Favorite Books for Young Readers 2010

By popular demand, the list is back!  Although, it’s a bit simplified this year.  In the past, I’ve included images of every book, annotations for each book, and sometimes even a link to each book’s Amazon.com page.

You know what that is?  About five hours’ worth of work.  And considering that I’m only 2 days away from Baby Katie’s due date, five hours is a commitment I just can’t make right now.

So: here’s the list.  Keep in mind that, as in the past, this is a highly personal list — and also that I’m not a professional book reviewer and do not have access to every single title that came out in 2010.  I also tend to leave off bestsellers (like Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay) since I know that most of my blog readers have already read them, or at least are familiar with them.  But I consider all of them to be lots of fun, and I’m sure you’ll find something in here to please you, as well.

Oh, and yeah: I forgot your favorite book.  Sorry in advance.

So fire up those library cards!  Happy hunting!

Picture Books (and keep in mind that I am VERY picky about these.  My personal requirement is that the books have to withstand being read out loud for at least five consecutive nights without driving me crazy):

  • Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
  • Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming
  • April & Esme: Tooth Fairies by Bob Graham
  • The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood
  • Cupcake: A Journey to Special by Charise Mericle Harper
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead — this just won the Caldecott Medal for illustration.  Hooray!
  • My Garden by Kevin Henkes
  • Sneaky Sheep by Chris Monroe
  • A Beach Tail by Karen Lynn Williams
  • Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown

For Beginning Readers

  • Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin
  • Bink & Gollie by Kate diCamillo and Alison McGhee
  • We are In a Book! by Mo Willems
  • Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke — yeah, good luck finding this one.  It’s awesome, and yet hardly any libraries carry it.  [shakes fist at sky]
  • The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz


  • Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Sally Mavor — the fabric/mixed media illustrations are INCREDIBLE. I’m wagging my finger at the Caldecott Committee for overlooking this one.
  • Joha Makes a Wish: a Middle Eastern Tale by Eric Kimmel

Middle Grade Novels

  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams
  • Countdown by Deborah Wiles
  • Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm
  • Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams– historical fiction set in the Avenues of Salt Lake City!  And in the 1980s, so one of the characters is totally into a The Cure knockoff band!  A great debut from a local author.
  • A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz — probably my favorite American novel of the year, although it’s not for everybody
  • Cosmic by Frank Cotrell Boyce — my favorite British import of the year; it definitely IS for everybody
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
  • The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby — a fabulous fantasy debut from yet another local author!
  • The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry — wins the prize for being the most Roald Dahl-esque
  • Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

And one more: Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool it just won the Newbery Medal, so even though I haven’t read it (and hadn’t HEARD OF IT until it won the award) I’m recommending you track it down anyway.

Graphic Novels

  • Smile! (middle grade) by Raina Telgemeier (it’s excellent, but I admit a little extra bias in favor of a book set in the late ’80s/early ’90s.  She wears ex-cla-ma-tion perfume and a turquoise scrunchie that matches her turqoise socks!  What’s not to love?)
  • The Unsinkable Walker Bean by Aaron Renier (middle grade)
  • Mercury by Hope Larson (young adult, although I’d give it a PG rating)
  • Calamity Jack by Shannon and Dean Hale (middle grade; gorgeous illustrations by Nathan Hale)


  • Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman
  • Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors ALSO by Joyce Sidman.  Wow.
  • Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer


  • Kakapo Rescueby Sy Montgomery.  Probably one of the best science writers out there, and that goes for adult nonfiction, too.

Young Adult Fiction (caveat: Owing to my high pregnancy-induced hormonal state, I didn’t read as much YA fiction this year as I usually do.  You’ll notice a distinct lack of contemporary and historical fiction here; escapist fantasy and sci-fi was more my cup of tea this year.  Except for Monsters of Men.  It’s part of Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy, and makes The Hunger Games look like a kitten wrestling with a rainbow.  I couldn’t even look at the cover without bursting into tears.  Okay, caveat over.)

  • As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins
  • The Cardturner by Louis Sachar — probably more appeal for adults than YAs with this one, depends on the kid
  • A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner — best fantasy writing of the year, hands down
  • Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve — a stand-alone prequel to his excellent Hungry City Chronicles
  • Bruiser by Neal Schusterman (excepting the very last paragraph)
  • Incarceron by Catherine Fisher — so glad to see this author getting some appreciation; I loved her Oracle trilogy
  • Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi — winner of the Printz Award for outstanding YA fiction!  This made me VERY happy.

One More Quirky Category — Best Vintage Children’s Fiction I Read in 2010

  • Helen Cresswell’s Bagthorpe Saga: Ordinary Jack; Absolute Zero; Bagthorpes Unlimited.  Very funny farcical British fiction; there are jokes set up in Book 1 that don’t come into fruition until the end of Book 3.  Brilliant stuff, although it takes a bit of patience to “get” the British humor.  Absolute Zero was my favorite of the bunch.

One thought on “Favorite Books for Young Readers 2010

  1. Yay! I love reading your lists and then picking the titles up for my kids.

    And I love Mo Willems’s Pig and Elephant books so much it’s almost become a cult kind of adoration. “We Are in a Book” makes me laugh every time I read it . . . over and over.

    I’m just sorry the library is closed today.

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