Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Reading All The Cybils Finalists

Cybils Finalists

I didn't start reading along with the Cybils finalists until they had been around for several years, so there are several years that I haven't looked at. Given that I am falling behind with my Cybils finalist reading (haven't read 2017 YA, still have about several categories left on 2018 list, and even more on the 2019 list), and that now I dabble in judging (currently a Round 1 Nonfiction judge, so there's all my reading time gone) so I have even less time for reading, it is clearly time for me to put a few hundred extra books on my reading list! I mean, the new logos are so pretty I need excuses to use them.

And now it's time to make this retreating goal public! Mainly so I can more easily check my progress from my phone.

I think I'm going to try to get fancy and read them by category rather than by year, so I read a bunch of stuff that is similar so I can see if I notice any trends, and also so I can leave the YA and other long books until the end and get a false but pleasant sense of progress. 

For reference, these are the Cybils Years and my progress on reading them:
Note that where possible I have kept the original links so it's possible that if you click on a link to buy a book the Cybils Awards will get some reward money. That would be nice. But it look like I messed some of them up. So the money won't go to anyone else, but it won't always go to the Cybils. 

Graphic Novels

Younger Readers 

2007 Graphic Novels Elementary/Middle Grade 

  • Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel written by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin; illustrated by Giovanni Rigano and Paolo Lamanna. Good art and story, although I find Artemis a bit too evil for sympathy. 
  • Babymouse #6: Camp Babymouse written and illustrated by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm. I'm not a huge fan; I can't get past how annoying this kid would be for those around her. But I get how the energy would work well -- it's a good book for kids to read despite their parents.
  • The Courageous Princess written and illustrated by Rod Espinosa. A bit disjointed but quite readable. I'm not sure I have all the dimensions right, and I want the princess to attempt the mail, but I'm enjoying her adventures and will look for the next book.
  • Robot Dreams written and illustrated by Sara Varon. Was this supposed to be a tragedy? That dog was not a robot's best friend.
  • Yotsuba Vol 4, Kiyohiko Azuma (ADV Manga). It was fine? A kid is cute and her family and community help nourish her. I liked seeing details of life in Japan. 

2008 Elementary/Middle Grade (kcls)(Alexander -- Oregon library)

  • Chiggers written and illustrated by Hope Larson. This had the sketchiness of a short story (maybe because I found it hard to follow the illustrations sometimes. That is on me, not Hope Larson.) It's about being awkward, longing for approval but also being so prickly that friends get driven off. Early adolescence is tough. Oh -- it takes place in North Carolina. 
  • Into the Volcano written and illustrated by Don Wood. The illustrations of characters weren't very appealing to me, but the action scenes were exciting. It's nice that the annoying guy stepped up when it really matters, but it still would have been more fun for me if he were less annoying.
  • Jellaby, vol. 1 written and illustrated by Kean Soo (kcls no)(U of W?)(Timberland?)(Salem -McMinnville, Monmouth, Silver Falls)(Amazon Free Time Unlimited)
  • Rapunzel’s Revenge written by Shannon Hale.  I read and enjoyed this back i 2015. 
  • The Savage written by David Almond (kcls no)(Abe books $5.00)
  • There’s a Wolf at the Door: five classic tales written by Zoe Alley. This giant book was witty and cosy and fun as the wolf links the five stories. The gosling kareoke singer was my favorite, along with her overwhelmed older brother.

2009 Elementary/Middle Grade

  • Creepy Crawly Crime (Joey Fly, Private Eye) written by Aaron Reynolds; illustrated by Neil Numberman. Fun, but the kid appeal stuff annoyed me, and I suspect the stuff that appealed to me would go past a lot of kids.
  • Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, Alexis Frederick-Frost. Cute story that accompanies the basic of writing comics -- panels, thought bubbles, narrative tricks. Fairly basic so not intimidating. 
  • The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet, Book 2) by Kazu Kibuishi. Although as usual I get lost in action sequences, I like the art style and the family devotion.
  • The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis. Slow start but fun once it gets going. 
  • Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight. Fun and a cheerful read. I felt called out by the messy room plot!


