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The Best Children’s Books of 2021 & 2024 and the Best-est Personalized Book! (Updated, May 2024)

Let’s be real - 2020 was weird, but 2021 has been painfully neither here nor there. For the most part, cases have been subsiding, everyone got vaccinated and life seemed to be getting back on track. But there were a lot of in-betweens and transitions - the transition back to work or a hybrid working situation, kids going back to school, periodic and local lockdowns, new strains.

We’re still in such a transitional period. For all the uncertainties 2021 posed, there were at least some highlights - like these amazing kids’ books that came out during the year. What’s more - some of them actually help your kids deal with things in the past year. Take a look at some of our favorites that made the list for the top ten children’s books of 2021. 

Your Child and the Rainbowbird

is a captivating personalized book that celebrates diversity and inclusivity. As your child witnesses Rainbowbird facing teasing from CattyCat and Crew, they learn valuable lessons about empathy and acceptance.

You and the Rainbowbird
This heartwarming story promotes kindness and embraces differences, making it a perfect addition to any collection of personalized books for kids. With its engaging narrative and vibrant illustrations, Your Child and the Rainbowbird delivers an important message of diversity and belonging, earning its place as one of the best LGBTQA+ books for children.

 Grandude's Green Submarine By Paul McCartney


Best Children's Books of 2021


Grandude and the Chillers - a group of children and their grandfather set of on a grand adventure in one of Grandude’s inventions - a bright green submarine that also flies! They set out to find Nandude (their grandmother). After a glorious dream-like adventure, they finally find Nandude and get home safe and sound - ready for another adventure. 


 Cat Problems By Jory John


A beautifully illustrated book, Cat Problems follows a day in the life of a cat, and all of the problems that the cat has to deal with, like - dry food instead of wet food, another cat stealing all his favorite sleeping spots, a monster vacuum cleaner, a disappearing sunbeam and so much more! A fun book with lots of sounds and immersive full-spread illustrations, Cat Problems is a great book for young children. 

 Big Feelings By Alexandra Penfold

Best Children's Books of 2021


Big Feelings is bright and teaches kids about all the different kinds of emotions that everyone can feel, including kids. The book also explains very easily and simply how everyone can deal with these big feelings - talk it out, see that there’s another point of view, and take a breath. The book helps kids understand that everyone has big emotions and how to best make sense of them. 

I Don't Want to Read This Book By Max Greenfield



This book is great for kids who don’t like to read! Actor turned author Max Greenfield (If you feel like you’ve heard his name before, he’s Schmidt in the popular sitcom New Girl) wrote this book in hopes that kids who don’t like reading books will at least attempt to read this one. The book lists all the ways that reading is so exhausting, and is written like a long, funny rant about reading. If you’re looking for a read-aloud - here’s one (that’s hilarious) by the author himself. 

Dream Street Hardcover by Tricia Elam Walker

Best Children's Books 2021

Dream Street is a magical street that is filled with hope, peace, and joy. All the characters on dream street are diverse, but get along by appreciating everyone’s differences. On dream street, every single person is special. This book is a great way to teach kids about diversity and community. 

The Longest Storm by Dan Yaccarino



The longest storm is about a really really long storm that forces a family to stay indoors with each other for an extended period of time. The book is really great to help kids understand why they have to stay indoors during the pandemic. The book can really help kids deal with the frustration of being stuck at home. In the book, at the end of the story, the family finally gets to go out again after the storm ends - giving kids hope that even these hard times will eventually pass. 

The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld



In a magical tale full of adventure a King and Queen who can’t have children finally seek help from a group of inventors and a clever old witch. Soon, they have a princess (who turns into a log every night) and a robot for children. The log princess and the robot get lost in the cold and far north after a series of unfortunate events and have to go through a long and hard journey as they help each other get back home. Full of magic and imagination, this book is a classic adventure story for kids. 

