers will enjoy the charm and humor in the portrayal of the animals as they make room for each newcomer in the mitten and sprawl in the snow after the big sneeze.
(3 – 5y)

“One More Acorn” (Earl the Squirrel)
by Don & Ron Freeman

An adorable, heartwarming story about a squirrel looking for that one last acorn.
(3 – 5y)

by John Rocco

Based on John Rocco’s childhood experience during the now infamous Blizzard of 1978, which brought fifty-three inches of snow to his town in Rhode Island.
(3 – 5y)

“Bunny Slopes”
by Claudia Rueda

Shake to help Bunny make it snow, tilt to help Bunny ski down the slope, and turn to help Bunny escape a cliff in his path. Is there any obstacle Bunny can’t conquer?
(3 – 5y)

“Hank Finds an Egg”
wordless book
by Rebecca Dudley

From delicate ferns to the glow of Hank’s little campfire, Hank Finds an Egg immerses you in its vivid miniature world.
(3 -6y)

“Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter”
by Kenard Pak

As leaves fall from their trees, animals huddle against the cold, and frost creeps across windows, everyone knows–winter is on its way!
(3 – 6y)

“Little Penguins”
by Cynthia Rylant
and Christian Robinson (illust)

As the snow starts to fall, the excited penguins pull out scarves, mittens, heavy socks, and boots, and Mama helps them bundle up.
(3 – 7y)

by Leila Rudge

Most of the time, Gary is just like the other racing pigeons, eating and sleeping and dreaming of adventure. There’s just one thing that separates him from the ordinary pigeons: he can’t fly.
(3 – 7y)

“Red and Lulu”
by Matt Tavares

Red and Lulu live in the most beautiful evergreen tree. But one day, they are separated and it will take a miracle to bring them together again.
(3 – 7y)

“Every Friday”
by Dan Yaccarino

All week long, a boy and his father look forward to their Friday ritual–breakfast at their favorite diner.
(3 – 7y)

“Billy and Goat at the State Fair”
by Dan Yaccarino

Billy and Goat are best friends, but very different from each other. Goat is excited to go to the State Fair, but Billy isn’t sure about all the crowds. Can they both have a good time?
(3 – 7y)

“Snowman’s Story”
wordless book
by Will Hillenbrand

One wintry day, a hat lands on the head of a newly made snowman and brings him to life. But, this hat wasn’t empty!
(3 – 7y)

“The Christmas Fox”
by Anik McGrory

One by one, from field and forest, the animals make their way to a barn, bringing a gift for a special new baby. What could the fox possibly give?
(3 – 7y)

“Can You Make a Scary Face?”
by Jan Thomas

Help the lady bug throughout this book by making a scary face and other antics.
(3 – 8y)

“Outside My Window”
by Linda Ashman
and Jamey Christoph (illust)

Children living in different parts of the world see very different things when they gaze out of their windows.
(4 – 8y)

“Strega Nona”
by Tomie dePaola

Strega Nona–Grandma Witch–is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony.
(4 – 8y)

“Strega Nona Does It Again”
by Tomie dePaola

Angelina is so beautiful that all the young men in the village are chasing her, but the one she has eyes for doesn’t know she exists. At his wits’ end, her father sends her to his dear cousin–Strega Nona.
(4 – 8y)

“Waddle! Waddle!”
by James Proimos

Waddle…waddle… belly slide! into a charming and funny story about friendship, featuring three adorable penguins!
(4 – 8y)

“Happy Thanksgiving, Biscuit!”
by Alyssa Stain Capucilli
and Pat Schories (illust)

Biscuit has so much to be thankful for on his first Thanksgiving. How will he and the little girl spend this special day?
(4 – 8y)

“Kitten’s First Full Moon”
by Kevin Henkes

It is Kitten’s first full moon, and when she sees it she thinks it is a bowl of milk in the sky. And she wants it.
(4 – 8y)

“Baby Bear’s Book of Tiny Tales”
by David McPhail

This collection of simple, short, and irresistibly sweet stories are about Baby Bear finding things–and figuring out what to do with them.
(4 – 8y)

“Doug Unplugged”
by Dan Yaccarino

After a morning spent learning facts about the city, Doug suspects he could learn even more about the city by going outside and exploring it.
(4 – 8y)

Honorable Mentions

  • “My Heart Fills with Happiness” by Monique Gray Smith and Julie Flett (illust)
    (0 – 2y) Native American
  • “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream – Fairies Primer” board book by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver (illust)
    (0 – 3y) – Poetry, Classics
  • “Do Crocs Kiss?” Salina Yoon
    (0 – 3y) – animals, sounds, lift the flap
  • “We All Play” by Julie Flett
    (0 – 7y) – native American, animals
  • “That’s Not My Bee…” board book by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells (illust)
    (0+) – touch and feel
  • “What’s on My Farm?” Roger Priddy
    (1 – 4y) – farm life, slide and find
  • “The Story of the Snow Children” by Sibylle van Olfers
    (2 – 5y) – snow, fairytale
  • “Where is Christmas Jesse Bear?” by Nancy White Calstrom and Bruce Degen (illust)
    (2 – 6y) – Christmas
  • “King Jack and the Dragon” by Peter Bentley and Helen Oxenbury (illust)
    (3 – 5y) – fear, imagination
  • “City Block” board book by Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo (illust)
    (3 – 5y) – city life
  • “Unspoken” wordless book by Henry Cole
    (3 – 7y) – history, America, slavery
  • “The Busy Tree” by Jennifer Ward and Lisa Falkenstern (illust)
    (3 – 7y) – Autumn
  • “On Christmas Day in the Morning” by John Langstaff and Melissa Sweet (illust)
    (3 – 7y) – Christmas, music
  • “Chalk” wordless book by Bill Thomson
    (3 – 7y) – fantasy
  • “Birdsong” by Julie Flett
    (3 – 8y) – Friendship, seasons, Native American
  • “The Nosyhood” board book by Tim Lahan
    (3 – 8y) – neighborhood, silly
  • “Flora and the Flamingo” wordless book by Molly Idle
    (4 – 6y) birds, dancing
  • Snowflake Bentley” by Jacqueline Martin and Mary Briggs Azarian (illust)
    (4 – 7y) – January
  • “Berlioz the Bear” by Jan Brett
    (4 – 8y) – animals, Ukrainian
  • “Who’s that Knocking on Christmas Eve?” by Jan Brett
    (4 – 8y) – Christmas
  • “Night of Las Posadas” by Tomie dePaola
    (4 – 8y) – Christmas, Latino
  • “A Bargain for Frances” by Russell Hoban and Lillian Hoban (illust)
    (4 – 8y) – friendship
  • “The Hundred-Year Barn” by Patricia MacLachlan and Kenard Pak (illust)
    (4 – 8y) – Americana, farm life