Publisher Weekly’s Best Books of 2019

Hard to believe we are coming up on the time of year where publishers, magazines, and organizations are posting their best books list. Most of what comes out before Christmas I consider the best of list….so far. With another month and a half to go, I believe there will be other books to add to this growing list.

The trouble with Best of Lists, especially for librarians, is the time to read all of the books. While I do try to catch up with new books in my down-time, between picture books, early readers, middle grade, teen, and my own pleasure reading, I simply cannot keep up.

The best of lists help me find books that I might have missed, so I can be sure to share these books with the parents who come in to our department looking for books.

Publisher’s Weekly recently published their recent lists. I was dismayed to see I had only read a few of the books on the list. How had I missed so many? However, my dismay didn’t last long, because it meant I had another list of great books to catch up on.

If you are interested in seeing the list, follow the link below.

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Pete the Cat

If you have young kids you probably have read Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy buttons more times than you can count. The reason these books are so popular are:

  • The illustrations are simple and fun
  • The text is repetitive making it easy for kids to join in
  • The story is predictable…in a good way. The kids can anticipate what will happen next giving them confidence and sequencing skills
  • There are songs that go along with them!

In case you have been living under a rock, I present to you Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons… and I’m sorry, you’ll sing it the rest of the day.

Kids not only love hearing the same story over and over again, but they need to hear the same stories to build vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency. I know it can be hard to read the same book every night, finding read alongs on Youtube or audiobooks will help your kids get what they need, while you take a much needed break from your child’s most loved book.

Source: Kamboompics on

Don’t forget to connect the book with some fun games. Take all those spare buttons that have popped off clothes that you intend, but never end up sewing back on. Arrange them on a tray. Talk about them with your child. The color, shape and size. Then have them turn around and take one button away. See if they know which one is missing. This helps build working memory, an important reading skill!

Don’ Forget These Pete the Cat books (Like you could!)

I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on the links it takes you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale. I am not paid to review products or books, the opinions are those of Building Future Readers.

Sing Together

Go out for a walk and pretend to be Pete the Cat stepping in puddles, mud, or whatever else you find. Talk about the sounds your boots make, or the sound of the water or mud. Use fun onomatopoeia words like squelch, squish, plop and more. See what fun words you can come up with together.

What is your family’s favorite Pete the Cat book?

Youtube Short Film: Hair Love

A friend shared the short film Hair Love on Facebook not too long ago. This short film is heartwarming and beautifully made in its simplicity. I love when books and films show fathers in non-traditional roles and I love to see more diverse projects.

This movie is for everyone. So pull up a box of Kleenex and be prepared to weep.

Keep the Hair Love going with these great books

I am an Amazon affiliate. If you click on a link it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I will receive a portion of the sale.

4 Library Apps to know

Libraries aren’t only buildings anymore. No matter where you are, you and your family can access ebooks, audiobooks, movies and more from these apps. These services are all for free through your local library and come with the added bonus of no due dates to remember or late fines to feel guilty about. Check out what your library has to offer. Here is a small tasting of what’s out there. And if you see a service your library doesn’t have, let them know. Librarians love service suggestions!

Search for new books, magazines, movies and more from the comfort of your home!


Also known as Overdrive, Libby is an app that lets you access the ebooks and mp3 audiobooks your library or consortium owns. No matter where you are, all you need is a library card number and pin to have access to thousands of books on your phone, tablet or computer. We have used Libby for the kids when they forget required reading at school or if we find ourselves waiting at an appointment longer than we thought. With books for all ages, this app will be a sure hit for families on the go. Better yet, the books return automatically, so no late fines or lost items!


Hoopla is starting to take hold at many libraries. This app created by Midwest Tapes allows multiple people to check out movies, TV shows, music, books, and audiobooks. Popular series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate are always available so no need to wait for the library copy. They also sponsor a movie of the month and book club reads. My favorite option at the library is to use the read -a-long books for programs to encourage print awareness while we have fun reading the story together. Pros are many: easy access, no fines or lost materials, and unlike Libby, you can access an item no matter if 30 other people also have it checked out. The library pays for each download, so it saves the library money and provides incredible access to its customers. The cons: as a new service many popular titles aren’t available, but as their popularity grows and their licensing expands, expect to see new hot titles added in the upcoming months.


Like Hoopla, this is a streaming service for movies and TV shows. You may find hard to find titles and like Hoopla and Overdrive there are no late fees or list materials. The streaming service won’t get you at the top of the list for the newest superhero movie, but you will find some film gems among its listings.

Source: Kanopy, Inc.


Love magazines? Hate that you can’t find or check out the newest issue at the library? Flipster has you covered. An app available on phones or tablets, it brings you magazines with the news, style, or designs you seek. All without fees or fines because it returns automatically

Libraries are not a relic of the past but maintain relevance in the community by keeping up with technology and technological trends. Show your local library some love and check out some of the digital services they provide for your community. All for FREE!

What digital library service do you love? How has it helped your family build future readers?