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Kim Tomsic

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Thirteen Books of 2013 for Kid Lit Fans

Top Thirteen of 2013
What would a Bookshelf Detective be without a neatly compiled list of best-of-the-year books? Lame. So please enjoy my favorite (mostly kid lit) picks of 2013. Some books listed here debuted in 2013; others I simply discovered in 2013.  In this list you’ll find out why I picked the book; what you won’t find are jacket flap descriptions, however I've provided a hyperlink to jacket copy if any of my hype grabs your interest.

Most “Important” Story of the Year: YAQUIDELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS by Meg Medina (March, 2013 Candlewick). Medina delivers this story in a way that keeps pages turning swiftly. This is the kind of book we all look for—a face-paced story that makes us laugh and cry. YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS is important, relevant and well written; so much so that YALSA has it listed as one of the top 100 books of the year. I predict that it will receive a Printz nomination (The American Library Association will release the nominations as well as the winner in late January 2014).  

Best Couples Story: ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell (Feb. 26, 2013 St. Martin Press). I loved this story for the sheer spit and fire of the characters. This is the book I bought as a gift for all my friends. Yep. It’s that good. It also received a YALSA nomination, and it is my second prediction for a Printz nomination.

Sweetest Book for the Middle Grade Reader who is an Animal Lover: THE FIVE LIVES OF OUR CAT ZOOK by Joanne Rocklin (Amulet, 2012) winner of the SCBWI Golden Kite Award.    

Cleverest Picture Books: Two of the following books take the hilarious approach regarding what happens when a pencil or crayon take on the protagonist role. If you love one, you’ll definitely love the other. The third book has a cover that simply calls you to read the story.
·        LITTLE RED WRITING by Joan Holub and Illustrated by Melissa Sweet (September 2013 Chronicle Books).  
·        THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (June 2013 Philomel).
   MUSTACHE BABY by Bridget Heos illustrated by Joy Ang (May 2013 by Clarion Books).

Best Book for Authors: SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder (January 2005 Michael Wiese
Productions). Yep. I’m a little late at jumping in on the Save the Cat craze, but I swear this is the best book for plotting and structure I’ve ever come across. After reading this you’ll know why movies are satisfying, or you’ll know why a movie you wanted to love failed to deliver. Writers should read this to find holes in their plot, or missing structure elements. A few simple fixes can transform a story experience.

Best Book for High School Boys: ROCK ON by Denise Vega (March 2012 Little, Brown
Books for Young Readers). ROCK ON (nominated for the Colorado Book Award) has great page turns; characters you want to follow and a compelling plot. And it has the bonus of a cool cover, one a boy can carry on the bus or in class. That said, girls will love this story, too.

Picture Book that Keeps Me Returning: STUCK by Oliver Jeffers (September 2011 Philomel). This author/illustrator cracks me up. And by the way, he’s the same guy who illustrated The Day the Crayons Quit.

Five-Year-Old Nephew’s Favorite Book of the Year: GUESS AGAIN by Mac Barnett (September 2009 by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers). This book is like shampoo instructions—read, giggle, repeat. Every time my nephew and I arrive on the last page, he flips the book back to page one. Author Mac Barnett is also the author of one of my favorite books that appeared on last year’s award circuit—EXTRA YARN…such a cute book. If you read, I can’t wait for you to discover Little Louis.

Books I Bought for my Ten-Year-Old Niece: I can’t mention my nephew without a shout-out to my niece. Here are the must reads I purchased for her this year:

·        A SUMMER OF SUNDAYS by Lindsay Eland(July 2013 Egmont). Sweet story with a fun mystery, and also it’s the best book for a middle child!

·        DESTINY REWRITTEN by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (February 2013 Katherine Tegen Books). A book that somehow connects Danielle Steel with Emily Dickinson—certainly a laugh for parents. But eight to twelve-year-olds will love this book because the main character takes the reader on a fun adventure.

·        SAVVY by Ingrid Law (May 2008 Dial Books). Not only did this book receive a Newbery Honor in 2009, but it was also one of the books my son read and loved when he was in fifth grade.

Best Self-Help Book: A MILLION MILES IN A THOUSAND YEARS by Donald Miller (Thomas Nelson 2009) Read this book! If you’re lucky it will transform the way you think. Parents who are reading this blog looking for great books for your kids must stop here and get this book as their own personal read.

Most Out-of-the-Box Middle Grade Book of the Year: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (September 2013 Candlewick Press). This book is nothing if it’s not fun to read—I mean who doesn’t love a cynic, a squirrel that reads and writes, and a boy who claims blindness? Put it in front of your reluctant reader and they will definitely give up the “reluctant” part of their title.

Most Out-of the Box YA I Read This Year: EVERY DAY by David Levithan (August 2012 Knopf Books) same author of this year’s buzz book, Two Boys Kissing. Although EVERY DAY isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, I’m always of fan of David Levithan’s writing, and I was a huge fan of his unique approach to delivering a story—the sixteen-year-old protagonist wakes up in a different body every single day. It’s a little TIME TRAVELERS WIFE meets GROUND HOG DAY, and yet it’s completely different.

Best Book I found via Tweet: DAIRY QUEEN by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (2006 HMH Books for Young Readers). Word of mouth is one of the most influential marketing tools, so I’m here to confess I buy books when I hear Twitter buzz (it’s how I found PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ).

And here’s a bonus!

Book I’m Most Looking Forward to This Year: NINJA, NINJA, NEVER STOP! by Todd Tuell (Spring 2014 by Abrams, Appleseed).


Leni said...

Love the list. And Congrats to Todd! What a year!!!

Kim Tomsic said...

I can't wait to see your name and book on my list, Leni! xoxo

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