Marcia Strykowski

New Library Books

Librarians are often asked how they choose books for their collections. I’d like to share some of the beautiful new children’s books I’ve recently acquired for my library. Unlike many public libraries, our fiscal year begins in January, rather than July to June, so lots of new purchases are coming in (although fortunately for our town, the flow is pretty constant throughout the year).

By Lewis Hine - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain

By Lewis Hine – U.S. National Archives and Records Admin. Public Domain

As a children’s author, I try to keep up with all of the latest releases anyway, so filling in on book ordering was second nature. I’ve spent tons of time checking out reviews on sites such as Goodreads, participating in discussion boards—SCBWI for example, and most of all perusing professional review journals like SLJ, PW, Booklist, and Horn Book to narrow down my choices. It’s important to not only pick the most beautiful or popular, but to also check out what’s trending locally and balance the subject matter (as well as the budget) in order to have a good variety of picture books, easy readers, chapter books, middle grade fiction and nonfiction in our collection.

Let me know what you think of the following choices, and if you have any recent favorites feel free to share your suggestions in the comments that follow this post.

These are all 2016 picture book titles. I’ve already read through most of them, loving each one as much or more than the previous one.2016 E Bks 2So many new wonderful books featuring adorable animal characters of all shapes and sizes. (Thrilled to see anthropomorphic characters are still popular despite one comment I received from an editor.)
2016 E more

Great middle grade fiction—just released!2016 J F

With nonfiction, I try to fill spaces in our collection or replace outdated books on important subjects, noting in particular the needs of the community I serve.
2016 J NF

I also love picture book biographies, including these new titles.
2016 E biog

Brand new 2016 nonfiction for the youngest set!
2016 E NF

Much of what we order hinges on patron requests (another staff member is currently selecting YA and graphic novels). Usually we have a preference for hardcover rather than paperback, since it’s much more durable for long term use.

My library receives a lot of donations throughout the year. Whether we add them to our collection depends on many factors: Do we already own the book? Is it in better condition than our copy? Is it a somewhat recent publication date? Subject matter requirements and production quality are also top considerations. If we can’t use the item, we save it for our book sale. If it’s been sitting in someone’s barn for decades and has a musty smell, we pass it along to be recycled.

That’s all for Book Collection 101, thanks for reading!

If you’d like to see a popular post about some of my favorite older picture books, please click on this photo collage.

pic books favorite - Copy

Or how about my picture book favorites from around the world? Click on this colorful duo if you’d like.
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46 Comments

  1. Thank you, Marcia!

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  2. Wow, all great books! And there’s nothing to lift a heart on a Monday, than to see a wonderful collection of book covers. =)

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  3. They all look like great additions to your library. I have heard good things about
    Emmanuel´s Dream. I am sure the children will have many hours of reading enjoyment.

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  4. Louise Pryor

    I loved looking at your list of books, Marcia. Here are two more I’d like to suggest: “Of Thee I Sing” by Barack Obama (inspiring pictures and descriptions of famous people who have given much to the world) and “Legendary” by Dan Green (retelling of famous legends around the world with some humorous pictures and comments–very well illustrated as well as clear and simple retelling of the stories.)

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    • We actually already have “Of Thee I Sing” in the collection, but “Legendary” sounds interesting. I’ll look into it. Thanks for sharing these titles, Louise!

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  5. It’s great to get a peek behind the scenes! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. What a wonderful and informative post, Marcia! I too am really impressed with the variety of excellent picture book biographies–and, really, all the touching and humorous picture books being published now!

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    • It’s a wonderful thing that all these beautiful books are still being produced during the internet generation. I hope books will continue for many more years in the way candles are still around despite the invention of electricity. Thanks for stopping by, Kath!

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  7. This is such a lovely post Marcia, thanks for sharing. I love books, all books. I am sure these will be enjoyed by so many 🙂 . I am due to go to my local library and pick out some books for me to read to my daughter. I look forward to see if they have any of these titles. 🙂

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    • Have a fun trip to your library, Lynne! I’m sure you’ll find many good choices. 🙂

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  8. Judi

    What a great post Marcia! Does my heart good! Looks like you are really good at this!

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  9. mirkabreen

    What an abundance of riches up there, Marcia!

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  10. Rebecca C

    As a former librarian, I really enjoyed reading your post (and as an author, I enjoyed drooling over the pictures of your newly-acquired books!). Books are all “supplier selected” where I live now. So glad to hear library staff elsewhere are still allowed to select the books themselves!