Older Teens

2007 Graphic Novels Teen/Young Adult

  • The Arrival written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. Read this when it came out.
  • Flight Volume Four edited by Kazu Kibuishi. I liked some stories, disliked others, and was baffled by a few. A interesting short story collection, which is not something I see a lot for graphic novels. 
  • Laika written and illustrated by Nick Abadzis. Interesting and fascinating -- First Second is a great publisher. But super depressing. I knew that going in, but I learned new stuff that dug it deeper. (The dog does not survive in this book!)
  • The Plain Janes written by Cecil Castellucci; illustrated by Jim Rugg (kcls). Good except it doesn't really stick the landing. I liked the art.
  • The Professor’s Daughter written by Joann Sfar; illustrated by Emmanuel Guiber. I don't get it. This graphic novel went right over my head. A lot of people died?

2008 Young Adult

  • Emiko Superstar written by Mariko Tamaki. Graphic novels are tough for me. This was an interesting look at an odd time in a teens life, where she is trying new things and not yet seeing other people as real. Peak growing experiences.
  • Kin: Good Neighbors, book 1 written by Holly Black. I like the story but have already forgotten the art; I never did remember what the main character looks like. I liked how the families weren't necessarily good, either the birth ones or the found ones.
  • Life Sucks written by Jessica Abel. A bunch of mean people deal with meaner people. I appreciate that the main character doesn't want to murder people, but that makes him not abhorrent, not a good guy.
  • Skim written and illustrated by Mariko Tamaki Read this in 2016. Four stars.
  • Three Shadows written and illustrated by Cyril Pedrosa Wow, this was grim. Too grim for me. Also, I wasn't fond of the art style. But mostly it's not a story I will ever want to warm to.


2009 Teen/Young Adult:

  • The Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale, Part I by Lora Innes (no)(no) (Colorado?)
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Orientation by Tom Siddell (no)(no) (WA libraries -- Timberland)
  • Crogan’s Vengeance by Chris Schweizer. Great framing story, exciting plot, vivid art. I read the colorized version.
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Death and Dementia written by Edgar Allan Poe; illustrated by Gris Grimly. Really not my cup of tea -- the illustrations are deliberately distorted in grotesque ways that don't appeal to me. So it does what it tries to do well, but I don't want to be there while it is done.
  • Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood written by Tony Lee; illustrated by Sam Hart and Artur Fujita. Not really my taste; the pictures and story were very super-hero comicy. I could follow the plot even when I had trouble telling the people apart. (I can never tell images apart, so that's me, not them). It has an improbable love story and a inert but verbally feisty Maid Marion. Robin is a bit of a leaf on the wind.


Fantasy and Science Fiction 


Younger Readers (Elementary/Middle Grade) 2007, 2008, 2009, 2019

2007 Elementary/Middle Grade

  • The Chaos King by Laura Ruby
  • Into the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst
  • The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer
  • Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. I remember liking this but not seeking out sequels. 
  • The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. I loved this. Rex is great from picture books to novels. 

2008 Elementary/ Middle Grade

  • Cabinet of Wonders written by Marie Rutkoski
  • Graveyard Book written by Neil Gaiman. This is great. 
  • Lamplighter written by D. M. Cornish
  • Magic Thief written by Sarah PrineasI liked this and my kids loved it. 
  • Savvy written by Ingrid Law . I enjoyed this but I have no idea who I'd recommend it to. 

2009 Elementary/Middle Grade:

  • 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass My niece and I enjoyed this together. 
  • Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor
  • The Farwalker’s Quest by Joni Sensel
  • Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
  • The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott
  • The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories by Joan Aiken
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin I remember share-reading this with my son, where I'd read some and then he'd read some, and then he'd read more by himself. The mix of plot and stories works great for this; it's a wonderful read aloud on its own as well.

