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 February edition of BayViews.

Picture Books

Before-AfterBefore After written and illustrated by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui
Candlewick, 2014.
This gorgeous French import has crisp, digitally-illustrated spreads which depict such scenarios as showing a swarm of bees around a beehive on the left, and a jar of honey on the right, and could provide jumping off points for discussions on sequencing, cause and effect, and the passage of time. (Kindergarten – Grade 3)


All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nivenall the bright places
Knopf/Random, 2015.
After an initial encounter on the ledge of a bell tower, Violet and Finch become partners on a class project, and gradually develop a tentative, tender relationship. Theirs is a fully believable, fragile love story and a painfully realistic, affecting portrait of teen mental illness. (Grades 9 – 12)

HowItWentDownHow It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
Holt, 2014.
In this timely and illuminating novel, Magoon uses multiple voices from a neighborhood to explore the shooting of a black teen by a white man, and its aftereffects on friends, family and community. (Grades 8 – 10)

Graphic Novel

Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson; illustrated by Adrian Alphonams marvel
Marvel, 2014.
Kamala Khan is a Muslim-American teen living in Jersey City, who mysteriously gains the superpowers of her hero, Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. Ms. Marvel is a great read for teenagers and up, especially those looking for superheroes, strong female characters and diversity done well. (Grade 8 – Adult)


rad womenRad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History… and Our Future! by Kate Schatz; illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl
City Lights, 2015.
In an A-Z format, readers are introduced to 25 women, both well- and lesser-known, who made an impact on the world. The conversational tone, accessible vocabulary, and extensive additional reading list make this a must purchase for most libraries. (Grades 3 – 7)


Place Hacking: Venturing Off Limits by Michael J. Rosenplace hacking
21st Century, 2015.
Place hacking is broadly defined as going where one is not allowed to go and Rosen divides this into urban exploration, adventure, and infiltration. With great photos, and back matter (timeline, glossary, persuasive writing activity, source notes, and a ‘for further information’ section), this is a unique and exhilarating addition. (Grades 8 – 12)

sand swimmersSand Swimmers: The Secret Life of Australia’s Desert Wilderness written and illustrated by Narelle Oliver
Candlewick, 2015.
This fascinating exploration of the secret life of Australia’s desert wilderness provocatively juxtaposes historic European perspectives and the Aboriginal understanding of remarkable animal adaptations. Gorgeous, earth-toned illustrations, opportunities to search for camouflaged wildlife and extensive supporting back matter make this a great choice for both pleasure reading and classroom study. (Grades 2 – 6)

– Hayley

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