Winners represent what they believe to be the best of the previous year's literature for youth. As these devoted folk spend their entire year immersed in fine children's literature Blue Ribbon recogniton is highly regarded around the traps.
The Bulletin, which is devoted entirely to the review of current books for children is well worth checking out. In past years there has been a link on Blue Ribbon list to a dissent page where judges, whose passions did not make the cut, put forward their case in the affirmative. Ah. Democracy. Unlike last year there are no dissenters at all this year- everyone's baby made the list; harmony rules.
The quality of the books on the list is self-evident and this award is a major benchmark for many that follow with a number of Blue Ribbon winners generally going on to win other majors.
2009 Blue Ribbons List
2009 Blue Ribbons List
- Anderson, Laurie Halse. Wintergirls. Viking. Gr. 9 up (March)
Elegant imagery marks the story of Lia, a supposedly recovered anorexic who’s still as dangerously obsessed as ever, only now she’s haunted by real or imagined ghost of her late friend and partner in self-destruction.
- Cashore, Kristin. Graceling. Harcourt, 2008. Gr. 8-10 (January)
Katsa is one of a rare few born with a special ability called a Grace; her special talent, however, is killing, which has been used by her uncle the king to his advantage—until Katsa finally finds an opportunity to rebel and atone.
- Dowell, Frances O'Roark. The Kind of Friends We Used to Be. Atheneum. Gr. 5-7 (May)
This sequel to The Secret Language of Girls (BCCB 7/04) sees Kate and Marylin starting their seventh-grade year and beginning to develop their own identities in a story remarkable for its blend of accessibility and sympathetic perception.
- Hardinge, Frances. The Lost Conspiracy. Bowen/HarperCollins. Gr. 7-10 (November)
Hathin’s sister Arilou is thought to be one of the Lost, people whose senses are only loosely tethered to their bodies and who protect the inhabitants of the island, but when the Lost are mysteriously wiped out, Hathin must protect his sister against the suspicious inhabitants in this finely crafted story set in an original and atmospherically evoked world.
- Kelly, Jacqueline. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Holt. Gr. 5-8 (July/August)
This story of a small-town Texas girl looking into the twentieth century with a thirst for science and a wonder about what the future will hold for her is a winning blend of humorous family story and natural-history exploration that recalls memoirs by Sterling North, Farley Mowat, and Gerald Durrell.
- Milgrim, David. My Dog, Buddy; written and illus. by David Milgrim. Cartwheel/Scholastic. Gr. K-2 (March)
Restricted vocabulary doesn’t restrict the liveliness of the story in this tale of an obstreperous pet who disobeys everyone (“Mom says ‘STOP, STOP, STOP!’ Buddy goes, goes, goes”) except the narrator.
- Mills, Claudia. How Oliver Olson Changed the World; illus. by Heather Maione. Farrar. Gr. 2-4 (April)
The fate of the ex-planet Pluto and the independence of helicopter-parented-third-grader Oliver Olson are brilliantly tied together in this hilarious, perceptive, and understanding story.
- Tan, Shaun. Tales from Outer Suburbia; written and illus. by Shaun Tan. Levine/Scholastic. Gr. 5-10 (March)
Over a dozen stories, ranging in weirdness from slight to extreme, bring the uncanny valley to normal suburban life while suggesting it may have been there all along.
- Tharp, Tim. The Spectacular Now. Knopf. Gr. 9-12 (February)
Amiable, girl-loving Sutter Keely considers himself “God’s own drunk” and drifts through high school in a haze; Tharp cleverly allows Sutter’s narration to reveal the hurt and abandonment behind the alcoholic in a downward spiral even as Sutter relates his story as the best of all possible times.
- Townsend, Michael. Kit Feeny: On the Move; written and illus. by Michael Townsend. Knopf. Gr. 2-5 (November)
Take the zany irreverence of the Captain Underpants books and put them into a comparatively realistic (although the protagonist does seem to be some sort of critter) school and home story told in graphic panels in black and orange, and you’ve got the howlingly hilarious story of young Kit Feeny, struggling to find a friend in his new home.
- Umansky, Kaye. Clover Twig and the Magical Cottage; illus. by Johanna Wright. Roaring Brook. Gr. 4-6 (October)
When eleven-year-old Clover Twig takes a job with the local witch, even she’s surprised by the extent of the magic she finds in this delightful British fantasy.
