The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester
Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways. The list below and above description was taken directly from the ASLC website. Below is the list of books especially for the category of “Middle Readers”, which our keiki at kula ha`aha`a fit in. Next to the title in brackets, I have listed the age levels for which the book is appropriate. Happy reading!
Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring. [6-10] By Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. Illus. by Brian Floca. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter.
Making Appalachian Spring – Spare, dramatic text and uncluttered watercolors relay the story of the collaborative creation of a classic American ballet. Sibert Honor Book
The Bat Scientists. [9-12] By Mary Kay Carson. Illus. by Tom Uhlman. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Exceptional photography and clear text capture the lives of bats and explore the myths and threats to these amazing mammals.
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave. [4-8] By Laban Carrick Hill. Illus. by Bryan Collier. Little/Brown.
Poetic text and lush illustrations tell the true story of an extraordinary artist living in 19th-century South Carolina.Caldecott Honor Book & ALA Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award
The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester. [9-12] By Barbara O’Connor. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
In this summer adventure, Owen is enthralled by his conviction that something amazing has fallen from a train.
Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. [5-11] By Sarah C. Campbell. Illus. by Sarah and Richard P. Campbell. Boyds Mills.
Crisp design and clear photography introduce and depict Fibonacci patterns in nature.
Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys. [4-8] By Bob Raczka. Illus. by Peter H. Reynolds. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Six haiku for each season of the year, celebrating the interaction of boys and nature, combine with loose, expressive cartoons to make a winning combination.
The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe. [9-12] By Loree Griffin Burns. Illus. by Ellen Harasimowicz. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
After beekeepers discover the strange abandonment of hundreds of hives, scientists seek to understand this catastrophic phenomenon.
How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships. [4-8] By Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Illus. by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Animal partnerships often defy explanation; Jenkins and Page explore and clarify these relationships in concise text and glorious torn-paper collage.
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot. [9-12] By Sy Montgomery. Illus. by Nic Bishop. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot – This book documents the successes and failures of a rescue effort in New Zealand dedicated to saving a species of flightless parrots numbering fewer than 100. Sibert Medal
Me, Frida. [4-8] By Amy Novesky. Illus. by David Diaz. Abrams.
This story of newlywed artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in 1930 San Francisco is accompanied by paintings resembling Kahlo’s folkloric style. Belpré Illustrator Honor Book
Nic Bishop Lizards. [4-8] By Nic Bishop. Illus. by the author. Scholastic.
Using photographs so vivid and sharply focused that one can see a bit of dry scale on a glass lizard’s skin, Bishop treats readers to new appreciations of the diversity within the lizard world.
The Night Fairy. [7-11] By Laura Amy Schlitz. Illus. by Angela Barrett. Candlewick.
Flory loses her wings after a bat attack and struggles to adapt to life as a day fairy.
Ninth Ward. [9-12] By Jewell Parker Rhodes. Little, Brown.
In this story of survival, twelve-year-old Lanesha and her adopted grandmother have little choice but to stay in New Orleans and weather Hurricane Katrina. ALA Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
¡Ole! Flamenco. [4-8] By George Ancona. Illus. by the author. Lee & Low.
In this nonfiction introduction to Spanish flamenco, the art form is described in easy, understandable language. Belpré Author Honor Book
One Crazy Summer. [9-12] By Rita Williams-Garcia. Harper/Amistad.
Three sisters find adventure when they are sent to Oakland in 1968 to meet their estranged poet-mother, who prints flyers for the Black Panthers. Newbery Honor Book
Ruth and the Green Book. [4-8] By Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Gwen Strauss. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. Carolrhoda.
Using the Green Book, a guide to find welcoming places for African-Americans, Ruth’s family travels through the segregated South of the 1950s.
Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light. [9-12] By Tim Tingle. Illus. by Karen Clarkson. Cinco Puntos.
This picture book autobiographical vignette shows a modern Choctaw family enduring and supporting each other with love, courage, and fortitude.
Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down! How Elvis Shook Up Music, Me and Mom. [4-8] By Mark Alan Stamaty. Knopf.
An autobiography in graphic novel format shows how Stamaty’s love of Elvis and rock and roll, at first drove his mother crazy but ultimately made her proud.
Smile. [9-12] By Raina Telgemeier. Illus. by Raina Telgemeier and Stephanie Yue. Scholastic/Graphix.
Through artwork showing the details, the reader shares Raina’s pain as the angst of middle school is exacerbated by her disfiguring dental mishap.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. [9-12] By Tom Angleberger. Amulet Books.
In this hilarious tale, Tommy and his sixth grade friends must decide if the advice of an origami finger puppet can be trusted.
A Tale Dark and Grimm. [9-12] By Adam Gidwitz. Dutton.
As dark and bloody as the title suggests, these six retellings tweak the classic fairy tale as Hansel and Gretel embark on an epic journey of self-discovery.
Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection. [4-8] Edited by Matt Dembicki. Illus. Fulcrum Books.
This collaborative effort by more than 40 writers and artists presents 21 Native American trickster tales in graphic novel format.
Turtle in Paradise. [8-12] By Jennifer L. Holm. Random.
Sassy eleven-year-old Turtle finds her life turned on end when she is sent to live with her aunt in Depression-era Key West. Newbery Honor Book