Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 ALA Notable Children's Books, Older Readers

Looking for some great reading material for the kids now that they're out of school for the summer? Looking for some great reads to add to your homeschooling curriculum? Maybe one of these notable books is what you're looking for.

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.

Older Readers

90 Miles to Havana 

90 Miles to Havana. By Enrique Flores-Galbis. Roaring Brook. 
The author’s experience, as one of 14,000 children moved from Cuba to a refugee camp in Miami in 1961, is told through engaging, fast-paced writing and well-developed characters. Belpré Author Honor Book 

Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story

Black Elk’s Vision: A Lakota Story. By S.D. Nelson. Abrams.
This handsome, large-format volume combines archival photographs, original acrylic paintings and powerful first-person narrative to present the devastating story of the painful changes in life forced upon the Lakota people.


Countdown. By Deborah Wiles.  Scholastic.
A “documentary novel” set in the  1960’s Cold War era, this title captures a girl’s fears about the world around her.

Departure Time 

Departure Time. By Truus Matti. Tr. by Nancy Forest-Flier. Namelos.
An eleven-year-old mourns the death of her father in chapters that alternate between the real world and a dreamlike hotel staffed by odd creatures.  Batchelder Honor Book

The Dreamer (Ala Notable Children's Books. Older Readers) 

The Dreamer. By Pam Muñoz Ryan. Illus. by Peter Sís. Scholastic.
In language inspired by the Nobel Prize-winner’s own poetry, Muñoz Ryan tells the stunning tale of young Pablo Neruda’s self-discovery and the development of his ideologies and artistic voice. Belpré Author Award

Fever Crumb 

Fever Crumb. By Philip Reeve.  Scholastic.
A lone girl sets out on a mission to retrieve lost technology in a bleak and irrational London of the future.

The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba 

The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba. By Margarita Engle. Holt.
A plantation owner’s daughter conspires with Swedish feminist Fredrika Bremer to secure the freedom of an African-born slave. Belpré Author Honor Book 

Heart of a Samurai 

Heart of a Samurai. By Margi Preus. Abrams/Amulet.
This swashbuckling adventure is based on the true story of Manjiro, the young fisherman believed to be the first Japanese person to visit America, who against all odds, became a samurai. Newbery Honor Book 

Lafayette and the American Revolution (Russell Freedman's Library of American History) 

Lafayette and the American Revolution. By Russell Freedman. Illus. Holiday. 
This compelling biography of Lafayette looks at the whole of his life and illuminates the role he played in the American Revolution. Sibert Honor Book 


Mockingbird.  By Kathryn Erskine. Philomel.
Ten-year-old Caitlin who struggles with Asperger’s Syndrome seeks closure following the murder of her brother.

Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over Manifest. By Clare Vanderpool. Random/Delacorte.  
Alternating between World War I and the Great Depression, this tale of the eclectic people and mysteries of Manifest, Kansas is told through a mix of letters, newspaper articles, and a fortune teller’s tales. Newbery Medal

Nothing (Teller, Janne) 

Nothing. By Janne Teller. Tr. by Martin Aitken. Atheneum.
As classmates struggle to convince a friend that life has meaning, they force each other to prove and provide meaning, with consequences that are deep, dark, and disastrous.  Batchelder Honor Book & YALSA Printz Honor Book

Ship Breaker

Ship Breaker. By Paolo Bacigalupi. Little, Brown.  
Nailer, a teenage scavenger, works to take apart ancient oil tankers in a future world where he must choose between harvesting riches or saving a girl. YALSA Printz Medal

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group. By Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Illus. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The Ku Klux Klan’s rise from a club of restless young men into the largest domestic terrorist organization in American history is documented with archival photographs and other primary source material. YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

A Time of Miracles

A Time of Miracles. By Anne-Laure Bondoux. Tr. by Y. Maudet. Random/Delacorte.
A young refugee searches for identity, safe haven and truth in a journey from war-torn Caucasus to the freedom of France. Batchelder Award

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature's Survivors

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors. By Joyce Sidman.  Illus. by Beckie Prange. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Three books in one! This amazing book of poetry is also a beautiful picture book and a nonfiction tribute to the adaptability of life on earth.

We Shall Overcome: A Song That Changed the World

We Shall Overcome: A Song that Changed the World. By Stuart Stotts. Illus. by Terrance Cummings. Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
This iconic song, handsomely illustrated here, serves as the framework for new understandings of the Civil Rights Movement.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty. By G. Neri. Illus. by Randy DuBurke. Lee and Low.
Based on true events, this graphic novel, told through the eyes of a younger boy, tells the  story of Robert (Yummy) as he tries to navigate the dangerous world of a Chicago neighborhood. ALA Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book

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