- Wallace, Rich. Perpetual Check. Knopf. Gr. 7-10 (April)
Brotherly rivalry and an overbearing father make this account of a chess tournament as taut and compelling as any contest on gridiron or field.
- Cassino, Mark. The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder; by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson; illus. by Nora Aoyagi and with photographs by Mark Cassino. Chronicle. 7-9 yrs (December)
Cassino’s photographs unpack (heh) the wonder that is the snowflake, with text that explains in elegant clarity the snowflake’s structure and making.
- Floca, Brian. Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11; written and illus. by Brian Floca. Jackson/Atheneum. Gr. 2-5 (July/August)
Poetic text that fairly begs to be read aloud partners with line-and-watercolor art that moves smoothly from homey to luminous in this stellar (lunar?) account of the first moon landing.
- Heiligman, Deborah. Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith. Holt. Gr. 7-12 (February)
Solid research, evocative writing, and perceptive analysis make this an anniversary-year biography to savor.
- Hoose, Phillip. Claudette Colvin: Twice toward Justice. Kroupa/Farrar. Gr. 5-10 (February)
Rosa Parks may be famous, but teenager Claudette Colvin did it first; this biography explores both her initial act of civil disobedience and the reasons why Parks’ refusal to give up her seat and not hers became the spark for the Montgomery bus boycott.
- Jenkins, Steve. Down Down Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea; written and illus. by Steve Jenkins. Houghton. Gr. 3-7 (July/August)
Vivid illustrations and clever scale markers make startlingly clear what kind of creatures inhabit the sea’s various levels and how much of the ocean is a dark, mysterious wonderland.
- Murphy, Jim. Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting. Scholastic. Gr. 4-7 (December)
Veteran historian Murphy takes readers behind the legend of the World War I Christmas truce in the trenches.
- Ruddell, Deborah. A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk; illus. by Joan Rankin. McElderry. Gr. 3-5 (March)
An array of crisp yet thoughtful poems in a variety of rhyme schemes focus largely on animal dwellers of the natural world, and their wit and aptness invite recitation as well as reading.
- Sidman, Joyce. Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors; illus. by Pamela Zagarenski. Houghton. Gr. 3-5 (March)
Gifted poet Sidman turns her attention to the colors of the seasons in this image-rich collection illustrated with cleverly crafted mixed-media art in appropriately glowing hues.
- Weill, Cynthia. Opuestos: Mexican Folk Art Opposites in English and Spanish; illus. with photographs by Sergio A. Gómez. Cinco Puntos. 4-8 yrs (October)
This triple-faceted gem shines as a concept book, a bilingual vocabulary primer, and an appealing introduction to Oaxacan folk art.
- Weitzman, David. Pharaoh's Boat; written and illus. by David Weitzman. Houghton. Gr. 4-8 (September)
Weitzman offers an absorbing, visually impressive reconstruction of the rituals and boat building procedures involved in making an ancient Egyptian funerary boat and then recounts the efforts on the part of Egyptologist Hag Moustafa to rebuild the boat from its original pieces.
- Aesop. The Lion & the Mouse; illus. by Jerry Pinkney. Little. 5-8 yrs (November)
Pinkney takes this classic fable wordless, telling the whole story in oversized art with dramatic full-bleed watercolors punctuated by only the occasional animal sound.
- Darbyshire, Kristen. Put It On The List!; written and illus. by Kristen Darbyshire. Dutton. 4-6 yrs (May)
A chaotic family of anthropomorphized chickens can’t seem to plan their life ahead, resulting in grocery-store emergencies and shortages familiar to many a busy human family in this cheerfully absurd yet wittily knowing picture book.
- Rodman, Mary Ann. Surprise Soup; illus. by G. Brian Karas. Viking. 4-7 yrs (June)
A friendly bear family sounds awfully human as Dad, older brother Josh, and narrator Kevin try to negotiate sibling rivalry and general ineptitude in preparing a meal in Mama’s absence.
- Rosenthal, Marc. Archie and the Pirates; written and illus. by Marc Rosenthal. Cotler/HarperCollins. 5-8 yrs (December)
There are touches of both Curious George and Babar in this fantastical tale of Archie the monkey, who finds friends, makes a home, and fights pirates on a tropical island.