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    • I’m surprised to learn books are supplier-selected in England. I would think that could either greatly hurt or help a book’s chances in getting out there in the world, although perhaps the supplier varies the order between libraries rather than ordering the same collection for each. And I’m sure it can be cost effective, as well. Very interesting, thanks for sharing, Rebecca!

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  11. What an incredible range of books going from agricultural engineering to a molasses flood (I’m curious about the one) to Bengal tigers–and that’s just among the nonfiction group.

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    • Sheryl, you’ll have to check into the terrifying molasses flood. It happened in Boston, MA one hundred years ago when a huge storage tank burst. Thousands of gallons of molasses gushed through the streets at 35 miles per hour with fatal results of horses and people being thrashed about and getting stuck waist-high. 😦

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      • What a fun story! I’m going to have to look for this book.

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  12. Ashley

    I love learning about what goes on at the library and these book selections look super! The old-fashioned picture is cool, too!

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    • I thought that photograph was wonderful, too. It was taken in West Virginia. 🙂

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  13. OK, Marcia, I can’t tell you how much I love this post!! Being a teacher I have a good collection of children’s books (in fact the built in bookcases in our family room are all children’s favorites!!) But they are mostly older books– so it’s a treasure to get your brand new recommendations! My son and daughter in law asked for only children’s books when their daughter was born– and have a website, Mae’s book list, where I can check to see which books they already have when I’m looking for books for her. My favorite picture book is Wolf!– about the wolf who learns to read to impress his farm friends. And from your list I’m rushing out to buy the Ada Lovelace biography– because my other (physics teacher) son named his youngest daughter after Ada Lovelace!! I had no idea there was a picture book about her! thanks Marcia!! xox

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    • Oh, that’s great, Rhonda. You will love the Ada Lovelace book. It’s brand new and one of the prettiest (as well as interesting) picture biographies I’ve seen. I love picture books–such works of art and fun to collect. I will look into WOLF, thanks for the recommendation!
      I just looked up WOLF by Becky Bloom–very cute!

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      • That’s it. Becky Bloom. I like the disdainful way the farm animals talk to the illiterate Wolf and then how he pulls it together. — anyway, thanks, thanks for all your great recommendations! I’ll look up the Ada Lovelace for our girl!!

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        • 🙂

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          • Hi Marcia– I was telling our librarian at school about your new book post– and am sending her the link to get all your suggestions! thanks again!

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            • Oh, great, thanks for sharing my blog, Rhonda. 🙂

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  14. Do include “Pen Pal” by Francesca Forrest ( or is our connection the result of our both being fans?)

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  15. This is such a delightful post Marcia. I would love to visit your library and browse through all these super books. As that is impossible, I will just enjoy them here, thank you.

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    • Hi Barbara, glad you were able to stop in and browse from across the pond!

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  16. In July it will be time for me to order books for my school library. I have started compiling my list, but it was wonderful to see the books you have picked! Glad to hear you have read most of the picture books- they look so good. I can’t wait to read The Key to Extraordinary. I loved A Snicker of Magic. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Good idea to keep an ongoing list–so many great books released each month. I’m looking forward to Key to Ex…, too! Thanks for your comment, Stephanie.

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  17. Bette Norton

    I enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful children’s books you have here! Some I am familiar with and most I am not. I have a collection of pictures books myself and enjoy reading them and looking at the beautiful illustrations. In this Internet day and age, I like you, am so happy to see picture books and middle readers and just books in general still going strong. It sounds like you have a lot of fun at your job as a librarian. Thank you for another delightful but informative post! 🙂

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    • I do have fun on the job. Thanks for sharing your love of books, Bette!

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  18. What an inspiring post, Marcia. I can’t wait to take your list to the library and have a feast!

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    • Enjoy your library feast! 🙂 I always tell people, when asked, check out as many books as you can carry.

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  19. Oh, so many great books here! I’m looking forward to reading Ada Lovelace and hope my library carries a copy. Marcia, you previously mentioned the National Library Board in Singapore and yes, that’s the one I always go to (my branch anyway). I’ll go look for a copy of your books the next time I’m there!

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    • Thanks so much, Claudine. Not sure if your branch will have my books or not, but I do know the main system has them listed, so maybe your local librarian can borrow them for you. 🙂

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  20. booklovinggrandma

    That is one of the things I really miss since my “enforced retirement” (read: the school was moving to a new location and there was no space for a library). I felt like a kid with a new toy when new books arrived. Thank you for liking my blog posts.

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    • It IS lots of fun to open a box of shiny new books, sometimes even before they are officially released! 🙂

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