At the beginning of the year I always start fresh with a brand new book list. I usually add new releases of course, but my favorite books to add are books I wasn’t able to read the previous year.
So I created this list to help you create a great reading list for 2022! These books are my favorite books I read in 2021. Think of this as a in case you missed it list.
On this list you’ll find nonfiction, YA novels, middle grade novels, and picture books perfect for 2022!
Just a friendly reminder, I am an Amazon Affiliate, so if you decided to use the links below to purchase the books, I do get a commission.
I’m also a Bookshop Affiliate. Bookshop works with local independent bookstores to deliver books to your door. You can shop this entire list on Bookshop here.
Just as I Am
Before Cicely Tyson left us, she gave us a gift, her story. And it is a beautiful autobiography. I listened to the audiobook, and I was cracking up at the stories about her as a little girl. She was a feisty thang.
We walk with her through motherhood, marriage, and how she fell into acting. If you’re into Hollywood gossip, Ms. Tyson has all the stories. She knew everybody! From Marilyn Monroe to Denzel Washington, she had a story about them all. My favorite story was about Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet.
This book is easily one of my favorite books of all time, so much so after I listened to the audiobook, I bought a physical copy. And it’s a BEAUTIFUL BOOK! Bookshop Affiliate Link.
Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House
I love Rachel Maddow! Her storytelling is top-notch. So, after I listened to The Bag Man Podcast, I had to read the book. Bag Man is all about a vice president that many of us millennials don’t know.
Spiro Agnew was the 39th Vice President of the U.S. and served with Richard Nixon. He was forced to resign after being investigated for criminal conspiracy, bribery, extortion, and tax fraud. Once you read this book or listen to Maddow’s Podcast, you find similarities with someone who recently lived in the White House. Bookshop Affiliate Link
Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and the Black American Dream
Making Our Way Home is a beautiful book written by the incredibly smart and talented Blair Imani. I’d never heard of Imani until I read this book, but she creates a lot of content on Youtube about politics and history.
This book covers different issues within the Black community during the Great Migration. It also highlights the experience of some well-known members of the Black community. This is a book to read from the library and then own in your home. Bookshop Affiliate Link
Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery)
Arsenic and Adobe is a super cute (yes cute!) murder mystery book that I couldn’t put down! Lila has just moved back home after her failed relationship and she starts working at her family’s restaurant. One afternoon, a familiar face shows up for a meal, but suddenly drops dead. And of course, Lila is the number one suspect.
There’s a sequel that is expected to be released in 2022! Bookshop Affiliate Link
Slay is a YA novel about a Black game developer (Kiera) who wants to create a safe space for Black gamers from around the world. So she develops a virtual reality game called SLAY.
Kiera is a senior in high school who is struggling to manage her duties as a developer, her complicated relationship with her boyfriend Malcolm, and the big decision of college.
I loved that this book took me back to my senior year and had me reflect on the choices I made that year.
And I loved how they highlighted that Black Girls can be gamers too! Bookshop Affiliate Link
Just months prior, Bree’s mother dies. She jumps at an opportunity to attend the University of North Carolina-Capel Hill’s summer program for high schoolers. But instantly, it isn’t what she thought it would be. Magic is the last thing Bree expects to encounter.
Bree finds herself in the middle of a secret society of demon hunters. Yup, demon hunters.
Legenborn is set to be a series, and I definitely see why. It is a page-turner full of action and teenage drama! Bookshop Affiliate Link.
Ace of Spades
Devon and Chiamaka attend the prestigious Niveus Private Academy. These talented seniors expect their last year of high school to go as planned, but when they start receiving texts, exposing their darkest secrets, they realize that their senior year is nothing like they expected. The author, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is a fan of Gossip Girl and she does a great job of using her love to create this YA thriller. Bookshop Affiliate Link
Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations, 1)
It’s pretty obvious why Marsai Martin is turning this book into a movie.
Amari & The Night Brothers is the first book in the Supernatural Investigations Trilogy.
Amari’s brother is missing, and she’s just gotten in big trouble at school.
When Amari receives a nomination to attend a summer camp where her brother worked, she jumps at the opportunity to attend, intending to find out what happened to her brother.
Amari has no idea that this secret summer camp is going to throw her into the supernatural world.
Every time I read a fantastic middle-grade novel, I wish I still had my 5th graders! Ugh! They would have loved this book! Bookshop Affiliate Link
Scoob and his Grandma go on an unforgettable road trip that doesn’t end as expected.
Scoob learns that his Grandma and Grandpa took the same road trip years earlier with the help of The Green Book.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had excellent historical references that could lead to more research and discussions with your students or children. There are so many things you could do with this book. If I still had 5th graders. Bookshop Affiliate Link
The Awakening of Malcolm X
In The Awakening of Malcolm X, we meet him minutes before he’s sent to prison.
Throughout the book, we go back in time to learn about Malcolm X’s past.
The flashbacks are great for readers who haven’t read his autobiography because they give readers the background information they need to understand who Malcolm X was before we went to prison.
And the ending was perfect because it was just the beginning.
If this book is your introduction to Malcolm X, it will leave you wanting more.
His daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson did a phenomenal job putting this novel together. Just wow.❤ Bookshop Affiliate Link
Stella’s Stellar Hair
When I saw the cover I immediately knew that the illustrator was the same illustrator from Honeysmoke…so I was already sold.
And I’m glad I picked it up!
Stella doesn’t know what to do with her hair!
So, Stella hops on her hoverboard to get help from her Aunties…who live on different planets in the solar system. 🌌
My favorite part of the book is the back, where we get facts about the planets and what hairstyles would be best for each planet.
So cute! Bookshop Affiliate Link
Every Night is Pizza Night
Pipo thinks Pizza is the best meal in the whole wide world. And she thinks that everyone thinks the same thing until she cooks dinner with her neighbors. Pipo learns that everyone has their favorite meal that they can eat over and over again! I love books about food and this is a book I need to add to my PICTURE BOOKS ABOUT FOOD FROM AROUND THE WORLD book list. Bookshop Affiliate Link
Help Wanted: Must Love Books
Shailey loves bedtime stories with her dad.
When her dad gets a new job and no longer has time for her, she FIRES him!🤣
And then she puts up a Help Wanted sign.🤣
She begins interviewing our favorite storybook characters to fill the position, but it doesn’t work out so well!
My students were yelling and jumping in their seats when they saw a character they knew.
They also started rolling their eyes at Shailey’s pickiness.
They loved this book!
Of course, the book ended happily ever after! Bookshop Affiliate Link
THIS IS MY ROOM! (NO TIGERS ALLOWED)
Do you love books with unexpected endings?
I know I say this ALL the time, but this book is super cute!
I’m definitely adding it to my books as gifts list.
Jojo decides this is the night she is sleeping on her own.
But, she gets some unexpected guests that make it really hard for her to stay out of her big sister’s room!
My students and I used this book to work on making predictions and my students had so much fun. They were shocked at the ending…literally, their mouths were open!😲 Bookshop Affiliate Link
That’s my list! I hope some of them caught your eye and you’ll bring in the new year with a great book!
What were your favorite reads of 2021? Let me know in the comments below.