- Sakai, Komako. The Snow Day; written and illus. by Komako Sakai. Levine/Scholastic. 4-6 yrs (February)
You can feel the hushed wonder of a snow-covered world in this Japanese import featuring a little bunny spending an intimate and unexpected day with her mother when the weather closes school.
- Scanlon, Liz Garton. All the World; illus. by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane/Simon. 4-8 yrs (October)
Softly poetic verse pointing out human connection provides the frame for a detailed visual story featuring branches of an interracial family coming together for a family holiday.
- Weber, Elka. The Yankee at the Seder; illus. by Adam Gustavson. Tricycle. 7-10 yrs (May)
In this picture book inspired by a historical event, the close of the Civil War sees a Jewish Confederate family hosting an occupying Union soldier as a surprise—and not entirely—welcome guest at the family seder.
- Willems, Mo. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed; written and illus. by Mo Willems. Hyperion. 5-9 yrs (February)
Wilbur may be a naked mole rat, but he can’t resist a natty shirt and tie, much to the dismay of his fellow rats in this hilarious story about nonconformity.
- Willis, Jeanne. The Bog Baby; illus. by Gwen Millward. Schwartz & Wade. 5-8 yrs (December)
An air of delicate mystery informs this gently playful story of sisters who find a very, very special baby animal and try to take care of it.
- Winter, Jonah. Gertrude Is Gertrude Is Gertrude Is Gertrude; illus. by Calef Brown. Atheneum. 8-12 yrs (January)
Winter’s playful text both evokes and celebrates the great modernist Gertrude Stein as it describes her iconoclastic life and approach to art.
- Anderson, M. T. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation: Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves. Candlewick. Gr. 8-12 (November)
Slave Octavian, now escaped from his Boston owners, decides that joining the British army to fight against the revolting colonies is his only route to freedom, but soon he discovers that the Britons’ promises are as flimsy as those of his former masters.
- Benway, Robin. Audrey, Wait! Razorbill. Gr. 9-12 (April)
When Audrey dumps her boyfriend, he turns their breakup into a hit song, making Audrey into a pop-culture phenomenon and her life into a roller-coaster ride in this witty and knowing comedy.
- Bunce, Elizabeth C. A Curse Dark as Gold. Levine/Scholastic. Gr. 7-10 (March)
This ingenious novel takes the tale of “Rumpelstiltskin” for its inspiration, focusing on a young eighteenth-century Englishwoman who’s attempting to keep the family woollen mill afloat and who finds assistance from a mysterious visitor.
- de la Peña, Matt. Mexican WhiteBoy. Delacorte. Gr. 7-10 (October)
Shy Danny Lopez struggles to connect with his Latino father’s family despite his Anglo upbringing, and it looks like his prodigious baseball skills may be the key.
- Fletcher, Christine. Ten Cents a Dance. Bloomsbury. Gr. 9-12 (May)
Ruby Jacinski is perfectly resigned to leave school and become the breadwinner for her widowed mother, but the 1940s economy and social structure doesn’t leave her many options, so she finds herself working as a taxi dancer, renting dances to customers at a dance hell, trying to dance on the right side of that narrow line between respectable hostessing and the after-hours scamming and prostitution.
- Harris, Joanne. Runemarks. Knopf. Gr. 7-10 (March)
Fourteen and shunned by her village because of her magical ability, Maddy finds her life irrevocably changing when she’s sent on a quest to find a powerful object that will help tip the balance in the brewing battle between good and evil in this dramatic and compelling fantasy.
- Lanagan, Margo. Tender Morsels. Knopf. Gr. 10 up (November)
This carefully crafted fantasy follows Liga, a village girl who leaves behind her abusive life with her father for a magically enabled existence in a utopia where she safely raises her two girls, only to find that the real world holds a place for her after all.
- Les Becquets, Diane. Season of Ice. Bloomsbury. Gr. 8-12 (February)
Seventeen-year-old Genesis, a tough, self-reliant resident of northern Maine, needs all her strength when her father disappears from his boat just before the lake ices over, leaving her to face the winter torn between accepting his almost certain death and believing that he’s survived but abandoned his family in this emotional and atmospheric novel.
- Monninger, Joseph. Hippie Chick. Front Street. Gr. 9-12 (October)
In a survival story that focuses more in internal realization than Robinsonian ingenuity, fifteen-year-old Lolly, thrown off her capsized boat in the Florida Keys, finds support for her survival from a trio of manatees.
