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Best Books of 2017

Chicago Public Library recommends the Best of the Best, our selections of the very best books published in 2017. Every year, our librarians evaluate the year’s new books and select the very best for Chicagoans—making these the only booklists for Chicago, by Chicago. Happy reading!

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      Far from the Tree

      by Robin Benway

      Mar 2018

      Young Adults Plus

      Teen Fiction
      In this National Book Award-winning novel about the meaning of family, adopted teen Grace seeks out her biological siblings after giving up her own baby.

      The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse

      by Mac Barnett

      Feb 2018

      Easy Reading

      Picture Books
      With a nod and wink to readers, this untraditional fable is about a mouse and a duck who get swallowed by a wolf.

      Before She Was Harriet

      by Lesa Cline-Ransome

      Feb 2018

      Nonfiction Early Elementary

      Informational Books for Younger Readers
      An evocative poem and richly colored paintings celebrate the diverse accomplishments of Harriet Tubman, as revealed by her many names.

      Life on Surtsey, Iceland’s Upstart Island

      by Loree Griffin Burns

      Feb 2018

      Science Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      Informational Books for Older Readers
      On November 14, 1963, a volcano fifteen miles off the shore of Iceland exploded under the sea, resulting in a brand-new island. Scientists immediately recognized Surtsey for what it was: an opportunity to observe the way life takes hold.

      Wild Beauty

      by Anna-Marie McLemore

      Jan 2018

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      Teen Fiction
      For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They've also hidden a tragic legacy: If they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish.

      The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine

      by Mark Twain

      Jan 2018

      Intermediate Readers

      Fiction for Older Readers
      A never-before-published, previously unfinished Mark Twain children's story is brought to life by Caldecott Medal winners Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead.

      Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories

      by Jack Gantos

      Dec 2017

      Nonfiction Middle

      Informational Books for Older Readers
      Jack Gantos shares his advice on how to be the best, brilliant writer in this funny and practical writing guide for children ages 10 and up. Writing exercises. Black-and-white illustrations.

      The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

      by Mackenzi Lee

      Oct 2017

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      Teen Fiction
      Henry Montague was born to be a gentleman, but even the finest boarding schools in England haven't been able to tame his roguish passions for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men. Author's note on historical accuracy.

      Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World

      by Sarah Prager

      Sep 2017

      Nonfiction High Plus

      Teen Nonfiction
      This first-ever LGBTQ history book for teens chronicles the lives of 23 influential queer figures from the Roman Empire through to the present. Glossary. Learn more. Bibliography and notes. Black-and-white illustrations.

      The Upside of Unrequited

      by Becky Albertalli

      Jul 2017

      High-Interest High Plus

      Teen Fiction
      Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she's lived through it twenty-six times.

      When Dimple Met Rishi

      by Sandhya Menon

      Jul 2017

      Young Adults

      Teen Fiction
      This is a laugh-out-loud, heartfelt romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

      The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry

      by Danna Smith

      Jul 2017

      Nonfiction Early Elementary

      Informational Books for Younger Readers
      Gentle verse and sweeping, majestic artwork set imaginations soaring in this handsome and illuminating ode to the ancient art of falconry. Author's note. Suggestions for further reading and information. Index. Full-color illustrations done in acrylic gouache.
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