Bookshelf Must-Haves for Kids {2017}


Outside of my mom job I’m also a school librarian. I LOVE BOOKS! I love books so much that it’s sometimes overwhelming because I want to read all the books, and I want my students and my own kids to love all the books. So, where does the librarian mom go for ideas on what to read and promote next? One resource I use each year is the Texas Library Association’s Bluebonnet List. This list is published each year and a winner is chosen by participating third through sixth grade students across the state of Texas. Here are my top five picks from this year’s list:

Bluebonnet Book

Follow the Moon Home by Philippe Cousteau and Deborah Hopkinson — Follow the Moon Home is the story of young activist, Viv, who moves to a new town and discovers the baby loggerhead sea turtles are dying because they are drawn to the light of the seaside beach homes instead of following the moon out to sea. She convinces her classmates to help her start a campaign to save the baby sea turtles. This is a wonderful story about kids making a difference in their communities. 

Little Cat’s Luck by Marion Dane Bauer — This sweet book is about a cat named Patches who sees a falling leaf and chases after it, beginning a journey of discovery. This story is told in verse which makes it a quick read. I appreciate exposing my own children as well as my students to this alternative form of storytelling. 

boy readingMaybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt — Kathi Appelt is an award winning author that I’ve had the pleasure and honor of working with on my own book. I met Kathi this year when promoting my book and was able to hear her speak at a conference here in Texas. Maybe a Fox is a story written in the alternating voices of Jules, a girl whose sister goes missing, and a fox that is mysteriously born at the same time. Children will enjoy this book as they try to solve the mystery of what happened to Jule’s sister.

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier — This book has been a huge hit with my own children and with my students. This humorous zombie apocalypse story is a great choice for reluctant readers because the characters are likeable and the good guys win. 

Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton — Is the delightfully true story of Lonnie Johnson, inventor of the Super Soaker water gun. I love this story because it tells the tale of a little boy that didn’t have the easiest life, but was determined to become an engineer. He loved to tinker and build things and his tenacity and perseverance paid off. 

girl reading

2×2 List

Another great list released by the Texas Library Association is the Texas 2×2 List. This list is compiled by members of TLA for children age two through second grade. These books are great reads for younger children. Here are my top five picks from the books being considered for the 2018 Texas 2×2 List:

Blocks by Irene Dickson — Ruby has red blocks and Benji has blue blocks. Watch what happens as Ruby and Benji learn how to play together and share their blocks. This book offers a great lesson on cooperation and sharing.

Dylan the Villain by K. G. Campbell — Mr. and Mrs. Snivels give birth to an adorable, totally healthy villain they name Dylan. The Snivels have never had a villain in the family so at first they aren’t sure what to do. Dylan stands out as a super villain until he goes to school at Astrid Rancid’s Academy for the Villainous and Vile where it seems he’s nothing special. Children will love this funny book about what it’s like to grow up as a villain.

Is That Wise Pig by Jan Thomas — This hilarious book is about a pig that decides to make soup. Children count along as pig adds all of the ingredients such as one onion, two cabbages, and three umbrellas. Pig’s friends question his wisdom with certain ingredients. This book is sure to have young kids laughing at Pig’s unusual culinary choices while practicing their counting skills.

Ocean Animals from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick — Ocean Animals from Head to Tail is a nonfiction book about animals with unusual body parts like the colossal squid who has soccer ball-sized eyes! Children will enjoy guessing which animals have these fun body parts and learning other fun facts about each animal.

There’s a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins — Mouse has a problem . . . there’s a giant bear in his chair. Children can explore problem solving and rhymes in this super cute book about a mouse that does just about everything he can think of to get rid of a pesky bear.

So many fun books for kids are published each year. I love using these two resources to learn about books that I can purchase with confidence for my family and my library. Happy reading!

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Kristy was born and raised in Texas and has lived here all her life except for a brief period of time when she lived it up in Los Angeles, California. She is the proud mom of three boys and is the girliest boy mom you've ever met. In addition to her mom job, she is also a school librarian and author of professional books for librarians and teachers. She is a writing trainer and loves to share her passion for writing with others. Her favorite things in the whole wide world, after her family, are quiet mornings spent nurturing her coffee addiction, books, snow days, and her two crazy dogs. When left to her own devices, she can be found wearing yoga pants and binge watching Netflix, all while chasing after three wild boys and spinning plates on all 20 of her fingers and toes. Kristy is the new PR & Marketing Coordinator for the Fort Worth Moms Blog. Her role is to connect local businesses and moms with the extensive resources FWMB provides.


  1. Hi Kristy, thanks for the book information but do you have any good books for preteen, almost 13 year old grand daughter & she is cat crazy. Maybe there’s some fun series about felines. Thank you! Have a very Merry Christmas & love you! ?????

    • The Warriors series by Erin Hunter is crazy popular with kids who like fantasy. Into the Wild is the first book in the series. A really sweet stand alone book that I loved called Crenshaw, written by Katherine Applegate is the story of a boy who has an imaginary friend that is a cat. It’s a little bit sad at times, but such a good story! Hope that helps!!!


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