Friday, January 20, 2012

Working My Way through the Year's Best Books

Esther's heart quickens in January with thoughts of authors and illustrators about to be surprised with happy news. Mine jumps for joy at the end of each year with the buzz about praiseworthy new books to read. I scour the award lists for intriguing titles and authors whose names I recognize. Here are some sources to browse for your next exciting read:

Cybils awards are given each year by bloggers for books and book apps in eleven children's and young adult categories: Book Apps, Easy Readers & Early Chapter Books, Fantasy & Science Fiction (Middle Grade), Fantasy & Science Fiction (Young Adult), Fiction Picture Books, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade Fiction, Nonfiction for Middle Grade & Young Adult, Nonfiction Picture Books, Poetry, and Young Adult Fiction.

The CCBC-Net listserv holds monthly discussions about literature for children and young adults. Every December, members discuss their favorite books of the year.

The Mock Newbery 2012 group on Goodreads has 537 members; the group chose Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt as its winner. Honors included Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

USA Today called Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai and Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt favorites in several polls.

Mock Newbery awards are held by many schools and libraries. Some results are posted online:

Heavy Medal, a Mock Newbery Blog from School Library Journal, posted results and a description of the deliberations from the Rockridge branch of the Oakland Public Library for the annual Mock Newbery. Their winner? Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming. Honor books were A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems.

Other results were reported from Queens Library, including the winner, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt and one Honor, Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. The Maryland Library Association's winner was also Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt.

After discussing thirty titles, the ACPL Mock Newbery from the Children's Services department of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, selected one winner, Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, and one honor book, Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt.

As I pore over each article, I'm adding new titles to my must-read list and deliberating about my own favorites. Happy reading!
JoAnn Early Macken

P.S. You can still enter our drawing for an autographed copy of Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg. Read April's interview. Then post a brief comment sharing an "oops" in your life and how you (or someone else) turned it into something beautiful. Be sure to include an email address (format: teachingauthors at gmail dot com) or a link to an e-mail address. Or you can e-mail your comment to teachingauthors at gmail dot com with "Contest" in the subject line. Entry Deadline is Wednesday, January 25th, 11 p.m. (CST). You must have a U.S. mailing address to win. The winner will be announced on January 27th. Good Luck! 


Unknown said...

Wow, a host of links! Greatly appreciated. I'm happy clicking now.

JoAnn Early Macken said...

Shortly after I posted this (of course!) I noticed lots of Mock Caldecott awards. If you're interested in illustrations, you can search for those, too! Have fun!

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

Commenting for April's signing up at blog challenge. I am hitting every blog on the list. We, of course, already follow you.,.
I have noted The Inside Out and Back Again is also on the Cybill list.
So far the only ones I have read from the mid grade Cybils are WarpSpeed (so far, my favorite) The Chesire Cheese Cat and The Frienship Doll.
Do you know about the NENE Awards? These are voted on by kids.

Bill Kirk said...

Terrific list of resources. Thanks for sharing it on your blog. Dropping by during the Comment Challenge and I have added my name to your list of followers. Feel free to visit my blog ( or my website ( as you wander the www.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks, JoAnn, for sharing those links.
My heart is beat-beat-beating, thinking about those folks whose lives are about to be changed (fortuitously)early tomorrow morning..or late tonight.
Here's a link to Richie's Picks:
IMHO, he has impeccable taste when it comes to children's books.
And here's another link to the 7:45 am CST Monday ALA Webcast: