Outstanding! – December 2015

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.


Emperor of Any PlaceThe Emperor of Any Place written by Wynne-Jones, Tim; Candlewick 2015

A Japanese soldier and a wounded American soldier occupy a ghost filled island near the end of WWII. Sixty years later the teenaged Evan and his grandfather, Griff, fight family battles
dealing with the torment of the family. The secrets that need told relate back to the island. It’s fascinating and deals with the large issues of truth, life, death, the unknowns of ghosts, jikininki, and a
Tengu. A remarkable story. (9-12)

ThingAboutJellyfishThe Thing About Jellyfish written by Benjamin, Ali; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 2015

Devastated by the sudden swimming death of her former best friend, seventh-grader Suzy turns to science for an explanation. In
a compelling voice that rings true, Suzy struggles with the nature of grief, change, death, love and other phenomena beyond themeasure of science. (5-7)


Orbiting Jupiter written by Schmidt, Gary D; Clarion 2015Orbiting Jupiter

When 13-year-old Joseph comes to live with the Hurds, the farm family knows his troubled past but offers him their full support and unwavering love. This spare, taut novel explores the limitations of
love, the possibilities for growth, and the meaning of family. (6-9)




Princess and the PonyThe Princess and the Pony written and illustrated by Kate Beaton; Arthur A. Levine Books 2015

Droll storytelling and cartoon-style art turn stereotypes upside
down in this rollicking, pseudo-folktale featuring plucky Princess Pinecone and her unconventional battle horse. Even macho warrior types will find this a hoot. (K-2)

Night WorldThe Night World written and illustrated by Mordecai Gerstein; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 2015

As a boy and his cat prowl their house and backyard at night, they see familiar scenery in an entirely new way and discover the drama of sunrise. Exquisite use of shadow, shape, and silhouette evoke the mystery of nighttime and the beauty of dawn. (PS-2)


Wolfie the BunnyWolfie the Bunny written by Dyckman, Ame and illustrated by OHora, Zachariah; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 2015

Fierce bunny Dot doesn’t like her new brother Wolfie, but her
parents love the adorable wolf and raise him as their own. Giggle-inducing details, like Wolfie’s huge pink bunny onesie, and a delightfully surprising climax belie more serious themes of trust
and loyalty in this wholly original sibling story. (PS-3)

Swan_jkt_Bologna.inddSwan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova written by Snyder, Laurel and illustrated by Morstad, Julie; Chronicle Books LLC 2015

This picture book biography of Anna Pavlova is luminous and
powerful, showing the determination of the poor and pale young dancer in Russia in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Dancers will grab it off the shelves and maybe not return it. Buy two. (K-4)



Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam Most DangerousWar written by Sheinkin, Steve; Roaring Brook Press 2015

Steve Sheinkin (Bomb, Flashpoint, 2012) is a master of narrative nonfiction for teens, and he’s scores again with Most Dangerous – the story of Washington insider turned Vietnam war whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. This is a thrilling, insightful story, grounded in research, and perfect for readers who like intrigue and real-life history. (7-12)


EbolaEbola: Fears and Facts written by Newman, Patrica; Millbrook Pr Trade 2015

With a concise and clear text, this photo-filled look at the Ebola crisis describes the origins of the disease, its spread, how it can be treated, and its current state, using language most tweens will understand. The photo captions add solid information, as do
charts, sidebars, and clear maps. (4-8)


Ada Byron LovelaceAda Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine written by Wallmark, Laurie and illustrated by Chu, April; Creston Books 2015

Dramatic full color pencil drawings that look like paintings combine with a concise, factual text in this picture book biography of the woman who invented the first computer program in the 1800’s. (2-5)


Jumping Off Library Shelves: A Book of Poems written by Hopkins, Lee Jumping Off Library ShelvesBennet and illustrated by Manning, Jane; WordSong 2015

Possibilities abound in this compilation of fifteen short poems
celebrating a child’s experience in the library. Fantastical gouache and-
pencil illustrations featuring children of diverse color bring each poem to life. This collection will support poetry writing in the classroom and will make a unique addition to any library shelf. Be sure to read aloud. (K-A)




Amazing Places compiled by Hopkins, Lee Bennet and illustrated by Soentpiet, Chris & Hale, Christy; Lee & Low Books 2015

Fourteen illustrated poems from a diverse group of authors (i.e. Langston Hughes, Alma Flor Ada, Linda Sue Park) describe visits to some famous and not so famous United States travel destinations. Includes a representation of many different families
and the lively and colorful illustrations inspire readers to take their own road trip across America. (2-5)

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