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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.

      Sing, Unburied, Sing

      by Jesmyn Ward

      Feb 2018

      Adult Crossover High Plus

      Best Adult, Top 10
      Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of the bonds of family.

      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.

      Sourdough: A Novel

      by Robin Sloan

      Dec 2017

      Adult Crossover High Plus

      Best Adult
      When Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions, comes before the jury that will decide if she can sell her homemade bread at Bay Area markets,she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members.

      Release: A Novel

      by Patrick Ness

      Dec 2017

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      Teen Fiction
      This book is probably Patrick Ness's most autobiographical and deals with a day in the life of a young gay teenager living with his intolerant evangelical family who comes to realize that he is worthy of love and happiness.

      Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy

      by Laurel Snyder

      Dec 2017

      Easy Reading

      Fiction for Younger Readers
      Join Charlie and Mouse as they entertain a special visitor over a weekend of play, laughter, and togetherness. Full-color illustrations rendered in graphite and with Photoshop.

      How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild

      by Katherine Roy

      Dec 2017

      Science Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      Informational Books for Younger Readers
      This nonfiction picture book follows an elephant's growth from a newborn calf to a full-grown adult in one of the most socially and structurally complex family groups on earth. Author's note. Selected sources. Further reading and resources. Full-color map and illustrations.

      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.
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