2012 Favorite Picture Books
Bronze: Backseat A-B-See
It takes a lot for me to love a new alphabet book. There are so many classic and creative alphabet books that new ones really have to have something different and special about them. Backseat A-B-See fits the bill (it also doesn't hurt that "L" is represented by the standard public library logo/sign!). Letters are represented by road signs, viewed from the perspective of a backseat passenger.
Silver: Extra Yarn (my review)
In the past months, Warrenton youth services staff has been having brief email discussions about end of the year lists. While some of us have had quibbles with several entries, we've all fallen in love with Extra Yarn.
Gold: Baby Bear Sees Blue (my review)
Love, love, LOVE Baby Bear Sees Blue! I really want this to win the Caldecott. Gorgeous illustrations--and a great read aloud! Pretty please, Caldecott Medal committee?!
Honorable Mention: Homer
Beautiful book about an old Lab enjoying his seniorhood. Anyone who's had an aging dog in their life will understand and love this book (and no, Homer doesn't die or get sick-he's just old, that's all!).
2012 Favorite Children's Novels
Bronze: The Lions of Little Rock (my review)
If Alexandria-based author Kristin Levine wins the Newbery for her second children's novel, I would be very happy. This is even better than her impressive debut novel, The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had.
Silver: Wonder (my review)
Wonder created a sensation when it was published; it shot to the top of several bestsellers lists, earned remarkable reviews, and was bandied about as a strong Newbery contender. There's been some pushback against its contention in the blogosphere, but I still think this is a likely selection, even if it does suffer with its numerous narrators.
Gold: The One and Only Ivan (my review)
My #1 pick for the Newbery. This animal fantasy based upon actual events is a sophisticated and compelling children's novel.
Honorable Mention: Bliss (my review)
I love this fantasy about a magical bakery; not only is it a funny read for the preteen set, but it also imparts messages on the importance of family life and self-acceptance in an enjoyable and non-preachy way. Cannot wait for the sequel, which will be out in February.
2012 Favorite YA Reads
Bronze: The Fault in Our Stars (my review)
The Fault in Our Stars, like Wonder, also received a ton of excitement and attention upon publication. It's a heartbreaking and mature YA novel about teenagers afflicted with cancer. And like Wonder, there's been some backlash against it. It's been suggested as a Printz contender, but I have my doubts.
Silver: Dust Girl (my review)
Oh, gee. Historical fiction involving a half-fairy girl? Not my cup of tea. On the other hand, YA fantasy is devoid of multicultural characters, so I gave this a try. I was more than pleasantly surprised! This is the first in a trilogy.
Gold: Code Name Verity (my review)
Another possibility for the Printz, in my opinion. It's a sophisticated and mature World War II novel featuring two unforgettable young women.
2012 Favorite Children's Nonfiction
Bronze: The Fairy Ring, Or, Elsie and Frances Fool the World (my review)
One of the most intriguing and offbeat nonfiction books I've read in some time.
Silver: Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World (my review)
Not only is Dr. Grandin's inspirational life story movingly told, but this biography also has great preteen-friendly information on autism.
Gold: Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust (my review)
Beyond Courage tells a very important yet neglected aspect of Holocaust history. Although it's written for children, it really straddles the divide between our children's/YA collection.
What a fantastic reading year!