Friday, November 20, 2009

What's New in Children's Books 2009?

This week I am at CLSA Annual Conference in Ontario, CA. (That's California, not Canada!) In the morning I will speak about my favorite books (so far) of 2009. The list was over way 100 titles, but I narrowed it down to the one hour I have to speak. Is your favorite missing? Post a comment. And don't despair. The year isn't over; stay tuned for my final favorites to be posted in January. And the (current) winners are...

14 cows for America -- Deedy, Carmen Agra. {IL K-3, 327.676207} -- Peachtree, 2009., RL 2.5, 38p
Presents an illustrated tale of a gift of fourteen cows given by the Maasai people of Kenya to the U.S. as a gesture of comfort and friendship in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Al Capone shines my shoes -- Choldenko, Gennifer. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009., RL 4.6, 274p
Moose Flanagan, who lives on Alcatraz along with his family and the families of the other prison guards, is frightened when he discovers that noted gangster Al Capone, a prisoner there, wants a favor in return for the help that he secretly gave Moose.

All the broken pieces : a novel in verse -- Burg, Ann E. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Scholastic Press, 2009., RL 5.6, 218p
Two years after being airlifted out of Vietnam in 1975, Matt Pin is haunted by the terrible secret he left behind and, now, in a loving adoptive home in the United States, a series of profound events forces him to confront his past.

Anything but typical -- Baskin, Nora Raleigh. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009., RL 5.3, 195p
Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world.

Ashley Bryan : words to my life's song -- Bryan, Ashley. {IL 3-6, 818} -- Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009., RL 6.5, 58p
An illustrated biography in which African-American author Ashley Bryan describes his life.

Birds -- Henkes, Kevin. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Greenwillow Books, 2009., RL 2.1, 32p
Fascinated by the colors, shapes, sounds, and movements of the many different birds she sees through her window, a little girl is happy to discover that she and they have something in common.

Burn my heart -- Naidoo, Beverley. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Amistad, 2009, c2007., RL 5.1, 209p
While the Mau Mau rebellion threatens the British settlers living in Kenya during the 1950s, Mathew and Mugo maintain their friendship, despite their different races, but during these tense times, a single act of betrayal could alter everything.

Button up! : wrinkled rhymes -- Schertle, Alice. {IL K-3, 811} -- Harcourt Children's Books, 2009., RL 2.1, 33p
A collection of poems about clothes and animals wearing them.

Charles and Emma : the Darwins' leap of faith -- Heiligman, Deborah. {IL YA, 576.8} -- Holt, 2009., 268p
A biography of English naturalist Charles Darwin that provides an account of the personality behind evolutionary theory and the affect of his work on his personal life, such as his relationship with his religious wife.

Chicken Little -- Emberley, Rebecca. {IL K-3, 398.2} -- Roaring Brook Press, 2009., RL 2.8, 32p An illustrated retelling of the story in which Chicken Little becomes convinced the sky is falling after being hit on the head by an acorn.

Claudette Colvin : twice toward justice -- Hoose, Phillip M. {IL YA, 323} -- Melanie Kroupa Books, 2009., RL 7, 133p
Presents an account of fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin, an African-American girl who refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, nine months before Rosa Parks, and covers her role in a crucial civil rights case. National Book Award Winner

Coretta Scott -- Shange, Ntozake. {IL K-3, 323} -- Amistad/Katherine Tegen Books, 2009., RL 4.4, 32p
An illustrated biography of Coretta Scott King, describing her childhood in the segregated South, her marriage to Martin Luther King, Jr., and her civil rights work.

Dinothesaurus : prehistoric poems and paintings -- Florian, Douglas. {IL K-3, 811} -- Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2009., RL 3.9, 43p
Presents illustrated verse about various carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs, including the Iguanodon, Spinosaurus, and long-necked plesiosaurs.

Duck! Rabbit! -- Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Chronicle Books, 2009., RL 1.4, 34p
Two unseen characters argue about whether the creature they are looking at is a rabbit or a duck.

The evolution of Calpurnia Tate -- Kelly, Jacqueline. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Henry Holt, 2009., RL 7.5, 340p
In central Texas in 1899, eleven-year-old Callie Vee Tate is instructed to be a lady by her mother, learns about love from the older three of her six brothers, and studies the natural world with her grandfather, the latter of which leads to an important discovery.

Fire -- Cashore, Kristin. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Dial Books, 2009., 461p
In a kingdom called the Dells, Fire is the last human-shaped monster, with unimaginable beauty and the ability to control the minds of those around her, but even with these gifts she cannot escape the strife that overcomes her world.

A foot in the mouth : poems to speak, sing, and shout -- {IL 3-6, 811} -- Candlewick Press, 2009., RL 4, 61p
Collects over three dozen illustrated rhyming poems, with tongue twisters and bilingual pieces, drawn from contemporary and classic literary sources and anonymous authors.

The forest of hands and teeth -- Ryan, Carrie {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Delacorte Press, 2009.
Through twists and turns of fate, orphaned Mary seeks knowledge of life, love, and especially what lies beyond her walled village and the surrounding forest, where dwell the Unconsecrated, aggressive flesh-eating people who were once dead.

The frog scientist -- Turner, Pamela S. {IL 5-8, 597.8} -- Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009., RL 6.9, 58p
Discusses the work of Tyrone Hayes and his efforts to study and protect frogs, and follows Hayes into the field with his students to perform experiments with various types of frogs.

Heroes of the valley -- Stroud, Jonathan. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Disney/Hyperion Books, 2009., RL 6.4, 483p
Halli Sveinsson, a mischievous young man who does not fit in with his peers and siblings, plays a trick on Ragnor that goes too far, forcing him to embark on a hero's quest in which he will face highway robbers, monsters, an intriguing girl, and truths about his family and the legends he grew up with.

