Welcome to the Cup of Tea’s Best Books of the Year, where I list the best of the best books I read this year.
I read for The Diverse Books Awards and had the chance to read wonderful children’s books, so this year it was pretty tough to narrow it down. However, I believe I have chosen great books that are great for children to read, but readers will enjoy the pleasure of enjoying. The theme with a lot of these books deals with accepting yourself and recognizing your strengths. So I’m really proud of the books I have chosen. So without further ado…
Small’s Big Dream by Manjeet Mann and illustrated by Amanda Quartey
Is there anything Manjeet Mann CAN’T do?! This picture book is the perfect example why picture books are amazing for all ages! Combined with beautiful illustrations, this inspiring and uplifting story about how all things are possible when you dream big. A great picture book for young readers to read and to appreciate the importance of imagination!
Sunflower Sisters by Monika Singh Gangotra and illustrated by Michaela Dias-Hayes
Such a wonderful and heartwarming picture book that celebrates the skin that you are in! Through beautiful and bright illustrations it gives young readers an amazing opportunity to realize how awesome they’re truly are.
Black Boy, Black Boy: Celebrate the Power of You by Jorge Redmond and Ali Kamanda and illustrated by Ken Daley
Inspiring and informative, a great and beautifully illustrated picture book that highlights the importance of motivating young black boys by highlighting the inspirational men of Black History.
The Best Diwali Ever by Sonali Shah and illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat
Peek into the magic of Diwali in this heart-warming picture book about Diwali, siblings and how very special this celebration can be. This year, Ariana has plans to make Diwali an extra special celebration, with yummy sweets, divas around the house, pretty clothes, fireworks and… the rangoli competition, of course. (Credit: Scholastic)
Hey You!: An Empowering Celebration of Growing Up Black by Dapo Adeola
This book addresses–honestly, yet hopefully–the experiences Black children face growing up with systemic racism, as well as providing hope for the future and delivering a message of empowerment to a new generation of dreamers. It’s a message that is both urgent and timeless–and offers a rich and rewarding reading experience for every child. To mirror the rich variety of the Black diaspora, this book showcases artwork from Dapo Adeola and eighteen more incredible Black illustrators in one remarkable and cohesive reading experience. (Credit: Nancy Paulsen Books)
Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom by Sangu Mandanna
I just fell in love with adventurous and compelling fantasy. I fell in love with Kiki and definitely connected with her, especially as she went through her anxiety attacks. You don’t encounter a lot of middle grade fiction that accurately depicts mental health in kids and Mandanna has done a wonderful job. And the great thing about this book is that there is a book two! So we readers get to read more about Kiki Kallira!
I Am Quiet: A Story for the Introvert in All of Us by Andie Powers and illustrated by Betsy Petersen
A great story that promotes the positivity of introversion and the greatest things can come of things that are the most quiet.
Danny Chung Sums It Up by Maisie Chan
Full heart and humor, you will start to love math after reading about Danny Chung’s story (or maybe you already like math, I’m not here to judge). You don’t see a lot of books describing intergenerational relationships and Chan does this one with a lot of heart and reality. You want to be part of the Chung family after reading this one!
The Very Merry Murder Club edited by Serena Patel and Robin Stevens
This gorgeous wintery collection brings together thirteen bestselling, award-winning and exciting debut authors: Abiola Bello, Annabelle Sami, Benjamin Dean, E.L. Norry, Elle McNicoll, Dominique Valente, Joanna Williams, Maisie Chan, Nizrana Farook, Patrice Lawrence, Roopa Farooki, Serena Patel and Sharna Jackson. With stunning illustrations by Harry Woodgate.
Join them as part of the Very Merry Murder Club as they lead you on a snow-covered wintery journey of festive foul play and murderously magnificent mysteries! (Credit: HarperCollins UK)