Autumn is my favorite time of year, and the Childrens and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards just makes it even more special!
Today is the day we get to START! celebrating some of our favorite children’s and young adult books of the last year. At 12:01 EDT, nominations opened for the 2010 Cybils cycle.
Before I go on to nominations, I want to let you know that the ISBN is the most important piece of information you need. I forgot that you enter that into the form. My apologies for not being clearer the other day in my 3 Easy Steps post.
Many of us will share the ones we loved reading with our kids … others will just share books that they read and think are treasures. Believe it or not, one of my favorite parts of the process is learning about books I hadn’t heard about before. There will be plenty I know (Mockingjay anyone?) and a few familiar faces (Elephant and Piggie), but there are always new titles that I want to check out. Oh, the TBR pile does suffer this time of year!
So what am I nominating? I’m glad you asked. Here’s the list I’ve been struggling with all week. It is SO-O-O hard to choose, that I only narrowed my lists down to two or three titles per category. It gives me a backup in case a fave is already nominated, and I can be wishy-washy, too! The title links take you to the Reading Tub reviews.
7:AM (EDT) update: BOTH of my Young Adult Fiction titles have been nominated … ALREADY! Back to the drawing board.
Fiction Picture Book
- A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead. This is a lovely, quiet little book. The text is minimal, allowing the illustrations to tell the story just as well. This could easily be used as a wordless book. On many of the pages, there is a red balloon, a mouse, and/or bird. They are not mentioned in the story, but if you’re creating your own story, they can definitely play a part.
- Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney. I loved this book. Just as they did in Boycott Blues, the Pinkneys have taken an element of the event and woven it into the fabric of the story. Incredible art and the artful weaving of food and citizenry make history accessible to elementary-aged students. This is a nice complement to other reading about community activism and nonviolence.
Nonfiction Picture Book
- What Does it Mean to Be Green? by Rana DiOrio. This is a fun, engaging way to not only help kids with global awareness, but also to show them what idioms are. I love the feel of these books and the simplicity with which they present complex ideas. See also: What Does It Mean to Be Global?
- Fur and Feathers by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein. This one may not make it, because it is story narrative. Still, it is filled with lots of nonfiction content about animal habitat and biology.
- The Adventures of Benny by Steve Shreve. Potty humor … it had her laughing and forever coming in to tell us the “joke.” Our daughter must have read this book cover to cover at least 5 times this summer. She is the one who showed us that the story came full circle with the fishing poles! This is the perfect selection for emergent readers. The simple black/white illustrations offer visual humor; the pages usually have just a sentence or two, and the chapters are short. It is predictable elementary humor … but it keeps them turning the page.
- Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Pierce. As a parent, I can’t say this was my favorite book. Nate is pretty typical and the events are predictable. That said, it is clear that this is a great motivator for reading. There is plenty of “white space,” lots of pratfalls, and the kind of stuff that keeps kids turning pages to see what happens next. Boys and girls alike will laugh out loud at this cross between a chapter book and graphic novel. This is an exceptional choice for a dormant reader. Big Nate is also a comic strip that kids can read online to keep the story going.
Middle Grade Fiction
- Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder, Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. A wonderful, wholesome story that can be shared with kids of all ages. Kids will see themselves, their friends, their neighbors, even their favorite books. Penny may be a girl, but boys will love this story too. The characters are quirky without being cliche. They each contribute to the story and its lessons in many different ways.
- Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon (link to blog review). I can’t say enough about this biography of Zora Neale Hurston. The writing, the characters, the nuances … incredible. It is meant for a middle grade audience, but would do equally well as a read-aloud with an upper elementary audience and Young Adults, too.
Young Adult Fiction
- Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins. I devoured this book. It is an incredible story on so many levels. Although Chiko and Tu Reh are fictional characters, these are young men who could easily be “real” classmates for our children. Although the backdrop for the story is the civil war within Burma, the author does an exceptional job of bringing forward the dangers and realities without emphasizing the gore and blood. This is a book that kids and adults can enjoy independently or together.
- Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl. This is historical fiction that leaves you begging for more. The characters are very well crafted and “real,” there are elements of Victoria’s relationship with her mother that will resonate with teens today, and the writing is superb. I just haven’t had a chance to review it yet.
- Sid the Science Kid: What’s That Smell? (I Can Read) by Jennifer Frantz. These stories have a great way of weaving factual information into a kid-relevant story. It has the “choppiness” and big illustrations of a Level 1 book, but more text than you would expect. Kids will like this because (a) they know Sid; and (b) it answers a perennial question about how we smell things. It will also get them to pay more attention to the smells around them.
Early Chapter Books
- Rocks & Minerals (Smart Words Reader) by Judith Bauer Stamper. My daughter devoured all five of the books that came in this set. These are great books for second and third grade readers … plus they’re nonfiction!
- Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures: The Intrepid Canadian Expedition by Jeff Brown; illustrated by Packy Pamintuan. The Flat Stanley I knew and loved has now become a “franchise.” It pains me, but time marches on … The Lambchops offer young readers lots of adventure, humor, and just enough suspense to keep them turning pages.
I don’t have any Middle Grade/Young Adult nonfiction, poetry, science fiction & fantasy nominees this year. It isn’t that I don’t love them, but I only nominate what I personally read, and I just didn’t cover those genres this past year. Now you know which lists I’ll hit first for my TBR pile … all of the nominees are pretty much guaranteed to be books I don’t know much about.
What are you nominating? Leave a link to your post and I’ll come visit so we can chat books!