Our Top 10 Books of 2017!

I put this list together a couple of years ago. You can purchase all books from Amazon at the affiliate links. Great gifts for birthdays and special celebrations, or to grow you collection of diverse children’s books! – Bunmi


A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Parker is a true story of courage, perseverance and triumph about a young boy during the Sudanese war. Recommend for ages 10 and up. Contains some violence and death.

While I loved this story, I didn’t select it for the book club because we had just read The Red Pencil and didn’t want the kids reading another book about another war torn African country. Nevertheless, still an excellent story and one worth reading.

9. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema is a beautifully illustrated book. Folktales are an integral part of African culture and are one of my favorite types of storytelling. If you follow me, you know I have a soft spot for bright colorful illustrations and this picture book delivers! Recommended for all ages.

8. The Wooden Camel by Wanuri Kahiu 

Another picture book from Lantana Publishing, a company doing great work in the publishing space! The Wooden Camel by Wanuri Kahiu is a simple Kenyan story of sibling love filled with childhood imagination and play.

7. Chike and the River by Chinua Achebe

You can’t go wrong with the great Chinua Achebe! This was our January selection and it led to an interesting and insightful conversation with the kids. This story of a Nigerian boy pursuing his dream was relatable and inspiring.

6. The Banana Leaf Ball by Katie Smith Milway and Shane W. Evans

I love this story of overcoming bullies, friendship and futbol!

The Banana Leaf Ball tells the story of a boy living in the Lukole refugee camp in Tanzania in a different way. You have to read it to understand!

5. The Story Teller by Evan Turk

This Moroccan folktale is magical! Loved it! Check out The Story Teller by Evan Turk.

4. Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor and Mehrdokht Amini 

Colorful, delightful and fun! Chicken In The Kitchen reminds me of the festivals growing up in Nigeria. This is a hit at the school whenever I’m a guest reader.

3. The Water Princess by Susan Verde, Georgie Badiel and Peter H. Reynolds

You have seen me post this book. I LOVE THIS BOOK! Based on the true story of Burkina Faso-born model Georgie Badel, this book is stunning. The earth tone illustrations are breathtaking and provide a wonderful medium to tell this simple story. 

2. The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney is phenomenal. The use of poetry and prose as a medium to tell the story of a young Sudanese girl is captivating.
Recommended for ages 10 and up due to references to death and war.

1. Sleep Well, Siba and Saba by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl and Sandra van Doorn

And drumroll… my favorite book of 2017 is Sleep Well, Siba and Saba. If you follow this page, this should come as no surprise!? the love I have for this book is well documented.

The story is beautiful in its simplicity and the illustrations are just stunning! This story of two sisters growing up in Uganda will warm your heart and make you smile. Bravo Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl and Sandra van Doorn. Bravo!!!