Outstanding!

Every month, we’ll post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the November edition of BayViews.

Picture Books

Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead; illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Roaring Brook, 2012.
Bear has a story to tell, but Winter is coming and his friends don’t have time to listen now.  Bear, too, must hibernate. When Winter’s over, Bear can’t quite remember his story . . . but that leads to a neat end to this slow and gentle tale.  Terrific! (Baby/Toddler to Grade 2)

Chloe by Peter McCarty; illustrated by Peter McCarty
Balzer & Bray, 2012/Harper Collins, 2012.
When a new television pulls her parents and siblings away from their traditional “family fun time,” Chloe uses the empty TV box and bubble wrap to lure them away from the screen.  This very funny story makes a subtle point about simple, shared family pleasures. (Preschool to Grade 1)

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson; illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Paulsen/Penguin, 2012.
When the new girl, Maya, comes to elementary school, Chloe and her friends exclude her, despite her attempts to play with them in this sensitive picture book that addresses difficult, and realistic, feelings.  Watercolor illustrations render multicultural characters’ facial expressions, providing additional depth to this provocative and powerful book. (Kindergarten – Grade 4)

Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis; illustrated by Paul Rogers
Candlewick, 2012.
A little boy describes the sounds that surround him in rhyming text full of onomatopoeia, which makes this an engaging readaloud for storytimes. The retro 1950’s style cartoon illustrations (resembling “Gerald McBoing Boing”), done in ink with digital enhancements feature an African-American family in New Orleans, with the text flowing in curved lines or vertically. Of course, the emphasis on “sound” words makes this a great choice for fostering the emergent literacy skills of phonological awareness. (Preschool – Grade 2)

Fiction

After Eli by Rebecca Rupp
Candlewick, 2012.
In a witty, wrenching narrative, Danny recollects his momentous fourteenth summer when he forced his parents to face the death of this older brother Eli, stood up to school bullies, and fell in love. (Grades 6 – 9)

Better Nate than Never by Tim Federlebetter nate
Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Middle schooler Nate Foster sneaks off to Broadway audition, which his parent’s don’t know about and he is unprepared for. (Grades 4 – 7)

Crow by Barbara Wright
Random, 2012.
Crow brings history to life through eleven-year-old Moses, as he observes and participates in the real-life tragic events in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1898. (Grades 5 – 8)

The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens
Knopf, 2012.
Continuing the tumultuous, action-packed adventures of siblings Kate, Michael and Emma introduced in The Emerald Atlas (2011), this second book in the series is an equally thrilling page-turner. (Grades 3 – 8)

Just a Dog by Michael Gerard Bauer
Scholastic, 2012.
An inspirational and funny story about a young boy and his dog, which will resonate with young pet owners. (Grades 4 – 10).

Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie
Candlewick, 2012.
After his soldier brother’s personal effects are returned to the family, Matt looks through them, realizes he barely knew his brother when he was alive, and sets off to find the people who knew him best.  Matt’s struggles to learn the truth, and his methods of coping with grief, are compellingly told and will keep readers engrossed in Matt’s story. (Grades 10 – 12)

Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Knopf, 2012.
Told from several points of view, this moving middle grade novel follows Auggie, a boy born with a facial deformity, during his first year of middle school. The themes of bullying and being different make it topical and easily relatable for readers of all ages. (Grades 4 – 6)

Graphic

Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Madeleine L’Engle; Illustrated by Hope Larson
Farrar, 2012.
Hope Larson’s graphic novel adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the first novel of her epical, science fiction-like series Time Quartet.  Her adaptation is a wonderful introduction to the work and captures the spirit of L’Engle’s philosophical book. (Grade 5 – Adult)

The Red Pyramid: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan; illustrated by Orpheus Collar
Hyperion, 2012.
This graphic novel retelling of “The Red Pyramid,” Book One of The Kane Chronicles, retains all the excitement of the original text version.  The rich illustrations bring dramatic life to the story of two siblings discovering their heritage as descendants of Egyptian pharaohs and finding themselves in the middle of a war among the Egyptian deities. (Grades 5 – 9)

Nonfiction

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport
Candlewick, 2012.
Beyond Courage is a vital book for our collections: it tells the story of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust, a story not told often enough, particularly for younger readers.  An amazing range of photographs help to personalize the historical portraits of events. (Grade 5 – Adult)

Face Book by Chuck Close
Abrams, 2012.
A portrait of Chuck Close’s development as an artist and of his artistic process is built up using a Q&A format. The innovative and pleasing design of the book is supported with excellent reproductions of many of Close’s paintings. (Grades 4 – 8)

– Hayley

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