Archive for the ‘Best Books 2010’ Category

Best Lists; It’s a Wrap

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Booklist just posted their editors’ picks of the best adult and youth books of 2010, so we can now say that the Best Books season is a wrap.

Below are the top choices, along with links to our downloadable spreadsheets collating all the titles, useful if you have remaining budgets you need to spend. If you have any trouble downloading either list, or have suggestions for making them more useful, please email me).

Adult Titles, Collated (Downloadable Spreadsheet); Version 7; FINAL

Top Titles:

Tied with nine of fourteen picks:

Egan, Jennifer,  A Visit From The Goon Squad, Knopf

Skloot, Rebecca, The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, Crown (the trade pbk. coming in March is featured above)

Wilkerson, Isabel, The Warmth Of Other Suns: The Epic Story Of America’s Great Migration, Random House

Seven of fourteen:

Franzen, Jonathan, Freedom, FSG

Mitchell, David, The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet, Random House

Mukherjee, Siddhartha, The Emperor Of All Maladies: A Biography Of Cancer, Scribner

Smith, Patti, Just Kids, Knopf

Six of fourteen:

Donoghue, Emma, Room, Little, Brown

Grossman, David, To The End Of The Land, Knopf

Murray, Paul, Skippy Dies, Faber & Faber

Richards, Keith, with James Fox, Life

Schiff, Stacy, Cleopatra: A Life, Little, Brown

————–

Childrens Titles, Collated (Downloadable Spreadsheet) Version 6; FINAL

Top Titles:

Number One (nine of eleven sources):

Williams-Garcia, Rita, One Crazy Summer, HarperCollins/Amistad

Six of eleven:

Greenberg, Jan & Sandra Jordan, illus. by Brian Floca, Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring Roaring Brook/Neal Porter

Lin, Grace, Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!, Little, Brown

Five of eleven:

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group; HMH

Burningham, John, illus. by Helen Oxenbury, There’s Going To Be A Baby, Candlewick

Collins, Suzanne,  Mockingjay, Scholastic

Sidman, Joyce, illus. by Beckie Prange, Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors, HMH

Singer, Marilyn, Mirror Mirror: A Book Of Reversible Verse, Dutton

Wiesner, David, Art & Max, Clarion

Best Crime Fiction

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Sarah Weinman, who writes the crime fiction column for the L.A. Times, reads so widely that when she picks her favorite crime novels of 2010, you can expect a wide range of titles, from the already popular to the more obscure.

Her top of the list is Don Winslow’s Savages, which she claims to have read three times (quite a feat for someone who reads over 400 books a year).

Savages: A Novel
Don Winslow
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster – (2010-07-13)
ISBN / EAN: 1439183368 / 9781439183366

YALSA Kudos

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

The Washington Post features YALSA’s Teens Top Ten program today, focusing on a DC area group, calling them,

…a little-known sounding board for publishers of teen fiction, poring over advance copies of books and dutifully typing up their ratings and impressions…[that] give publishers an important glimpse inside the minds of teen readers. Sometimes they also help build buzz about a new book.

The groups create a list of their top picks, which teens around the country vote on, resulting in the Teen’s Top Ten, published in October, during Teen Read Week.

The 2010 Teens’ Top Ten 2010 list is:

  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, Scholastic
  2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare, McElderry/S&S
  3. Heist Society by Ally Carter, Hyperion
  4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, Scholastic
  5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, S&S
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Little, Brown
  7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, Viking
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Dutton
  9. Fire by Kristin Cashore, Dial
  10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Viking

Another Best Books List

Friday, December 24th, 2010

The Wall Street Journal swam against the tide this year by starting a standalone weekend book section in September.

More often than not, the WSJ reviews titles that are not covered elsewhere. It’s no surprise, then, that seven of their top ten books of the year do not appear on other lists. Only two novels make the cut; Bernard Cornwell’s The Burning Land and Howard Jacobson’s Booker Award winner The Finkler Question.

We’re now up to version 6 of our collated list of titles on the major adult best books lists — 396 titles from 14 sources. Also available is the childrens list; 199 titles from 11 sources

MORE Best Books

Monday, December 20th, 2010

For those of you who just can’t get enough of Best Books lists, several more appeared over the weekend:

Entertainment Weekly, Top Ten:

Their top choice is Barry Udall’s The Lonely Polygamist , Norton, which was also a PW Top Ten, and was on the Kirkus and Washington Post lists.

At #9, is a book that hasn’t appeared on others; Rich Boy by Sharon Pomerantz, Twelve/Grand Central. It didn’t get reviewed widely and Entertainment Weekly was its champion, calling it a “compulsively readable debut.”

