NPR's Book Concierge is a neat interactive guide that goes beyond the usual best fiction/nonfiction/etc categories. Looking for a new biography read? Something "rather short"? "Tales From Around the World"? NPR has you covered.
School Library Journal is one of the most prestigious review journals for children's and young adult materials. Their recent list of their 2014 picks included many highlights:
My Bus (Byron Barton is a picture book genius, and ideal for transportation-loving toddlers and preschoolers.)
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy (LOVE. Too bad it's not eligible for Newbery!)
Revolution (cannot wait for the conclusion of Deborah Wiles's trilogy. This is an astonishing achievement.)
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus (my Caldecott 2015 pick! It is incredible!)
The Scraps Book: Notes From a Colorful Life (a great memoir by one of my favorite picture book artists)
The Family Romanov (one of Candace Fleming's bests, and that's saying a lot)
Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold (I adore Joyce Sidman's poetry. Beautiful, informative, and one of a kind)
Brown Girl Dreaming (I think this is Jacqueline Woodson's Newbery year.)
Kirkus Reviews reviews adult fiction/nonfiction as well as children's/young adult books:
Beauty and the Beast (gorgeous retelling and illustrations)
Because They Marched (Russell Freedman's account of the Selma March is among his best.)
The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond (remarkable read about family and identity)
Gus and Me (Keith Richards wrote a children's book. And it is lovely.)
Here Comes the Easter Cat (bust a gut funny.)
Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust (heartbreaking, gripping, and important)
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads (hilarious and silly)
She is Not Invisible (I'm not always a Sedgwick fan, but I couldn't put this down.)
A Time to Dance (mesmerizing read about second chances and a unique dance)
The Tyrant's Daughter (I hope a sequel is planned. Need to know what happens to Laila when she goes back home.)
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy (quirky read about precocious teens that didn't annoy me--that is hard to do).
Need more lists? Check out Publishers Weekly, Library Journal (no children's/YA), and New York Times's lists for children/YA and adults.
I've been making my best books list too-but I have three weeks left before I need to return my books before I leave for Christmas! Will reveal my final picks on January 2.
Hope everyone finds plenty of great reads for quiet holiday reading!
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library