Friday, December 31, 2021

Best of 2021!!!

It's finally here...the end of 2021! It's been a very busy last twelve months on Bookworm for Kids with a review almost every single day. Part of that is thanks to the ever increasing popularity...thanks to you guys for that! It's hard to believe that so many out there seem to enjoy my ramblings.

A large part is also due to COVID (isn't everything?). Authors had a tough time getting the news out there, which meant an up-kick in review requests. A BIG one. I've had to also turn down more requests than ever before, which is something I never like to do, but reading time has its limits. There's real life, too.

But enough with my babbling! Let's start with some numbers and statistics!

This year, there were 329 books reviewed on Bookworm for Kids. Amazing, right? This does not include the Mommy and Daddy's Day reads (which would have brought it up to around 340). Of these:

Picture Books = 138

Middle Grade = 110

Young Adult =  81

This is the first year in which picture books haven't surpassed the others by around leaps and bounds (I'm talking 200% + ). So, yay to more middle grade and young adult reads! And wow! Where did I find time for that much reading? (middle grade and young adult tend to be MUCH longer books).  

What's more interesting, though, is the genre breakdown. I only do this for the middle grade and young adult reads, since picture books tend to be a bit more difficult to divide up so cleanly. 

The last years, contemporary has swung up big and strong. This year, it's still strong. Graphic novels are also as popular as ever for both groups. I saw more non-fiction in the middle grade realm this year, which I find nice, and historical is edging a little higher. There is a new and really interesting trend, which just started up a few months ago—thrillers and horrors are rising onto the new release lists. As I peek into my crystal ball (okay, it's called catalogues of upcoming releases from the publishers, but magic sounds more interesting, don't you think?), I see this trend continuing into 2022, too. What does this say about society? It says something, I'm sure, since trends to mirror people's attitudes and expectations...but I'll let you have that discussion with your reading groups. (See, I'm sending you off with new topics into the New Year!)

Oh, and I know my genre breakdown doesn't 100% reflect the market trends, since I do try to keep the variety going as much as possible. 


Fantasy              28 %

Non-Fiction       16 %

Contemporary    15 %

Mystery              9 %

Sci Fi                  8 %

Paranormal        5 %

Historical           5 %

Humor               5 %  

Thriller              3.5 %

Other                 3 %


Fantasy               30 %

Paranormal         16 %

Sci Fi                  12 %

Contemporary     11 %

Thriller               10 %

Romance             7.5 %

Historical            5 %

Non-Fiction        4 %

Other                   4 %

Then, we have the graphic novels (these were included in the genre percentages as well).

Middle Grade       13 %

Young Adult         7%

Now, it's time for the exciting part! My favorite list!

Now, some of these might surprise you because, while Bookworm for Kids does highlight bestsellers and highly anticipated new releases, there are many gems, which don't garner as much attention in the advertisement world. There are some amazing but lesser known reads out there. Also, I try to filter in the opinions of the young readers I know. So, the best-list doesn't reflect my own opinion only. After all, kidlit is written for kids, not us adults. And they tend to look at things differently.

The list appears in random order. You can click on the image to be taken back to the original post.


This elephant and his forgetfulness is so endearing! Fun details hide in the illustrations to keep readers coming back for more...and even adult readers will smile at the very familiar situation.

I am a Fan Brother fan (no pun intended), and their latest book didn't disappoint. The illustrations are top-notch, and it's a read that can be visited over and over again. It kind of reminded me of James and the Giant Peach but only slightly as this one takes a turn all of its own.

This ant is so easy to root for, and the way he sticks to his goals despite the opinions of those around him creates an inspiring tale. I love the illustrations, too...minimal but concentrated very well. There are some life lessons in this one for everyone.

Firstly, I loved how music mixed with a story and really found myself getting lost in this one. The atmosphere is amazing, the illustrations extremely well done, and the tale carries tons of heart. So yes, I'm definitely putting this one on the list.

There were several books in the final spot of this running, but this one finally won out. There's a bit of history, but it's the wonderful inspiration that this chair brings, which convinced me to add this book in as well.


The first one on this list surprised even me. Remember, I filter in the opinions of readers from the intended age group...and the ones that read this, loved it. I believe the short story form made it perfect and kept it from growing boring or overwhelming. Plus, each tale packs super-high tension, and that to the extreme. There is danger. There is action. And each and every one could really happen...maybe.

Action, vampires, and the desire for a girl to want to prove herself...but then, a huge twist comes, which throws everything on its head. The tale is well-woven and has many characters which pop from the page. It's on the darker side (something my middle grader enjoys) and oh-so-much fun. 

Fun, non-fiction reads tend to be overlooked on 'best of' lists, which is really too bad, since so many kids love to pick these up. This one is not only well done but hits a direction, which calls to the little rascal in every reader. I have no doubt that it will inspire many readers to try things themselves...and even learn something along the way. 

Mysteries should never be overlooked, and this one is also for true literature fans and more. It's well done not only on the historic level, but the mystery is hard to figure out. It has a classical atmosphere, but still is written in a way modern readers easily slide into and enjoy. It's one out of a series and promises tons of surprises to come.

This one was on here just a few days ago...and what an adventure it is! While the first pages flowed fine, the tale very quickly hooked and wove an intricate mystery with tons of imagination and plot. It is a tiny bit on the dark end of things but only a little bit. But then, I know more than a few young readers, who love mysteries that way.


Life problems, drama, and such aren't often my cup of tea, but this one even won me over. It digs deep in a realistic way and makes it impossible not to sympathize with the main character. The situations are tough, but it never goes over-the-top and weaves a thrilling story to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Ninjas have become so rare in young adult literature, but so many readers do love this direction from time to time.  It's packed with adventure, mystery, intrigue, and has a ninja girl, which keeps the reader engaged from one page to the next. It's not one with super deep meanings or purposes...and that's great! Since it is so well done, I'm definitely adding this one to the list

I've had more nonfiction and historical reads this year, which I was glad to see. This one is on the longer side, but the author has done a fantastic job at making the time period come to life and brings it down to a very personal level, by using statements, letters, and interviews from teens, who lived during that time. This isn't a read for every one, but it'd be wrong to overlook it because I know of few books for this age group that are this well done. 

A romance on the 'best' list? Especially on mine? I'm shocked, too, but what should I say? I found this tale so-super-sweet and simply light-hearted, and all that without a heroine or hero, who are on the rand of society. So, I'm including it. Even my own daughter smiled, and I think it's because it isn't heavy on social messages or tough topics, but rather, allows the simple fun of a well-done, high school love to unfold. Sometimes, a good story is all it takes.

Super-rich world building and tough themes made this one hard to put down and even tougher to forget. I, actually, picked this one up for the cover and was thrilled that it held so much more than I expected. It's not a light read, although packed with imagination. There are triggers galore, tons of grit, and a wonderful dose of magic.

And that wraps up the year 2021! I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at all of the books during the last 365 days and thank you for every glimpse you've given. I do enjoy doing this and find every review request like a surprise present...yep, I really get giddy when it comes to Kidlit. 

And with that, I wish all of you a...


Glitter text was found at

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