Rich Boy
Sharon Pomerantz
Retail Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Twelve – (2010-08-02)
ISBN / EAN: 0446563188 / 9780446563185

San Francisco Chronicle

  • Top 10 books of 2010
  • Best 2010 books by Bay Area authors
  • 100 recommended books from 2010
  • Best science fiction and fantasy books of 2010
  • Best poetry books of 2010
  • The Seattle Times

    27 best books of 2010

    For those of you who can’t stand to read yet another Best Books list, try Ron Charles’s take:

    PEOPLE’s Best Books

    Thursday, December 16th, 2010

    People’s Best (and Worst) of 2010 issue has arrived, with the Top 10 in Books (no Worst are awarded in this category). Making the cut are:

    Life, Keith Richards, Little, Brown

    Room, Emma Donaghue, Little, Brown

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot, Crown

    I Remember Nothing, Nora Ephron, Random

    A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan, Knopf

    Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand, Random

    Just Kids, Patti Smith, HarperCollins/Ecco

    Autobiography of Mark Twain, U. of Cal. Press

    One Day, David Nicholls, Vintage

    Good Housekeeping is also in to the Best Books competition. We’re please to see that one of our favorites from the year, Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt (HarperCollins) is their top pick. This list is arranged by what the reader is in the mood for, making it helpful for readers advisory.

    Booklist’s Top of the Lists

    Thursday, December 16th, 2010

    Giving a sneak peek at their 2010 best book selections, coming in the combined Jan. 1 & 15 issue, Booklist announces the top title in each category. Their adult editors agree with most of their fellow critics, but there’s a couple of surprises in children’s selections (you can download our spreadsheet of all the titles picked so far — one for adult titles and one for children’s).

    Adult Fiction

    Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad received rapturous reviews (Bookmarks shows 20 in total). Time picks it as the #2 book of the year (after Franzen’s Freedom); the NYT Book Review, the Washington Post and PW all rank it in their top ten of the year.

    While it hasn’t appeared on the NYT Best Seller list (we’re betting it will when it comes out in paperback next year), it hit the IndieBound list shortly after publication and stayed on it for thirteen weeks, going back on again last week.

    Libraries are still showing holds, heavy in some areas.

    A Visit from the Goon Squad
    Jennifer Egan
    Retail Price: $25.95
    Hardcover: 288 pages
    Publisher: Knopf – (2010-06-08)
    ISBN / EAN: 0307592839 / 9780307592835

    Audio; BBC AudioBooks; 9780792771746; 8 CD’s; $79.95
    Adobe EPUB eBook from OverDrive

    Adult Nonfiction

    Author Rebecca Skloot is not only featured on many best books’s lists (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks ties with Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns for the most mentions), she is also being hailed as a leader for her persistence in telling the story of a poor black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951, but lives on through her cells which are still used, without her consent,  in medical research. Skloot also established a scholarship fund for Henrietta Lacks’ heirs. Oprah Winfrey and True Blood producer Alan Ball signed it for an HBO film back in May.

    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
    Rebecca Skloot
    Retail Price: $26.00
    Hardcover: 368 pages
    Publisher: Crown – (2010-02-02)
    ISBN / EAN: 1400052173 / 9781400052172

    Random House Audio; UNABR; 9780307712509; $35
    Audio and e-book available from OverDrive

    Youth Fiction

    The top pick in this category has not appeared on any of the other lists.

    The Adventures of Nanny Piggins
    R. A. Spratt
    Retail Price: $15.99
    Hardcover: 256 pages
    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2010-08-16)
    ISBN / EAN: 0316068195 / 9780316068192

    Youth Nonfiction

    With this selection, They Called Themselves the K.K.K. now ties for the most picks for a children’s nonfiction title with Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, by Jan Greenber, & Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca (Flashpoint/Roaring Brook).

    They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
    Susan Campbell Bartoletti
    Retail Price: $19.00
    Hardcover: 176 pages
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children – (2010-08-23)
    ISBN / EAN: 061844033X / 9780618440337

    Youth Picture Book

    Although this one received admiring reviews, it has not appeared on any of the other best books lists.

    Nini Lost and Found
    Anita Lobel
    Retail Price: $17.99
    Hardcover: 40 pages
    Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers – (2010-09-14)
    ISBN / EAN: 0375858806 / 9780375858802

    Video

    Audio

    The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
    Stieg Larsson
    Retail Price: $40.00
    Audio CD:
    Publisher: Books on Tape – (2010-05-25)
    ISBN -13: 9780739377710

    Reference Source

    UPDATED: Wrapping Up Best Books ’10

    Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

    UPDATE: We overlooked the Kirkus adult selections, which appeared this week.

    Top 25 Fiction

    Top 25 Nonfiction

    Best Mysteries

    Those titles have now been added to the collated adult list and the figures below have been updated.

