1. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (Newbery) / I love surprises, and so does the Newbery! So this underrated debut novel, set in 1930s Kansas, is sure to send booksellers and librarians scrambling to put copies on the shelves. Can’t wait to see if it lives up to the top dog award!
2. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (Printz) / When it comes to YA, no trend sucks me in more than dystopian fiction. The story of Nailer, a scavenger who finds a wealthy girl trapped among the wreckage of Gulf Coast oil ships, has intrigued me since it was nominated for a National Book Award. I’m hoping the action is as gripping and bold as the novel’s graphic cover.
3. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia (Coretta Scott King, Newbery Honor) / If I had to place bets on a winner before the awards came out . . . this would’ve been my pick, because everyone’s been raving about it for ages. And something tells me those 3 sisters on their Brooklyn-to-California adventure are gonna steal my heart too.
4. Dark Emperor and Other Poems Of The Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen (Newbery Honor) / Three cheers for a picture book getting a Newbery, not just a Caldecott, Honor! It’s wonderful to see authors of books for younger readers be recognized, because it’s just as hard to say something beautiful in few words as it is to say in many.
8. will grayson, will grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Stonewall Honor, Odyssey Honor) / What can complicate high school even more than it already is? Having two characters with the same name. What can make a book even more hilarious than anything that’s come before it? Two authors: John Green and David Levithan. I’m obsessed already.
6. 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis (Pura Belpre Honor) / Isn’t the cover just lovely? The colors drew my attention, but its the story that kept me interested: the based-on-a-true-story tale of the children of “Operation Peter Pan“, which brought 14,000 kids as refugees from Cuba to the US.
7. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride (William C. Morris Honor) / The real awards for this book should be, “Coolest Title” and “Coolest Cover”. In a sea of kind of dated-looking material, this is by far more edgy and teen boy-appealing than any of the other winners. I’m all for funny-scary, or scary-funny… whatever.
5. Dave The Potter: Artist, Poet Slave illustrated by Brian Collier, by Laban Carrick Hill (Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King) / This is the one Caldecott pick I haven’t read, and with two awards, I guess I better pay attention. Seems like it has a pretty traditional vibe for a picture book.
9. Bink And Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile (Geisel) / What a fun-looking study in character expression! The amount of buzz I’ve seen about this book might just put Bink and Gollie in the realm of classic friend pairs like “Frog and Toad” and “Henry and Mudge”. I bet it’ll get me moving on my own early reader!
10. The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston (William C. Morris) / Strange cover, and looks like a strange book. But isn’t strange what makes life interesting? The dark themes might not make this the most pleasant of reads, but I’m hoping it’s just crazy enough to be wonderful.