Mama Smith grew up reading and in turn, loves reading to her little girls. She knows the importance of reading from birth and has put together a list of some of the best kids and young adult books of 2017! Each book on this guide was personally tested and/or approved by Mama Smith. Please enjoy and remember to keep coming back because new items are added daily! This guide may contain affiliate links.
Night, Night Groot
It’s been a long day for baby Groot and he’s ready to be tucked in for bed. Just as his eyes start to close, Rocket Raccoon bursts onto the scene! Groot can’t go to sleep yet, there’s a whole galaxy that needs to be defended and they must work together to save the day! Then maybe, just maybe, Groot will finally get the rest he deserves!
Written by: Brendan Deneen
Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
Rock Away Granny
Getting dropped off at Grandma’s house could be a total snooze. Hours of sitting in the rocking chairs. But not this Grandma. Up she hops to wheel out the record player. And then, with kitty as the DJ—a dance party! The twist, the swing, the Monster Mash—they rock, rock, rock, at Granny’s house tonight. Then right as Mom returns, everyone crashes out in the rocking chairs. Just another boring night at Grandma’s (Mom thinks). Wink!
Written by: Dandi Daley Mackall
Open in Case of Emergency
A mysterious box arrives at the door marked OPEN IN CASE OF EMERGENCY. That sure is handy for Zachary J. Warthog. Need a packet of sugar? Just open the box and it’s there! Clean underwear? Check. Cyrus P. Rhinosaur gets a box, too. When he has real and true emergencies, like a tornado that hits his house, he decides the save the box for an even bigger emergency. When Zack loses his box, suddenly—a real emergency! But no box to open . . .
Written by: Richard Fairgray
It’s moving day—and look who slipped in the door: an elephant! But when a little girl tries to tell her family about their unusual guest, the distracted grown-ups just say, “Ella WHO?” Even as children giggle at the girl’s adventures with the smallish pachyderm, and at the fun, recurring refrain, they’ll relate to the poignant theme about making—and sometimes letting go of—new friends.
Written by: Linda Ashman
Dance is for Everyone
An alligator dancing ballet? When the reptile takes her place at the barre, Mrs. Iraina and her dancers are very surprised. But since they can’t communicate with the alligator—and she is able to follow along—they just decide to name her Tanya and let her stay. (Would YOU say no to a 450-pound alligator?) Mrs. Iraina even creates a special ballet to showcase Tanya’s larger-than-life talents . . . and super-swishy tail. Then, without warning, Tanya disappears. Funny and irreverent, Dance Is for Everyone shows that, with just a little understanding, anyone can fit in—even a dancing alligator.
Written by: Andrea Zuill
Lizzie and Lou Seal
Lizzie loves her flip-flops. They go shuffle shuffle across the rug, smack smack on the floor tiles, and thwap thwap down the stairs. Lizzie also loves her blow-up toy, Lou Seal. Lizzie and Lou Seal are off to the beach, but beach fun turns to beach disaster when Lizzie loses her flip-flops and Lou Seal starts losing air! It’s a sink or swim scenario. What will Lizzie do?
Written by: Patricia Keeler
Bob, Not Bob: To Be Read as Though You Have the Worst Cold Ever
Little Louie is stuck in bed with a bad cold. His nose is clogged, his ears are crackling, and his brain feels full. All he wants is his mom to take care of him, but whenever he calls out for her, his stuffed-up nose summons slobbery dog Bob instead!
Written by: Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick
Feminist Baby likes pink and blue.
Sometimes she’ll throw up on you!
Feminist Baby chooses what to wear
and if you don’t like it she doesn’t care!
Meet the irrepressible FEMINIST BABY in this refreshing, clever board book about a girl who’s not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way!
Written by: Loryn Brantz
Cars 3: Lead the Way
Ride along with Lightning McQueen as he revisits many of his cherished moments with the late and great Doc Hudson. Lightning has learned so many inspiring things from Doc that he would like to pass on to Cruz Ramirez, including a lesson about what it really means to win.
