Oh I love this topic! I read tons of YA, Junior Fiction, and now lots and lots of picture books for storytimes. I have oodles of favorites in all three categories so let’s start with picture books:
Top 5 Children’s Picture Books:
One Dog Canoe by Mary Casanova
This is a wonderful story with great illustrations by an author from Minnesota. I’ve read this a few times to kids and they always laugh throughout the story. Plus it can be very interactive if you want to be.
Another book I’ve read multiple times at storytimes and it is always a HUGE hit. The kids can roar and comment on different things they would like and not like about dinosaurs coming back. (I recommend getting the giant book of this if you’re using it for a storytime because it makes it that much better ; )
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Rinker
Okay, so I just discovered this one today, but it is to date, the longest book I’ve been able to read to a group of preschoolers without them getting antsy. And the boys (yes, the BOYS) loved it! It teaches them what different machinery is used at construction sites along with having a nice repetitive flow.
The Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstein
Now this was my all time favorite book as a kid. I memorized the whole story by heart at one point so I didn’t even need the book to “read” it. I haven’t tried it at a storytime yet, but I will definitely be using it this coming Halloween to see how it goes over.
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
My second favorite book as a kid. I made my mom check this out from the library almost every time we went (must buy my own copy at some point). I loved the illustrations in this one because of the colors. Plus the story is super cute and it can be interactive if used at a storytime.
Top 5 (okay 6) Junior Fiction Books:
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Changed my life. That is all there is to say.
Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Lost Heroes series by Rick Riordan
Exciting, fun, fast-paced. Plus, kids get the opportunity to learn about mythology while they read.
Super-smart misfits trying to fit in and save the world. Great series with little lessons snuck in along the way.
Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
How Peter became Peter Pan and it’s done well. (My little sister enjoyed these so I’m guessing they are a pretty universal “good” read because she despises reading.)
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
An amazing fairy tale most girls I feel would enjoy if they are okay with a slight fantasy setting (and trust me some definitely aren’t). Read it in one night…
Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke
A book about books and a girl who loves to read. Plus, there is magic, fantasy, and the occasional reading of “things” into and out of books…
Top 5 YA books:
Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia
A boy is main character…and it’s a romance. Loved every single one in this series. They were magical and provided a great “escape” atmosphere.
Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Wow. I tear through these books every time a new one comes out. Magic, adventure, and my fictional boyfriend, Jace (move over Clary) : )
Divergent series by Veronica Roth
Dystopian fiction, but less gruesome than the Hunger Games. Plus it’s full of twists that actually kept me guessing the whole way through (and staying up way too late to finish the two books currently out).
The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
These are so funny and I think a lot of girls in the YA, maybe late JF range can relate to, at least the first books in this series quite well (I know I did when I read them in highschool). And they are written in diary format, which is quite “in” these days with youth.
Do you share any of my same favorites? What are some of yours? Got any recommendations for me?