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Staff Favorites of 2016: Books for Kids & Teens

What was the County of Los Angeles Public Library staff reading in 2016? Here are some selections from our staff of the best books we read this year.

See our Staff Favorites of 2016: Adults list too. Find even more reading suggestions at Books & Media.

 Panda Pants book jacket

Panda Pants by Jacqueline Davies

A young panda tells his papa that he wants pants. Who's heard of a panda wearing pants? Pants can be very useful and little panda shows us how he would use them in this wonderfully well-illustrated book. Charming and a great storytime title.

Genre: Children - Picture Book, 2016

Recommended by: Amy of Willowbrook Library

 Giant Squid book jacket

Giant Squid by Candace Fleming

Fascinating text and visually stunning illustrations combine to explore the mysteries of this amazing animal. Reading the book once wasn't enough so I read it several times before returning it to the library. If you're curious or poetic or just love beautiful books, this one is for you.

Genre: Children - Nonfiction, 2016

Recommended by: Darcy of Collection Development

 Mary Had a Little Glam book jacket

Mary Had a Little Glam by Tammi Sauer

A fabulous retelling of Mary Had a Little Lamb but with style! As Mary shares her love of style and glam, she soon discovers that sometimes less is more. With fantastic art by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, this fantastic picture book is full of joy and delight.

Genre: Children - Picture Book, 2016

Recommended by: Judy of Hawthorne Library

 The Nameless City book jacket

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

The City has seen conquerors come and go while it continues the business of its daily life. Kai is of the conquering culture while Rat is from the streets and struggles to survive. Their friendship stumbles and solidifies through adventure and the secrets of the city. Exciting, humorous, and thrilling with detailed and compelling art.

Genre: Children - Graphic Novel Adventure, 2016

Recommended by: Darcy of Collection Development

 Be a Friend book jacket

Be a Friend by Selina Yoon

This picture book is a lovely depiction of friendship's power. It tells the story of Dennis, an extraordinary little boy who communicates through miming. Not everyone understands Dennis and he is lonely, until a girl comes along who gets him despite Dennis not speaking a word.

Genre: Children - Picture Book, 2016

Recommended by: Katharine of North Regional Office

 Good Night, Baddies book jacket

Good Night, Baddies by Deborah Underwood

Villains from all our favorite fairy tales go through their bedtime rituals until they eventually fall asleep in this good-night story with a new twist. The full-color illustrations full of witty details and rhyming text make this a great choice for reading aloud. Perfect for ages 4-8, who will get the fairy tale allusions.

Genre: Children - Picture Book, 2016

Recommended by: Margo of Walnut Library

 Snow White: A Graphic Novel book jacket

Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan

This unusual graphic novel takes the traditional Snow White story you think you know and turns it into a haunting, atmospheric, movie-like experience set in 1920's era New York City. The few words and watercolor images propel you through a story that is familiar yet surprisingly affecting.

Genre: Children - Graphic Novel, 2016

Recommended by: Kristi of Youth Services

 Pax book jacket

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Peter and Pax, his pet fox, are separated during a time of war. While Peter makes his way back to the spot where he hopes Pax will be waiting for him, both he and Pax follow their own paths through adventure and self-discovery. Bittersweet and hopeful, this story explores what love is and what it asks of those who feel it for another.

Genre: Children - Fantasy, 2016

Recommended by: Darcy of Collection Development

 Hello, My Name is Octicorn book jacket

Hello, My Name is Octicorn by Kevin Diller and Justin Lowe

Octicorn is half octopus and half unicorn and because he's half of one and the other, it is hard for him to fit in. But for him, that's okay. It is a heartwarming book showing how being unique and looking different is okay!

Genre: Children - Picture Book, 2016

Recommended by: Joanna of Duarte Library

 Circus Mirandus book jacket

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Do you believe in magic? Then the Circus Mirandus is the place for you! Children have flocked for decades to see miracles performed by the Man Who Bends Light. Micah needs just one: Grandpa Ephraim is sick and doesn't have a lot of time left. Micah has to bring the Circus to town and get the Man Who Bends Light to work his magic.

Genre: Children - Fantasy, 2015

Recommended by: Amy of Willowbrook Library

 Ada Twist, Scientist book jacket

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

This delightful picture book by Andrea Beaty, with art by David Roberts, focuses on Ada Twist who wants to be a scientist. Ada's curiosity cannot be contained and her parents are at their wit's end as they learn to accommodate Ada's exploration.

Genre: Children - Picture Book, 2016

Recommended by: Judy of Hawthorne Library

 Salt to the Sea book jacket

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

In winter of 1945, thousands of refugees flee the Soviet advance. In the chaos, four teens cross paths in their attempt to escape the war. When they gain passage on the Wilhelm Gustloff, they think they are finally safe. Until they realize they are aboard a ship destined for tragedy. An intensely satisfying, emotional read. Don't miss this book!

Genre: Teen - Historical Fiction, 2016

Recommended by: Samantha of Lawndale Library

 Love, Lies and Spies  book jacket

Love, Lies and Spies  by Cindy Anstey

Sometimes, friends, you just need to read some fluffy romance. And my favorite YA romance from this year was Love, Lies, and Spies. I mean, it’s all there in the title. Also Regency era ladies who science. Excessively diverting. I read it twice.

Genre: Teen - Historical Romance, 2016

Recommended by: Vickie of Quartz Hill Library

 Giant Days book jacket

Giant Days by John Allison

Susan, Esther, and Daisy are roommates entering their first year at University. As they navigate through school and relationships, the girls begin to explore what it means to leave home as well as what it means to be yourself. With art and story by John Allison, Giant Days is a hilarious look at the joy and pain that is growing up.

Genre: Teen - Graphic Novel, 2015

Recommended by: Judy of Hawthorne Library

 Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) book jacket

Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine

This is the sequel to Caine's Ink and Bone. The main character Jesse Brightwell (a book smuggler and now soldier) and his associates survive under the scrutiny of the Great Library, while trying to find out what really happened to their inventor friend. The book is full of action and suspense right off the bat and will keep you hooked.

Genre: Teen - Science Fiction, 2016

Recommended by: Teresita of City Terrace Library

 The Girl From Everywhere book jacket

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix's father possesses special abilities to sail to any time, any place, real or imagined, as long as he has a map to get there. But his obsession with a map of 1868 Hawaii may bring an end to the only life Nix has known. Filled with adventure, history, time travel, and a unique setting, this book proves what I have long believed: maps are awesome.

Genre: Teen - Fantasy, 2016

Recommended by: Kristi of Youth Services

 The Female of the Species book jacket

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

A powerful story that tackles our current societal views on rape culture and the “boys will be boys” way of thinking. The story follows Alex, whose sister was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered three years ago. I enjoyed this book because of its boldness, and it keeps you guessing to the end. No happy ending here, that’s for sure. Ages 16+

Genre: Teen - Fiction, 2016

Recommended by: Alejandro of East Region