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CRC Reads: December 2021

Visit this site to see recent additions to the Curriculum Resource Center that we highly recommend.

Best of 2021

It’s nuts to me that 2021 is coming to a close. The time/space continuum feels totally out of whack. Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe it.

As with last year December issue, this CRC Reads will merely present you with my five favorite books in each of the monthly categories, sans commentaire. Consider this a holiday gift guide, though your mileage may vary because #opinions. 

Some of these titles have been highlighted in previous issues of CRC Reads. Some I'm springing on you now because why not. 

Enjoy. See you in 2022.

Picture Books and Early Readers

Bright Star by Yuyi Morales

Bright Star

A fawn makes her way through a border landscape teeming with flora and fauna native to the region.

The Longest Storm by Dan Yaccarino

The Longest Storm

A father and his kids are stuck inside the house together and must figure out how to connect and overcome conflict.

Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor

Mel Fell

Follow Mel on her journey from downward fall to triumphant flight in this tale of self-confidence and taking a leap of faith.

Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger


A lost fox explores emotions -- fear, love, anger, and more -- through the use of vivid color.

Watercress by Andrea Wang; illustrated by Jason Chin


Embarrassed about gathering watercress from a roadside ditch, a girl learns to appreciate her Chinese heritage after learning why the plant is so important to her parents. Winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor for Picture Book

Middle Grade

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

The Beatryce Prophecy

When a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing, Brother Edik nurses her back to health. When he uncovers her dangerous secret, she is sent away into the world with a goat and a boy.

The House That Wasn't There by Elana K. Arnold

The House That Wasn't There

Dismayed when his neighbors cut down a beloved old walnut tree that has always been a source of comfort, Alder forges an unexpected friendship with the new girl next door over a series of mysterious connections.

Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt

Just Like That

Presents the parallel stories of Meryl Lee, who is struggling to assimilate into a boarding school's traditions and social structure, and Matt, who has stolen a pillowcase full of cash from a gang.

Kaleidoscope by Brian Selznick


The story of two people bound to each other through time and space, memory and dreams. At the center of their relationship is a mystery about the nature of grief and love which will look different to each reader.

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

The Shape of Thunder

Estranged from the best friend whose brother killed her sister in a school shooting, a grieving Cora receives a message on her twelfth birthday from her friend, asking for her help with creating a time portal to prevent the tragedy.

Young Adult

Amber & Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz

Amber and Clay

In a warlike land of wind and sunlight, "ringed by a restless sea", live Rhaskos and Melisto, spiritual twins with little in common beyond the violent and mysterious forces that dictate their lives - which are about to collide during extraordinary circumstances. Winner of a Charlotte Huck Honor.

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Firekeeper's Daughter

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

The Great Godden

At a house on the beach, the days are interchangeable. But when the Godden boys arrive, nothing will ever be the same. Nothing.

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

1954, in San Francisco's Chinatown, seventeen-year-old Lily Hu falls in love with Kathleen Miller. Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia

A Sitting in St. James

In 1860 Louisiana, eighty-year-old Madame Sylvie decides to sit for a portrait, as horrific stories that span generations from the big house and the fields are revealed. Winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Fiction