Our children’s section is filled with books beloved by both children and their parents, but exploring our collection can be a daunting prospect. Most of our highest-circulating titles are parts in larger series, some of which extend to seven, ten, or even more books! This is simply a reality of the current literary landscape – it’s far easier to maintain readership with long-running series.
But while many of our patrons love reading series, they often seek out a standalone title to read between installments their other favorites. A common misconception is that those standalone titles are only “classics,” or that publishers aren’t releasing great single stories anymore. This couldn’t be further from the truth! If you’re eager to check out a children’s book but don’t want a series-length commitment, we have many, many options.
A great place to start are our Parent/Child Book Clubs, held on the fourth Tuesday and Wednesday of every month. We often showcase great standalone books in these clubs, like HONEY, EL DEAFO, and CIRCUS MIRANDUS – all of which are recently published. Registration for our final book clubs before summer reading begins on April 1 at provolibrary.com.
Even you can’t make it to one of our book clubs, fear not: the Library has a huge supply of standalone stories. One of this librarian’s favorites from 2015 is HOODOO by Ronald Smith. HOODOO is set in the Deep South during the Great Depression, and features a young boy who belongs to a long tradition of practicing magic, but struggles with spells himself. He and his family face down a strange, evil visitor who threatens their town and entire way of life. This is a truly spooky story that is rich in period detail. And while it, like many great standalone titles, hints at a potential sequel, it more than holds its own as an independent piece.
Series are a huge part of our Library, and a big reason our patrons love to keep visiting, but there’s a big world of single-volume stories waiting for readers. Come visit one of our children’s librarians for even more recommendations!
When I think about books with illustrations, children’s picture books are the first thing that comes to mind. However, recently I’ve read a few Young Adult novels that not only had illustrations, but illustrations that really added to the story! These are just a few of many illustrated YA novels owned by the Provo City Library.
I’ve recently moved back to Provo after working at a library in Virginia. This title was our 1book 1community read for 2015 and the story has stayed with me since I read it last October. The book itself isn’t very long, but the story is deep and the black and white illustrations contribute to the dark feeling throughout the majority of the book.
I listened to this book (and really enjoyed the narrator!), but about halfway through the book I realized that I needed to take a look at the printed version of the story. This book is told in three voices and in the print version the ink color is different for each character’s voice. The full color illustrations and scattered black and white images add to the fairy tale and contemporary storylines. While Jodi Picoult is largely known for her adult titles, she co-wrote this novel with her teenage daughter. I’m anxious to start reading the sequel Off the Page which came out in 2015!
Although I read this book several years ago when it first came out, the story and illustrations have stayed with me. This is a title (and series) that I recommend frequently, as well as anything written by Scott Westerfeld since he’s one of my favorite YA authors. The artwork is not only beautiful, but the drawings helped me picture the various beasts and machines that make up the bulk of this alternate history book.
Confession time, I haven’t actually read this one yet. I own a signed copy, but that tends to be the death of me actually reading a book since there’s not a due date! While this book doesn’t actually have illustrations, it does have photographs scattered throughout the book. The photos are a little strange and creepy, but I’ve been told they are essential to enjoying the story. I’m going to move this up to the top of my to-be-read pile as soon as I unpack my boxes of books from my recent move!
I encourage you to try an illustrated YA novel today, but be aware if you flip through the pictures before starting the book…you might just spoil the story based on what you see!
Find them in the catalog: