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2017 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea

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It’s time to take a look back at the year that was in children’s lit miscellanea.

Read previous Year in Miscellanea Posts:


Dedication of the Year: I’m Just No Good at Rhyming by Chris Harris and Lane Smith (feat. Molly Leach)

(Click to Enlarge)

Just no good

This lol-worthy dedication sets the perfect tone for one of the most hilarious (and best) books of 2017.

Best Dressed: Jerry Pinkney wearing The Lion & the Mouse

JP Lion

Pinkney is spotted here literally WEARING his greatest artistic achievement on his chest and still exudes his trademark graciousness. Yet another reason why he’s an all-timer, folks.

Copyright Page of the Year: Tidy by Emily Gravett


Badger gets rid of the copyright page clutter.

Book Spine of the Year: Alphabet Thief by Bill Richardson, illustrated by Roxanna Bikadoroff


Where did that letter go?

Book Title of the Year: Beauty and the Beak


This also gets the award for Cheekiest Nonfiction Title of the Year

The Dewey’s Christmas at the Library Memorial Award for Pandering: Creepin’ Through the Snow (The Creeper Diaries)


Minecraft, Wimpy Kid, Christmas – this book is pandering so hard, it almost explodes.

Picture Book Case Cover of the Year: All the Way to Havana illustrated by Mike Curato, written by Margarita Engle



I’m letting kids call this one. The case of All the Way to Havana received more storytime oohs and ahhs than any other book I read in 2017.

Best DJ: The yolk in Eggsistential Thoughts

Egg DJ

I want to make a music pun joke here, but I’ll spare you.

Postage Stamp of the Year: The Snowy Day


Show me someone who isn’t a fan of this move by the USPS. I will be surprised.

Best Feeling Book of the Year – No, Not the Book That Gives You the Best Feelings, the Book That Literally Feels the Best When You Touch It: The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater, illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Antlered Ship

I’ve never felt a picture book like this before – textured to the point of roughness. Or, as Minh Lê puts it:

Two-Page Spread of the Year: Town Is by the Sea illustrated by Sydney Smith, written by Joanne Schwartz

Town Is by the Sea

Sun on water has never looked better.

Best Temporary Tattoo Artist: Oliver Jeffers

Seemingly Curmudgeonly Tweet That’s Actually a Question We Should All Ask Ourselves

‘Cause I gotta say, I’m pretty good with solitude on this one.

Word of the Year: Pants

Be they green, under, stolen, princess, giant, or the nonexistent variety, pants were everywhere in 2017 (Credit: Julie Danielson)

The “We’re Good” Award: Biographies of Pete Seeger

We’re good.

Boring Grown-Up Cereal of the Year (Runner Up): Cardboard


Boring Grown-Up Cereal of the Year (Winner): Leaves


Both are from the cereal aisle scene in Dan Santat’s After the Fall – one of the most memorable spreads of 2017:

After the Fall

Best Amos & Boris Tribute: Tea with Oliver by Mika Song


That boat in the picture on the wall looks familiar . . .

Amos & Boris

Best Seemingly Random Appearance of an Influential 90s Band in a Recent Young People’s Literature News Story: Blues Traveler weighing in on the Handbook for Mortals New York Times Bestseller List Controversy


There was some shady business behind YA book Handbook for Mortals hitting the NYT Bestseller list, and John Popper from Blues Traveller had an unlikely connection.

Best Collision of Hip Hop and Children’s Lit (Current): Ludacris and Llama Llama

Pete the Cat was watching this like “I need to get back into the studio.”

Best Collision of Hip Hop and Children’s Lit (After the Fact): Roald Dahl and Kanye West


via the Dissect podcast, I learned that the introduction to Kanye West’s 2010 masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is an adaptation of the Cinderella story from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.

Picture Book Cover of the Year: Lucía the Luchadora illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez, written by Cynthia Leonor Garza


Just the right amount of cute. Just the right amount of cool. Striking but not too busy. This cover is sure to be catching eyes for years to come.

Weirdest Book of the Year: My Valley by Claude Ponti

My Valley

My Valley 1

Originally published in France, My Valley made it to the U.S. in 2017. It’s a completely surreal and psychedelic experience from page one. I highly recommend it.

Cameos of the Year: Clifford and Pigeon in Mama Lion Wins the Race

Mama Lion

The Pigeon is used to making cameos (he appears in every Mo Willems book), but a Clifford sighting is like spotting Daniel Day Lewis at Starbucks or something.

#BookfaceFriday of the Year: Maniac Magee

The best ongoing book-related hashtag in all of social media delivered us this stroke of genius in 2017.

The Slow Your Roll Award: Pantone


Look, Pantone, I love you. Great colors. But the Pantone editions of classic books are just a step too far.

Children’s Literature Movie Hype of 2017: Wonder

Children’s Literature Movie Hype of 2018: A Wrinkle in Time

Trend to Watch in 2018: ‘Roid Raging Lincoln

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. The “We’re Good” Award.


  2. Brenda Maier says

    Joy! This list is so creative and so much fun!