Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year-End Programming, Part 3

I covered audio books on Sunday and nonfiction on Monday.  Now, I'm on to the best Children's and YA titles I read in 2015!  I read 25 titles in this category, up from 16 last year.

So, here we go!  They're in alphabetical order by author.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  This is an electrifying, heart-wrenching novel in verse about twin basketball players and their dad, a former NBA pro.  It screams to be read in one sitting, it's uber-accessible, and it compels the reader to evaluate the universal themes of family, consequences, identity, and forgiveness. Five stars, for sure - maybe my favorite read of the whole year, and it could probably be devoured by readers 4th grade and up.  It is pretty sad in parts, though.

El Deafo by CeCe Bell.  I blurbed this in the nonfiction post.  I'll just add here that in addition to my endorsement, this memoir is a Newbery Honor Book for 2015.  Last year's fave, Brown Girl Dreaming, was an Honor Book, as well.  The Crossover (above) was, of course, the winner. These three books are all brilliant.  El Deafo could be enjoyed by kids in 3rd grade and up, I think.

Son by Lois Lowry.  This is the final book in the Giver quartet, which I greatly admire.  The main story is of Gabriel's birth mother, Claire.  We find out early on that Claire failed in her role of Birth Mother (Gabriel was delivered via caesarean section) and was reassigned to Fish Hatchery Attendant.  She's fascinated with Gabriel and takes risks to see him, even though it's strictly prohibited.  "She adored you," a character explains to Gabriel, "but love wasn't permitted."  So worth the read and good for kids who've already read The Giver.  Maybe ages 10 and up.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier has a lot in common with El Deafo, in that each are graphic memoirs that document the authors' struggles with looking and feeling different in middle school.  In Telgemeier's case, a fall causes a traumatic mouth injury and years of pain, dental surgery, and embarrassing orthodontia. Funny, relatable, and hugely popular with students in grades 2-8 - such wide appeal!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.  Okay, I'm crazy about this one.  Madeline is an eighteen year-old kid with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, a rare disease that renders its sufferers allergic to the world. Her mom, a physician, keeps her enclosed and safe. Things are going reasonably well for Madeline until she watches Olly, a handsome guy with his own problems, move in next door.  Suddenly the world that was more or less enough, falls vastly short.  Love it!  It's probably for 7th grade and up.

Yay!  This set of books is probably the best of all four lists I'm compiling this December.  Here are my next favorites:
Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
March: Book 2 by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Here are the others, all of which I liked. There was one I didn't like that I'm not listing:
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry
The Field Guide (Spiderwick Chronicles #1) by Holly Black
Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gerwitz
Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Alex Rider: Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz
The Sixth Grade Nickname Game by Gordon Korman
Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
Ms. Rapscott's Girls by Elise Primavera
Why Do We Fight? by Niki Walker

And that's it!  Yay!  Tomorrow, I'll do the last list of 2015, which will be my favorite adult fiction.


mm said...

What's the one you didn't like?

jdoc said...

Crossover was one of my favorite reads of the year. I was a sobbing mess at the end. I think I'll take Son of my shelf. I've been meaning to read that one. Good reminder. Thanks!

Unknown said...

As you know, I've copied your goals and read your recommendations and I'm a better reader, teacher, and mom for it. Thanks for being someone to emulate! Cheesy, but true.

KC said...

Okay, mm - it was Mosquitoland by David Arnold. A lot of people like it, but I don't. Jordan! Thanks for such a nice comment.

LH said...

This is great because I bought Crossover for a gift for someone and then I decided to keep it for myself.

Anonymous said...

Your writing about writing amazes and excites me to read your recommendations! Have copied and will do so. Love,mom