Outstanding!

Every month, we 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 December edition of BayViews.

Picture Books

amyAmy’s Three Best Things by Phillipa Pearce; illustrated by Helen Craig
Candlewick, 2013.
Amy chooses three secret things that will magically transport her home to check on her family when she stays with her grandmother.  The loving warmth of a girl for her caring family come through in text and illustration. (Preschool – Grade 1)

Hello, My Name is Ruby written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead ruby
Roaring Brook, 2013.
Ruby is a little yellow bird who introduces herself to everyone she meets – birds who fly, birds who walk, birds who sit atop a giraffe’s head. Simple text and a timeless story work beautifully with Stead’s delightful illustrations of all these fine feathered friends. (Kindergarten – Grade 1)

little-red-writingLittle Red Writing by Joan Holub; illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Chronicle, 2013.
In this clever take-off on Little Red Riding Hood, the teacher in Pencil School assigns the class to write a story.  The narrative includes lots of humor, references to the parts of speech, and even a slight nod to female empowerment.  With imaginative watercolor/collage illustrations. (Kindergarten – Grade 3)

mr wufflesMr Wuffles! written and Illustrated by David Weisner
Clarion, 2013.
In a nearly-wordless, highly dramatic picture book, a black cat, Mr. Wuffles, bats around with tiny humanoid aliens on a miniature space-ship that he mistakes for a cat-toy, but they join forces with a ladybug and a battalion of ants to mend broken machinery and escape. (Preschool – Grade 4)

Fiction

The Clockwork Scarab: A Stoker & Holmes Novel by Colleen Gleasonclockwork scarab
Chronicle, 2013.
In what appears to be the first of a series, Gleason pairs Evaline Stoker (a vampire hunter, and sister to Bram Stoker) with Mina Holmes (niece of Sherlock, and daughter of Mycroft) in a steampunk mystery set in London in 1889. (Grades 7 – 12)

luckThe Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata; illustrated by Julia Kuo
Atheneum, 2013.
Twelve year old Summer is spending weeks on the road with her brother and grandparents, working the wheat harvest in Kansas, in this memorable  first person intergenerational novel about a contemporary Japanese-American family. (Grades 5 – 8)

Graphic

Boxers written and Illustrated by Gene Luen Yangboxers&saints
Saints written and Illustrated by Gene Luen Yang
First Second, 2013.
Yang’s witty, deft art brings to life parallel and intertwined stories of the Boxer Rebellion. Radicalized by abuse at the hands of Western missionaries, Little Bao joins a violent uprising.  On the conflict’s opposite side a young ostracized girl is taken in by Christian missionaries. Historical facts are brilliantly integrated with Chinese and Christian mythology. (Grades 7 – 12)

Biography

benjamin franklinBenjamin Franklin by Kathleen Krull; illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Viking, 2013.
Krull focuses on Franklin’s astonishing scientific career and moves beyond the quaint image of him flying a kite in the rain. Franklin’s many scientific, philanthropic and innovative accomplishments are framed within historical context, resulting in a vibrant portrait of a man who transformed his world and ours. (Grades 5 – 8)

Nonfiction

Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch; illustrated by Tom Uhlmaneruption
Houghton, 2013.
Well designed and vividly written, Eruption! chronicles a small group of volcanologists who form an international volcano crises team. Working with a diverse group of local scientists they apply cutting edge technology to mitigate disaster and save lives around the world. (Grades 4 – 7)

reasonThe Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida; illustrated by Kai and Sunny; translated by K. A. Yoshida and David Mitchell
Random House, 2013.
Truly presenting the working of Higashida’s mind and how he sees the world as a person with autism.  Although published for the adult market, young teen readers will both enjoy and be informed by this remarkable book. (Grade 7 – Adult)

– Hayley

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