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The Top 25 Kids' Chapter Books of 2019

Posted on by Susan Davidson 0 comments

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.

1. Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds

2. New Kid by Jerry Craft

3. This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

4. Guts by Raina Telgemeier

5. Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

6. Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis

7. The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

8. The Line Tender by Kate Allen

9. A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata

10. Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Estrada Kelly

11. Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

12. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

13. Stargazing by Jen Wang

14. All the Greys on Greene Street by Laura Tucker

15. This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy

16. I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day

17. Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles

18. Best Friends by Shannon Hale

19. Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

20. The Poison Eaters: Fighting Danger and Fraud in Our Food and Drugs by Gail Jarrow

21. For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington

22. The Moon Within by Aida Salazar

23. Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt

24. Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams

25. 1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler

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.

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