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Posts from January 2010

They Never Came Back: Caroline B. Cooney: YA Book Review

Book: They Never Came Back
Author: Caroline B. Cooney
Pages: 208
Age Range: 10 and up 

TheyNever Caroline B. Cooney's They Never Came Back is a book that I added to my wish list as soon as I heard about it. The premise intrigued me, and I already had a positive impression of the author. When it showed up on my doorstep this week (courtesy of Random House), it arrived at the perfect time. I needed something that would hold my complete attention - something intriguing and compelling. So I pretty much dropped everything else to read They Never Came Back cover to cover. And it was exactly what I was looking for.

Murielle is ten years old when her charming financier parents flee the country to avoid prosecution for embezzlement. Murielle is supposed to meet her father at the airport. However, circumstances intervene, and she is left behind. Her parents, apparently living the good life with the $10 million that they've stolen from hapless clients, don't come back for her. After some conflict around her aunt and uncle's culpability in the whole matter, Murielle disappears into the Connecticut foster care system.

Five years later, Murielle's cousin Tommy spots a girl in a high school cafeteria who he is sure is his long-lost cousin. She looks at him blankly, and says (paraphrasing) "Who's Murielle? I'm Cathy Ferris." This immediately ignites fascination in the other students (and the reader). Are Murielle and Cathy the same person? If so, why is she pretending to be someone else? And if not, what happened to Murielle, and why can't her aunt and uncle find her? Cooney tells the resulting story in alternating chapters from the perspectives of ten-year-old Murielle and fifteen-year-old Cathy.

Caroline Cooney (author of titles ranging from The Face on the Milk Carton to If the Witness Lied) has a real knack. She can create an irresistible premise, pull the reader in with a fast, tight pace, and then surprise you by how emotionally invested you are in the characters by the end of the book. They Never Came Back is no exception. Pretty much all of the characters are flawed. They make mistakes. But their motivations feel authentic, and their wounds bleed from the page. Especially those of abandoned, vulnerable, determined Murielle.

Cooney's writing style matches well with the storyline. She uses lots of short sentences, straightforward descriptions, and similes that feel almost cliched, yet are perfectly apt. For example:

"Tommy was clearly not happy talking about his cousin's disappearance. But he had little choice. Questions were coming like pellets from a shotgun. He took a deep breath and launched himself." (Page 5)

"Now her father shouted too. Aunt Lois shouted back. It was like being in the midst of gunfire." (Page 28)

Cooney is not afraid to pretty directly show the characters' emotions and vulnerabilities. For example:

"She imagined seeing them (her parents) in the distance as they came into focus, and she imagined how wide their smiles were, how their arms were lifted up to hug her, how they started to run toward her...But  at what point does the child stop hoping that Mommy and Daddy will come?

The answer to that was easy.

Never. A child never stops hoping." (Page 141)

They Never Came Back is about parents and children, about right and wrong, about crimes and consequences, and, most of all, about identity. It's a book that I would have swallowed whole as an early teen, and in fact swallowed whole today. Although marketed for young adults, I think that it will be fine for slightly younger kids, too. It's a very clean read - the only problem younger readers might have with the book is the idea of parents choosing money over their child. Recommended for middle school readers and up.

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
Other Blog Reviews: Richie's Picks

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).

Children's Literacy and Reading Roundup: January 11

Jpg_book008 This week’s children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog, is now available here. This week Terry Doherty and I have collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; and grants, sponsorships & donations.


BookpalsBW Today is the last day to participate in The Screen Actors Guild Awards® online auction to win Red Carpet Fan Bleacher Seats. The SAG Foundation uses the proceeds from these auctions (there are three each year) to support its literacy work. From the press release: "the Foundation’s nationwide children’s literacy programs now [reaches] 100,000 children per week through BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) and Storyline Online, the Foundation’s Actors Center and Foundation programs providing emergency relief to members in economic distress, emergency funds for members with catastrophic illnesses, video and audio preservation of the creative legacy of SAG members and scholarships for performers and their children.

The First Book Blog offers some hands-on suggestions from Reading Rockets for the upcoming National Day of Service (January 18th, Martin Luther King Day). For example, "Become a pen pal with a young learner." The post, by Tina Chovanec, also offers links for more information.

In her latest Muse Briefs post, Carol Rasco from RIF asks: "Know of a person, a group or an institution doing something really special to instill/promote a lifelong love of reading ? It’s time to nominate for the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize, 2010 and you may know just the right nomination to make! A number of prizes of up to $2500 each will be awarded. Deadline for nominations: February 17, 2010."

Literacy & Reading Programs & Research

Educationtipster Kathy Stemke reports in a guest post by Rae Pica that "According to a new study from researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, only 13.7% of child care centers in North Carolina offered 120 minutes of active playtime during the school day." The post includes book suggestions on getting kids moving. There is an interesting complement to the study in this article about language acquisition at the Continuing Education ( website

Education Week reports that reading aloud to teens is gaining favor in classroms. Mary Ann Zehr writes that "many teachers across the country are reading to students in middle and high schools, too, and some education researchers say more teachers of adolescents ought to be using the same strategy." Many of the teachers credit Jim Trelease with inspiring this effort. We found the story via @NancyTeaches and @DonalynBooks

We love inspiring stories, and 16-year-old author Riley Carney is an inspiration. In reading her guest post at Elizabeth Varadan's Fourth Wish, we learned about Breaking the Chain, a nonprofit that Riley started when she was 14. In Riley's words: ""My love of reading is partially what inspired me to create my nonprofit for children’s literacy, Breaking the Chain. I believe that the way to help people, especially children, break the cycle of poverty and exploitation is through literacy." Bravo! Do head over and read her post ... she is a very articulate young woman, whether she's talking about her writing process, her books, or the reasons for creating her literacy nonprofit.

And for anyone who might be tempted to take their children's education for granted, do take a minute to read this blog post from Room To Read. It's about a father in India thanking Room to Read for providing his youngest daughter with an education. Here's a snippet: "We get to see Kripa two or three times each term. Her mother misses her especially when there is a festival or family gathering. Sometimes I catch her crying softly at night and I know she is missing Kripa. But, I chide her and remind her that we are lucky that our child has this opportunity and we should encourage her to do well instead of making it difficult for her."