    So, NOW, we’re ready to declare it a wrap for Best Books 2010. A few new lists appeared this week; Time‘s choices of the Ten Best Fiction and Ten Best Nonfiction are in the current issue (along with many other Top Ten lists, like the Top 10 iPhone Apps – iBooks is one of them) and the Washington Post published their lists on Sunday. The final lists will be Booklist‘s and Horn Book‘s, at the beginning of the year.

    We’ve put together the Links to the Major Lists, but if you want an exhaustive (and exhausitng) compilation, go to LargeHeartedBoy.com.

    We’ve also updated our collated list of all the titles from the major sources.

    What can we conclude? There’s not a lot of concensus (perhaps inevitable, give the number of books published every year) and if the critics were on the National Book Awards committees, the outcomes would have been very different. In fact, the winner in the Young Readers category, Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine, did not appear on any of the critics’ lists.

    Below are the links to the spreadsheets of the adult and children’s titles, with the top titles by number of picks. If you have any trouble downloading either list, or have any suggestions for making them more useful, please email me).

    Adult Titles, Collated (Downloadable Spreadsheet); UPDATED Version 4

    Top Titles:

    Skloot, Rebecca, The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, Crown; Seven of  eight

    Wilkerson, Isabel, The Warmth Of Other Suns: The Epic Story Of America’s Great Migration, Random House; Seven of  eight

    Smith, Patti, Just Kids, Knopf; Six of eight

    Egan, Jennifer,  A Visit From The Goon Squad, Knopf; Six of eight

    Schiff, Stacy, Cleopatra: A Life, Little, Brown; Six of eight

    Franzen, Jonathan, Freedom, FSG; Five of eight

    Grossman, David, To The End Of The Land, Knopf; Five of eight

    Mukherjee, Siddhartha, The Emperor Of All Maladies: A Biography Of Cancer, Scribner; Five of eight

    Mitchell, David, The Thousand Autumns Of Jacob De Zoet, Random House; Six of eight

    Richards, Keith, with James Fox, Life; Five of eight

    ————–

    Childrens Titles, Collated (Downloadable Spreadsheet) UPDATED Version 3

    Top Titles:

    Williams-Garcia, Rita, One Crazy Summer, HarperCollins/Amistad; Seven of ten

    Sidman, Joyce, illus. by Beckie Prange, Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Five of ten

    Wiesner, David, Art & Max, Clarion; Five of ten

    Burningham, John, illus. by Helen Oxenbury, There’s Going To Be A Baby, Candlewick; Four of Ten

    Greenberg, Jan & Sandra Jordan, illus. by Brian Floca, Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring Roaring Brook/Neal Porter; Four of ten

    DiCamillo, Kate and Alison McGhee, illus by  Tony Fucile, Bink and Gollie Candlewick; Four of ten

    Lin, Grace, Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!, Little, Brown; Four of ten

    Stead, Philip C., illus. by Erin E. Stead,  A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Roaring Brook/Neal Porter; Four of ten

    Kerley, Barbara, illus. by  Edwin Fotheringham, The Extraordinary Mark Twain, (According to Susy) Picture Bk. Scholastic; Four of ten

    Underwood, Deborah, illus. by Renata Liwska, The Quiet Book Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Four of ten

    Collins, Suzanne,  Mockingjay, Scholastic; Four of ten

    Librarians’ Favorite Books to Recommend, 2010

    Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

    We challenged you to tell us about your favorite 2010 books to recommend, along with your own passionate annotations, and you came through, making every one sound irresistible.

    Please, check out the suggestions and add your own.

    Below are the covers of some of the titles:

    Best Cookbooks 2010 Mashup

    Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

    Librarians aren’t the only ones in the best books mashup business. The Huffington Post has put together a slide show of the Best Cookbooks for Giving. Each had to be chosen by at least two of  eight sources (four got by with just one pick — from the Huffington Post’s own Food Editors).

    We’re pleased to see Brooklyn well-represented. The Frankies Spuntino’s cookbook (it’s by two Frankies and “spuntino” means “a little snack” in Italian), from EarlyWord‘s neightborhood restaurant, came in with 5 picks:

    The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual
    Frank Falcinelli, Frank Castronovo, Peter Meehan
    Retail Price: $24.95
    Hardcover: 256 pages
    Publisher: Artisan – (2010-06-14)
    ISBN / EAN: 1579654150 / 9781579654153

    And, slightly further afield, but within walking distance of EarlyWord headquarters, the bakery Baked got two picks for its innovative approach to American standards in Baked Explorations. Below, the author/owners talk about a recipe they picked up while touring for their first book:

    …………………………

    Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
    Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito
    Retail Price: $29.95
    Hardcover: 208 pages
    Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang – (2010-10-01)
    ISBN / EAN: 1584798505 / 9781584798507

    Best Books Mashup — Adult

    Monday, December 6th, 2010

    We buckled under pressure. After the great reception for our Childrens Best Books Mashup downloadable spreadsheet, we put together one for Adult Books (if you have any trouble downloading either, or have any suggestions for making them more useful, email me).