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman


Best Children's Books of 2021


Change sings is a poetic anthem for kids written by poet laureate Amanda C. Gorman. The illustrated book helps kids embrace change, and even drive change toward a more diverse, inclusive world. Just as the name suggests, this book sings! It will empower and inspire your kids and you too. 


It Fell From the Sky by Terry Fan



This book is about a magical wonder that falls from the sky right in the midst of a cast of wonderful creatures in a garden. One of the creatures, Spider builds a huge exhibit and shows off the thing that fell from the sky - no one knows what it is! This intriguing story will keep children engaged for sure. The book’s illustrations are all in black and white - except for the wonder from the sky, which makes the book even more striking. 

Bright Star by Yuyi Morales



Bright Star is a brilliant book about the Mexican experience. The book begins in a way that you think it’s about a deer, teaching her little one to survive in the wild, and feel her emotions in a deep and real way - only to realize halfway through the book - that it’s actually about a little Mexican girl. The book’s beautiful illustrations would draw in any child - and adult! 

Here are some great lists for more amazing children’s books and novels that were released this past year:


Washington Post

The New York Times

Read Brightly


Does your kid have any favorites from this past year?

General Questions

Manimal Tales is a publisher of beautifully illustrated personalized books. We have personalized books for children and adults. From birthday books to new baby tales, and from bedtime stories to ABC books, we have custom books for all occasions!

We even offer PhotoStories, our personalized picture books with photos.

At Manimal Tales, we fervently believe every child should be the hero of their own story!

Personalized books (or custom books as they are sometimes referred to) allow the reader to become the hero of the story - literally.

The main character in the story is the reader / receiver of the book, and is represented by an avatar that looks like them. There are usually lots of additional personalized details printed in the stories, including the receiver's name, age, family members and more.

Our PhotoStories offer a whole new level of personalization by allowing you to add your own photos into the story and have them printed out with the book.

Browse through our collection of custom books to see which ones work for your loved ones!

It's super easy to personalize your own book!

Browse through our collection of personalized stories and select the titles you want. On the product page, add the details required to personalize the book (name, age, family members, photos etc.). You can then preview the entire book before you buy, so you know exactly what you're going to get!

Once you're satisfied, add the book to your cart, enter your payment details and your unique, one-of-a-kind personalized book will arrive on your doorstep in 6 to 9 days!

The short answer is that it depends on the personalized book title in question!

All books will have your loved one as the main protagonist and their name will be printed on the book cover as well as in the story.

In some of our books like Dreamland and What Will I Be? the (the An ABC Story) your loved one's name is printed on every page.

In our Manimal Tales series, in addition to your child's name, you can select an avatar that looks like your child.

In our custom baby tales, Your Baby's Story and Your Baby's Story (Sibling version), you have to enter names and select avatars for the parents and the siblings as well.

And for our PhotoStories, you can further customize the books by uploading and adding your own photos directly into the book. The stories have been written to incorporate the photos as part of the story itself.

Whichever personalized book you do choose, we guarantee your loved one's will love our custom tales just as much as we do!

We have books for all ages and occasions! On the menu bar at the top of the page you can filter through our collections of personalized books by a variety of different criteria.

We have personalized books for:

- Birthdays

- New babies / baby showers

- Bedtime books

- Back To School / ABC books

- Seek & Find books

We also offer custom books with engaging stories about:

- Friendship and bravery

- Standing up for your beliefs

- Animal rights and adventure

We have personalized books across all ages:

- 0 to 3 years

- 3 to 6 years

- 6 years and above

- Adult stories

Lastly we have our PhotoStories, which allow users to upload photos and have them become part of the story!

- Happy Birthday Personalized PhotoStory

- Your Baby's Personalized PhotoStory

Nothing beats getting a book with your name on it!

Personalized books are treasured and loved by all, and make great keepsakes.

We offer custom books for all occasions, ensuring you will always find a book to meet your needs.

You can always reach us by filling out our Contact Form.

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