2019 Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction (unread only)


Young Adult/Older books 2007, 2008, 2009, 2019, 2020

2007 SF & Fantasy (done)

  • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  • Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  • Northlander (Tales of the Borderlands) by Meg Burden
  • Repossessed by A. M. Jenkins
  • Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey

2008 Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction

  • Airman written by Eoin Colfer
  • Curse Dark as Gold written by Elizabeth C. Bunce
  • Explosionist written by Jenny Davidson
  • Graceling written by Kristin Cashore. This still has a home on my shelf. It's a comfort read. 
  • Hunger Games, The written by Suzanne Collins. My kid found this. We were fans before it was cool! But I remember being put off by the violence; now that my kids are safely old I like it better. 
  • Wake written by Lisa McMann

2009 Teen/Young Adult  Fantasy and Science Fiction 

  • Candor by Pam Bachorz
  • The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. How is this author not more acclaimed? Her stuff is great. 
  • The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore Another great book set on the same island.
  • Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
  • Sacred Scars (A Resurrection of Magic, Book 2) by Kathleen Duey
  • Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis

2019 Young Adult Speculative Fiction


2020 Young Adult Speculative Fiction


Nonfiction 

Middle-Grade and YA 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

2006 Middle Grade and YA

2007 Middle Grade and YA

  • Marie Curie: Giants of Science #4 written by Kathleen Krull
  • The Periodic Table: Elements With Style! written by Adrian Dingle
  • Smart-Opedia written by Eve Drobot
  • Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood written by Ibtisam Barakat
  • Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion written by Loree Griffin Burns
  • The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain written by Peter Sis
  • Who Was First?: Discovering the Americas written by Russell Freedman

2008 Middle Grade and YA

2009 Middle Grade and YA

  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
  • The Frog Scientist written by Pamela S. Turner, photographs by Andy Comins
  • I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets: Six-Word Memoirs by Teens Famous & Obscure edited by Smith Magazine
  • Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don’t You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge
  • Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker

Fiction

Easy Readers 2008, 2009,

2008 Easy Readers 

  • Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time written by James Howe. Gentle and sweet. Not really my cup of tea.
  • I Love My New Toy written by Mo Willems. Fun and also fun to read with a friend. The small people reactions are perfectly captured.
  • I Will Surprise My Friend! written by Mo Willems. Piggy and Elephant are great. They are silly, they are distinct, and they are great for sharing a book with a new reader.
  • Maybelle Goes to Tea written by Katie Speck (current). OK, I was stuck on the cockroach part. All my sympathies were with the humans. But I can see kids liking this.
  • Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig written by Kate Dicamillo. I feel so old! I am completely emphasizing with the grumpy Lincoln. The Watsons should have apologized when their pig ate the flowers. I blame the adutls, not the poorly trained pig. But it was fun to read, and the illustrations are great.

2009 Easy Readers: 

  • Dinosaur Hunt (Max Spaniel) by David Catrow. Simple sentences, but combined with the pictures they are very rewarding. 
  • Good Dog, Aggie by Lori Ries. Good advice for training a dog that isn't food oriented. 
  • Mr. Putter & Tabby Spill the Beans by Cynthia Rylant. My youngest son was a big fan of these, so I read it with his happy six year old voice in my ear. This one was great, and I liked the happy ending in the ice cream parlour. 
  • Shampoodle (Step Into Reading) by Joan Holub. Fun enough. 
  • Watch Me Throw the Ball! by Mo Willems. Not my favorite -- this one seems a bit didactic, warning us to slow down and enjoy the ride. But it's also really fun to be good at something, and to be good because you worked at it. Don't give up on all your dreams, Elephant.

Early Chapter Books

2009 Short Chapter Books: (kcls)(spl)(timberland)(sno-isle)(spl)

  • Alice’s Shooting Star by Tim Kennemore (kcls no)(UW?)
  • Bad to the Bone (Down Girl and Sit) by Lucy Nolan. Fun dogs-eye view of the world. 
  • How Oliver Olson Changed the World by Claudia Mills. I really liked hanging out with this overprotected third grader for this book. He had an interesting project to do and solved some problems along the way.
  • Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes by Kate DiCamillo. A bit stressful -- Mercy is actually a menace. I hope she doesn't kill a child someday. I don't expect kids to share this worry though.
  • Roscoe Riley Rules #7: Never Race a Runaway Pumpkin by Katherine Applegate. Cute but not that memorable. 

