- 74 complete books read (17 children books, 44 books for young people, 4 graphic novels, 33 non-fiction books or memoirs, 1 poetry book, 10 audiobooks, and 43 for grad school)
- 68 authors (repeats include Libba Bray, Kiera Cass, Steve Sheinkin and Sy Montgomery while some books had multiple authors)
- 42 female authors, 25 male authors, 1 I’m not sure of
- 1 dead (RIP Lawrence Anthony), 2 unknown (Bibi Dumon Tak, Loic Dauvillier)
- 15 nationalities/ethnicities besides white American: Chinese American (Malinda Lo), Korean American (Linda Sue Park), Israeli American (Irin Carmon), African American (Kadir Nelson), African American (Taye Diggs), Mexican American (Duncan Tonatiuh), Pakistani (Malala Yousafzai), British (David Almond and Paula Hawkins), British Canadian (Andrea Spalding), South African (Lawrence Anthony), Zimbabwean (Graham Spence), American Indian (Eric Gansworth), born in Germany but lives in America (Sy Montgomery), writes in French (Loic Dauvillier), writes in Polish (Bibi Dumon Tak)
- 1 American Indian author from Onodaga Nation (Eric Gansworth)
Constructing my top 10 this year was tricky because so much of my reading was for grad school, and I didn’t necessarily love what I read. Over the last few years I’ve developed unofficial categories of favorite books which this year I didn’t fill. I didn't read a Classic I Should Have Read Already, or a Pulitzer Winner/Nominee, or a Book About Race. Even though I read far more books, I could only muster up a top 9 this year.
- The Good Girl by Mary Kubica and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
- Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
- Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone
3. Can I Play Too? by Mo Willems: Last year I had never even heard of Mo Willems, and he took my number one spot on Top Books That Don't Count. I have read many of his darling Elephant and Piggie books, but this one is top notch. Elephant and Piggie are playing catch with a ball when Snake appears wanting to play too. Willems does a fantastic job of showing how people are uncomfortable addressing differently abled people and how being different shouldn't mean being left out.
4. How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman illustrated by Allen Say: This charming classic tale (originally published in 1987) features a little girl telling the story of her parents falling in love. Her white American father was in the military where he met her Japanese mother. Although they were quite smitten with each other, each was too shy to ask the other on a dinner date because they worried about looking foolish in front of each other maneuvering chopsticks or a fork and knife. This book needs more love in 2016 than it gets, especially as the population of mixed race people continues to grow in America. I would recommend this for every child's bookshelf. It's a perfect mirror for any child who is living in a multicultural home and a beautiful window for any child who is not.
5. Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh: who can do no wrong which you can clearly see based on all the medals on the cover. Another amazing non-fiction book from Tonatiuh (last year his picture book Separate is Never Equal was also on my Top 5 List of Books That Don't Count), this one tells the story of Jose Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican artist who is most well known for his calaveras, or skeletons, living their best skelelives. Informative and fun and beautifully illustrated in Tonatiuh's signature style mixed with Possada's totally different style - it has everything a children's picture book should.