Back when I was working as a librarian, I started an annual "Best of the Very Best" list, and I've kept it up every year since then—even after leaving the library. You may have noticed some of the many "Best of" book lists that come out towards the end of each year. Well, my "Best of the Very Best" list is a compilation of fifteen of the top "Best of" lists from popular and professional sources.
Here's how it 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 The Undefeated.
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 but one were available at mine, and I am putting in a request for the library to order it. (Did you know you could do that? Public libraries are great about ordering books as long as they are still in print.)
I'll be back later in the week with a rundown of all of the books on the list, as well as the Best of the Very Best list for chapter books!