Middle Grade Fiction 

2006 Middle Grade Fiction (unread only)

2007 Middle Grade Fiction

  • A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
  • Cracker: The Best Dog In Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata
  • Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Treby Lauren Tarshis
  • Leap of Faith by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Leepike Ridge by Nathan D. Wilson
  • Louisiana’s Sonby Kerry Madden
  • Miss Spitfire by Sarah Miller
  • Wild Girls by Pat Murphy

2008 Middle Grade

2009 Middle Grade Fiction

  • Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
  • Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry. I remember loving this.
  • All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg Operation
  • Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes
  • The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor. Full of heart.

2019 Middle Grade Fiction (unread only)


Young Adult Fiction  

2006 YA Fiction

2007 YA Fiction

2008 YA Fiction

2009 Young Adult Fiction

  • Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney
  • Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford
  • Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
  • How To Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
  • Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
  • North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

2017 YA Fiction (unread only)

2018 YA Fiction (unread only)

2019 YA Fiction (unread only)

2020 Young Adult Fiction

Picture Books

2007 Picture Books

Fiction Picture Books

  • Pssst! by Adam Rex. Not my cup of tea. The art seemed strange and ugly, and the cute story line was too jagged. I never identified with the vivid girl and the vague background characters creeped me out a bit. And the end worried me -- is that elephant OK?
  • Go to Bed, Monster! written by Natasha Wing; illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz. Fun and witty, although I suspect the adult reading it will appreciate the humor even more than the kid. My children would have humored me with it though.
  • The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County written by Janice N. Harrington; illustrated by Shelley Jackson. Great pictures, great voice, great character. Thumbs up.
  • Leaves by David Ezra Stein. Sweet bear, and as a parent I approve the message that if you are worried about something taking a nap will probably fix it. 
  • Four Feet, Two Sandals written by Karen Lynn William & Khadra Mohammad; illustrated by Doug Chayka. I like the story and the art. I like that the ending isn't all that cheerful. 
  • Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems. I watched the charming video. And read the book. Also charming.
  • The Incredible Book-Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers. Funny but too weird for me. 

NonFiction Picture Books (kcls)

  • Guess What is Growing Inside this Egg Written and illustrated by Mia Posada. I really liked this format and would have enjoyed reading it with my kids. I like how the book can stretch with the reader -- younger readers or just ansty ones can just guess the egg; older ones or more contemplative ones can stay for the explanation.
  • Let’s Go!: the Story of Getting from There to Here Written by Lizann Flatt; illustrated by Scot Ritchie (kcls no)(maybe someplace in Illinois?) Fun and cheerful, with an attempt at Indigineous representation.
  • Lightship  Written and illustrated by Brian Floca. Good pictures -- good cat. This would be a fun book to read with a kid, and I learned a bit about lightships.
  • Living Color  Written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Huh. Fun information, but the text is dense for young readers and the color division simplistic for older ones. I had trouble distinguishing between tested science and just-so explanations.
  • One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II Written and illustrated by Lita Judge. History of how a woman's family helped send supplies (especially shoes -- the tracings) to Europeans devastated by WWII, without regard to which side they had been on. A lot of tension is on whether the father of the young girl corresponding with the young narrator will return, and he eventually does. I guess that German doctor was just following orders, hopefully not at a concentration camp.
  • Vulture View Written by April Pulley Sayre; illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Jenkin's trademark illustrations, and some details about vultures. Good imagery about soaring on the wind as the sun heats air in the morning and then darkness cools it.
  • Where in the Wild?: Camouflaged Creatures Concealed…and Revealed Written by David Schwartz and Yael Schy; photographs by Dwight Kuhn. Slight poems and nifty illustrations where you try to find the hidden animal, and then lift the flap to see it highlighted and get a bunch of facts. Would be fun to read with kids, although a lot of them would skip the facts.