Written by: Ace Landers
The Battles of Tolkien
The history of J. R. R. Tolkien’s fictional world of Middle-earth is filled with epic battles in an ongoing struggle between good and evil. The Battles of Tolkien recounts many of the greatest conflicts over thousands of years, from the earliest skirmishes of the Valarian Ages to the defining battles in the War of the Ring. Insightful commentary by Tolkien scholar David Day discusses how the people, tactics, and weapons influenced the outcome of each battle, and also how the legends of Middle-earth relate to the real-world mythology on which Tolkien based his famous literary creation. Maps and full-color illustrations help bring this rich universe to life, making it an invaluable reference book for Tolkien fans of all ages.
Written by: David Day
Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man. But lately, Miles’ spidey-sense has been on the fritz. A misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, and Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. After his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk. It’s time for Miles to suit up.
Written by: Jason Reynolds
Rise of the Isle of the Lost
Deep beneath the waves, King Triton’s powerful trident has passed through the magical barrier that surrounds the Isle of the Lost keeping villains in and magic out. And when Mal’s longtime rival Uma, daughter of Ursula, gets wind of this, she can’t believe her luck. The tide has dragged in something good for a change, and Uma is determined to get her wicked hands on it. But first, she needs a pirate crew.
A storm is brewing back in Auradon, and when Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay hear that the trident has been washed away, they realize they’ll have to find it before anyone from the Isle does.
Written by: Melissa de la Cruz
Heartwood Hotel Book 1
Redwall meets Downton Abbey in the charming new chapter book series Heartwood Hotel: Book One, A TRUE HOME. Books one and two are publishing simultaneously, both in hardcover and paperback, with an accelerated publishing program aimed to keep readers hooked. With illustrations throughout and enchanting storytelling, the Heartwood Hotel series is just right for newly independent readers to get lost in a magical animal world.
When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they’ll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn soufflé and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.
Written by: Kallie George
Heartwood Hotel Book 2
Mona the mouse has finally found a place to call home, the cozy Heartwood Hotel, where she works as a maid and sleeps snuggled up in a room with her best friend. Following the festive St. Slumber celebration, most of the guests have settled in to hibernate, and the staff is looking forward to a relaxing winter. But disruptions abound, from a difficult duchess to a mysterious midnight snacker. As the snow stacks higher, Mona will have to gather friends both old and new to keep the peace, finding help in some of the most unexpected places.
Written by: Kallie George
Vampirina at the Beach
Be on the lookout for more/new Vampirina adventures with the premiere of the ‘Vampirina’ TV series coming to Disney Junior in 2017! Perfect for both summer and fall, in VAMPIRINA AT THE BEACH (On Sale April 4, 2017), by Anne Marie Pace with illustrations by LeUyen Pham, Vampirina has monstrously fun beach shenanigans. This new picture book sets the stage for even more entertaining interactions, this time between vampires and werewolves, all accompanied by a gentle, tongue-in-cheek narrator.
Written by: Anne Marie Pace
Holly’s Day at the Pool
Holly the hippo imagines the worst: icebergs and icy water, penguins and seals! Her imagination bursts at every turn, making it harder and harder for her to step foot in the pool. Until she get the chance to be a hero. Holly may be scared, but she is a very brave girl.
Written by: Benson Shum
Ellie In Concert
Since Ellie saved her home with her wonderful paintings, the zoo is back in business and the animals are more energetic than ever. All except for Lucy the giraffe, who hasn’t been able to sleep with all the noise. Determined to help her friend, Ellie tries to tone down the ruckus and organizes the animals into an orchestra. But is it possible to conduct the cacophony of the zoo into beautiful music?
Written by: Mike Wu
Katana at Super Hero High
Get your cape on with the DC Super Hero Girls™—the unprecedented new Super Hero universe especially for girls! Readers of all ages can fly high with the all-new adventures of Wonder Woman™, Supergirl™, Batgirl™, and some of the world’s most iconic female super heroes as high schoolers! Sword-wielding Katana isn’t like most high school students—but with classmates like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl, Super Hero High isn’t like most high schools!
In addition to training to be a super hero, Katana also follows the noble warrior traditions of the Samurai. Now a mysterious presence has given her the responsibility of guarding a hundred ancient Samurai swords—but why her, and for what purpose? With the help of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Ms. Martian, and some of her other super friends, she intends to find out. But she just made captain of the fencing team, she has a huge school project due, and a villain with ties to her family’s past seems to be amassing an army. Maintaining her inner peace isn’t going to be easy. . . but Katana has the steel to save the day!