At the Harvard Graduate School of Education site, there is a very interesting summary of a study by Paola Ucelli and Mariela Paez about the literacy development of bilingual children. "Uccelli and Paez found that, on average, first-grade English narrative quality scores were higher among children who, at kindergarten scored higher on the English vocabulary test, used a greater number of distinct words in their English narrative, and had higher story structure scores on their Spanish narrative. First-grade Spanish narrative scores were best predicted by kindergarten Spanish vocabulary scores." There is a sidebar that offers suggestions for educators, too. (Via RT of @HarvardResearch via @KidsResearchCtr)

Stitches Terry and I were both intrigued by a recent discussion at School Library Journal's Good Comics for Kids blog. In light of David Small's Stiches being shortlisted for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, Esther Keller asks whether there's a perception that all comics are published for kids. She talks with several experts, and the discussion ranges into a general discussion of identifying age appropriateness. I especially liked this part: "whenever I've had to consider a title as for an age range, I go to readers in that age range as much as possible and ask them what they think. I know as an adult I've lost track of what was great (and what was boring) when I was ten, or thirteen, or sixteen. That helps me answer the question of what makes a title for a teen or a child - if THEY like it." (via @PWKidsBookshelf)

Now here's a fun, grass-roots literacy program. According to ROCNow, "The community arts project Benches on Parade will partner with the Rochester Literacy Movement, allowing some City School District students to promote literacy by designing benches. Nine schools will each design and create a bench that supports literacy within the community".

At Choice Literacy, Shari Frost has a new article chock-full of ways that schools can promote a culture of literacy. Shari uses a sports analogy to motivate the article, asking: "How do sports fans develop that undying devotion and fanaticism? Can it be replicated? Is it possible for students to have the same level of enthusiasm for reading and writing?" Then she gives examples. My favorite (and the one highlighted in this week's Choice Literacy newsletter), is about a middle school that displays "Currently Reading" posters on each student's locker. What a great way to show enthusiasm for books! [Joyce Grant at Getting Kids Reading also suggests putting "Currently Reading" posters on kids' bedroom doors at home.] See also this article from the Choice Literacy archives, written by Brenda Power, about school-wide literacy events for families.

Whisperer Speaking of literacy efforts in and out of schools, reading teacher Donalyn Miller shares a heartfelt letter that she wishes she could send to all of her students' parents, about the importance of carving out free reading time at home. She explains why she doesn't use reading logs, and laments that her request that students read for 30 minutes a day is considered less important than other activities, and other types of homework. It's an eye-opening piece by The Book Whisperer.

21st Century Literacies

Susan Stephenson, the Book Chook, sent us the link to a YouTube video from November 29th, about what it means to be literate in the 21st century, including the expansion of the definition of literacy to include techno-literacies. The producers are teachers with strong literacy backgrounds, and they interview various other teachers over the course of this 8 minute video.

Pratham Books recently posted about a literacy program in Punjab delivered through cell phones. According to the story from FutureGOV, "The five-month programme, initiated by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), targeted 250 females aged 15 to 24 years old in three districts... In this pilot project which ended last month, these learners who have just completed the basic literacy course, were given a mobile phone each. They receive three text messages a day in the local language." Terry found this story via @Terri4literacy.

Grants and Donations

CLIF-RCLG Voting for the BetterWorldBooks Readers' Choice Literacy Grant runs through January 20th. Here's the gist: "Better World Books has funded a USD $20,000 grant to benefit a meaningful literacy project. You, the literacy-lovin’ readers of the world, pick the winner." There are 10 finalists to choose from, with details provided about each project. We learned about this via email from the Children's Literacy Foundation (CLiF), one of the contenders. At the 10 Engines blog, you'll find additional links for literacy program opportunities in New Hampshire and Vermont.

According to a recent news release, "Everybody Wins! USA, a nationally recognized literacy and mentoring organization, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Pitney Bowes Foundation. The grant will expand opportunities for low-income youth and the communities they live in by replicating the successful Everybody Wins! Power Lunch program in cities where Pitney Bowes has offices."

NCFLlogobig According to Business First, "Toyota Motor North America Inc., through its Toyota Family Literacy Program, has awarded a total of $600,000 to three Louisville elementary schools... The program, which brings parents and children in the classroom to develop reading and English skills, is being coordinated by the Louisville-based National Center for Family Literacy."

The Gus Bus of Harrisonburg, Virginia, was named one of 50 finalists for a Power A Bright Future grant offered by the makers of Clorox Clean-Up. Late this month, the company will award five grants of $10,000 each to the children's programs that receive the most votes online at Facebook. Nearly 5,000 submissions were received from across the country. The Gus Bus, part of the JMU Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, serves more than 2,500 children each year. The self-described "Reading Roadshow" makes weekly visits to low-income neighborhoods and brings learning and literacy opportunities to families. The bus also provides children with homework assistance and tutoring and helps connect families with resources within their communities. Terry found this via a article and the JMU website.

Terry_readingtubfinal_1And that's all I have for you here today. Terry will likely have some last-minute links at The Reading Tub. At Booklights today, I have a post about the Cybils shortlists, and how they are useful for parents, teachers, and librarians - really anyone looking to connect kids with excellent books. Thanks for your interest in children's literacy!

Numbers: Rachel Ward: Young Adult Book Review

Book: Numbers
Author: Rachel Ward
Pages: 336
Age Range: 13 and up 

Numbers Rachel Ward's Numbers is a young adult novel originally published in the UK, due out in the US next month. I found the premise irresistible. Fifteen-year-old Jem has spent the past 8 years in the London foster care system, after her mother died of a drug overdose. She's spent those years trying to maintain a distance from other people, because of a "gift" that feels more like a curse. You see, whenever Jem makes eye contact with someone, she sees that person's number - the date that he or she is going to die. As you might imagine, knowing when the people around you are going to die is not a recipe for close relationships.

Jem is a girl on the fringes. She's in a special class for troubled kids. She has difficulty reading. She skips school in a regular basis. She doesn't have any friends. Her life changes, however, when she becomes, reluctantly, friends with a gangly, jittery classmate named Spider. When Jem's gift gets them into trouble with the law, she and Spider find themselves on the run. Their journey is set against a ticking clock, because Spider's number is just about up.

