A year full of challenges and transformations within the book industry has nonetheless failed to hold back the lists of superlative books for young readers. Here we round up the best of the Best-Ofs.

Publishers Weekly’s Best Children’s and YA Books of 2021:

Curated from PW’s reviews of children’s and YA books published in 2021, these were our selections for the top 50 books of the year for readers of all ages.

The New York Times:

The Times selected a bevy of best books across picture books, middle grade, and YA for its “25 Best Children’s Books of 2021.”

School Library Journal Best Books 2021:

SLJ shared its top books of 2021, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, YA, nonfiction, and graphic novels.

Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 2021:

The editors of Booklist presented their selections for exceptional children and young adults across genres.

The Horn Book Fanfare:

A list of the picture book, fiction, and nonfiction that Horn Book editors and reviewers have deemed the best of 2021.

Kirkus’s Best Picture Books of 2021:

Kirkus editors’ picks for the year’s best picture books.

Kirkus’s Best Middle Grade Books of 2021:

Kirkus’s selection of top middle grade books published this year.

Kirkus’s Best YA Books of 2021:

The year’s best books for teens, chosen by Kirkus.

Kirkus’s Best Board Books of 2021:

The year’s best board books for toddlers, chosen by Kirkus.

The Washington Post:

Author-illustrator Raúl the Third and Washington Post reviewers shared their favorite middle grade, nonfiction, and picture books of the year.

The Wall Street Journal:

Children’s reviewer Meghan Cox Gurdon presented her selection of best children’s books of 2021.

Boston Globe: Best of 2021 Books: Children’s

Outstanding titles, as selected by the Boston Globe.


Time’s 10 best YA, middle grade, and children’s books of 2021.

People Magazine Picks the Best Children's Books of 2021

NYPL Best Books of 2021 for Kids:

NYPL’s librarians selected the best 145 books of 2021 for kids.

NYPL Best Books of 2021 for Teens:

NYPL’s librarians shared their top 50 books for teens this year.

Chicago Public Library:

CPL’s best of the best in children’s and teen books.

Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year:

The children’s book committee at Bank Street College of Education compiled more than 600 titles for its year-end lists, organized by age range.

The Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature Best Books 2021:

This list of outstanding diverse books was curated by Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada, Dr. Sujin Huggins, Dr. Naomi Caldwell, and Patricia Miranda.

American Indians in Children’s Literature Best Books of 2021:

AICL revealed its selections for the best books for young readers by Native and First Nations writers and illustrators.


This year’s favorites from the editors and producers of NPR in the Book Concierge.

The Guardian:

A compilation of the best picture books, middle grade, and YA novels.

Quill & Quire’s 2021 Books of the Year: Books for Young People:

Selections from the Canadian magazine’s editors.

Waterstones Best Books of 2021:

Rounding up the U.K.’s best children’s fiction this year.

Goodreads Choice Awards 2021:

The year’s best books in 20 categories, as voted on by Goodreads users.

Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2021:

Amazon editors picked the top 20 books of the year for readers of all ages, and the top 20 in each category.

Barnes & Noble’s Best Books of 2021:

B&N named its best books of 2020 for adults, teens, and kids.

The New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award for 2021:

The award made its comeback after skipping last year due to Covid-19.

Parents Top Children’s Picks of 2021:

Parents named its top 30 children’s books of 2021, selected by the magazine’s editorial team.

Parents Best Books for Teens of 2021:

Parents’ editors presented their top 10 teen reads.

100 Scope Notes:

Travis Jonker shared his list of best children’s books of the year.

Book Riot:

Book Riot assembled its guide to the must-reads of 2021.

Book Riot Best Children’s Books of 2021:

Picks for the best middle grade and children’s books of 2021.


Standout YA picks of the year.


Their top 10 children’s books of the year.

Marie Claire:

The best books of the year according to Amazon, including titles for teens and adults.

BookPage: The Best Books of 2021


A list of best young adult science fiction, fantasy, and horror books published in 2021.

Brightly’s Best Picture Books of 2021:

The Brightly editors revealed their top picks for toddlers ages up to three, kids ages three to five, younger readers ages six to eight, tweens, and teens in five specially curated lists.

Brightly’s Best Middle Grade & Chapter Books of 2021

Brightly’s Best YA Books of 2021