Written by: Lisa Yee
Oogie the Bear’s Rainy Day Adventure
Written by award-winning author Michael Weinberger, and featuring colorful artwork by commercial illustrator and fine artist Steve Bonham, this unique story teaches children and their adult reading companions the value and rewards of perseverance. It tells the story of Oogie, a little bear who, despite all the obstacles set in front of him, doesn’t give up on achieving his goals. One day, Oogie runs out of crackers — one half of his favorite daily snack, peanut butter and crackers — and sets out on a problem-solving, rainy day adventure! Will he give up before he gets his paws on the crackers necessary to fulfill his craving? Providing silly fun both parents and children will find pleasure in reading together, Oogie the Bear’s Rainy Day Adventure is the perfect way to start talking about perseverance.
Written by: Michael Louis Weinberger
The Scariest Book Ever
Reader beware! This is THE SCARIEST BOOK EVER! Or so claims its melodramatic ghost narrator. You can go ahead and turn the page, but don’t expect him to come with you. Anything might pop out of that black hole in the middle of the forest. What do you mean it’s just a bunny? Well, it’s probably a bunny with big fangs. Watch out, it’s–picking pumpkins with its friends, you say? Actually, despite the ghost’s scare-mongering, none of the animal characters in the illustrations seem scary at all. Many delights, such as surprises after the page turn, an alarmist narrator, and punch lines to anticipate make this book a scream for both kids and parents.
Written by: Bob Shea
Super Saurus Saves Kindergarten
Are back-to-school jitters near? Have no fear! SUPER SAURUS SAVES KINDERGARTEN by bestselling author, Deborah Underwood is here! Arnold a young, creative dinosaur with a supersized imagination about his first day of school. Arnold has decided that the evil genius Zorgo, is disguised as Mr. Zachary and he’s got to stop him, but how? Then he remembers he’s SUPER SAURUS, and he’s got a class to save… or can he?
Written by: Deborah Underwood
Fall is For School
In the sequel to Winter is for Snow, FALL IS FOR SCHOOL, award-winning author-illustrator Robert Neubecker’s energetic, colorful illustrations revel in the crisp oncoming of fall throughout this cheerful back-to-school tale.
Written by: Robert Neubecker
The Teacher’s Pet
One classroom has a BIG problem! In THE TEACHER’S PET by author Anica Mrose Rissi and illustrated by Zachariah OHora, Mr. Stricter allows his class to keep one tadpole… only to have that tadpole grow up to not be a frog, but a hippo! This uproarious tale of a class pet gone wrong has the feel of classic favorites like Miss Nelson is Missing and The Teacher from the Black Lagoon. OHora uses a bold, cheerful palette to create memorable characters full of personality, and his interpretation of the rascal Bruno adds an additional layer of humor to the story.
Written by: Anica Mrose Rissi
Dog Days of School
Charlie thinks his dog, Norman, has got it good: he gets to spend his days lounging on the couch or playing fetch, and he never has to do any homework. But when Charlie makes a wish to be a dog instead of a boy, things get a little topsy-turvy! New York Times best-selling author Kelly DiPucchio’s signature humor and Brian Biggs’ bold, playful illustrations come together in a hilarious tale that proves that the grass always does look greener on the other side (even if that side involves drinking from the toilet!).
Written by: Kelly DiPucchio
Ready for School Murphy?
Murphy doesn’t want to go to school. He has butterflies in his tummy and ants in his pants! But no amount of made-up excuses convince his dad to let him stay home. Just when Murphy has all but given up, his father brings him up-to-date. It’s Saturday!
Written by: Brendán Murphy
Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker
In BEATRICE ZINKER, UPSIDE DOWN THINKER a spunky third-grader realizes that some friendships are worth risking recess for, and sometimes all it takes is the simplest act of kindness to “turn that frown upside down!” Beatrice does her best thinking upside down. Hanging from trees by her knees, doing handstands—for Beatrice Zinker, upside down works every time. For instance, she was definitely upside down when she and her best friend, Lenny, agreed to wear matching ninja suits on the first day of third grade. But when Beatrice shows up at school dressed in black, Lenny arrives with a cool new outfit and a cool new friend. Even worse, she seems to have forgotten all about the top-secret operation they planned! Can Beatrice use her topsy-turvy way of thinking to save the mission, get her friendship back to normal, and flip things sunny-side up?