Numbers is pretty bleak. Jem and Spider have very low expectations of their lives. But both characters are real and complex. And their slowly developing relationship feels real, too. These aren't your standard white, middle class protagonists. Jem is white, Spider is black (though his grandmother is white), and they both have attention and behavioral problems, as well as financial limitations. Here's the opening of the book (from Jem's perspective):

"There are places where kids like me go. Sad kids, bad kids, bored kids, and lonely kids, kids that are different. Any day of the week, if you know where to look, you'll find us: behind the shops, in back lanes, under bridges by canals and rivers, 'round garages, in sheds, on vacant lots. There are thousands of us. If you choose to find us, that is -- most people don't. If they do see us, they look away, pretend we're not there. It's easier that way. Don't believe all that crap about giving everyone a chance -- when they see us, they're glad we're not in school with their kids, disrupting their lessons, making their lives a misery. The teachers, too. Do you think they're disappointed when we don't turn up for registration? Give me a break. They're laughing -- they don't want kids like us in their classrooms, and we don't want to be there." (Page 1, ARC)

Cynical? Yes. But Jem is insightful, too. For example:

"Spider sometimes went 'round with a gang of lads from school instead. From what I could tell, he'd run with them until they had a row, or even a fight, then he'd keep clear for a bit. There's always something going on with boys. It's like animals, isn't it, monkeys or lions, sorting out the pecking order, who's the boss? (Page 17, ARC) 

Numbers reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite books from childhood, Flight of the Doves by Walter Macken (in which two orphaned siblings run away from an abusive stepfather, in search of their grandmother in Ireland). City kids on the run, in unfamiliar countryside, seeking a safe haven, and trying to look out for one another along the way. Although Jem's gift is certainly integral to the plot, Numbers is much more a book about characters in difficult situations than a tale of some gimmicky psychic ability.

I found Numbers a compelling read. I read it mostly in one sitting. The time pressure (with Spider's number coming up) kept me turning the pages, but the ethical issues made me stop and think, (if you know when someone else is going to die, should you tell them?). There's a great twist at the end, too, which in turn made me think back to the beginning of the book. Jem and Spider are characters that will stay with me for a long time. Highly recommended for teen and adult readers, male and female.

Publisher: The Chicken House (Scholastic)
Publication Date: February 1, 2010 (US). Originally published January 5, 2009 in the UK
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher
Other Blog Reviews: The Book...Spot, Under a Blood Red Sky, The Book Bug, Eclectic Reader

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).

Thursday Afternoon Visits: January 7: Kidlitosphere News and Views

I'll tell you - leave the computer behind for a few days, and hundreds of posts pile up in the reader. But I found digging out to be a good excuse to also spend some time weeding out inactive feeds. Anyway, here are a few highlights from the Kidlitosphere of late:

JkrROUNDUP Terry Doherty just published this month's roundup of new resources for literacy and reading at The Reading Tub. This monthly series is an offshoot of the weekly Children's Literacy Roundups that Terry and I do together, one that Terry has largely taken responsibility for. This month, she focuses on several resources related to literacy and reading, including a new service for recording books for your kids.

MotherReader has provided a FAQ for the upcoming 2010 Comment Challenge (co-hosted with Lee Wind, and which I previously described here). You can sign up tomorrow (Friday) with either MotherReader or Lee Wind.

Blogiesta This weekend is also Bloggiesta, hosted by Natasha from Maw Books. As MotherReader put it, "It’s a chance to spend some time improving your blog, catching up on your reviews, and taming your Google Reader." I don't know that I'll be formally participating in this one, since I've been catching up on my blog quite a bit this week already (and because I really MUST do some reading this weekend). But I'll be there in spirit.

Foreword125x125 The deadline is approaching to submit titles for the ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards. You can find more information at the ForeWord website. "ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards were established to bring increased attention to librarians and booksellers of the literary and graphic achievements of independent publishers and their authors."

It's also time to submit titles for Betsy Bird's Top 100 Children's Fiction Chapter Books poll at A Fuse #8 Production. This is a follow-on to the previous Top 100 Picture Books list that Betsy compiled. Readers have until January 31st, 2010 to submit their top 10 middle grade fiction titles of all time (NOT just 2009 titles). No early readers, no young adult books. This poll is focused squarely on middle grade fiction. You can find more details here. There's also a young adult poll brewing at Diane Chen's School Library Journal blog, Practically Paradise. Diane says "These are the titles that appeal to teens including young adult novels, nonfiction, and picture books for teens (ages 13-19)".

John Green has an interesting article in School Library Journal about the future of reading. It's quite long, but well worth the time to read. For instance, in regards to the future of book distribution, he says: "Just this: if, in the future, most books are sold either online or in big box stores like Costco and Wal-Mart, you (librarians) will become even more important to American literature. How you choose to build your collection, whom you buy from, and how you discover the works you want to share with your patrons will shape what Americans—whether or not they ever visit libraries—will read and how they will read it." And "There’s no question ... that librarians are to thank for the astonishing growth of YA fiction over the last decade." Oh, just read the whole thing. I found this link at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Cybils2009-150px As previously mentioned, the Cybils shortlists are now available, and the Cybils judges (myself included) are reading away. For those in need of more reading suggestions, however, Cybils Deputy Editor Sarah Stevenson has a compilation of recommended reading lists from Cybils panelists. She notes that they are "not predictions, DEFINITELY not hints, and probably not prophecies, but certainly a great source of reading material if your TBR pile is getting low." Now, this is not a problem I ever expect to have again in my life. But still, they're nice lists. Elaine Magliaro also has a roundup of some more "official" best-of lists at Wild Rose Reader. And Sherry Early has a roundup of reader-submitted year-end booklists at Semicolon, 138 and counting. And last, but definitely not least, Betsy Bird has a scaled back version of her must-read Golden Fuse Awards (including such helpful categories as Best Swag of the Year).

Speaking of the Cybils, in response to the previously mentioned discussions about lack of diversity in the Cybils shortlists (more a symptom of a larger issue than any criticism of the panelists themselves), Colleen Mondor calls upon readers to demand diversity in publishing. She says: "We have to make this a big deal. No more holding a diversity challenge and thinking that is enough. No more having an event where we look at books by POC or with diverse protagonists. No more making diversity something we look at on special days or for special reasons." See also Doret's take at TheHappyNappyBookseller. What do you all think?

On a lighter note, Laini Taylor today described a Reader's Retreat in New Hampshire, organized by Elizabeth MacCrellish, that sounds (and looks - she has photos) wonderful. Here's the gist: "Reading reading reading, a juicy stack of wonderful books, and taking breaks for yummy meals prepared for you, in the company of other lovely kindred spirits who have also been living inside books all day?" This event, a Squam Arts Workshops (SAW) session scheduled for September 1-5, sounds amazing to me. Perhaps someday...

Quick hits:

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: January 5

Jpg_book007Today I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's books and raising readers. It is sent out once every two weeks (if you are getting daily Feedblitz updates, you might prefer to sign up for the Growing Bookworms newsletter instead, and only receive one email every two weeks). There are currently 996 subscribers.

