Monday, January 01, 2007

Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Best Children’s Books 2006

Hi kids. Or, rather, hi to those who spend so much of their time looking for outstanding books for kids. As all of you know, we’re enjoying a rich period for children’s and young-adult titles. Thankfully for Kirkus, the esteemed, beloved and formidable Karen Breen, our Children’s Reviews editor, is on hand to help pick from among the best of the best of the year’s impressive crop. The Special reflects both Karen’s enthusiasm for the field in general and her gifts of discernment regarding specific works; I consider it an excellent sign that she protested limiting her recommendations to the number of titles the editors originally requested; there were simply too many she was excited about.
I asked her to share a few of the fundamental tenets and observations that went into, or came out of the selection process. “Here’s the thing,” she told me. “I picked books to represent what I thought was the best in each genre, but I’m always drawn to the funny stuff and to stuff that takes my breath away.” Pressed, she broke it down a bit more: For one thing, the choices reflect work that respects children’s intelligence. Graphic novels, which she notes seem to be aiming younger, made a particular impression. She did say that it was comparatively tough finding good early chapter books to put on the list, and that there were even fewer original easy readers. Building on her comment about looking to what’s funny, Karen said that a comic approach notably benefited even some nonfiction. She also called out the preponderance of picture books about jazz (but then, she’s from New Orleans--Slidell, really--so she’s particularly attuned to the art). But the phrase that may have made the strongest impression on me, indicative of the well-being of the field, was her description of multiple offerings that she identified as “creative, inventive, extraordinary mind-blowing fiction.” It’s work like that, of course, that opens doors and minds, and changes lives.

Jerome Kramer, Editor-in Chief

To read the full article please go to this site:

  • The Pox Party: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Vol. 1 by M.T. Anderson
  • The American Story: 100 True Tales from American History by Jennifer Armstrong
  • Once Upon a Banana by Jennifer Armstrong, illustrated by David Small
  • Keeper of Soles by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Yayo
  • Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  • Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos
  • Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Felipe Davalos et al.
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
  • Beach by Elisha Cooper, illustrated by Elisha Cooper
  • The Last Dragon by Silvana De Mari
  • Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini by Sid Fleischman
  • The Cow Who Clucked by Denise Fleming, illustrated by Denise Fleming
  • The Adventures of Marco Polo by Russell Freedman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
  • Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Russell Freedman
  • The Braid by Helen Frost
  • Emil and Karl by Yankev Glatshteyn
  • Wolves by Emily Gravett, illustrated by Emily Gravett
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  • Sardine In Outer Space by Emmanuel Guibert, illustrated by Joann Sfar
  • It’s NOT the Stork!: A Book about Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends by Robert H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley
  • Duck and Goose by Tad Hills, illustrated by Tad Hills
  • Houndsley and Catina by James Howe, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
  • Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss
  • Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle
  • The Shivers in the Fridge by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
  • Aliens Are Coming!: The True Account of the 1938 War of the Worlds Radio Broadcast by Meghan McCarthy, illustrated by Meghan McCarthy
  • A Drop of Water by Gordon Morrison, illustrated by Gordon Morrison
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock
  • Jazz by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Christopher Myers
  • Street Love by Walter Dean Myers
  • Pompeii: Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Bonnie Christensen
  • The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illustrated by Matt Phelan
  • King Dork by Frank Portman
  • Five For A Little One by Chris Raschka, illustrated by Chris Raschka
  • Larklight by Philip Reeve
  • Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich by Adam Rex, illustrated by Adam Rex
  • Just In Case by Meg Rosoff
  • Ludie’s Life by Cynthia Rylant
  • Ballet of the Elephants by Leda Schubert, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker
  • Black? White! Day? Night!: A Book of Opposites by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  • So Sleepy Story by Uri Shulevitz, illustrated by Uri Shulevitz
  • Butterfly Eyes: And Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes
  • Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton
  • Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 On the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh
  • Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carol Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
  • The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
  • Flotsam by David Wiesner, illustrated by David Wiesner
  • Dizzy by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Sean Qualls
  • Mommy? Arthur Yorinks, Maurice Sendak, and Matthew Reinhart
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Also available in this special issue:

  • The Best of ‘06 Fantasy Sequels
  • The Best of ‘06 Continuing Series
  • Q and A with M.T. Anderson
  • The Best of ‘06 Early Chapter Books

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