- Pratchett, Terry. Nation. HarperCollins. Gr. 7-10 (November)
When a tidal wave devastates Mau’s island just as he comes into his manhood, he must negotiate a partnership with a stranded and strong-minded English girl, lead and heal a new society of rag-tag survivors, and question the implication of this event for the island’s polytheistic faith.
- Scott, Elizabeth. Living Dead Girl. Simon Pulse. Gr. 9-12 (September)
This harrowing, lacerating novel defies myths about victimhood as it follows fifteen-year-old Alice, who for five years has been the captive of her abductor and rapist, and who is now presented with a possible escape if she finds her own replacement.
- Sturm, James. Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow; illus. by Rich Tommaso. Center for Cartoon Studies/Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2007. Gr. 6-10 (March)
This graphic novel, narrated by a fictional has-been black ball player, tells of the great Satchel Paige and his significance to his downtrodden fans in compelling text and spare, sinewy artwork.
- Bishop, Nic. Nic Bishop Frogs; written and illus. with photographs by Nic Bishop. Scholastic. Gr. 2-5 (March)
Accessible, direct text and riveting (ribbeting?) photography combine to make this a stellar introduction to some eye-catching amphibians.
- Davies, Nicola. What’s Eating You?: Parasites—The Inside Story; illus. by Neal Layton. Candlewick, 2007. Gr. 3-5 (January)
Browsers and young scientists alike will be fascinated (and enjoyably grossed out) by this irreverent and informative guide by biologist Davies to all the microscopic creatures that live on and inside us.
- Franco, Betsy, ed. Falling Hard: 100 Love Poems by Teenagers. Candlewick. Gr. 9 up (November)
This varied collection of deftly crafted poems isn’t just impressive because of the authors’ ages, it’s just plain impressive.
- Hopkinson, Deborah. Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall, Thin Tale (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend); illus. by John Hendrix. Schwartz & Wade. 7-10 yrs (October)
This self-aware account of a childhood incident in Lincoln’s life slyly examines the way history is made and recounted even as it tells a roaring good story.
- Miller, Heather Lynn. This Is Your Life Cycle; illus. by Michael Chesworth. Clarion. Gr. 3-6 (September)
Dahlia the Dragonfly is the guest on the titular insect television show, with host Bob Beetle covering the details of her hatching and growth, in this comic natural history that begs for in-class performance.
- Moffett, Mark W. Face to Face with Frogs; written and illus. with photographs by Mark W. Moffett. National Geographic. Gr. 3-5 (March)
Amphibian aficionados will rejoice at National Geographic contributor Moffett’s photo-rich, personally chatty yet informative account of froggy lives.
- Nelson, Kadir. We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball; written and illus. by Kadir Nelson. Jump at the Sun/Hyperion. Gr. 4-8 (April)
Dramatic portraiture and compelling narration makes this faux-memoir into a gripping history.
- Nichols, Travis. Punk Rock Etiquette: The Ultimate How-to Guide for DIY, Punk, Indie, and Underground Bands; written and illus. by Travis Nichols. Flash Point/Roaring Brook. Gr. 7-12 (October)
This offbeat, humorous nonfiction how-to, decked with lively line drawings, gives wise and genuinely helpful advice on rock necessities ranging from types of bandmates to survival on road trips to making and marketing merchandise.
- Rappaport, Doreen. Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln; illus. by Kadir Nelson. Hyperion. 6-9 yrs (October)
Able storytelling, clever selection of Lincoln’s own words, and portraiture that ranges from monumental to intimate provide a dramatic introduction to our sixteenth president.
- Ahlberg, Allan. The Pencil; illus. by Bruce Ingman. Candlewick. 4-7 yrs (September)
It all starts with a pencil in this droll literary creation story, wherein a pencil, aided by a paintbrush (named Kitty), drafts the various human, animal, and other elements of a world only to find that the eraser he’s drawn endangers his creations.
- Amato, Mary. The Chicken of the Family; illus. by Delphine Durand. Putnam. 6-9 yrs (March)
Teased by her older sisters that she is actually a chicken, young Henrietta resists at first but then turns the tables on her sibs by not only accepting but championing in the idea; lively, goofily appealing art adds further entertainment to the funny story.