2008 Picture Books

2008 Fiction Picture Books 

  • Abe Lincoln Crosses A Creek: A Tall Thin Tale  (Introducing His Forgotten Frontier Friend) written by Deborah Hopkinson. Fun writing and story, with meta bits like arguing with the illustrator and winding the story back a few pages to try it a different way. Fun topic, fun narration.
  • Big Bad Bunny, The written by Franny Billingsley. This would be fun to read with a preschooler and watch the love and the growing independence of mom and little mouse.
  • Chester’s Back written and illustrated by Melanie Watts. Fun, as expected, but not as good as the first.
  • How to Heal a Broken Wing written and illustrated by Bob Graham. I remember this book, so I think I read it when it was new. It's a lovely meditation on compassion and awareness of nature, even in a New York style city. 
  • Katie Loves the Kittens written and illustrated by John Himmelman. I really liked this. It's a great sibling book.
  • Sea Serpent and Me, The written by Dashka Slater. Lovely illustrations. It's basically the same story as Bob Grahams, but only with the child; no family support. 
  • Visitor for Bear, A written by Bonny Becker. Lovely story and pictures, great for preschoolers. I hated that mouse. I hate it when other people know what is good for me and are right.
  • Wabi Sabi written by Mark Reibstein. Very interesting and I loved the philosophy and the collages were lovely. Not sure how well it would have flown to read with my kids. 

2008 NonFiction Picture Books

  • A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams written by Jen Bryant. Good details and the artwork reminded me of the poems.
  • Astronaut Handbook written and illustrated by Meghan McCarthy. Fun but a bit dated -- lots about the space shuttle, Space X doesn't exist. But cosy pictures, good description of astronaut requirements and training, and gently aspirational. I'm always in for space books.
  • Duel! Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words written by Dennis Brindell Fradin. Nice illustrations -- very painterly. And the musical makes this eternally popular. It didn't wow me but I liked it well enough. 
  • Fabulous Fishes written and illustrated by Susan Stockdale. Great words -- this would be fun to read aloud. The pictures are nice as well. But after seeing the gorgeous photos from Bishop I kinda want the real thing. 
  • Nic Bishop Frogs written and illustrated by Nic Bishop. Gorgeous pictures, of course. I know some kids who would love it. I was shocked to read that he trained some of the frogs, but I guess otherwise they would be too freaked out by the equipment to behave "naturally."
  • Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw written and illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray. Wow, I had never thought of the artist behind the books, but obviously in a picture book the art is everything. I learned a lot about Gag's life, including how to pronounce her name.
  • Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. Good pictures, good biography, although I was confused about whether Wangari ever got out of jail. But I read a different biography a year or so ago that I liked better.

2009 Picture Books

Fiction Picture Books 

  • The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. Pictures and text work well here -- a boy finds and helps a garden and it transforms the city. Child empowerment, love of nature, and growing up positively. 
  • The Lion & The Mouse by Jerry Pinkney Lovely. I remember reading this when it came out.
  • Jeremy Draws a Monster by Peter McCarty. Nicely surreal. I have many questions, but that makes it fun.
  • The Listeners written by Gloria Whelan; illustrated by Mike Benny. Wow, this historical book really brought out the horrors of slavery at a childs-eye level. Great illustrations too.
  • All the World written by Liz Garton Scanlon; illustrated by Marla Frazee. Warm and affirming. I love Frazee's illustrations. This is a book to read while cuddling someone you love.
  • The Book that Eats People written by John Perry; illustrated by Mark Fearing . Grim and hilarious. It helped that I shared it with my son, who would have loved it when he was a child. I liked the illustrations and the extremes the book went to.
  • Silly Tilly written by Eileen Spinelli; illustrated by David Slonim. Fun and endearing -- the words would be fun to read out loud and the pictures are fun to look at. 