    As with the children’s lists, there is very little agreement. Of the 250 titles, only three were selected by all four sources (LJ, PW, NYT BR and the daily NYT reviewers).

    We’ve focused on the library review sources and the major national lists (we’ll add more as they appear). Neil Hollands at the Booklist blog, “Book Group Buzz,” is is working on a more comprehensive list. We’ll let you know when it’s available.

    Childrens Best Book Mashup — UPDATE

    Saturday, December 4th, 2010

    We’ve just added the NYT Book Review‘s Notable Children’s Books to our spreadsheet of the children’s best books selections from the national review media.

    Also, we’ve added age ranges for each title.

    We will continue updating the spreadsheet as new picks arrive. You can always find the latest version, to the right, under Best Books ’10, Childrens Best, Collated (Downloadable Spreadsheet). If you have any trouble downloading it, or have any suggestions for making it more useful, email me.

    Thanks for you enthusiastic response — we’ve had nearly 1.300 downloads of the spreadsheet since we put it up yesterday.

    Best Books Mashups, 2010

    Friday, December 3rd, 2010

    Top Kids Picks

    The Best Books lists have been rolling in and we have posted links to them on the right, under “Best Books ’10”. We’ve also put together an Excel spreadsheet of all the childrens picks from the national review media so far, so you can easily check the titles against your collection (it’s sorted by number of picks, but you can sort it any way that works best for you). If you have any trouble downloading it, or have any suggestions for making it more useful, email me.

    Among the five sources (Kirkus, PW, SLJ, the NYT BR Best Illustrated Books, plus EarlyWord picks by Lisa Von Drasek), there is very little agreement. Just two titles were selected by four sources. Nine were picked by three; thirty-eight by two. The majority, 120, were picked by just one source.

    We will add Booklist and Horn Book‘s picks when they are announced.

    For adult titles, Neil Hollands at the Booklist blog, “Book Group Buzz,” is compiling a spreadsheet. We’ll let you know as soon as it’s available.

    Best Books to Give to Kids…Even Those You Don’t Know Very Well

    Tuesday, November 30th, 2010


    We want to give books this holiday season. We want to give books because we want to share the joy of perfectly written, joyous-to-read-aloud picture books. We want to give books because childhood memories are made when we settle into the big armchair and share the adventures of a fearless mouse (The Tale of Despereaux). We want to give books because we want to be the ONE who introduced that seven-year-old to Clementine.

    Specifically, I want to be the cool godmother who slipped a teen Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You. I also want to be the goddess who gave the perfect book to the kid who “doesn’t read.” I also want to give books because I want to support the “content providers.” I want my gift giving money to go to children’s book writers and artists.

    Out of the thousands of new children’s books published this year, which ones will make the perfect gift?

    Allow me; making the match is the most exciting moment for the children’s librarian or bookseller.

    Lisa Von Drasek’s Annual Best Books to Give to Kids When You Have No Idea What to Get Them Because:

    • You Don’t Know Them Very Well
    • They’ve Read Everything

    The following recommendations are sorted by age of recipient and topic.

    Best New Baby

    Perfect Piggies! Book and Plush Set
    Sandra Boynton
    Retail Price: $16.95
    Hardcover: 24 pages
    Publisher: Workman Publishing Company – (2010-11-15)
    ISBN / EAN: 0761162305 / 9780761162308

    (Ages 6 months and up)

    From the genius who created Moo Baa La La La, a delicious bebop board book rhyming romp of buoyant pink piggies paired with a cuddly soft stuffed toy.

    Best New Sibling

    Pecan Pie Baby
    Jacqueline Woodson
    Retail Price: $16.99
    Hardcover: 32 pages
    Publisher: Putnam Juvenile – (2010-10-28)
    ISBN / EAN: 0399239871 / 9780399239878

    (Ages 3 and up)
    …………………………

    There’s Going to Be a Baby
    John Burningham
    Retail Price: $16.99
    Hardcover: 48 pages
    Publisher: Candlewick – (2010-09-14)
    ISBN / EAN: 0763649074 / 9780763649074

    (Ages 4 and up)

    Is there an older sibling? Time to emphasize that the older brother and/or sisters are big, smart, and fabulous. Both of these give a humorous take on the uncertainty and terror that the impending infant can instill in the first child. No sugar coating and plenty of fun.