Newsletter Update: In this relatively short issue I have one book review (young adult), one children's literacy round-up and one post with Kidlitosphere news. I also have posts about the Cybils shortlists, the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, and a Comment Challenge in the Kidlitosphere. At Booklights, I have a new installment in my Tips for Growing Bookworms series (a recommendation to model reading for pleasure) and a post with an appreciation for outgoing National Ambassador Jon Scieszka. The only post from my blog these past two weeks NOT included in the newsletter is the list of books that I read in 2009 (which was too long to include here).

Reading Update: In the past two weeks, I read one picture book, three young adult novels, and two adult novels (though Under the Dome should rightly count as about three books, because it clocks in at nearly 1100 pages):
  • Doreen Cronin (ill. Harry Bliss): Diary of a Worm. HarperCollins. Completed January 2, 2010. Very fun! I bought this as a gift for a young friend, and took the opportunity to read it myself.
  • Rachel Ward: Numbers. The Chicken House. Completed January 1, 2010. Review to come.
  • Sarah Beth Durst: Ice. Margaret K. McElderry Books. Completed December 22, 2009. My review.
  • Anna Godbersen: Splendor (A Luxe Novel). HarperCollins. Completed December 30, 2009. The satisfying conclusion to the Luxe series, excellent escapist reading (not reviewed because I listened on MP3).
  • Stephen King: Under the Dome. Scribner. Completed December 29, 2009. A surprisingly fast-paced read, given the length of the book. I enjoyed it, though it doesn't quite measure up to The Stand (one of my all-time favorites).
  • Deborah Crombie: Necessary as Blood. Completed December 30, 2009. The latest installment of one of my favorite adult mystery series. Excellent, and left me eager for the next book. I think that this series is the perfect blend of UK police procedural with ongoing character development.

Coming up, I'll be reading the Cybils shortlist titles for middle grade fantasy and science fiction. And hopefully catching up on some picture book reviews.

Happy 2010! Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms.

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).

Kidlitosphere Comment Challenge 2010: Don't Miss It!

Starting this Friday, January 8th, MotherReader and Lee Wind will be hosting Comment Challenge 2010. This will be the second annual cross-blog event focused on increasing commenting and building community across the Kidlitosphere. Pam says:

"What if I told you that for the cost of a few extra minutes a day, you can boost your blog readership, foster a feeling of connection, and make someone’s day? Does that sound like something you might be interested in?"

Lee says:

"The last Comment Challenge was a big success, comments were up all over the kidlitosphere, and it really built a sense of community for everyone who participated - and we learned some great lessons"

Participation is simple. Just leave a comment on five kidlit blogs during each of 21 days. A prize will be awarded among those who reach 100 comments.

I participated last year. I found it a great way to strengthen ties with other bloggers and get a better sense of who is reading my blog. It definitely helped in encouraging me to leave more comments on other blogs, during and after the challenge. But, as with many good habits, I've backslid a bit over time, especially given the holiday season. The Comment Challenge 2010 comes at what I think is the perfect time to refresh and reconnect, the start of the new year. I hope that many of you will participate!

And although Pam and Lee seem fairly focused on bloggers leaving comments on one another's blogs (this is the sort of thing that makes us a community, after all), it seems to me that readers who don't necessarily have blogs of their own could participate, too. If you read KidLit blogs, you could take this as an opportunity to start commenting more. You might even find, as you get used to sharing your thoughts on various topics, that this will inspire you to start your own blog. But if nothing else, you can give a little bit back to the blogs that you read and value, by taking time to let the bloggers know that you are tuning in.

Comment Challenge 2010. I'm in, Pam and Lee.

[Hmm, would it work for me to hold off on reading the 500 unread posts in my Google Reader, sure to be close to 1000 by Friday, and just leave 100 comments over the weekend? Surely 1 in 10 posts will be comment-worthy... But no, that doesn't seem to be a good way to build a habit of commenting more regularly, does it? ;-) ]

Books Read in 2009: Picture Books, Easy Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult

This is a list of all of the books that I read in 2009, broken up into Picture Books, Easy Readers, Middle Grade Books, Young Adult Books, Adult Fiction, and Adult Nonfiction. That's a total of 220 books, though 59 were picture books and easy readers, leaving 161 MG/YA/adult titles. Surprisingly, I read exactly 161 MG/YA/adult titles last year, too. I guess I'm more consistent than I give myself credit for. I did read more adult and young adult titles this year, and fewer middle grade books, which likely means that my page total is up a bit. I'm not setting any reading goals for next year, but if I manage to stay in this general ballpark, I'll be pretty happy.

Wishing you all a book-filled 2010!