- Becker, Bonny. A Visitor for Bear; illus. by Kady McDonald Denton. Candlewick. 4-7 yrs (January)
Bear doesn’t allow visitors, so he’s indignant—in humorously grandiose language—when a little mouse repeatedly infiltrates the bruin’s cozy home.
- Crow, Kristyn. Cool Daddy Rat; illus. by Mike Lester. Putnam. 5-8 yrs (April)
Crow’s text swings with scat-along possibilities (“Cool Daddy Rat/ shooby dooby doo dat/ grabbed his hat in his rat flat/ zowie zowie zoo zat”) in this lively tale of little son Ace, who stows away to join his cool Daddy Rat from gig to gig one night.
- Frazee, Marla. A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever; written and illus. by Marla Frazee. Harcourt. 6-9 yrs (March)
Frazee captures the joys of a summer vacation with a friend, with the best times turning up where you find them rather than where they’re planned, in this picture-book account of two obstreperous boys’ week at Nature Camp.
- Grey, Mini. Traction Man Meets Turbodog; written and illus. by Mini Grey. Knopf. Gr. 2-4 (October)
Animated action figure Traction Man returns here in a thrilling, hilarious, and oddly poignant quest to save his sidekick Scrubbing Brush from the garbage.
- Hills, Tad. What’s Up, Duck? A Book of Opposites; written and illus. by Tad Hills. Schwartz & Wade. 2-3 yrs (April)
Hills’ Duck and Goose, with two birdie friends in brief hop-on roles, offer nine terse but grandly effective studies in contrast for this board-book concept treatment.
- Horácek, Petr. Choo Choo; written and illus. by Petr Horácek. Candlewick, 2008 1-3 yrs (July/August)
Get out of town literarily with this sturdy board book, punctuated with classic train noises, about an old-fashioned steam engine’s trip across the countryside and through a dark tunnel to get to the destination beach.
- Monroe, Chris. Monkey with a Tool Belt; written and illus. by Chris Monroe. Carolrhoda. Gr. 2-4 (June)
A tool-using handymonkey named Chico Bon Bon finds his skills advantageous when he’s captured by a nefarious organ grinder in this quirky and absurd outing.
- Ray, Mary Lyn. Christmas Farm; illus. by Barry Root. Harcourt. 5-8 yrs (December)
In a book that combines math problem, ecological exploration, and charming holiday story, Wilma and her young neighbor, Parker, plant, tend, and finally sell a multitude of Christmas tree conifers.
- Schwarz, Viviane. There Are Cats in this Book; written and illus. by Viviane Schwarz. Candlewick. 3-6 yrs (December)
Young viewers become part of the story by responding to the text’s request and lifting flaps to progress the action in this gentle and light-hearted account of a cat trio’s domestic adventures.
- Shea, Bob. Dinosaur vs. Bedtime; written and illus. by Bob Shea. Hyperion. 2-4 yrs (October)
Nothing can stop this fierce little dinosaur, who emerges victorious against foes such as a bowl of spaghetti, a couple of talking grownups, or toothbrush and toothpaste, but is he a match for bedtime? Vigorous visuals and lively repeated phrases make this a roaring good time.
The book links below go to amazon
Part-Time Indian Rolls On
Topping the Fiction list (chronologically that is) is Sherman Alexie's (below) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which continues to garner accolades after winning the 2007 National Book Award in it's category. No doubt other awards will follow. The book is also short listed for the 2007 literary bloggers awards the Cybils.
Shaun Tan's wordless account of an immigrant’s experiences in a fantastical new land, The Arriva,l continues to gain admirers worldwide. It can now add a is BCCB Ribbon to it's growing status. The book started it's award winning journey with one of Australia's premier children's prizes, the Children's Book Council of Australia's Picture Book of the Year Award for 2007.
Mr. Tan (below), was born in 1974 and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. In school he became known as the “good drawer” which, accordingto his web site, 'partly compensated for always being the shortest kid in every class'. He graduated from the University of WA in 1995 with joint honours in Fine Arts and English Literature, and currently works full time as a freelance artist and author, concentrating mostly on writing and illustrating picture books.
The delightfully named Prom Dates from Hell (Maggie Quinn: Girl vs Evil) by Rosemary Clement-Moore, should appeal to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed intended, as it is, fo rGrade 9 and up. It will hopefully find a wider audience now it's won a Blue.
The Non-fiction category is fairly light on compared to past years, but, and quite rightly so, the panel was happier to maintain the quality and settle for a shorter list. Still those that made it are fine examples of the genre with some familiar names popping-up.
