The Ten Best Children’s Books of 2021

It’s hard to describe the joy I get reading a children’s book. It’s akin to the feeling when you “dive into the cool, clear water of a lake,” to borrow from Alison McGhee’s Someday, a picture book about a mother’s wish for her child to live life to its fullest, and a personal favorite. Luckily, as a mother to two young daughters, ages 4 and 7, I’m fully immersed in the world of children’s literature. They are little chain readers, my preschooler handing book after book over for me to read aloud, which I do gladly. It’s like jumping time and time again off a dock—a dive here, a cannonball or a can-opener there. Splash, splash, splash! As an adult (and an editor) reading children’s books, I can separate the big, fat, belly flops from the swan dives. I know a clumsy narrative when I see one. Of all the new releases in 2021, I find these ten to be the most graceful.
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