Picture Books

  1. Bob Staake: Trucks Go Pop. LB Kids. Completed January 3, 2009.
  2. Tad Hills: What's Up, Duck? A Book of Opposites (Board Book). Schwartz & Wade. Completed January 8, 2009.
  3. Patricia Marx and Roz Chast: Dot in Larryland: The Big Little Book of an Odd-Sized Friendship. Bloomsbury. Completed February 28, 2009.
  4. Andrew Larsen (ill. Irene Luxbacher): The Imaginary Garden. Kids Can Press. Completed February 28, 2009. My review.
  5. Scot Ritchie: Follow That Map!: A First Book of Mapping Skills. Kids Can Press. Completed February 28, 2009.
  6. Barbara Todd (ill. Patricia Storms): Edward and the Eureka Lucky Wish Company. Kids Can Press. Completed February 28, 2009.
  7. Peter H. Reynolds: The North Star. fableVision Press. Completed April 16, 2009.
  8. Deborah Hopkinson (ill Stephen Alcorn): Keep On! The Story of Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole. Peachtree. Completed June 19, 2009.
  9. Louise Yates: A Small Surprise. Knopf. Completed June 19, 2009.
  10. Joanna Harrison: Grizzly Dad: Why Dads are GREAT (even the grumpy ones!). David Fickling Books. Completed June 19, 2009.
  11. Eileen Spinelli (ill. Tom Bowers): Princess Pig. Knopf. Completed June 19, 2009.
  12. Emily Jenkins (ill. Giselle Potter): Sugar Would Not Eat It. Schwartz & Wade. Completed June 19, 2009.
  13. Charise Mericle Harper: Milo's Special Words. Robin Corey Books. Completed June 19, 2009.
  14. Stephanie Blake: I Don't Want to Go to School! Random House. Completed June 19, 2009.
  15. Alison McGhee (ill. Taeeun Yoo): Only a Witch Can Fly. Feiwel and Friends. Completed June 19, 2009.
  16. Dave Keane (ill. David Clark): Bobby Bramble Loses His Brain. Clarion Books. Completed June 19, 2009.
  17. Mary Ann Rodman (ill. Tatjana Mai-Wyss): A Tree for Emmy. Peachtree. Completed June 19, 2009.
  18. Diane Adams (ill. Nancy Hayashi): I Can Do It Myself! Completed June 19, 2009.
  19. Kevin Luthardt: Flying! Peachtree. Completed June 19, 2009.
  20. Rohan Henry: Good Night, Baby Ruby. Abrams. Completed June 19, 2009.
  21. Caren McNelly McCormack (ill. Martha Aviles): The Fiesta Dress: A Quinceanera Tale. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009.
  22. Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (ill. Margot Tomes): Little Sister and the Month Brothers. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009.
  23. Phillis Gershator (ill. Katherine Potter). Old House, New House. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009.
  24. Jonathan London (ill. Kristina Rodanas): Little Swan. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009.
  25. Cynthia Rylant (ill. Nikki McClure): All In a Day. Abrams. Completed June 19, 2009.
  26. Maryann Cocca-Leffler. My Dance Recital. Robin Corey Books. Completed June 19, 2009.
  27. Ellen Javernick (ill. Kevin O'Malley): The Birthday Pet. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009.
  28. Mark Shulman (ill. Vincent Nguyen): Gorilla Garage. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  29. Kim Kennedy (ill Doug Kennedy): Hee-Haw-Dini and the Great Zambini. Abrams. Completed June 19, 2009.
  30. Erica S. Perl (ill. Henry Cole): Chicken Butt! Abrams. Completed June 19, 2009.
  31. Betsy Snyder: Have You Ever Tickled a Tiger? Random House. Completed June 19, 2009.
  32. Yumi Heo: Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story. Schwartz and Wade. Completed June 19, 2009.
  33. Brie Spangler: The Grumpy Dump Truck. Knopf. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  34. Nancy Davis: A Garden of Opposites. Schwartz and Wade. Completed June 19, 2009.
  35. Dick Bruna: Miffy the Artist. Tate. Completed June 19, 2009.
  36. Eileen Spinelli (ill. David Slonim): Silly Tilly. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009.
  37. Deborah Heiligman (ill. Tim Bowers): Fun Dog, Sun Dog. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009.
  38. Eric A. Kimmel (ill. Valeria Docampo): The Three Little Tamales. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  39. Gennady Spirin: Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  40. Phillis Gershator (ill. Santiago Cohen): Zoo Day Ole!: A Counting Book. Marshall Cavendish. Completed June 19, 2009.
  41. David Goodman and Zoe Miller: Shape. Tate Publishing. Completed June 19, 2009.
  42. Dan Yaccarino: The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  43. David Catrow: Dinosaur Hunt. Orchard Books. Completed June 19, 2009.
  44. Jennifer Sattler: Sylvie. Random House. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  45. John Stadler: Wilson and Miss Lovely. Robin Corey Books. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  46. Matthew Cordell: Trouble Gum. Feiwel & Friends. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  47. Mini Grey: Egg Drop. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  48. Jean Van Leeuwen (ill David Gavril): Chicken Soup. Abrams Books for Young Readers. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  49. Laura Purdie Salas (ill. Steven Salerno): Stampede!: Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School. Clarion Books. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  50. Janet Stein: This Little Bunny Can Bake. Schwartz & Wade. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  51. Jonah Winter (ill. Andre Carrilho): You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!. Schwartz & Wade. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  52. Jacqueline Jules (ill. Jef Czekaj): Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation. Charlesbridge. Completed June 19, 2009. My review.
  53. Diane deGroat and Shelley Rotner: Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! Orchard Books. Completed June 29, 2009. My review.

Easy Readers

  1. Mo Willems: I Love My New Toy! An Elephant & Piggie Book. Hyperion. Completed January 6, 2009.
  2. Mo Willems: I Will Surprise My Friend! An Elephant & Piggie Book. Hyperion. Completed January 6, 2009.
  3. Katie Speck (ill. Paul Ratz de Tagyos): Maybelle Goes to Tea. Henry Holt. Completed January 6, 2009.
  4. Kate DiCamillo (ill. Chris Van Dusan): Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig. Candlewick Press. Completed January 6, 2009.
  5. James Howe (ill. Marie-Louise Gay): Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time. Candlewick Press. Completed January 6, 2009.
  6. Tim Egan: Dodsworth in London. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Completed October 10, 2009.

