Nov 21, 2007

New Best Books from SLJ

School Library Journal has posted the 2007 Best Books list. As with all "best books" lists, it takes careful consideration and passionate lobbying to select a few from many. With head down, I admit I hadn't read all the selected titles and some of them I wasn't even familiar with! Here's a few comments and examples --

The Expected

ALEXIE, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. illus. by Ellen Forney. Little, Brown. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978--0-316-01368-0.
HORNBY, Nick. Slam. Putnam. Tr $19.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25048-4.
TAN, Shaun. The Arrival. illus. by author. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Tr $19.99. ISBN 978-0-439-89529-3

Personal Favorites

BANKS, Kate. Lenny's Space. Farrar/Frances Foster Bks. Tr $16. ISBN 978-0-374-34575-4.
GRAVETT, Emily. Orange Pear Apple Bear. illus. by author. S & S. RTE $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-3999-3.
PERKINS, Lynne Rae. Pictures from Our Vacation. illus. by author. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2007. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-085097-5; PLB $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-085098-2.
STEWART, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society. illus. by Carson Ellis. Little, Brown/Megan Tingley Bks. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-316-05777-6.
THOMPSON, Kate. The New Policeman. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-117427-8; PLB $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-117428-5.

Haven't Read (yet)
APPLEGATE, Katherine. Home of the Brave. Feiwel & Friends. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-0-312-36765-7.
CRISLER, Curtis L. Tough Boy Sonatas. illus. by Floyd Cooper. Boyds Mills/Wordsong. Tr $19.95. ISBN 978-1-932425-77-2.

A Surprise, but an Agreeable One
MADISON, Alan. Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly. illus. by Kevin Hawkes. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-375-83597-1; PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-93597-8.

For the complete list click here.

Nov 3, 2007

Reading, reading, and reading

My reading has really slowed down since we began our road trip and I haven’t had time to write even brief reviews of the books I have had time to read. So I’m fast forwarding and just mentioning these titles I feel are special to me so I can feel caught up.
The Seems: the Glitch in Sleep by John Hulme & Michael Wexler (Bloomsbury)
great story and so inventive
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin (FS&G)
realistic, powerful look at identity
Kissing the Bee by Kathe Koja (FS&G)
Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks (FS&G)
brillant story by one of my long-time favorite authors
The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty (Arthur Levine/Scholastic)
quirky, unusual story and the Zing Family Secret will astound; a reworking of the author’s I Have A Bed of Buttermilk Pancakes, I think it still seems more of a book for adults
Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E.L. Konigsburg ( Ginee Seo/ S&S)
Fine characterizations and I like how Konigsburg makes me think about art’s relevance to my everyday world; I knew nothing about degenerate art and now I do. Shortly after reading this, I read ELK’s book of short stories, Throwing Shadows, which includes a story written many years previous with some of the characters of MEOTHW. Interesting to see how a story becomes more.
Edward’s Eyes by Patrica MacLachlan (HarperCollins)
Her use of language is so beautiful.
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (Bloomsbury)
Crow (Books of Pellinor) by Allison Croggan (Candlewick)
I’m pretty selective about my fantasy and think this series is outstanding!
Lenny’s Space by Kate Banks (FS&G)
This is a gem; I’ll try and find time to write more later because I hope it’s widely read.
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (David Fickling Books/Random)
I was totally immersed in this story; the characterization of Ted is particularly well written; intelligent mystery.

Now that I look over this list, I see that many of these I read before we started our trip. And what to make of the number of FS&G titles on the list?
I’m rarely reading just one book and am also in the midst of re-reading The Golden Compass because I want to read the entire His Dark Materials before seeing the movie of The Golden Compass. And speaking of movies, I don’t think I can bring myself to see the Dark is Rising – too many changes that remove the movie from the spirit of the book which I have a very visual memory of (after re-reading it several times.)

Nov 2, 2007


Today I learned from the CCBC list serv that Vera B. Williams was chosen as the recipient of the 50th Regina Medal. Happy congratulations to her! I love her work for it's honesty and inclusiveness; her understanding of children; her use of color and emotive art. "More More More!" Said the Baby has remained at the top of my favorite picture books list for years and Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart is exceptional.