Other alphabet booklists: “A” Books.

Okay, time for Round 2, the letter “B.” This was much harder to narrow down, there are a lot of “B” books that I love. So this list is almost twice the size of “A”, but I just couldn’t take out any of these.

Babymouse: Queen of the World by Jennifer and Matthew Holm.

I dare anyone to keep these on library shelves. Go ahead and try it. They are addictive, adorable graphic novels about a plucky little mouse, her dreams of a glamorous life, and her big imagination. This is the first of 13, so far. And I have students in pretty much every grade clamoring for these. They are by far the most popular graphic novels in the library, and that’s saying a lot considering all of the superheroes, Amulet books, Japanese imports, and other graphic novels I have there.

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

This book is just so COOL. Bass Reeves is tough as nails, and from the second you see the cover you know this cat put fear into the hearts of outlaws in the Wild West. This is such a fabulous biography of not only the first African-American U.S. Marshal, but to this day the most successful of them all. More than 3,000 arrests in his 3 decades on the job, and only 14 men killed in the line of duty. He was a crack shot, a righteous man, a true figure of the Old West, and a former slave. Talk about rising above. This is a must read.

Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue by Molly Coxe. Photographs by Olivier Toppin.

This is the kind of strange and wonderful little book that I instantly become enamored of. It’s a thrilling adventure about a little mouse who lives in a wardrobe. When Benjamin’s mom goes missing, he gets Bumper the stuffed elephant to help find her and rescue her from the cat Sir Pouncelot. Big drama and excitement ensue, all told from the details and poses in the little scenes created by Coxe and photographed by Toppin. Since we’re dealing with photographs of toys, the animal characters only have 1 facial expression. But still, the handling of the sets, the toys, and the photographs makes this an epic tail with big emotion. It’s kind of a treasure.

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