30 Best Children's Books of 2021

Get ready to read! The winners of our 13th annual list are brimming with excitement, adventure, and kindness.

An image of books and a seal on a colorful background.
Photo: Courtesy of Publishers. Parents.

Best Board Books for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Perfect for gifting at baby showers and holidays, these winning board books—many with interactive elements—held the attention of our youngest testers. Browse the winners here.

Outside, Inside book
Courtesy of Roaring Brook Press

Best Picture Books for Kids Ages 3 to 8

With appealing plots and stunning illustrations, these 12 picks (including a few non-fiction titles) will become your child's story time favorites. Keep reading to your kids, even when they can do it on their own! Browse the winners here.

Pawcasso book
Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co. BYR Paperbacks

Best Chapter Books for Kids Ages 5 to 12

Our squad of junior reviewers gave us their word: Out of more than 100 early readers, graphic novels, and middle-grade books they tested, these are the 10 they most loved reading independently. From a re-telling of Peter Pan to fantasy with feminist vibes, our winning stories embody compassion and friendship. Browse the winners here.

not here to be liked book
Courtesy of HarperCollins

10 Best Books for Teens

Our middle-school and high-school reviewers collectively read tens of thousands of pages to land on their favorite YA picks of the year, plus a few coffee-table style books they couldn't resist. Gift accordingly: Teens will have time to read for fun over holiday break. Browse the winners here.

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's December 2021 issue as "The Most Wonderful Books of the Year." Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here

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