The Kids Are All Right

The Top 100 Children’s Books I Read in 2018

Hi friends!

I discovered the other day that I have now written over one-hundred newsletters for The Kids Are All Right. I love writing these newsletters, and I’m grateful for all of you subscribers for reading these emails twice a week and for your many notes and book suggestions.

Sponsored by P Is for Pterodactyl by Raj Haldar and Chris Carpenter

P Is For Pterodactyl cover imageTurning the traditional idea of an alphabet book on its head, P is for Pterodactyl is perfect for anyone who has ever been stumped by silent letters or confused by absurd homophones. This whimsical, unique book takes silent letter entries like “K is for Knight” a step further with “The noble knight’s knife nicked the knave’s knee.” Lively illustrations provide context clues, and alliterative words help readers navigate text like “a bright white gnat is gnawing on my gnocchi” with ease. Everyone from early learners to grown-up grammarians will love this wacky book where “A is for Aisle” but “Y is definitely not for Why.”

I have read a lot of books this year. So many books! And in honor of my one-hundredth post, I thought I would give you a list of the top 100 children’s books I read in 2018. Most of these books published in 2018, but some of them did not (like, when I went on a Mildred D. Taylor reading spree).

You might be wondering how I decided on this list. I tried to pick books based on whether my heart gave a squeeze when I thought about the story. All of these books made my heart happy in some way, whether it be that it opened my eyes to something I didn’t know about before, or because the author’s language was so beautiful, or because the illustrations left me breathless.

There were so many books that I wanted to read that I didn’t get to… I will hopefully get to some of the books on my TBR stack over the holidays!

This list in not in any type of order, but I have grouped them into four categories: picture books, chapter books/early middle grade, older middle grade, and graphic novels. Happy reading!

Picture Books

  1. Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
  2. Everything You Need for a Treehouse by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Emily Hughes
  3. Drawn Together by Minh Le, illustrated by Dan Santat
  4. Polka Dot Parade: A Book About Bill Cummingham by Deborah Blumenthal, illustrated by Masha D’yans
  5. Llamaphones by Janik Coat
  6. Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell, illustrated by Corinna Luyken
  7. The Dress and the Girl by Camille Andros, illustrated by Julie Morstad
  8. Aquarium by Cynthia Alonso
  9. Business Pig by Andrea Zuill
  10. Zola’s Elephant by Randall de Seve, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
  11. The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker, illustrated by Mark Pett
  12. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
  13. I Hate My Cats (A Love Story) by Davide Cali, illustrated by Anna Pirolli
  14. Great Dog by Davide Cali, illustrated by Miguel Tanco
  15. Florette by Anna Walker
  16. Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Thermes
  17. Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Brian Floca
  18. The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs by Kate Messner, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
  19. Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot’s World War II Story by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Melissa Iwai
  20. Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
  21. Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
  22. Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison
  23. They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki
  24. Forever or a Day by Sarah Jacoby
  25. All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
  26. Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Lauren Castillo
  27. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
  28. The Rough Patch by Brian Lies
  29. Whales: An Illustrated Celebration by Kelsey Oseid
  30. Adventures to School by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul, illustrated by Isabel Munoz
  31. Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel
  32. Lucy and the String by Vanessa Roeder
  33. My Heart by Corinna Luyken (Dial Books, 1/8/19)
  34. A Tower of Giraffes: Animals in Groups by Anna Wright
  35. Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper
  36. A Greyhound, a Groundhog by Emily Jenkins
  37. Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier
  38. Look by Fiona Woodcock


Chapter Books/Lower Middle Grade Books

  1. Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Colin Jack
  2. Upside Down Magic: Weather or Not by Sarah Mylnowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
  3. Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
  4. Power Forward: Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream by Hena Khan
  5. Cilla Lee-Jenkins: This Book Is A Classic by Susan Tan
  6. Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker, Book 2: Incognito
  7. Meet Yasmin! By Saadia Faruqi
  8. Stella Diaz Has Something to Say By Angela Dominquez
  9. Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold
  10. I’m Just No Good at Rhyming by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith


Upper Middle Grade Books

  1. Nowhere Boy by Katharine Marsh
  2. Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  3. Sweep by Jonathan Auxier
  4. Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
  5. Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
  6. Tight by Torrey Maldonado
  7. The Night Diary by Veera Hirandani
  8. Inkling by Kenneth Oppel
  9. The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
  10. Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages
  11. Louisana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
  12. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
  13. Checked by Cynthia Kadohata
  14. Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  15. Just Like Jackie by Lindsay Stoddard
  16. So Done by Paula Chase
  17. Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
  18. Blended by Sharon Draper
  19. Enginerds by Jarrett Lerner
  20. Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla, illustrated by Steve Wolfhard
  21. Knock Out by K.A. Holt
  22. Rebound by Kwame Alexander
  23. Class Action by Steven B. Frank
  24. Takedown by Laura Shovan
  25. Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya
  26. Mascot by Antony John
  27. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor
  28. The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens
  29. Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo
  30. The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman
  31. The Alcatraz Escape by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  32. The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
  33. The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta
  34. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  35. The Assasination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson
  36. Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor
  37. Winnie’s Great War by Lindsay Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
  38. Restart by Gordon Korman
  39. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (3rd time rereading)
  40. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (4th time rereading)
  41. Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (4th time rereading)
  42. The Land by Mildred D. Taylor
  43. The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody by Matthew Landis
  44. The Well by Mildred D. Taylor
  45. The Unteachables by Gordon Korman (Balzer + Bray, 1/8/19)
  46. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  47. Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale by G. Neri


Graphic Novels

96. The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

97. New Kid by Jerry Craft (HarperCollins, 2/5/19)

98. All Summer Long by Hope Larson

99. Amulet 8: Supernova by Kazu Kibuishi

100. Narwhal’s Otter Friend by Ben Clanton (Tundra Books, 2/5/19)


Well, that’s a wrap on 2018! As I mentioned before, Book Riot is taking a break from December 25 to January 1, so I’ll see you again on January 6. As always, I’m reachable on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email at

Wishing you a very happy holiday season and a joyful new year!

See you in 2019!

*If this e-mail was forwarded to you, follow this link to subscribeto “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter and other fabulous Book Riot newsletters for your own customized e-mail delivery. Thank you!*