Our 2015 Favorites: Juvenile Fiction & Picture Books

As the year comes to a close, our librarians wanted to share their favorite books, movies, television series, and music that either came out in the past year, or that we just discovered in 2015.

All of these titles are available for checkout from the Kansas City Public Library collection, so why not start off 2016 with an awesome new read from this list?

Many thanks to our library staff who helped contribute to this list and descriptions, including: Crystal, Rachel, Anna, Ron, and Clare in Youth & Family Engagement; Eli in Special Collections; Kaite in Readers' Services; Andy and Courtney in Public Affairs; Heather in Executive Services, John in the Digital Branch; Jill and Ryan in Customer Services; Joel in Branch Administration; and Susan at the Waldo Branch.

Author: 
Brian Selznick
ISBN: 
9780545448680
Following up The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, this book by Brian Selznick is even more amazing. This time the first 400 pages of the book are a wordless visual narrative, followed by 250 pages of text. The two seemingly-unrelated halves of the book create an intricate story of family and theater and secrets, appropriate for middle grades (or all ages, really.)
Author: 
Elizabeth Bram; Chuck Groenink (Illustrator)
ISBN: 
9780385378536
"Why have a lemonade stand when you can have a story stand? That's what Rufus, a boy with a big imagination, decides. And once he's in business, he starts creating little gems for his friends and family. Millie and Walter trade a shell for his story called Why Orange Is the Best Color. Rufus writes little sister Annie a story for her birthday about a girl who shrinks to the size of a teacup. Sara trades flowers for a story about a family of buttons. And then they all sit down and read the wonderful stories together."
Author: 
Eoin Colfer; Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)
ISBN: 
9780062379559
In this story by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers, the imaginary friend doesn't have to go away after his friend doesn't need him anymore. He gets a life!
Author: 
Michael Hall
ISBN: 
9780062252074
Red is a picture book that embraces being oneself, instead of trying to be something else, without being heavy-handed or didactic. It's a charming tale that kids and grown-ups will enjoy reading together. The message of empowerment is an added bonus.
Author: 
Matt De la Peña; Christian Robinson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 
9780399257742
In this vibrant illustrated finalist for the E.B. White Read-aloud Book Award, CJ's grandmother gives perfect answers to CJ's questions as they ride across town on the bus.
Author: 
Ali Benjamin
ISBN: 
9780316380867
This is a achingly beautiful book about Suzy Swanson, a 7th grader who falls somewhere on the autism scale. She responds to the accidental drowning of a friend through silence and the study of the Irukandji Jellyfish—a creature whose venom is among the most dangerous in the world and has caused numerous drowning deaths. Informational text and the difficulties of middle school are brilliantly balanced in this novel.