    Best Concept Book

    One Blue Fish: A Colorful Counting Book
    Charles Reasoner
    Retail Price: $9.99
    Hardcover: 26 pages
    Publisher: Little Simon – (2010-07-20)
    ISBN / EAN: 1416996729 / 9781416996729

    (Ages 2 and up)

    The biggest, fattest, bluest number one stands out sharply out from a background of solid yellow. Lift the page and underneath swims a fish with scales in tones of blue that range from sky to gray to almost purple. We count the sets of animals up to ten yellow ducks. No reason not to count right back down again.

    Best Picture Books of the Year

    Animal Crackers Fly the Coop
    Kevin O’Malley
    Retail Price: $16.99
    Hardcover: 40 pages
    Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers – (2010-04-13)
    ISBN / EAN: 0802798373 / 9780802798374

    (Ages 5 and up)

    In this punny retelling of the Brementown Musicians, the chicken (a pint-sized Henny Youngman…get it?) leaves the farm to become a comedian and avoid getting cooked on “Fry-day.” Along the road she picks up the usual suspects; an unwanted dog, a cat who would rather sing than catch mice, and a cow with jokes on the brain, all done in detailed pen-and-ink illustrations with color wash.

    …………………………

    The Quiet Book
    Deborah Underwood
    Retail Price: $12.95
    Hardcover: 32 pages
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children – (2010-04-12)
    ISBN / EAN: 0547215673 / 9780547215679

    (Ages 4 and up)

    A cohort of cuddly critters, softly rendered in pencil sketches demonstrate the various forms of quiet,  from “First one awake” to “Don’t scare the robin” quiet. As we read between the lines with hints from the illustrations, big feelings of embarrassment, sadness and joy emerge in the telling.

    …………………………

    My Garden
    Kevin Henkes
    Retail Price: $17.99
    Hardcover: 40 pages
    Publisher: Greenwillow Books – (2010-02-23)
    ISBN / EAN: 0061715174 / 9780061715174

    (Ages 4 and up)

    It may seem strange to recommend a summery garden book in the dead of winter but I would be remiss not to recommend one of the best books of the year in a gift-giving round-up. Caldecott-winning picture book creator, Henkes begins the story subtly with a little girl helping her mother in the garden then takes off in a flight of fancy as the child imagines if this was her garden, the flowers would re-appear instantly after being picked… there would be no rabbits eating the crops because the rabbits would be chocolate and she would eat them!

    …………………………

    The Rabbit Problem
    Emily Gravett
    Retail Price: $17.99
    Hardcover: 32 pages
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing – (2010-11-02)
    ISBN / EAN: 1442412550 / 9781442412552

    (Ages 6 and up)

    Is there a really smart six-year old in your life? One who takes joy in teasing out puzzles or figuring out logic problems? This is THE book. Gravett in the form of a monthly calendar graphically renders the Fibonacci problem “If a pair of baby rabbits are put in a field, how many pairs will there be: a) at the end of each month? b) After one year?“ We follow the progress of January’s one lonely rabbit through the humorous interactive lift-the-flap, pop-up pages, containing February’s knitting pattern for a lovely striped hoodie to a very crowded December that explodes rabbits off the page.

    …………………………

    A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea
    Michael Ian Black
    Retail Price: $16.99
    Hardcover: 40 pages
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing – (2010-09-07)
    ISBN / EAN: 1416979220 / 9781416979227

    (Ages 6 and up)

    Do you know a family with a snarky sense of humor? One with a fine appreciation of the absurd?  The deadpan narrator assures us that although we may think a parade made up of a lot of pigs would be a lot of fun; it is assuredly a bad idea. Perhaps we were not aware that pigs do not want to wear snappy uniforms, tend to shuffle rather than march and do not appreciate rousing marching tunes, preferring sad country ballads. Oh, and the only floats pigs would enjoy are the ones with root beer and ice cream. Artist Hawkes conjures up cute cartoony pigs as well as realistically rendered decidedly sticky ones for our enlightenment.

    …………………………

    How Rocket Learned to Read
    Tad Hills
    Retail Price: $17.99
    Hardcover: 40 pages
    Publisher: Schwartz & Wade – (2010-07-27)
    ISBN / EAN: 0375858997 / 9780375858994

    (Ages 5 and up)

    Rocket, a spotted fuzzy dog had no interest in reading until a tiny yellow bird flew into his life. She read aloud to him, taught him the glories of the “wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet” and how to spell words like grrrr and whoosh. The passage of time as fall turns to winter is exquisitely portrayed as the bird leaves for the winter and Rocket practices what he had learned.