Middle Grade Books

  1. Nancy Werlin: Double Helix. Puffin Sleuth. Completed January 3, 2009. My review.
  2. Ellen Booraem: The Unnameables. Harcourt Children's Books. Completed January 13, 2009.
  3. Jeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw. Amulet. Completed January 17, 2009. My review.
  4. David Ward: Beneath the Mask. Amulet. Completed January 17, 2009. My review.
  5. James Preller: Six Innings. Feiwel & Friends. Completed January 24, 2009. My review.
  6. Jon Scieszka: Knucklehead. Completed February 10, 2009.
  7. Fiona Bayrock (ill. Carolyn Conahan): Bubble Homes and Fish Farts. Charlesbridge. Completed February 27, 2009. My review.
  8. Allan Peterkin (ill. Mike Shiell): Chill: Discover the Cool (and Creative) Side of Your Fridge. Kids Can Press. Completed February 27, 2009. My review.
  9. Michael Sandler: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots: Super Bowl XXXVIII. Bearport Publishing. Completed February 28, 2009.
  10. Michael Sandler: LeBron James: I Love Challenges! (Defining Moments) Bearport Publishing. Completed February 28, 2009. Review of this title, and the next three, here.
  11. Meish Goldish: Michael Phelps: Anything is Possible! (Defining Moments) Bearport Publishing. Completed February 28, 2009.
  12. Natalie Lunis: Chihuahua: Senor Tiny (Little Dogs Rock!). Bearport Publishing. Completed February 28, 2009.
  13. Natalile Lunis: Dachshund: The Hot Dogger (Little Dogs Rock!). Bearport Publishing. Completed February 28, 2009.
  14. Leslie Margolis: Boys are Dogs. Bloomsbury. Completed March 11, 2009. My review.
  15. Fran Cannon Slayton: When the Whistle Blows. Philomel. Completed March 31, 2009. My review.
  16. Mary Downing Hahn: Closed for the Season. Clarion. Completed April 9, 2009 (due out June 2009). My review.
  17. Watt Key: Alabama Moon. Square Fish. Completed April 9, 2009. ALABAMA MOON won the 2007 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award. My review.
  18. Rosanne Parry: Heart of a Shepherd. Random House. Completed May 7, 2009. My review.
  19. Rick Riordan: The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson, Book 5). Hyperion. Completed May 10, 2009.
  20. Helen Stringer: Spellbinder. Fewiwel & Friends. Completed May 11, 2009.
  21. David A. Kelly (ill. Tim Jessell): Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse. Random House Books for Young Readers. Completed May 28, 2009. My review.
  22. Brenda Ferber: Jemma Hartman, Camper Extraordinaire. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Completed June 6, 2009. My review.
  23. Zilpha Keatley Snyder: The Ghosts of Rathburn Park. Yearling. Completed June 6, 2009. My review.
  24. Laurel Snyder: Any Which Wall. Random House Books for Young Readers. Completed June 6, 2009. My review.
  25. Elise Broach: Masterpiece. Henry Holt and Co. Completed June 7, 2009. My review.
  26. Sarah Prineas (ill. Antonio Javier Caparo): The Magic Thief. HarperCollins. Completed June 18, 2009. My review.
  27. Jordan Sonnenblick: Dodger for President. Feiwel & Friends. Completed June 25, 2009. My review.
  28. Eric Wight: Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom. Simon & Schuster. Completed June 27, 2009. My review.
  29. Sarah Prineas (ill. Antonio Javier Caparo): The Magic Thief: Lost. HarperCollins. Completed June 27, 2009. My review.
  30. Kate Messner: The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. Walker Books for Young Readers. Completed June 28, 2009. My review.
  31. Rebecca Stead: First Light. Wendy Lamb Books. Completed July 3, 2009. My review.
  32. Barbara Dee: Solving Zoe. Margaret K. McElderry. Completed July 27, 2009. My review.
  33. Elizabeth Enright: Return to Gone-Away. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. Completed August 13, 2009 (a re-read). My review.
  34. Sue Corbett: The Last Newspaper Boy in America. Dutton Juvenile. Completed August 15, 2009. My review.
  35. Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse #11: Dragonslayer. Random House. Completed August 31, 2009. My review.
  36. Peggy Gifford (ill. Valorie Fisher): Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Practicing the Piano: But She Does Love Being in Recitals. Schwartz and Wade. Completed September 1, 2009.
  37. Margaret Peterson Haddix: Sent (Missing #2). Simon & Schuster. Completed September 14, 2009.
  38. Sara Lewis Holmes: Operation Yes. Arthur A. Levine Books. Completed September 20, 2009. My review.
  39. P. J. Hoover: The Navel of the World (The Forgotten Worlds #2). CBAY Books. Completed September 26, 2009. My review.
  40. Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute. Knopf. Completed September 29, 2009.
  41. Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians. Knopf. Completed September 30, 2009. My review.
  42. Suzanne LaFleur: Love, Aubrey. Wendy Lamb Books. Completed October 3, 2009. My review.
  43. Linda Buckley-Archer: Time Quake (Book 3, the Gideon Trilogy). Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. Completed October 11, 2009. My review.
  44. Angie Sage: Queste (Septimus Heap, Book 4). Katherine Tegen Books. Completed November 3, 2009. My review.
  45. Angie Sage: Syren (Septimus Heap, book 5). Katherine Tegan Books. Completed November 6, 2009. My review.
  46. Glenn Dakin: Candle Man, Book One: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance. EgmontUSA. Completed November 15, 2009.
  47. Trenton Lee Stewart (ill. Diana Sudyka): The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma. Little, Brown. Completed December 7, 2009. My review.
  48. Frances Hodgson Burnett (ill. Tasha Tudor): A Little Princess. HarperCollins. Completed December 12, 2009.
  49. Inez Haynes Irwin: Maida's Little Shop. BiblioLife. Completed December 15, 2009.
  50. Inez Haynes Irwin: Maida's Little House. Kessinger Publishing. Completed December 17, 2009.
  51. Emily Diamand: Raider's Ransom. Scholastic. Completed December 21, 2009. My review.