The Strongest Man in the World; written and illustrated by Nicolas Debon, is about the strongman and circus owner Louis Cy, who captured the world’s imagination with his remarkable feats of strength and mammoth proportions in Quebec at the turn of the 20th century. Debon's book was also the winner in the Non-fiction Winner of the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for 2007.
Kadir Neson's name seems to be turning-up a lot in Book Award World recently. He appears again for his joint work with Ellen Levine, Henry's Freedom Box; the true story of Henry “Box” Brown, who made a successful and dramatic escape from slavery by having himself nailed into a crate and mailed north. Was it mailed collect I wonder? Stirring stuff. Mr. Nelson's previous work, Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, picked-up the 2007 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and was a Caldecott Honor Book for 2006. Being a young illustrator hopefully we can look forward to many more years of Mr. Nelson's work- oh Ms. Levine's text is apparently pretty good too.
Scaredy Squirrel Leaves His Tree - Again
It's a fine period for well-illustrated books- the folk who are judging this years Golden Kite Awards, an illustrator peer awarded prize for best illustrated work, have got their work cut out with their award looming. The Bulletin crowd have culled the pile quite nicely with their selection in the Picture Book category should the Illustrators need some input.
Montréal based Mélanie Watt's (right)gorgeous book, Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend, is a worthy inclusion in the well-populated Picture Book category. Ms. Watt will need to reinforce her trophy table soon having won the prestigious Canadian Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon Illustrator's Medal Award in 2007 for the first Scaredy Squirrel book. In that book Scaredy faced his fears and got out of his tree- seems he's progressed and is moving out socially. Go the Squirrels.
English writer and illustrator Emily Gravett's (left) Orange Pear Apple Bear; 3-6 yrs, has also made the list. In this book the four words of the title rearrange themselves to form multiple concepts and gently humorous situations. Another of her works, Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears, was an early favorite for the recently announced UK Nestlé Children’s Book Prize but had too settle for a commenable Bronze behind the Gold Medal winner Ottoline and the Yellow Cat by Chris Riddel. Looks like a US break through is now a real possibility for this talented english woman who left school with few qualifications and spent 8 years living on the road (in a variety of vehicles including a truck, caravan and RAF petrol bus called Toby Diesel). She lives in Brighton (UK) with her daughter Oleander, partner Mik, their Saluki dog Otto and pet rat, Buttons. Lots of inspiration on the home front.
The full list of Blue Ribbon Winners is:
Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; illus. by Ellen Forney. Little. Gr. 7-10 (October)
Junior, a Spokane Indian, is caught between two conflicting worlds of loyalty and identity when he leaves the rez in order to fulfill his dreams.
Bang-Campbell, Monika. Little Rat Makes Music (Little Rat); illus. by Molly Bang. Harcourt. Gr. 2-3 (September)
In this charmingly illustrated and lively easy reader, Little Rat encounters both the joys and frustrations of learning to play the violin.
Clement-Moore, Rosemary. Prom Dates from Hell (Maggie Quinn: Girl vs Evil) Delacorte. Gr. 7-10 (July/August)
This suspenseful, cleverly conceived horror story in full-on Buffy tradition sends high-schooler Maggie after a demon targeting the popular kids.
Hest, Amy. Remembering Mrs. Rossi; illus. by Heather Maione. Candlewick. Gr. 2-4 (March)
This tender daily-life story focuses on the adjustment of eight-year-old Annie and her father in the year following her mother’s death.
Leavitt, Martine. Keturah And Lord Death. Front Street, 2006. Gr. 7-9 (March)
When village maiden Keturah meets Lord Death, she bargains with him in order to find her true love.
Peet, Mal. Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal Candlewick. Gr. 9-12 (May)
This sweeping historical novel explores the experiences of two young men in the Dutch Resistance and their legacy two generations on.
Sfar, Joann. The Professor's Daughter; tr. by Alexis Siegel; illus. by Emmanuel Guibert. First Second/Roaring Brook. Gr. 7-12 (July/August)
An Egyptologist’s daughter falls for a (very old) young man in swaddling clothing, and even their determined fathers can’t keep them apart in this humorous graphic-novel adventure.
Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society; illus. by Carson Ellis. Tingley/Little. Gr. 6-9 (May)
After a series of curious tests, four children find themselves enrolled in the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where they uncover an evil plot to take over the world.