Nonfiction Picture Books

  • Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History! by Shana Corey. Fun biography with vibrant pictures. 
  • The Day-Glo Brothers written by Chris Barton; illustrated by Tony Persiani. Biography of the brothers who invented those glow-in-the-dark colors, used in art, fabric, and safety/military gear. I like how it looks at the way passions morph as they meet the world.
  • Life-Size Zoo: From Tiny Rodents to Gigantic Elephants, An Actual Size Animal Encyclopedia created by Teruyuki Komiya; photos by Toyofumi Fukuda. Great concept  -- this is a great book to share with a kid. Not much information, but a lot of interest.
  • 14 Cows for America written by Carmen Agra Deedy with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah; illus. by Thomas Gonzalez. Touching, but where did the cows end up? Did they just get special ribbons?
  • Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 written and illustrated by Brian Floca. I love space books, and this is an excellent addition to the field. The illustrations are gorgeous and the text is polished. It's educational without being condescending.
  • Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea by Steve Jenkins. Great illustrations -- it's amazing how this torn? technique makes the fish seem so real. I was a bit confused by the depth chart on the side but liked both the pages of fish and the more details back matter explanations.
  • Faith (Global Fund for Children Books) by Maya Ajmera, Magde Nakassis, and Cynthia Pon. Absolutely beautiful and enrapturing photos of children living their religion -- praying, preparing, eating, dancing, chanting, or whatever else. There's some text as well, and a well written set of glassary words but you barely notice those. I do think it lumps together indigenous religions a bit clumsily.

Poetry: Caught up!

2007 Poetry

  • Animal Poems written by Valerie Worth, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. The poems are fine and the pictures are fine, so this would be all right as a picture book, except in my family the boys would catch on that these were poems andrun away screaming. Sigh. 
  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village written by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd. I read this and thought it was interesting. Didn't it win the Newbery or something? I remember our school librarian was unimpressed.
  • Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry edited by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, illustrated by Polly Dunbar. Cosy illustrations, large format that would work when reading in bed or maybe reading to a crowd, and well chosen poems great for reading aloud. A good picture book for sharing, if a bit long for that format.
  • Poems in Black and White written and illustrated by Kate Miller. I liked the poems but adored the illustrations. This would be a good picture book to share.
  • This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.  These were great and my family loved them when they came out. WINNER. And well deserved.
  • Twist: Yoga Poems written by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Julie Paschkis. This was fine but didn't incite an urge to share it, even with a fellow yoga practitioner
  • Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath written by Stephanie Hemphill. Fascinating and frustrating, and it definitely succeeded in making me want to read more Sylvia Plath. I mean, I've vaguely meant to do that for the past 30 years, but now I kinda mean it. Also, I liked that I remember Ted Hughes as the guy who was famous for being Plath's jerky husband who tried to get famous from editing her books. I bet he'd hate that.

2008 Poetry

  • America at War illustrated by Stephen Alcorn .  I felt the early chapters worked better than later ones, which all feel very cynical. I guess that's just reality? Not that people in earlier wars were happy about being shipped off to die. I wish there were more Black voices, in particular ones not just about slavery.
  • Honeybee written by Naomi Shihab Nye. A mixed lot of poetry and short essays. Some landed well, others missed me. 
  • Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures written by Julie Larios. Fun picture book.
  • More than Friends: Poems from Him and Her written by Sara Holbrook . Not really my cup of tea -- the boy and girl were so conventional as to be alien to me.
  • On the Farm written by David Elliott. This is a picture book with short poems as the text. It would be a fun book to read aloud.

2009 Poetry (done)

  • African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways written by Avis Harley; photographs by Deborah Noyes Fun but I'm not a big fan of acrostics. The pictures were great -- I could have read this to my sons until they realized there were poems on them thar pages.
  • The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson .It was fine. I copied out a poem about pizza. 
  • The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz; illus. by Adam McCauley. Loud and striking pictures; grim but flowing poems. 
  • Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors written by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. Sidman is great. Evocative words, vivid pictures. WINNER!
  • The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston; illustrated by Barbara Fortin. I had a blast with this -- I love the concept (and preach it a lot) so seeing it in an anthology was delightful. Reminded me of Robin Kimmerer's books. I'm looking forward to the CD. 
 

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