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Sunday, January 20, 2008

2007 Favorite Books

These are the books I personally liked most, remember the best, and hope to continue recommending to young readers from the 2007 publishing year: (Arranged by Title)

For Middle and Older Readers:

Arrival by Shuan Tan
Atherton by Patrick Carmen
Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales by Marcia Williams
Click by Linda Sue Park and others
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Edward Hopper by Susan Goldman Rubin
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
The Game by Diana Wynne Jones
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by
Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. by Robert Byrd
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Hitler's Canary by Sandi Toksvis
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper
Kiki Strike: The Empress's Tomb by Kristen Miller
Laika by Nick Abadzis
The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer
Leepike Ridge by H.D. Wilson
Marie Curie by Kathleen Krull
Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller
The New Policeman by Kate Thompson
Peak by Roland Smith
Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems) by Linda Sue Park

The Traitor's Gate by Avi
The Wall by Peter Sis

For Younger and Non-readers

The Bearskinner by Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. by Max Grafe
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice Harrington, illus. by Shelley Jackson
Dimity Dumpty by Bob Graham
Duck at the Door by Jackie Urbanovic
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
How to Paint the Portrait of a Bird by Jacques Prevert, illus. by Mordecai Gerstein
Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems
Let It Shine: Three Favorite Spirituals by Ashley Bryan
Pictures from Our Vacation by Lynne Rae Perkins
Rainstorm by Barbara Lehman
600 Black Spots by David A. Carter
There Is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems
Tracks of A Panda by Nick Dowson, illus. by Yu Rong
Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle, illus. by Matt Phelan


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Without Apology!

I have been keenly aware of a "phenomenon" recently, even though it must have been going on for a long time -- many people preface their discussing of a recent favorite children's book by saying, "Um... I know it is not that literary..." and then going into some details as to why the speaker enjoyed the book: it has such an exciting plot; the idea is so intriguing; the characters are so funny; there are so many cool magical elements, etc. And yet, during this enthusiastic reporting -- the speaker has to qualify more than once that, "I think that children would LOVE this book, even though it is not that literary" or "I don't know why I liked it so much, even if I could see that it doesn't have much literary merit..."

I am weary of this apologetic tone. What IS literary anyway? It seems to me that when someone says that a book is "not literary" she means that the "language is not metaphoric or descriptive" or the "sentence structures are not that complex" - basically, there is a straightforwardness to the writing style that is too low or too simple to elevate the work onto the "literary altar."

More thoughts to come -- when I'm no longer completely wiped out!