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Fanfare Family Reading 2021

This week, the Horn Book announced our Fanfare selections, our best books of the year list for 2021. Themes of family (blood and chosen), ancestry, and home run strongly throughout the titles, across genres and age levels.

Parents and children are central to such picture books as Milo Imagines the WorldThe Night WalkTime for Kenny, Strollercoaster (wheee!), Watercress, Mel Fell, and Off-Limits; chapter books Billy Miller Makes a Wish and Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey; graphic novels The Legend of Auntie Po and Borders; memoir The Genius Under the Table; and nonfiction STEM picture books The Message: The Extraordinary Journey of an Ordinary Text Message (Roger's favorite) and Fox: A Circle of Life Story (bring tissues).   

Grandparents play especially important roles in picture books The Big Bath House, On the Trapline, Little Red and the Cat Who Loved Cake, and Wishes; chapter book Too Small Tola; middle-grade novel Merci Suárez Can’t Dance (Lolo!); and YA titles Firekeeper's Daughter and A Sitting in St. James (shudder). 

The Ramble Shamble Children kids deserve special mention for making their family their own and staying true to their messy, joy-filled selves.

And The People Remember reminds us about the truth and complexity of Black history (and of all historical narrative) and about the vitality of family, ancestry, and stories, all through the framework of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. 

Kwanzaa begins on December 26. Hanukkah may be over, but who couldn't use a book?! And Christmas is still coming. If you're looking for gifts (or library books to read during winter break), peruse our Fanfare annotations and 2021 Holiday High Notes selections. Remember to support your indie bookstores and libraries -- and to be kind to the people who work there -- wear a mask, and enjoy the end of 2021. 

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is acting editor in chief / executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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