With so many amazing children's books published in 2011, you can imagine how hard it was to narrow our choices to just 10 of our favorites. Without further ado, here they are (in no particular order):
1. Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee (JE Ray)
This charming book explores the wonder of stars, whether they are in the night sky, on a plant as a promise of fruit to come, or in one's pocket for those days when one does not feel shiny.
2. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (JFic Selznick)
Having lost his mother and his hearing in a short time, twelve-year old Ben leaves his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he never knew in New York City. There, he meets Rose, who is also longing for something missing from her life. Ben's story is told in words; Rose's in pictures. A tale that will truly warm hearts everywhere.
3. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (JFic Ursu)
A contemporary re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, Breadcrumbs is the story of the unbreakable bonds of friendship. Hazel and Jack are best friends until a mishap with a mirror wreaks havoc on their relationship. When Jack disappears, Hazel embarks on an epic journey to save him.
4. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (JE Smith)
A great-grandfather's ordinary life is shared in an extraordinary way with his great-grandson through a topiary garden. Exquisite pictures and storytelling elevate this book. Families will enjoy reading this one together.
5. Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann (JE Rohmann)
Although devastated by the death of his beloved dog, a young boy goes trick-or-treating and receives a timely visit from an old friend during a scary encounter with graveyard skeletons. It doesn't need to be Halloween to enjoy this truly special book.
6. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker (JE Rinker)
At sunset, when their work is done for the day, a crane truck, a cement mixer, and other pieces of construction equipment take their rest at the end of the day. A sure bedtime favorite!
7. Bigger than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder (JFic Snyder)
Devastated by her parents' separation, twelve-year old Rebecca must move with her mother from Baltimore to her grandmother's house in Atlanta. There, she discovers an old breadbox with the power to grant any wish--so long as the wished-for thing fits into the breadbox.
8. Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes (JE Henkes)
As he hops along, a little white rabbit wonders what it would be like to be green as grass, tall as fir trees, hard as rocks, and flutter like butterflies. Stunning artwork makes this one a page-turner.
9. The Umbrella by Ingrid Schubert (JE Schubert)
A little dog + one umbrella = a fantastic journey. A story told entirely in pictures, The Umbrella is a whimsical story appealing to all ages.
10. Wildwood by Colin Meloy (JFic Meloy)
After her baby brother is kidnapped by crows, seventh-grader Prue McKeel ventures into the forbidden Impassable Wilderness--a dangerous and magical forest in the middle of Portland, Oregon--and soon finds herself involved in a war among the various inhabitants.