Here's the second part of my annual "Best of the Very Best" list. This second list is for the best chapter books of the year. I use the phrase "chapter books" to describe this list because it basically encompasses all the children's books that do not fall into the categories of picture books or young adult books, including easy readers, early chapter books, and middle grade books. However, you'll notice that the final list is completely filled with middle grade books. Unfortunately, easy readers and early chapter books don't tend to beat out middle grade titles to find their way onto multiple "Best of" lists. Still, I wanted to acknowledge the fact that though the the top 25 on this list are all middle grade books, I looked at a broader range of books (and age groups) than that. Thus, the descriptor "chapter books."
So, this "Best of the Very Best" list is a compilation of fifteen of the top "Best of" lists from popular and professional sources. If you already read my post on the top 25 picture books of 2019, then you can skip the explanation below, as I use the same criteria for this list. If you haven't read it, then here's how the "Best of the Very Best" list works:
1. Every year, I check out "Best of" lists created by fifteen sources: professional library publications like Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Horn Book; media like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Today, and NPR; libraries like the Chicago Public Library and New York Public Library; Goodreads; and the National Book Award results.
2. I collate all of these recommended titles into a list of my own (I have separate ones for picture books and chapter books) and notate the number of lists that each title appears on.
3. All those titles that appear on four or more lists make it onto the "Best of the Very Best" list.
4. This list is arranged in order of the number of "Best of" lists each book appears on (and then alphabetically by author for books that appear on the same number of lists). That means that the most highly recommended book on this year's list is Jason Reynolds's Look Both Ways.
Feel free to print out this list and check off the books as you read them! They should all be available at your local public library; all were available at mine. If you'd like to purchase a copy instead, I've linked them below.
Your local public library will likely have all of the books that I've recommended in this blog post. My links will take you to Amazon, where the books are available for purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.