The Best Books of 2015


I hope everyone’s 2015 ended with some great reading, family, friends, and fantastic food.

Of those I read in the year 2015 — those published in 2015 and before — these are the best in these categories:

Best Series:

Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle (The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue)

Best Children’s Book: (TIE)

Best Memoir:

Displacement by Lucy Knisley

Best Nonfiction:

LOVE: A Philadelphia Affair by Beth Kephart

Best Short Story Collection:

The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War 

Best Young Adult Fiction:

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Best Reference:

How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids by Matthew Jervis

Best Women’s Fiction:

French Coast by Anita Hughes

Best Historical Fiction: (TIE)

Best Fiction:

Best Poetry: (TIE)

Here is the list of BEST BOOKS PUBLISHED in 2015:

  1. Wet Silence by Sweta Vikram
  2. The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton
  3. Vessel by Parneshia Jones
  4. LOVE: A Philadelphia Affair by Beth Kephart
  5. The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck
  6. The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy
  7. Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor
  8. One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart
  9. The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
  10. The Sound of Glass by Karen White
  11. Mistaking Her Character by Maria Grace
  12. Earth Joy Writing by Cassie Premo Steele, PhD

What were your favorites in 2015?

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 48 pgs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is a collection of some of the most recognizable poems, including William Carlos Williams’ The Red Wheelbarrow, for readers ages 6-9. Most of these poems are short and fit the theme of each season — winter, spring, summer, fall — but even younger readers will enjoy these poems as they are read aloud by their parents. The illustrations are colorful, and the vibrant images perfectly capture the mood of the season.

While some of the concepts in these poems are a little above where my own daughter may be cognitively, she still enjoyed listening to me read them aloud.  I also made sure to denote which season was depicted by each of the poems in the section, and had her point to images in the poems that she found in the illustrations, which kept her attention focused.  For instance, for Raymond Souster’s poem, “Spring,” the illustration depicts the roots of the flower and the beets on the page and the flower and leaves above.


Rain beats down,
roots stretch up.

They'll meet
in a flower.
The Island

Wrinkled stone
like an elephant's skin
on which young birches are treading.














For “The Island” by Lillian Morrison, my daughter looked for the elephant talked about in the poem, and quickly found that he was the island with the trees on top. It became a word game for us, and while some poems don’t lend themselves easily to these kinds of games to keep a toddler’s interest, my daughter also loves the sounds of words, so she would often just sit and listen to me read the poems.

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, contains not only those well-loved and classic poems from Williams, Dickinson, and Frost, but also poems from more contemporary poets, like Ted Kooser, Hughes, and Crapsey. Such a wide variety in a collection of poems about the seasons offer a great deal of teaching tools for young readers, from learning new words and how language works to what happens in each season scientifically.

***I first saw this book reviewed at Rhapsody in Books.***

About the Editor:

Paul Bryan Janeczko is an American poet and anthologist. He has published 40 books in the last 30 years, including poetry compilations, non-fiction guides for young writers, and books for teachers.

About the Illustrator:

Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly 100 children’s books from board books to picture books and nonfiction titles. Her collages and paintings have appeared in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Madison Park Greetings, Smilebox and for eeBoo Toys, which have garnered the Oppenheim and Parents Choice Awards.