Young Adult Books

  1. A. M. Jenkins: Repossessed: A Novel. Harper Teen. Completed January 3, 2009. My review.
  2. Patrick Ness: The Knife of Never Letting Go. Candlewick. Completed January 9, 2009. My review.
  3. Christine Fletcher: Ten Cents A Dance. Bloomsbury. Completed January 10, 2009. My review.
  4. Ann Brashares: Three Willows: The Sisterhood Grows. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Completed January 18, 2009. My review.
  5. Denise Vega: Fact of Life #31. Knopf Book for Young Readers. Completed January 19, 2009. My review.
  6. Mitali Perkins: Secret Keeper. Delacorte Press. Completed January 24, 2009. My review.
  7. Jenny Moss: Winnie's War. Walker Books for Young Readers. Completed February 2, 2009. My review.
  8. Anna Godbersen: Rumors: A Luxe Novel. HarperCollins. Completed February 5, 2009.
  9. Laurie Halse Anderson: Wintergirls. Viking. Completed February 10, 2009. My review.
  10. Garret Freymann-Weyr: After the Moment. Houghton Mifflin. Completed February 15, 2009. My review.
  11. Julie Bertagna: Zenith. Walker Books for Young Readers. Completed February 23, 2009. My review.
  12. Carrie Ryan: The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Completed March 3, 2009. My review.
  13. Paul Zindel: The Pigman. HarperTeen. Completed March 14, 2009. My review.
  14. Marley Gibson: Ghost Huntress: The Awakening. Sandpiper. Completed March 20, 2009. My review.
  15. Carol Plum-Ucci: Streams of Babel. Harcourt. Completed March 21, 2009. My review.
  16. Stephenie Meyer: Twilight. Little, Brown. Completed March 28, 2009.
  17. Greg Taylor: Killer Pizza. Feiwel & Friends. Completed March 31, 2009. My review.
  18. Janni Lee Simner: Bones of Faerie. Random House. Completed April 9, 2009.
  19. Gail Giles: What Happened to Cass McBride. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Completed April 12, 2009 (on MP3).
  20. Justina Chen Headley: North of Beautiful. Little, Brown Young Readers. Completed April 14, 2009. My review.
  21. Kenneth Oppel: Starclimber. HarperCollins. Completed April 18, 2009. My review.
  22. Laini Taylor: Dreamdark: Silksinger. Putnam. Completed April 25, 2009. Published September 2009. My review.
  23. Neal Shusterman: Unwind. Simon & Schuster. Completed April 26, 2009. My review.
  24. Cassandra Clare: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, Book 1). McElderry Books. Completed May 3, 2009.
  25. Cassandra Clare: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, Book 2). McElderry Books. Completed May 17, 2009.
  26. Carol Lynch Williams: The Chosen One. Griffin. Completed May 24, 2009. My review.
  27. Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Tattoo. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Completed May 26, 2009.
  28. Ian Beck. Pastworld. Bloomsbury. Completed May 27, 2009. My review.
  29. Suzanne Collins: Catching Fire (sequel to The Hunger Games). Scholastic. Completed June 1, 2009. My early thoughts (not a full review).
  30. Jacqueline Kelly: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Henry Holt and Co. Completed June 5, 2009. My review.
  31. Caroline B. Cooney: If the Witness Lied. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Completed June 5, 2009. My review.
  32. Anna Godbersen: Envy (Luxe #3). HarperCollins. Completed June 6, 2009.
  33. Jennifer Bradbury: Shift. Atheneum. Completed June 6, 2009. My review.
  34. Marley Gibson: Ghost Huntress, Book 2: The Guidance. Graphia. Completed June 7, 2009. My review.
  35. Cassandra Clare: City of Glass. Simon & Schuster. Completed June 8, 2009. My review.
  36. Tanita S. Davis: Mare's War. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed June 10, 2009. My review.
  37. Michael Grant: Hunger: A Gone Novel. HarperTeen. Completed June 23, 2009. My review.
  38. Catherine Gilbert Murdock: Front and Center. Houghton Mifflin. Completed June 24, 2009. My review.
  39. Maggie Stiefvater: Shiver. Scholastic. Completed July 1, 2009. My review.
  40. E. Lockhart: The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Completed July 4, 2009. My review.
  41. E. Lockhart: The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon--and me, Ruby Oliver. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Completed July 4, 2009. My review.
  42. Charlie Higson: Double or Die (The Young James Bond, Book 3). Hyperion Books. Completed July 17, 2009.
  43. Pam Bachorz: Candor. Egmont. Completed July 19, 2009. My review.
  44. Max Turner: Night Runner. St. Martin's Press. Completed July 22, 2009. My review.
  45. Jill S. Alexander: The Sweetheart of Prosper County. Feiwel and Friends. Completed July 31, 2009. My review.
  46. Linda Joy Singleton: Dead Girl Dancing. Flux. Completed August 9, 2009. My review.
  47. Linda Joy Singleton: Dead Girl in Love. Flux. Completed August 10, 2009. My review.
  48. Kimberly Newton Fusco: Tending to Grace. Knopf. Completed August 10, 2009. My review.
  49. Natalie Standiford: How to Say Goodbye in Robot. Scholastic. Completed August 19, 2009. My review.
  50. Simone Elkeles: Perfect Chemistry. Walker. Completed August 27, 2009. My review.
  51. Kristin Cashore: Fire. Dial. Completed August 30, 2009. My review.
  52. Maggie Stiefvater: Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. Flux. Completed September 28, 2009. My review.
  53. James Dashner: The Maze Runner. Delacorte Press. Completed October 11, 2009. My review.
  54. Varian Johnson: Saving Maddie. Delacorte Books for Young Readers. Completed October 19, 2009.
  55. Diana Peterfreund: Rampant. HarperTeen. Completed October 29, 2009. My review.
  56. Jordan Sonnenblick: After Ever After. Scholastic. Completed November 1, 2009. My review.
  57. Aprilynne Pike: Wings. HarperTeen. Completed November 10, 2009. My review.
  58. Alexander Gordon Smith: Lockdown: Escape from Furnace. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Completed November 12, 2009. My review.
  59. Laini Taylor: Lips Touch: Three Times. Arthur A. Levine Books. Completed November 25, 2009. My review.
  60. Susan Beth Pfeffer: this world we live in. Harcourt. Completed December 5, 2009. My review.
  61. John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle: Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances. Speak. Completed December 11, 2009. My review.
  62. Sarah Beth Durst: Ice. Margaret K. McElderry Books. Completed December 22, 2009. My review.
  63. Anna Godbersen: Splendor (A Luxe Novel). HarperCollins. Completed December 30, 2009.

