Recently in Award Winners Category


pledge-175.jpgIn The Pledge (Margaret K. McElderry, 2011) by Kimberly Derting, 17-year-old Charlaina speaks her vendor language of Parshon and the universal Englaise just as she should. But she also understands the languages of the classes above her and that's a secret she must keep hidden. It's forbidden in the country of Ludania to even look into the eyes of someone of higher class when they are speaking. And looking at a Council girl puts Charlaina's life at risk.

But that's just the start of this story. There's also underground dance clubs, an ancient autocratic queen looking for her replacement, and more secrets--like who Max is and the language he speaks--that affect the lives of everyone Charlaina cares for.

This book is the first in a trilogy and was chosen as a 2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection. I need to get the rest of the books about Charlaina and her world!

The sidebar on Kimberly Derting's blog "The Road to Publication," shows how many other countries The Pledge has been published in--9 besides US/Canada! Is that cool or what?

Kimberly has another trilogy in process and a series, too. Check them out here.

Hilariously Creepy

CCarrots.jpgCreepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown is one of those fun books where the images and words are telling different stories...or are they? I love the idea of the story--Jasper Rabbit can't get enough carrots...until they start following him. This 2013 Caldecott honor book was published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2012. (Thanks to editor Dani Young for introducing me to this book last fall!)

Looking at author Aaron Reynold's website, I see I need to read more of his books. Just by reading the titles, it's obvious that his sense of humor extends beyond one title.

Illustrator Peter Brown has a vimeo on how he created the art. Visit his website at I was first introduced to Peter's fabulously fun art with the book Chowder (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2007).

On either the illustrator or author website, you can see listings of the many awards and lists where this book is included.

Moving Story

StampCollector.JPGThe Stamp Collector (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012) by Jennifer Lanthier and illustrated by Francois Thisdale is a compelling picture book. It's the story of two boys--one a stamp collector and one who loved words. One was from the city and poor. One was from the country.

The poor boy leaves school and takes a job as a prison guard. The country boy after seeing crops fail leaves school and goes to work in a factory. He writes. His stories bring hope to the villagers, but the grey men take him away. They say "words are dangerous" and send him to prison.

Both the guard and the prisoner are lonely, but there is no talking, no friendship, no laughter. The writer's story is spreading. Letters start arriving for the writer, but he's not allowed to see them. The guard saves a stamp, then another. One day he reads the letters. He can't break the rules and give them to the prisoner. But he gives him a stamp. Then another. "Every stamp tells a story without words."

When the prisoner gets sick, the guard brings him the letters that beg for another story. In whispers, he has the prisoner tell him a new story. He is holding the prisoner's hand when he dies. The guard leaves his job, goes to a faraway library and begins to write.

This book has won a Crystal Kite Award and an Ezra Jack Keats Book Award.

Go to the author's site to hear about her inspiration for this story.

Go to the illustrator's site to see more of his beautiful artwork!

Cute Grandma Story

Silly_Frilly_GT.jpgSilly Frilly Grandma Tilly (Flash Light Press, 2012) by Laurie A. Jacobs and illustrated by Anne Jewett is a fun read with fun illustrations. Here's a quote:
"Grandma Tillie says she is too old to play games.
She says all she likes to do is sit and knit."

But once the parents are gone, she disappears and out comes the lady with the bright pink hair and it's The Tillie Vanilly Show, including dancing. Next up is the lady with the lampshade hat and Chef Silly Tillie's Diner, including singing. Madame Frilly Tillie comes to make them gooooorgeous in the bath. Kid narrator wonders who will come to put them to bed. Chole wants plain Grandma Tillie. To the end Grandma Tillie denies dancing, but when Sophie closes her eyes, she's sure she hears her Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie dancing.

The book has been announced as a winner of the Gelett Burgess Center Children's Book Award.

Read more about author Laurie A. Jacobs here.

Learn about illustrator Anne Jewett here.

A Spooky Story just in time for Halloween

splendors.jpgLooking for something spooky or creepy? Then read Splendors and Glooms (Candlewick, 2012) by Laura Amy Schlitz which won a 2013 Newbery Honor.

The book told in multiple viewpoints features:

12-year-old Clara, child of wealthy parents, who wants the puppet master to perform at her birthday party. She wants something to be different from her other birthdays, where she has to open presents from her dead siblings.

Lizzie Rose and Parsefall work for the puppet master Grisini. They're always hungry and neglected. When Clara is found missing, Lizzie Rose suspects their master has something to do with it.

We also have viewpoints of a witch.

I love how this historical story is mixed with magic. It definitely deserved the honor it has received. Laura is a 2008 Newbery winner for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village

You can read about Laura on her publisher's site. And here's an interesting video.


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