The best books of 2021, as chosen by the New York Public Library

The best books of 2021, as chosen by the New York Public Library

It’s that time of year again: The New York Public Library has named its picks for best books of 2021.

This year’s selection comprises 295 books, representing titles in adult, teen and children categories. Spanning genres and formats, the books were chosen by librarians and staff across the New York Public Library system, and were evaluated on criteria such as “literary merit, audience appeal, and whether titles are representative of the diversity of New York City,” according to an announcement.

“At the heart of the Library’s mission is encouraging and supporting a true love of reading in all New Yorkers; a critical part of that mission is using our expertise to recommend books we believe will capture imaginations, keep people turning pages, and spark a love of reading that lasts a lifetime,” Lynn Lobash, associate director of the NYPL’s Readers Services team, said. “The incredible, century-old tradition of naming the year’s best books gives everyone a place to start or continue their reading journey. There is something on this list for everyone”

All titles may be checked out for free at the New York Public Library, which newly enacted a no-late-fine policy.

Here are the top 10 books in each category. A full list of titles can be found here.

All titles in alphabetical order.

Top 10 Adult Books

  • “Act Your Age, Eve Brown: A Novel” by Talia Hibbert
  • “All Her Little Secrets: A Novel” by Wanda M. Morris
  • “The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories” by Mariana Enriquez, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
  • “Hell of a Book: A Novel” by Jason Mott
  • “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America” by Clint Smith
  • “Light from Uncommon Stars” by Ryka Aoki
  • “Mama Phife Represents: A Verse Memoir” by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor
  • “The Rock Eaters: Stories” by Brenda Peynado
  • “Shadow Life” by Hiromi Goto
  • “She Who Became the Sun: A Novel” by Shelley Parker-Chan

Top 10 Teen Books

  • “Boys Run the Riot, Vol. 1” by Keito Gaku
  • “Crossroads at Midnight” by Abby Howard
  • “How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe” by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
  • “Iron Widow” by Xiran Jay Zhao
  • “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo
  • “Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human” by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan
  • “Nubia: Real One” by L.L. McKinney, illustrated by Robyn Smith
  • “Perfectly Parvin” by Olivia Abtahi
  • “Punching Bag” by Rex Ogle
  • “The Witch King” by H.E. Edgmon

Top 10 Children’s Books

  • “Artie and the Wolf Moon” by Olivia Stephens
  • “Barakah Beats” by Maleeha Siddiqui
  • “The Big Bath House” by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Gracey Zhang
  • “Living with Viola” by Rosena Fung
  • “The Magical Imperfect” by Chris Baron
  • “Milo Imagines the World” by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
  • “Over the Shop” by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng
  • “Stuntboy, in the Meantime” by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Raúl the Third
  • “Welcome to Your Period!” by Yumi Stynes and Dr. Melissa Kang, illustrated by Jenny Latham
  • “The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees Work Together to Form a Natural Kingdom” by Lita Judge

Los 10 mejores libros para pequeños

[Top 10 Children’s Books (in Spanish)]

  • “Érase una vez y mucho más será” by Johanna Schaible
  • “Escucha mi voz / Hear My Voice” compiled by Warren Binford for Project Amplify
  • “Lucero” by Yuyi Morales, translated by Eida Del Risco
  • “¡Mambo mucho mambo! El baile que atravesó la barrera del color” by Dean Robbins, translated by Georgina Lázaro, illustrated by Eric Velasquez
  • “Mis dos pueblos fronterizos” by David Bowles, illustrated by Erika Meza
  • “Nuncaseolvida (Neverforgotten)” by Alejandra Algorta, translated by Aida Salazar, illustrated by Iván Rickenmann
  • “Un pájaro en casa” by Blanca Gómez
  • “La selva de Zonia” by Juana Martinez-Neal
  • “Sunakay” by Meritxell Martí, illustrated by Xavier Salomó
  • “Tancho” by Luciano Lozano

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