Written by: Shelley Johannes
Don’t Go to School!
What can a little bear do when he’s all ready for his first day of school—but his mother isn’t? “DON”T GO TO SCHOOL!” she wails. “STAY HERE WITH ME!” Mommy sulks, she’s shy, she even throws a tantrum. Can Benno convince her that everything’s okay? He comes up with an ingenious idea to help her adjust—one that many a mom and dad will recognize. This humorous story will reassure and delight nervous children, while parents feeling a little sad to see their babies grow up and march off to school will empathize with Mom!
Almost Everybody Farts
With sly humor, this fun picture book looks at a subject that’s sure to make children laugh: farting. With silent farts, farts like horns, and rainbow farts from unicorns, Almost Everybody Farts comically captures the gassy scene. And only one person insists she’s fart-free: MOM! But is she? Kids will insist on reading this rhyming story again and again.
Written by: Marty Kelley
Ally-saurus & the Very Bossy Monster
Ally-saurus and her friends always have lots of fun playing pretend. They stomp, they roar, they dance, each in their own way. But new girl Maddie wants everyone to play by HER rules. “Monsters can’t be dinosaurs or dancers,” she insists. Worst of all, she won’t let little Petey have his teddy bear! Can Ally-saurus help Maddie understand that bossiness is no fun at all? With charm and humor, Richard Torrey teaches a gentle lesson in respecting each other’s differences . . . and playing nice.
Written by: Richard Torrey
Attack of the Not-So-Virtual Monsters (Gamer Squad 1)
Monsters Unleashed—where you catch virtual-reality monsters on your cellphone—is one of the hottest mobile games around, and Bex and Charlie just can’t stop playing. They even check out an old map in Charlie’s grandfather’s attic in hopes of discovering some forgotten places in town where the rarest monsters might hide. But they find a strange machine up there too, and after Charlie switches it on, the WiFi goes down . . . and Bex’s entire catalog of monsters vanishes! And that’s not the worst of it: all the creatures she’s collected on her phone escape into the real world. Can the friends nab the beasts before they become monster lunch?
Written by: Kim Harrington
Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind (Gamer Squad 2)
After their scary adventure, Bex and Charlie have sworn never to play Monsters Unleashed again. Then Veratrum Games Corp releases a new augmented reality game featuring aliens instead of monsters, and the best friends just can’t resist. After all, everyone loves it, even their science teacher, because it includes real star charts. But when they go to an observatory on a class trip, and open the game near a radio telescope, they get more than they bargained for: REAL aliens. One is sweet and kind; the other . . . not so much. Can Bex and Charlie capture the bad ET before it destroys their town?
Written by: Kim Harrington
Moana: The Beat of Your Heart
Princess Moana, who lives in a tropical island paradise, shares her culture with young readers who discover how the natural rhythms of Moana’s environment are expressed artistically through hand clapping, body rhythm, and drumming. Kids will develop their sense of inner pulse by playing along with the drums of Motonui on percussion instruments that they themselves craft from household objects. This beautifully illustrated book with online musical enhancements serves as a guide for children to explore beat, rhythm, and the sounds of Motonui’s drums through constructive activities and creative play.
Tangled: It’s Better When You Sing It
Graced with the charming familiarity of Tangled-inspired illustrations, this innovative musical exploration storybook integrates thoughtful activities right in the engaging narrative. Rapunzel shows youngsters that everything is better when they sing! Learning about music becomes an exciting adventure with this playful story that encourages children to experience the joy of singing while they discover the qualities of their own unique voice. Along the way, they’ll explore concepts like tempo, pitch awareness, proper breathing, careful listening, using music to express feelings, and much more.
Mickey’s Found Sounds
The Main Street Parade has been rained out, but Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy, along with Donald and Daisy Duck and all their friends, form their own parade playing musical instruments they have made from everyday items found around the house. Children will follow simple instructions and share with Mickey and his pals the fun of playing music with instruments they create themselves. This exploration storybook combines music making with imaginative play, following directions to create crafts, and experiencing the sounds of different instruments.