Adult Fiction

  1. Carol O'Connell: Bone by Bone. Putnam Adult. Completed January 5, 2009.
  2. Sean Chercover: Big City, Bad Blood. Harper. Completed February 7, 2009.
  3. Douglas Preston: Blasphemy. Forge. Completed February 8, 2009.
  4. Thomas Perry: Runner. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Completed February 15, 2009.
  5. Jacqueline Winspear: Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs series). Henry Holt. Completed February 26, 2009.
  6. D. E. Stevenson: Anna and her Daughters. Rinehart. Completed February 27, 2008.
  7. D. E. Stevenson: Charlotte Fairlie. Rinehart. Completed February 28, 2009.
  8. Kyle Mills: Darkness Falls. Vanguard Press. Completed March 10, 2009.
  9. Laura Lippman: Another Thing to Fall. Completed March 23, 2009.
  10. Orson Scott Card: Speaker for the Dead. Tor. Completed March 28, 2009. (On MP3)
  11. Lisa Lutz: Curse of the Spellmans. Simon & Schuster. Completed March 31, 2009.
  12. Louise Penny: The Cruelest Month. Minotaur. Completed April 7, 2009.
  13. Harlan Coben: Hold Tight. Signet. Completed April 9, 2009.
  14. Connie Willis: The Doomsday Book. Spectra. Completed May 20, 2009.
  15. Robert Crais: Chasing Darkness (an Elvis Cole novel). Simon & Schuster. Completed May 23, 2009.
  16. Victoria Thompson: Murder on Bank Street (Gaslight Mystery). Berkeley. Completed May 31, 2009.
  17. Lisa Lutz: Revenge of the Spellmans. Simon & Schuster. Completed June 5, 2009. My review.
  18. Stephen King: The Stand. Signet. Completed June 17, 2009. (A re-read of an old favorite.)
  19. Charlaine Harris: Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1). Ace. Completed June 24, 2009, on MP3. Oddly addictive, though I don't generally care for listening to books this explicit on audio. The southern accent really worked for me, though, in liking the character.
  20. Janet Evanovich: Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum novels). St. Martins Press. Completed July 7, 2009, on MP3. I love listening to these books, I really do. This one is no exception.
  21. Laura Lippman: Life Sentences. William Morrow. Completed July 7, 2009. I thought that Lippman had some brilliant insights, and interesting characters, but overall I found the book a little disappointing. I was frustrated by a significant plot point left dangling, and found the parts of the plot that were resolved a bit anti-climactic. Although this book centers around a child who disappeared, it's much more quiet, literary fiction than mystery, and apparently not quite my thing.
  22. John Hart: The Last Child. Minotaur Books. Completed July 9, 2009. Quite compelling. I read this in two sittings, and spent time thinking about it afterwards. Standalone thriller/mystery about a 13-year-old boy looking in dark places for his missing twin sister.
  23. Craig Johnson: Death Without Company. Penguin. Completed July 13, 2009.
  24. Craig Johnson: Kindness Goes Unpunished (Walt Longmire #3). Penguin. Completed July 21, 2009.
  25. Charlaine Harris: Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse #3). Ace. Completed July 25, 2009, on MP3.
  26. Craig Johnson: Another Man's Moccasins (Walt Longmire #4). Penguin Viking. Completed July 27, 2009.
  27. Lee Child: Gone Tomorrow (Jack Reacher, No. 13). Delacorte. Completed August 8, 2009.
  28. Laurie R. King: The Language of Bees (Mary Russell novels). Bantam. Completed August 23, 2009. A great addition to the Russell/Holmes series. I only wish I had known that it would end with "to be continued". I might have waited, because now I'm breathless for the next, not yet available, book.
  29. Charlaine Harris: Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #3). Ace Trade. Completed August 20, 2009 (on MP3).
  30. Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Vintage. Completed September 4, 2009.
  31. F. Paul Wilson: Harbingers: A Repairman Jack novel. Tor Books. Completed September 9, 2009.
  32. Charlaine Harris: Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4). Ace Trade. Completed September 13, 2009 (on MP3).
  33. Carrie Bebris: The Matters at Mansfield: Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery. Tor Books. Completed October 15, 2009.
  34. C. S. Harris: What Angels Fear: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery. Signet. Completed October 16, 2009.
  35. F. Paul Wilson: Bloodline: A Repairman Jack Novel. Forge Books. Completed October 19, 2009.
  36. Charlaine Harris: Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse #5). Ace Trade. Completed October 22, 2009 (on MP3).
  37. Victoria Thompson: Murder on Waverly Place (Gaslight mystery). Berkeley. Completed October 23, 2009. Library copy.
  38. Craig Johnson: The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire mystery). Viking Adult. Completed October 25, 2009. Library copy.
  39. Linwood Barclay: Too Close to Home. Bantam. Completed November 17, 2009.
  40. Sean Chercover: Trigger City. Harper. Completed November 22, 2009.
  41. Stephen White: Dead Time (Dr. Alan Gregory). Signet. Completed December 2, 2009.
  42. Charlaine Harris: Definitely Dead. (Sookie Stackhouse #6). Ace Trade. Completed December 3, 2009 (on MP3).
  43. Stephen King: Under the Dome. Scribner. Completed December 29, 2009.
  44. Deborah Crombie: Necessary as Blood. Completed December 30, 2009.

Adult Nonfiction

  1. Donalyn Miller: The Book Whisperer. Jossey-Bass. Completed March 21, 2009. My review.
  2. Chris Brogan and Julien Smith: Trust Agents. Wiley. Completed September 18, 2009.
  3. Kim and Jason Kotecki: There's An Adult in My Soup. JBird, Inc. Completed September 29, 2009. My review.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Cybils Finalists

Cybils2009-150px I'm just back to my computer after a few days away, and by now the Cybils shortlists are old news (five days is practically an eternity in blog time). Still, as Literacy Evangelist for the Cybils, I would be remiss if I didn't point you to the full set of shortlists at the Cybils blog.

Our dedicated nominating committee panelists worked their way through 939 selections, winnowing the lists down to 72 finalists across the nine categories (some broken further into sub-categories). The lists are eclectic and surprising, filled with high-profile titles as well as hidden gems. There have been concerns raised about the lack of diversity in the shortlists, but I think that this is more a reflection of the industry as a whole than of the selections made by the participants. In any event, the Cybils shortlists are a wonderful resource. Each category includes five to seven titles judged to be both kid-friendly and well-written.

This year, I'll be judging in the Fantasy & Science Fiction (Middle Grade) category. I was one of several last-minute additions when the volume of submissions necessitated a split into two judging panels (as explained here by organizer Sheila Ruth). I was happy to be included, and to be able to help. Here are the books that I'll be reading over the next few weeks:

11 Birthdays
by Wendy Mass
Nominated by: Maggi Idzikowski

Dreamdark: Silksinger (Faeries of Dreamdark)
by Laini Taylor
Putnam Juvenile
Nominated by: Melissa

Farwalker's Quest, The
by Joni Sensel
Bloomsbury USA
Nominated by: Joan Stradling

Odd and the Frost Giants
by Neil Gaiman
Nominated by: Susan the Librarian Pirate

Prince of Fenway Park, The
by Julianna Baggott
Nominated by: Doret

Serial Garden, The: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (Junior Library Guild Selection)
by Joan Aiken
Big Mouth House
Nominated by: Charlotte

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
Little, Brown
Nominated by: EM

Winners will be announced on February 14th.

Celebrating the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Nat-ambassador Yesterday, Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading hosted a Kidlitosphere-wide celebration of outgoing National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jon Scieszka. You can find my appreciation post for Mr. Scieszka at Booklights. But do stop by A Year of Reading to find links to dozens of other posts, all celebrating Scieszka, reading and children's literacy in general.

Today, Franki and Mary Lee shared Jon Scieska's response to this blogfest. Here's my favorite part:

"I am stunned with gratitude. This is exactly why I love our world of kids' books – the amazing bunch of people in it."

Can't argue with that! But do click through to read the whole thing.  

Today, the new National Ambassador was announced. Katherine Paterson will succeed Jon Scieszka. The New York Times has a detailed profile of Ms. Paterson. I've read many of Katerine Paterson's books, most recently Bread and Roses, Too (reviewed here). I adore both book and movie versions of Bridge to Terabithia (though I think that the book is better), and I'm quite fond of The Great Gilly Hopkins. She has chosen "Read for Your Life" as the theme of her platform as Ambassador. I can't wait to see what she will accomplish as our second National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

Children's Literacy and Reading Round-Up: January 4

Jpg_book008 This week’s children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog, is now available at the Reading Tub. (Actually, it was available yesterday, but I was away from my computer.) This week Terry Doherty and I have collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; and grants, sponsorships & donations.

Terry_readingtubfinal_1Although the two weeks over Christmas and New Year's were relatively quiet on the news front, Terry managed to find quite a few stories of interest. These range from the finalists in a writing contest for kids from to Bookstore Night in Buenos Aires to a Classroom on Wheels. Fun stuff all around! Check out the Reading Tub for the details.

Wishing you all a New Year full of wonderful children's literacy news.