Tan, Shaun. The Arrival ; illus. by Shaun Tan. Levine/Scholastic. Gr. 6 up (January 2008)
This wordless account of an immigrant’s experiences in a fantastical new land puts the reader in the same position as the protagonist.
Varon, Sara. Robot Dreams; illus. by Sara Varon. First Second/Roaring Brook. Gr. 3-8 (November)
This wordless graphic novel is both droll and perceptive in its tale of a dog who creates a robot friend from a kit, only to lose him as a result of his own carelessness.
Debon, Nicolas.The Strongest Man in the World; written and illus. by Nicolas Debon and with photographs. Groundwood/House of Anansi. Gr. 3-6 (May)
A compact, triumphant, and poignant account of a nineteenth-century celebrity unfolds in comic-book-styled panels and text.
Levine, Ellen.Henry's Freedom Box; illus. by Kadir Nelson. Scholastic. 6-9 yrs (April)
This compact account tells the true story of Henry “Box” Brown, who made a successful and dramatic escape from slavery by having himself nailed into a crate and mailed north.
Lutes, Jason. Houdini: The Handcuff King; illus. by Nick Bertozzi. Hyperion. Gr. 4-8 (June)
Fans of graphic novels and amazing capers will revel in this illustrated story of one very intense day in the life of the world’s greatest escape artist.
Schlitz, Laura Amy. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village: Voices from a Medieval Village; illus. by Robert Byrd. Candlewick. Gr. 6-9 (September)
This original historical treat offers a set of thoughtful, evocative readers’-theater-styled monologues from various medieval occupations and walks of life.
Sís, Peter. The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain; written and illus. by Peter Sís. Foster/Farrar. Gr. 5-10 (October)
Noted artist Sís offers a compact, imaginative, visual evocation of his life in Communist Czechoslovakia.
Boelts, Maribeth. Those Shoes; illus. by Noah Z. Jones. Candlewick. 5-9 yrs (December)
A kid yearning for the obligatory cool (and expensive) kicks that nearly everybody else has struggles to find a solution that will make him feel part of the crowd.
Broach, Elise. When Dinosaurs Came with Everything (Junior Library Guild Selection); illus. by David Small. Atheneum. 6-9 yrs (October)
A shopping trip with Mom suddenly becomes rewarding for our young narrator when every purchase comes with a free, absolutely real live dinosaur.
Gravett, Emily.Orange Pear Apple Bear; written and illus. by Emily Gravett. Simon. 3-6 yrs (June)
The four words of the title rearrange themselves to form multiple concepts and gently humorous situations.
Issa, Kobayashi. Today And Today; comp. and illus. by G. Brian Karas. Scholastic. Gr. 3-6 (May)
Classic haiku by a traditional Japanese master combine with illustrations to tell a simple story of a year of change.
Perkins, Lynne Rae. Pictures from Our Vacation; written and illus. by Lynne Rae Perkins. Greenwillow. Gr. 2-5 (July/August)
A lovely vacation at the family farm doesn’t seem to be reflected in the photographs taken by a young brother and sister.
Pinkwater, Bad Bears go Visiting (Irving & Muktuk Story); illus. by Jill Pinkwater. Houghton. Gr. 2-4 (June)
Pinkwater’s dopey miscreant bears take up the pleasant pastime of visiting, and heaven help the neighborhood.
Townsend, Michael. Billy Tartle in Say Cheese!; written and illus. by Michael Townsend. Knopf. Gr. 2-4 (September)
This comic-book-styled story comedically combines an exuberant and mischievous kid, class picture day, and a secret plan for mayhem.
Van Fleet, Matthew. Dog; illus. with photographs by Brian Stanton. Wiseman/Simon. 2-5 yrs (February)
Big, little, fluffy, scruffy, wagging, wet, scratching, or just sitting around, all kinds of dogs fill this book made special by flaps, tabs, and textures and a bouncy rhyming text.
Watt, Mélanie. Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend (Scaredy Squirrel); written and illus. by Mélanie Watt. Kids Can. Gr. 2-4 (June)
That lovable little worrywart is back. And he's as scaredy as ever! In his latest adventure, Scaredy Squirrel sets out to make The Perfect Friend. And once he's spotted a perfectly safe candidate (with no teeth), Scaredy's ready.