    …………………………

    Clever Jack Takes the Cake
    Candace Fleming
    Retail Price: $17.99
    Hardcover: 40 pages
    Publisher: Schwartz & Wade – (2010-08-24)
    ISBN / EAN: 0375849793 / 9780375849794

    (Ages 5 and up)

    Jack has been invited to the Princess’s birthday party. Although he is poor, he uses his wits to gather the resources to make her present, a two-layer cake with candles and a ripe succulent strawberry. On the way to the festivities he encounters aggressive blackbirds, an ogre at a toll bridge and a greedy bear, all who whittle away the cake. What will the princess think if he arrives empty-handed?

    The Perfect Teacher Present

    Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don’t)
    Barbara Bottner
    Retail Price: $17.99
    Hardcover: 32 pages
    Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers – (2010-03-09)
    ISBN / EAN: 0375846824 / 9780375846823

    (Ages 5 and up)

    An overly enthusiastic school librarian oppresses our droll narrator. To make matters worse the student must select a book to present for Book Week. “I ask my mother if we can move to a new town. My mother says there’s a librarian in every town. I ask if she wants to do my assignment for me. ‘I’ve already been to first grade,’ says my mother.” It’s a pitch perfect read aloud.

    Best Information Books

    Bones
    Steve Jenkins
    Retail Price: $16.99
    Hardcover: 48 pages
    Publisher: Scholastic Reference – (2010-08-01)
    ISBN / EAN: 0545046513 / 9780545046510

    (Ages 5 and up)

    Jenkins cut-paper collage art never ceases to amaze. Here he looks at bones… animal bones, mammal bones, bird bones and frog bones. Fact-filled and endlessly fascinating; did you know that there are 206 bones in the adult human body? That a stork has thin, hollow bones to make to light enough to fly? That bugs have their skeletons on the outside, an exoskeleton?

    …………………………

    Animal Pop!: With 5 Incredible, Life Size Fold-outs (In Your Face)
    National Geographic
    Retail Price: $14.95
    Hardcover: 20 pages
    Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books – (2010-10-26)
    ISBN / EAN: 1426307160 / 9781426307164

    (Ages 4 and up)

    This is the book for the kid that is crazy about animals. Here is a perfect compendium of facts and photographs about tigers, dolphins, turtles woves and pandas to peruse. The animal profiles contain thumbnail sketches that show where they live, what they eat as well as some snapshots of typical development or how they communicate. AND……a stunning pop-up life-size photograph of the animal.

    …………………………

    The Sounds of Star Wars
    J.W. Rinzler
    Retail Price: $60.00
    Hardcover: 304 pages
    Publisher: Chronicle Books – (2010-09-01)
    ISBN / EAN: 0811875466 / 9780811875462

    (All Ages)

    Yes this is the most unexpected pick of the list.  Rinzler was the sound engineer for the Star Wars movies. In this oversized encyclopedic volume, he describes how the movie’s sounds were crated. Press 003 on the digital audio box to hear the robot’s voice, the sound of the light sabers, and the “growls” of baby Emma that became the basis for sound of the Sando aqua monster.  Over three hundred pages of movie stills and archival photos, 256 sound bites; the perfect gift for the geek in all of us.

    Best Easy Readers

    Bink and Gollie (Junior Library Guild Selection (Candlewick Press))
    Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee
    Retail Price: $15.99
    Hardcover: 96 pages
    Publisher: Candlewick – (2010-09-14)
    ISBN / EAN: 076363266X / 9780763632663

    (Ages 6 and up)

    Two best friends, one short, one tall, one impulsive, one deliberate are introduced in this limited language chapter book. I could try but nobody says it better than Sarah Ellis in the New York Times Book Review.

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    Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!
    Grace Lin
    Retail Price: $14.99
    Hardcover: 48 pages
    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2010-07-01)
    ISBN / EAN: 031602452X / 9780316024525

    (Ages 6 and up)

    These identical twin sisters are not so identical since Ling sneezed during a haircut. Newbery Honor author, Lin, presents two distinct girls with different strengths, likes and dislikes in a brightly colored early chapter book.

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    Cat the Cat, Who Is That?
    Mo Willems
    Retail Price: $10.99
    Hardcover: 32 pages
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray – (2010-02-16)
    ISBN / EAN: 0061728403 / 9780061728402

    (Ages 4 and up)

    From the author of the award-winning Elephant and Piggie and the Knuffle Bunny series, a new cast of characters is introduced in the simplest of language for our brand new reader buddies. The repetitious language, quiet humor and plots that turn on early childhood issues make these instant classics. Give the whole set.

    Best Early Chapter Book

    Lulu and the Brontosaurus (Junior Library Guild Selection (Atheneum))
    Judith Viorst
    Retail Price: $15.99
    Hardcover: 128 pages
    Publisher: Atheneum – (2010-09-14)
    ISBN / EAN: 1416999612 / 9781416999614

    (Ages 5 and up)

    “There once was a girl named Lulu, and she was a pain. She wasn’t a pain in the elbow. She wasn’t a pain in the knee. She was a pain – a very big pain – in the b u t t.”

