Great Picture Books for 2014—Focus Group Favorites

BookendsLynn:  We are just back from ALA Midwinter and the exciting Youth Media Awards presentation. Congratulations to all the winners of these prestigious and important awards!

We can’t compare to the Caldecott, but I do want to offer one more “Best” list. This one is generated by Henry, the 4-year-old member of our focus group who has taken over picture book duties from his older cousins. These are the books that Henry and I especially enjoyed reading together this year. A big thumbs up!


Telephone by Mac Barnett

We loved the way the message got more and more mangled and the wonderful illustrations that matched.

Thank youThank You Octopus by Darren Farrell

The misguided babysitting efforts of the silly Octopus had Henry falling off the couch with giggles.

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox

Both of us love the story of the wonderfully persistent Elizabeth who knows right where she belongs.

DragonHave You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light

We spent a lot of time with this wonderful book, finding the hidden dragon, tracing the route across the city and just enjoying the detailed illustrations.

Swim, Duck, Swim by Susan Lurie

Absolutely adorable photographs of a stubborn little duck who insists on doing things his way. Hmmm—sounds familiar!

Hunters of the Great Forest by Dennis Nolan

This wordless book is terrific fun and we’d be ready to mount an expedition for this quarry, too!

Out the Window by Cybele Young

Henry has mostly moved on from board books but he loved this intricate story that has to be “read” on both sides.

The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak

I have to also mention this book that Henry adored. He wanted to have read to him over and over and over and the joke has yet to pale for him. It may have something to do with the fact that his older cousins are the ones who read it to him.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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