2021 Staff Picks: Grades K-3

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

Staff favorites from 2021 for kids in grades K-3.

  • J. D. and the Great Barber Battle

    2021 by Dillard, J.

    J.D. is an 8 year old who decides to start his own barber business after receiving an awful haircut from his mother. I love this early chapter book for its blend of humor, heart, and entrepreneurial spirit. Recommended by Christine.

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  • It Fell From the Sky

    2021 by Fan, Terry

    Another gorgeous offering from the Fan Brothers. A town of insects becomes mesmerized by a mysterious object that "falls from the sky." I love the immersive and whimsical illustrations that complement this tale of community. Recommended by Christine and Shelley.

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  • The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess

    2021 by Gauld, Tom

    This has become a favorite at our house. We really love the illustrations that are somehow both simple enough for the littlest fans to draw and complex enough to give you plenty to discover every time you read. And who doesn't love a remixed fairy tale? Recommended by Becca.

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  • Alaina and the Great Play

    2021 by Greenfield, Eloise

    It was a genuine pleasure to spend a day with Alaina, from waking up to her mom's sweet song and the thrill of jumping on the bed (somehow illustrator Colin Bootman managed to capture the perfect "mom" look--you know the look), to the anticipation of knowing something stupendous is coming. This book brings you back to kindergarten with all its joy and feelings so big you might have to do a somersault. Or three. Recommended by Caitlin S.

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  • Treemendous: Diary of a Not Yet Mighty Oak

    2021 by Heos, Bridget

    I love books about trees and picked this up because of the adorable acorn on the cover. I love how it gives us information in such a conversational, personal tone that makes it perfect readaloud material. Recommended by Gudrun.

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  • Something's Wrong!: A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear

    2021 by John, Jory

    I love the artwork in this extremely silly book about finding yourself in an embarrassing predicament. This is a perfect book to read aloud with a buddy who likes to laugh, or for anyone who's experienced a fashion faux pas. Recommended by Caitlin S.

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  • Prehistoric Pets

    2021 by Lomax, Dean R.

    If you want to know what your favorite pet looked like in prehistoric times, check out this super fun, fact-filled pop-up nonfiction book! Recommended by Christine.

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  • Home Is in Between

    2021 by Perkins, Mitali

    As someone who also moved to the U.S. from a different country, I can really relate to how Shanti feels. Home is so much more than one place. Recommended by Gudrun.

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  • The Used-to-Be Best Friend

    2021 by Quigley, Dawn

    Jo Jo Makoons is my latest favorite transitional-reader series—it charms, surprises, and breaks new ground. Not only does it tackle issues of friendship and kindness, it also highlights a young Ojibwe girl for the first time! Recommended by Grace.

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  • On the Other Side of the Forest

    2021 by Robert, Nadine

    Are you looking for a beautiful picture book with nattily clad bunnies? No, this isn’t a lost Beatrix Potter book, but it is a gorgeously suspenseful story about community that really made me think. Recommended by Mandy.

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  • On the Trapline

    2021 by Robertson, David

    This is a stunning book for many reasons--a boy and his grandpa share their deep connection with each other and their Native heritage. The illustrations by Julie Flett make it an immersive experience. Recommended by Katie.

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  • Fitz and Cleo

    2021 by Stutzman, Jonathan

    We love these ghosts, siblings, and best friends duo. They are silly and fun. Plus, the illustrations are adorable. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Fatima's Great Outdoors

    2021 by Tariq, Ambreen

    I love this picture book about a girl from India who decides to celebrate the great American pastime of camping. Fatima was having a hard time adjusting to American life and thought this would be a reward for a hard week at school. She discovers the beauty of nature and some serious camping skills. Recommended by Cathy.

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  • Egg Marks the Spot

    2021 by Timberlake, Amy

    The author had a massive challenge following up a book as adorable and timeless as Skunk & Badger. I believe she succeeded in this book, where she takes these two friends on a small but impactful journey full of mischief, adventure, and (of course) chickens. Recommended by Grace.

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  • Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest

    2021 by Wahl, Phoebe

    Little Witch Hazel is just the cutest in her little red hat. Lovely woodblock-ish illustrations take you through all of the seasons in the forest. A lovely, quiet book. Recommended by Becca.

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  • Someone Builds the Dream

    2021 by Wheeler, Lisa

    We love this story because it celebrates the skilled workers who bring the ideas of architects, engineers, and city planners to life--a good reminder that all work is important work. Recommended by Katie and Mary Michell.

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