Wednesday, January 09, 2013

2012 Favorites: Picture Books, Children's Novels, and YA

It's finally time to reconsider my children's/YA favorites. The 2013 books are already coming in, so it's time to say goodbye to another excellent publishing year.  While I read some terrific children's/YA novels and nonfiction, I must say that this was an exceptionally strong year for picture books, in my opinion.

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

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! 


Ashley said...

So HAPPY, in dark and foggy San Francisco, that you are heaping golden love on my little black cub.
Thank you!

Jennifer Schultz said...

You are very welcome. Crossing my fingers for you and your little black bear cub for Jan. 28.