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Done with the Kids’ Roundup for another year

September 26, 2009

Just finished writing the Kids’ Book Round-Up for 2009.

I’m not sure it’s my absolute favorite part of the year. But it may come close.  And this year, it was expanded to 36  books: Twelve each of picture books, tween books, and YA.

Which were my favorites? So many of them.  But here are the ones I’m thinking of buying in bulk so I can give to people, for various reasons:

1. Beautiful- a category for illustrations AND language: Tie between two that bowled me over with lovely illustrations and poem-like language I almost wished I could set to music:
Before You Were Here, Mi Amor, by Samantha Vamos.  The illustrations by Santiago Cohen are all joyful in warm oranges and reds and magenta.
Blueberry Girl, by Neil Gaiman with Charles Vess.

2. Whimsical: Wink! The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed by JC Phillipps. Again, it’s a dual prize, for the premise, and the fun illustrations.

3. Adorable: But Sugar Would Not Eat It.  Sugar’s a kitten, with great big eyes, and a plaintive mew you can practically hear rising from the page.  Sweetest kitty ever.  Sugar, indeed.

Best of Tweens:

Confetti Girl- Diana Lopez. Lina has a collection of funny socks.  Those who know me know that’s almost enough to make this a favorite.  Added bonus- one of the better balances of real life sadness (grieving her mother’s death) with heart and humor, first crushes and confetti-filled eggs.

Best illustrations in tweens:Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Written and illustrated by Grace Lin, this isn’t one you read in one sitting.  Treat it as a collection of short stories, for browsing and savoring.

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour. Michael Biehl. Again, not a surprise that I loved this. It’s set in a Catholic girls’ school in New York, and follows four excellently snarky girls solving trivia puzzles to find the ring.

Best of YA:

I’ve already been recommending Wings, by Aprilynne Pike, to any and everyone.  The writing is gorgeously visual, and the blend of modern day high school with an innovative spin on faerie mythology.  Laurel doesn’t think much about the fact that she’s a strict vegan, loves the outdoors, and is adopted.  But, when a bump on her back turns into a giant flower, she realizes she’s something decidedly other.  Magical.  Go read this!

How could I not love Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd?  Edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci, and contains all kinds of wonderful nerdity, from Buffy, to band geeks, to theater, to a Klingon and a Jedi getting it on at a scifi convention.

One I hope has a sequel: The Oracles of Delphi Keep, by Victoria Laurie.  It’s very British and spooky, has a definite Joan Aiken feel.

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