Best Books of the Year: 2021

Can you remember the first book you read that entranced you? A book so good you couldn't tear your eyes away until you finished? Literature has a marvelous way of demanding kids' attention, piqueing their curiosity, and sparking imagination. Our Deputy Editor of Books, Regan McMahon, has put together this list of the year's must-reads: the kind of books your kids will cherish for years to come. From charming picture books for little kids to captivating adventures for teens, check out the best books of 2021 for kids and teens below.

Don't miss the rest of our 2021 favorites: Movies | TV Shows | Video Games | Apps

Tomatoes for Neela Poster Image
BOOK

Tomatoes for Neela

age 3+

Beautifully illustrated tale shows love of food and family.

By: Padma Lakshmi (2021)
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Change Sings: A Children's Anthem Poster Image
BOOK

Change Sings: A Children's Anthem

age 4+

Beautiful, lyrical story inspires children to create change.

By: Amanda Gorman (2021)
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Eyes That Kiss in the Corners Poster Image
BOOK

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

age 4+

Lovely picture book celebrates family identity, heritage.

By: Joanna Ho (2021)
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Milo Imagines the World Poster Image
BOOK

Milo Imagines the World

age 4+

Simple words and images offer insight about stereotypes.

By: Matt de la Peña (2021)
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Dream Street Poster Image
BOOK

Dream Street

age 5+

Dazzling celebration of the power of a positive community.

By: Tricia Elam Walker (2021)
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J.D. and the Great Barber Battle: J.D. the Kid Barber, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

J.D. and the Great Barber Battle: J.D. the Kid Barber, Book 1

age 6+

Superb, fun, nuanced story of family, friends, Black hair.

By: J. Dillard (2021)
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Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued Poster Image
BOOK

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued

age 6+

Inspiring true story of lifesaving hero and WWII refugees.

By: Peter Sis (2021)
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The Kids of Cattywampus Street Poster Image
BOOK

The Kids of Cattywampus Street

age 7+

Sweet, offbeat short stories filled with fun absurdities.

By: Lisa Jahn-Clough (2021)
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Stuntboy, in the Meantime Poster Image
BOOK

Stuntboy, in the Meantime

age 7+

Engaging, thoughtful story of changing family has great art.

By: Jason Reynolds (2021)
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Amari and the Night Brothers Poster Image
BOOK

Amari and the Night Brothers: Supernatural Investigations, Book 1

age 8+

Girl finds her magic in fun fantasy full of surprises.

By: B.B. Alston (2021)
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Maya and the Robot Poster Image
BOOK

Maya and the Robot

age 8+

Marvelous Black girl scientist stars in poignant read.

By: Eve L. Ewing (2021)
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Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre Poster Image
BOOK

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

age 8+

Illuminating retelling of a tragic American event.

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The Beatryce Prophecy Poster Image
BOOK

The Beatryce Prophecy

age 9+

Lively fable celebrates friendship, girl (and goat) power.

By: Kate DiCamillo (2021)
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Stowaway Poster Image
BOOK

Stowaway

age 9+

Tween and space pirates face perils in fast-moving epic.

By: John David Anderson (2021)
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Willodeen Poster Image
BOOK

Willodeen

age 9+

Cheer-worthy fable of animals, friendship, ecosystems.

By: Katherine Applegate (2021)
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Amber & Clay Poster Image
BOOK

Amber & Clay

age 10+

Lyrical, epic tale of ancient Greece is emotionally intense.

By: Laura Amy Schlitz (2021)
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The Last Cuentista Poster Image
BOOK

The Last Cuentista

age 10+

Girl preserves history on new planet in fresh sci-fi twist.

By: Donna Barba Higuera (2021)
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Starfish Poster Image
BOOK

Starfish

age 10+

Moving, witty novel tackles fatphobia, self-advocacy.

By: Lisa Fipps (2021)
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The Gilded Ones Poster Image
BOOK

The Gilded Ones

age 12+

Teen girl quests for true identity in captivating fantasy.

By: Namina Forna (2021)
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A Pho Love Story Poster Image
BOOK

A Pho Love Story

age 12+

Vietnamese American teens find love in heartwarming romcom.

By: Loan Le (2021)
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