    Viorst’s entertaining storyteller voice paired with Smith’s humorous pencil sketches, packaged in an old-fashioned cloth bound irregularly shaped vertical volume, give us a story that begs to be read aloud. Every child will recognize Lulu who gets what she wants, when she wants or throws a fit and then gets what she wants. We heave a sigh of relief when she gets her comeuppance in a most unexpected way.

    Best Graphic Novels

    The Little Prince Graphic Novel
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    Retail Price: $19.99
    Hardcover: 112 pages
    Publisher: HMH Books – (2010-10-18)
    ISBN / EAN: 0547338023 / 9780547338026

    (Ages 9 and up)

    Better known to kids for his Little Vampire series, Joann Sfar tackles adapting this beloved classic of the downed pilot and his mysterious friend, a small boy from another planet who tells tales of his travels. This illustrated edition perfectly captures the tone of the original as well as illuminating the characters such as the dashing pilot, the selfish rose and the geographer with no interest in exploration.

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    Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword
    Barry Deutsch
    Retail Price: $15.95
    Hardcover: 144 pages
    Publisher: Amulet Books – (2010-11-01)
    ISBN / EAN: 0810984229 / 9780810984226

    (Ages 10 and up)

    “Yet another Troll-Fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish Girl” says the tag line and basically that’s all you need to know. Part fairytale, part fantasy/quest tale unusually set in an observant family, we know immediately that Mirka is not like all the other girls at school. Due to a complicated set of mishaps, our protagonist finds herself stalked by a pig, hounded by a bully and enthralled by the prospect of fulfilling a greater destiny. Nothing is as it seems in this compelling volume, the first of the series.

    Best Books for the Kids who love Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
    Tom Angleberger
    Retail Price: $12.95
    Hardcover: 160 pages
    Publisher: Amulet Books – (2010-03-01)
    ISBN / EAN: 0810984253 / 9780810984257

    (Ages 10 and up)

    The story unfolds as individual students in alternating chapters relate the mysterious ability of a folded paper finger puppet named Yoda to give sage advice to a class of sixth graders. Not the usual school story of friendship, bullies, and first girlfriends told in journal entries, cartoons, and doodles.

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    Finn Reeder, Flu Fighter: How I Survived a Worldwide Pandemic, the School Bully, and the Craziest Game of Dodge Ball Ever
    Eric Stevens
    Retail Price: $9.99
    Hardcover: 80 pages
    Publisher: Stone Arch Books – (2010-01-15)
    ISBN / EAN: 1434225623 / 9781434225627

    (Ages 9 and up)

    The non-event of the swine flu epidemic seems long ago, but this extremely funny story of a kid whose teachers, friends and family begin dropping like flies is perfect for the kid who has run out of Wimpy Kid books and refuses to touch anything else. Gross humor abounds as Finn becomes the last kid standing.

    Best Novels for the Kid Who Reads Everything

    Out of My Mind
    Sharon M. Draper
    Retail Price: $16.99
    Hardcover: 304 pages
    Publisher: Atheneum – (2010-03-09)
    ISBN / EAN: 141697170X / 9781416971702

    (Ages 10 and up)

    Imagine if you had no control of your body, that although you had plenty to say about almost everything, all anyone heard is grunts and groans. We hear Melody’s voice in her head as she navigates the world of typical students and finds a way to let everyone know what is inside her mind.

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    One Crazy Summer
    Rita Williams-garcia
    Retail Price: $15.99
    Hardcover: 224 pages
    Publisher: Amistad – (2010-02-01)
    ISBN / EAN: 0060760885 / 9780060760885

    (Ages 10 and up)

    It was the summer of the Black Panthers, when three sisters are shipped west to spend time with the mother who abandoned them when the youngest was still an infant. Delphine, only eleven, is charged with being responsible for the younger two as their mother continues to neglect their care. Should she call her dad? Will her mother ever BE a mother?

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    The Search for WondLa
    Tony DiTerlizzi
    Retail Price: $17.99
    Hardcover: 496 pages
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing – (2010-09-21)
    ISBN / EAN: 1416983104 / 9781416983101

    (Ages 10 and up)

    For the kids who loved Harry Potter and the The Lightning Thief, comes this excitingly original fantasy quest tale of a little girl, Eva Nine who was raised in an underground residence with only the company of a many-armed robot caretaker named Muthr. Abundantly illustrated with obvious references to Baum’s Wizard of Oz, readers can delight in sinking into a whole new world filled with magical creatures, heart stopping adventure scenes and sly embedded humor.

