Recently in Award Winners Category

El Deafo

ElDeafo.jpgI loved the graphic novel El Deafo (Amulet Books, 2014) by Cece Bell. Based on her own childhood, four-year-old Cece becomes ill and loses her hearing. The story outlines kindergarten through fifth grade showing Cece's struggles and accomplishments. I can relate to Cece's shyness as a child, and felt so sympathetic for her and rejoiced when . . . well, I don't want to spoil the end if you haven't read it. Here's a book trailer with Cece herself talking about El Deafo.

I believe this story is important for kids to read to not only help them understand better how to deal with someone who is hearing impaired, but to learn that differences can be "superpowers" as Cece says. I'm not the only one who thinks it is important as the book is a 2015 Newbery Honor book! On the publisher's site you can read all kinds of great reviews. Here's an article about Cece and how she made the book, too.

Author/Illustrator Cece Bell has written and illustrated other books. See details here.

On My Way to Buy Eggs

onmywaytobuyeggs.jpgI love this simple, but sweet picture book On My Way to Buy Eggs (Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2003) by writer/illustrator Chih-Yuan Chen. Shau-yu is sent to the store to buy eggs. She has simple adventures as she enjoys pretending along the way. The book has a nice mixture of diversity and universal feelings.

I really like how the artist has let us see what Shau-yu is seeing, first through the blue marble, then through the glasses. I also like the use of shadows. Both of these you'll have to look inside the book to enjoy.

On My Way to Buy Eggs was named a Best Children's Book by Publishers Weekly.

Chih-Yuan Chen has illustrated and written The Featherless Chicken, Guji Guji (a story about a crocoduck), Best Christmas Ever, and Artie and Julie--all of which have been translated into English and Spanish, as On My Way to Buy Eggs has been. He also illustrated Mimi Says No and Mimi Loves to Mimic. Several of the books have also been translated into German and French.

This Girl Is Different

different.jpgEvie in This Girl Is Different (Peachtree Publishers, 2011) by JJ Johnson is not your stereotypical homeschooled girl. She's the more realistic version--confident, smart and independent. And, she's bucking her mom's wishes by going to the local High School for her Senior Year. Evie isn't one to stay in the background and how she stands up for others ends up coming back to bite her.

On this page you can read the story behind the story!

The book came out in Korean in 2012.

In French in 2014.

And in German in 2015.




Quite a variety of covers, eh?

On her website, author JJ Johnson has the quotes that are epigraphs in This Girl Is Different.


nickelbaynick.jpgNickel Bay Nick (GP Putnam' Sons, 2013) by Dean Pitchford was a fun read.

Not that 11-year-old Sam Brattle is having a good time. He's just had the worst Christmas ever. And his town of Nickel Bay isn't doing so well either. They mysterious Nickel Bay Nick who has been the anonymous Santa that starts up Christmas for the whole town is a no show this year. Sam's in trouble again, too. This time his running from the police ends up with damage to Mr. Wells' house, and his neighbor is going to make Sam pay for the damages by working for him.

I loved reading about Sam's training and his special assignments and how he changes as a result. It's a story to give one hope.

Nickel Bay Nick received the 2014 Cybils MG Fiction Award book.

Author Dean Pitchford is also an actor, singer, songwriter, screenwriter, playwright, director. Look at his amazing and extensive biography here. You'll definitely recognize songs and movies.

Quick and Cute

numberonesam.jpgNumber One Sam (Disney Hyperion, 2014) by Greg Pizzoli is a fast, fun read. Sam, a dog, is number one at the races. He's used to winning. Until his friend Maggie, an elephant, comes in first. At the next race, Sam has to make a choice about winning or losing.

This book got a starred review in Publisher's Weekly and has been chosen as Pennsylvania's One Book, Every Child selection for 2015. At about 300 words is a good short picture book to study for writers and an easy book for beginning readers.

Author/illustrator Greg Pizzoli has written and illustrated 3 other picture books and illustrated 2 others. Read more here. His blog has some interesting posts, too.

El Deafo

On My Way to Buy Eggs

This Girl Is Different


Quick and Cute


MG Adventure in Verse

Discoveries and Escapes

A Wow Adventure

Dangerous Adventure

An Eggstraordinary Story

MG Mystery

A Boy and an Elephant


Hilariously Creepy

Moving Story

Cute Grandma Story

A Spooky Story just in time for Halloween


The amazing Laini Taylor

Eye-opening Historical

Anything But Typical

Historical MG in Verse

Amazing Historical

The Problemsolver Has His Own Problems

Love a Winner

Fascinating problem

Whose life?

Lovely Picture Book

Another time and now

Just love this kid!

Victorian fantasy

A book with heart

Really good story

One Strong Girl!

Distinct voices

Great first line

Very Very Good!

Very Interesting

Real or not real?

Funny pet story

A Dog Detective

Delightfully Dangerous

Something a bit different

Fearful stuff

What a sweet winner!

A 2011 Golden Kite Winner and Newbery Honor!

Unputdownable Fantasy


It Takes a Thief

Facts just slip into your mind

Humor, Attitude and Murder!

"Strange, adj, extraordinary, remarkable, singular"

Book Felt SO Real

Great First Line

Book 1 - glad more is coming

Newbery honor book

Great opening scene

You thought you had it tough?


Character Growth

This book sticks with you! And offers hope.

Got voice?

2009 Newbery Winner

Fantasy to Love