Amazing Animal Friendship
Discover some of nature’s most unlikely—but valuable—friendships! Sometimes two are better than one—that’s a matter of fact, even when the pairing seems very odd! From sharks and cleaner fish, to zebras and birds, to plants and their pollinators, strange friendships in nature exist everywhere. With bite-sized text and quirky illustrations, this fascinating book introduces children to the weird and wonderful symbiotic relationships between animal species.
Written by: Pavla Hanackova
Cap’n Rex & His Clever Crew
Meet Captain Rex and his band of buccaneers. These dinosaur pirates sail the seven seas in search of buried treasure, but whenever they hit an obstacle—like a giant shark or pea-soup fog—the crew members are quick to say they can’t overcome. To this, Captain Rex just glares with teeth bared and says, “CAN’T YE?” And, somehow, the crew always comes up with a clever solution.
A delightful story about using one’s creativity and individual strengths to solve problems. It will encourage kids everywhere to think and say, “I can!”
Written by: Henry Herz
Turn the Key: On the Farm
The unique TURN THE KEY package (with a working key and locks on every page) makes opening the doors every bit as fun as learning about farm animals. This chunky book comes with an actual key that little ones about 9 months old and up can use to unlock doors to different buildings around the farm. Behind each door, they will discover animals and other images of life on a farm.
Written by: Julie Merberg
Turn the Key: Around the World
This chunky book comes with an actual key that little ones about 9 months old and up can use to unlock doors to different types of homes around the world. Behind each door, they will see how children live in faraway places.
Grasping and manipulating the attached key builds fine motor coordination, as children get a colorful glimpse of family life in other corners of the world–from a Central Asian yurt to an African mud house to a houseboat in the Netherlands. Vivid photos illustrate these distant places, and simple lively text offers interesting details (and new vocabulary!) about everyday life. Kids enjoy unlocking the sturdy doors so much they will want to read this book again and again.
Written by: Julie Merberg
Notes From The Upside Down
Grab your Eggo waffles and get ready for a visit to Hawkins, Indiana—just don’t forget the fairy lights! If you devoured Stranger Things on Netflix and you’re looking to fill the demogorgon-sized hole in your life, then look no further than Notes from the Upside Down. This fan-tastic guide has every fact you could ever wish for—from insights into the origins of the show, including the mysterious Montauk Project conspiracy theory; a useful eighties playlist (because, of course); and much more.
Written by: Guy Adams
Bruce’s Big Move
After the events of Hotel Bruce, our favorite curmudgeonly bear shares his home with not only his four geese, but three rowdy mice besides! Fed up with their shenanigans, Bruce sets off to find a rodent-free household. But as usual, nothing goes quite according to plan.
Written by: Ryan T. Higgins
Woodworks Nursery Rhymes: Wheels on the Bus
The wheels on the bus go round and round! Climb aboard the yellow bus with this sweet playset featuring a chunky board book, a wooden school bus, and a playmat for added fun. Young readers will enjoy reading and playing along with their favorite nursery rhymes as they drive around the town and sing their way through the storybook. It is beautiful to watch them singing and enjoying themselves, I have always opened them up to music in order to help their development and growth from a young age, you can open up your child to this to by checking out nursery songs on Youtube. Children love to listen to songs that are about adventures, fun, characters and friendships…
Written by: Elliot Kreloff
All Aboard the Pirate Ship!
Tommy Montgomery loved everything there was to love about pirates! “Treasure first and friends forever!” was the motto he knew and tried to live by. All Tommy wanted was to be a pirate, and one day he decided it was time for an adventure! So he snuck on The Pirate’s Revenge and headed for the high seas. Children can follow along and reenact their favorite scenes in this storybook and playset! The large, foldout model becomes the inside of a pirate ship so children can play as they read along and find out if Tommy has what it takes to become a real-life pirate!
Written by: Timothy Knapman
Noah’s Ark (Storybook Gift Set)
The wheels on the bus go round and round! Climb aboard the yellow bus with this sweet playset featuring a chunky board book, a wooden school bus, and a playmat for added fun. Young readers will enjoy reading and playing along with their favorite nursery rhyme as they drive around the town and sing their way through the storybook.
Written by: Elliot Kreloff