OwlCrate Jr's Favorite Books of 2021!

By: OwlCrate Jr Photo By: @xiomys_book_tales
Goodbye 2021!

A few members of Team OwlCrate Jr want to share some of their favorite books of the year with you! While we obviously love every single book we include in our boxes, we wanted to share some other books you may not be aware of! That said, a couple of OwlCrate Jr book may have snuck on to the list 😉

Kellie's Picks:
The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

A ruffian goat, a monk with amblyopia, an orphaned boy, a former king and a mysterious girl come together to create an absolutely delightful cast of characters on a quest together. Set in a medieval-inspired backdrop, it’s a gentle tale with a tribute to friendship, and of reading and of bravery! My favorite this year.

*This one also made Sally's top 3!

I fell in love with this medieval fairy-tale from its beautifully illustrated first page. If you are looking for a great read-aloud the whole family will get wrapped up in, the mysterious Beatryce and her ragtag group of loyal friends are a sure bet. - Sally

Cece Rios and The Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera

We read this book aloud and my kids could not get enough. Cece is relatable and brave and most readers will be able to find a piece of themselves in her. We cheered her on as she took us on an epic adventure where she learned to hone her Bruja powers. Read this for a nonstop adventure about the power of friendship and family.




The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari

This imaginative tale will take readers into a parallel universe where things are perfect. For Charlie it means all the hot cocoa and Scrabble games his heart desires. The truest thing his heart desires is there too, his mom. He knows that spending time with his mom is making his sister sick, and he struggles to have it all.
As a child of parental loss, I was deeply moved at the approach to grief in this book. Highly recommend for those that have experienced loss of someone they love.


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Sally's Picks*:

To keep things fair, all of my favorite middle grade picks of the year will be non-OwlCrate Jr picks, since I obviously loved all of them!

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

This was my number one book of 2021. Is it strange to say I want to be an Ogress when I grow up? Too late. Reading this book brought back a feeling of total immersion into a story that I haven't felt since I was a kid. The characters are wonderful (or wonderfully awful in some cases) and will stay with you for a very long time.



A Duet For Home by Karina Yan Glaser

This duel-perspective contemporary story is told by June and Tyrell, two kids with seemingly different family circumstances who end up living in the same homeless shelter. Glaser does an incredible job balancing a heavy topic that effects so many families, with joy, friendship, and a shared love of classical music. It made me cry and warmed my heart!




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Crystal's Picks:
The Barren Grounds by David A Robertson

Canadian. A portal to another world. Snowy and atmospheric. A sassy squirrel side character. Sign me up! I listened to the audiobook and it was a lovely escape. It is the story of two Indigenous kids in foster care, each dealing with their new situation in their own way. I enjoyed their journey both in the real world and in the snowy north. I have yet to read the sequel (The Great Bear) but am looking forward to it!




Judy Bloom Collection

Earlier in the year, someone asked me who I thought was the modern day Judy Blume. I had to say I didn’t know because I had never read any Judy Blume. I corrected that by reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing; Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret; and Blubber. I enjoyed all three of them. I feel there was something timeless about each story that reminded me that growing up is tough but it makes us who we are. I admired Margaret for researching other religions (pre-internet!) before making a decision on what she wanted as opposed to simply settling for what others wanted for her. I’m glad I finally read some of Blume’s work and can now understand more pop culture references. If you have ideas about the modern day Judy Blume would be, please let us know in the comments!

Judy Moody Was in a Mood by Megan McDonald

As part of my Modern Blume Quest, I read the first Judy Moody book by Megan McDonald. There’s something nostalgic about revisiting middle school and seeing a bit of yourself in any number of characters. Judy definitely moves to the beat of her own drum, has a best friend, an annoying brother and a quirky collection (bandaids!). It was a fun refreshing read and I can see why this series is so popular.




What great books did you read in 2021?
Let us know in the comments!

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