Hurry up and slow down -- Marlow, Layn. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Holiday House, 2009, c2008., RL 2.7, 24p
Hare likes to hurry through the day, unlike Tortoise, but manages to slow down for his favorite bedtime story.

If I stay : a novel -- Forman, Gayle. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Dutton Books, 2009., 201p
While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weights whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.

The lion & the mouse -- Pinkney, Jerry. {IL K-3, 398.2} -- Little, Brown and Co. Books for Young Readers, 2009., 34p
In this wordless retelling of an Aesop fable, an adventuresome mouse proves that even small creatures are capable of great deeds when he rescues the King of the Jungle.

The magician's elephant -- DiCamillo, Kate. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Candlewick Press, 2009., RL 5.8, 201p
When ten-year-old orphan Peter Augustus Duchene encounters a fortune teller in the marketplace one day who tells him that his sister, who is presumed dead, is in fact alive, he embarks on a remarkable series of adventures in an attempt to find her.

Marcelo in the real world -- Stork, Francisco X. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009., 312p
Marcelo Sandoval, a seventeen-year-old boy on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a corporate law firm.

The negro speaks of rivers -- Hughes, Langston. {IL K-3, 811} -- Disney/Jump at the Sun Books, 2009., RL 3.2, 32p
Watercolor illustrations by E.B. Lewis accompany Langston Hughes' classic poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."

Read it, don't eat it! -- Schoenherr, Ian. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Greenwillow Books, 2009., RL 1.8, 32p
Rhyming text and illustrations of animals reading offer advice on how to take care of a library book.

Red sings from treetops : a year in colors -- Sidman, Joyce. {IL K-3, 535.6} -- Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009., RL 2.4, 32p
Illustrations and simple text combine the senses of sight, sound, smell, and taste to describe the colors of the seasons.

Redwoods -- Chin, Jason. {IL K-3, 585} -- Flash Point, 2009., RL 4.8, 36p
While reading a book about redwood trees on the subway, a young boy travels as he learns, all the way to the forests of California.

A savage thunder : Antietam and the bloody road to freedom -- Murphy, Jim.{IL 5-8, 973.7} -- Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2009., RL 6.7, 103p
Discusses the bloody battle of Antietam, in which General George B. McClellan faced off against General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in Maryland in September of 1862.

A season of gifts -- Peck, Richard. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Dial Books for Young Readers, 2009., RL 4.9, 164p
Relates the surprising gifts bestowed on twelve-year-old Bob Barnhart and his family, who have recently moved to a small Illinois town in 1958, by their larger-than-life neighbor, Mrs. Dowdel.

The snow day -- Sakai, Komako. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009., RL 1.7, 32p
A little rabbit enjoys having a day off from kindergarten and spending time with his mother during a snowstorm, but his father's flight home is cancelled until the snow stops falling.

Sparrow girl -- Pennypacker, Sara. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Disney/Hyperion Books, 2009., RL 2.1
Ming-Li vows to save as many sparrows as she can after her village tries to destroy them.

Stitches : a memoir-- -- Small, David. {IL AD, 818} -- W.W. Norton, 2009., 329p
A graphic novel that chronicles the life of American author and illustrator David Small, detailing his sickly childhood and teenage years, relationship with his parents, his cancer, and more.

The storm in the barn -- Phelan, Matt. {IL 5-8, 741.5} -- Candlewick, 2009., RL 3.3, 201p
Eleven-year-old Jack Clark struggles with everyday obstacles while his family and community contend with the challenges brought on by the Dust Bowl in 1937 Kansas.

Tales from outer suburbia -- Tan, Shaun. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009, 2008., 92p
Contains fifteen illustrated short stories, some humorous and some haunting, set in the Australian suburbs.

Thunder-boomer! -- Crum, Shutta. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Clarion Books, 2009., RL 2.1, 32p
A farm family scurries for shelter from a violent thunderstorm that brings welcome relief from the heat and also an unexpected surprise.

Tsunami! -- Kajikawa, Kimiko. {IL K-3, 398.2} -- Philomel Books, 2009., RL 2.9, 32p
A wealthy man in a Japanese village, who everyone calls Ojiisan, which means grandfather, sets fire to his rice fields to warn the innocent people of an approaching tsunami.

When you reach me -- Stead, Rebecca. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Wendy Lamb Books, 2009., RL 5.6, 199p
As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, "The $20,000 Pyramid," a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.

Where the mountain meets the moon -- Lin, Grace. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Little, Brown and Co. Books for Young Readers, 2009., RL 5.7, 278p
Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.

A whiff of pine, a hint of skunk : a forest of poems -- Ruddell, Deborah. {IL K-3, 811} -- Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2009., RL 4.8, 33p
An illustrated collection of whimsical poems about life in the forest through the seasons.

Wintergirls -- Anderson, Laurie Halse. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Viking, 2009., 278p
Eighteen-year-old Lia comes to terms with her best friend's death from anorexia as she struggles with the same disorder.

Written in bone : buried lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland -- Walker, Sally M. {IL 5-8, 614} -- Carolrhoda Books, 2009., RL 8.3, 144p
Reports on the work of forensic scientists who are excavating grave sites in James Fort, in Jamestown, Virginia, to understand who lived in the Chesapeake Bay area in the 1600s and 1700s; and uncovers the lives of a teenage boy, a ship's captain, a colonial officer, an African slave girl, and others.

The year the swallows came early -- Fitzmaurice, Kathryn. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Bowen Press, 2009., RL 5.9, 277p
After her father is sent to jail, eleven-year-old Groovy Robinson must decide if she can forgive the failings of someone she loves.

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