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    A Tale Dark and Grimm
    Adam Gidwitz
    Retail Price: $16.99
    Hardcover: 192 pages
    Publisher: Dutton Juvenile – (2010-10-28)
    ISBN / EAN: 0525423346 / 9780525423348

    (Ages 10 and up)

    This would be the under-the-radar book. Who is this book for? For the kid ready to graduate from Goose Bumps, for the kid who wants a really scary book, for the kid looking for action but also for the thoughtful kid. This book is a well-crafted retelling of classic (read bloody, gory, not-cleaned-up, not Disney) Grimm’s Tales with the construct that Hansel and Gretel were actually the main characters of all the stories. Gidwitz knows his tales and provides pitch perfect pacing. We can imagine him as the charming narrator reminding us again and again to take the little ones out of the room. Follow that advice.

    Best Novels for 12 and Up

    Fever Crumb
    Philip Reeve
    Retail Price: $17.99
    Hardcover: 336 pages
    Publisher: Scholastic Press – (2010-04-01)
    ISBN / EAN: 0545207193 / 9780545207195

    For the young adults who have already gobbled up the Hunger Games series, a new fantasy adventure set in an alternative London. Reeve, a pioneer of the Steam Punk genre presents Fever Crumb, who is the only female member of the Order of Engineers. Fever’s past is a mystery and her future is in jeopardy as she tries to survive in the dangerous streets. e are pleasantly surprised when at the very end this fast-paced tale is revealed as a prequel to the Hungry City Quartet (HarperCollins).

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    Revolution
    Jennifer Donnelly
    Retail Price: $18.99
    Hardcover: 496 pages
    Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers – (2010-10-12)
    ISBN / EAN: 0385737637 / 9780385737630

    For those supernatural romantics, here is one just for them.

    Donnelly, whose previous novel was the critically acclaimed and award winning A Northern Light, weaves the popular culture of present day Brooklyn Heights with the terror of Paris during the French Revolution.  Part mystery, part romance and part fantasy, we witness Andy Alpers is a high school senior as she is breaking down, not just because of her mother’s erratic behavior but also in response to her younger brother’s death. She is going to be kicked out of her competitive private school if she doesn’t complete her senior project (which she hasn’t even started). Can it get worse? Her father arrives to intervene and forces her to relocate to Paris. Can she make her escape? Does she really want to?

    YA — Contemporary Angst/Humor

    Will Grayson, Will Grayson
    John Green, David Levithan
    Retail Price: $17.99
    Hardcover: 304 pages
    Publisher: Dutton Juvenile – (2010-04-06)
    ISBN / EAN: 0525421580 / 9780525421580

    The co-authors have written a coming of age novel in the voices of two high-school students who meet accidently and coincidentally have the same name. This is as much a book about friendship as it is about finding one’s place in the world. What does it mean to acknowledge and support a friend who is gay? And of course there is a musical.

    Final Next Installment of a Series

    A Conspiracy of Kings
    Megan Whalen Turner
    Retail Price: $16.99
    Hardcover: 336 pages
    Publisher: Greenwillow Books – (2010-03-01)
    ISBN / EAN: 0061870935 / 9780061870934

    (Ages 12 and up)

    While every one was going crazy over Mockingjay, I was relishing the final (UPDATE: Good news! It’s been pointed out that is is NOT the final installment. The author herself said in an interview that  she’s planning two more books in the series. Thanks for the link, Susan Cassidy) in The Queen’s Thief series, set in a fantasy kingdom built of palace intrigue, mistaken identities and romance. The first, The Thief, was a Newbery Honor. This volume is just as satisfying as the previous three.

    NPR’s Best Cookbooks 2010

    Monday, November 22nd, 2010

    One of EarlyWord‘s most clicked-on stories from the past year is NPR’s Best Cookbooks of 2009, so we’re happy to announce NPR’s Best Cookbooks of 2010 is here.

    Even though you can Google nearly any recipe you want, T. Susan Chang tells Liane Hanson on Weekend Edition Saturday that this was an amazing year for cookbooks. In putting together this list, she stuck to the books that everyday cooks would want to use. The common thread of these books is that the “authors take the trouble to tell you everything you need to know to do the recipes. The short, cute cookbooks with almost nothing on the page, those are the ones to look out for, because they will double cross you.”

    Curiously, the book that received the largest Amazon sales bump is The Food Substitutions Bible, from Canadian publisher, Robert Rose (distributed by Firefly). It rose to #53 from a lowly #18,937, proving that you can’t Google everything.

    The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 6,500 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment and Techniques
    David Joachim
    Retail Price: $24.95
    Paperback: 696 pages
    Publisher: Robert Rose – (2010-09-02)
    ISBN / EAN: 0778802450 / 9780778802457