The New York Public Library Unveils Best Books Of 2021 List From Harlem To Hollis

November 23, 2021

The New York Public Library from Harlem to Hollis has unveiled our Best Books of 2021 list. This almost century-long tradition gives the Library an opportunity to highlight new, diverse, inspiring titles and connect New Yorkers and readers from all over with books that spark excitement, curiosity, and a love of reading.

With the holidays just around the corner and many people looking for gift ideas, stocking stuffers, or something new to read on a trip, the Best Books list is especially timely.

Nearly 300 books spanning all age groups, genres, and formats were selected by expert librarians and staff across the NYPL system (Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island).

The lists include Best Books for Kids (100 titles), Mejores libros para pequeños (Best Books for Kids in Spanish. 45 titles), Best Books for Teens (50 titles), and Best Books for Adults (100 titles).

A Top 10 for each category was chosen including a Top 10 Poetry list.

The top 10 for each category can be seen below:

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
Mejores libros para pequeños/Best Books for Kids 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
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
Books for Adults
  • 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
Poetry Books for Adults
  • Doppelgangbanger: Poems by Cortney Lamar Charleston
  • Extremely Lightweight Guns: Poems by Nikki Moustaki
  • frank: sonnets by Diane Seuss
  • If God Is a Virus: Poems by Seema Yasmin
  • Mama Phife Represents: A Verse Memoir by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor
  • Oh You Robot Saints! by Rebecca Morgan Frank
  • The Perseverance: Poems by Raymond Antrobus
  • Popular Longing by Natalie Shapero
  • Transversal: Poems by Urayoán Noel
  • What Noise Against the Cane by Desiree C. Bailey

The full list of Best Books can be found here. And buy your favorite book listed here at

The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming, and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years.

The New York Public Library serves nearly 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at

To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at

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