Best of 2014 – #1

MPL KidsBest Reads 2014 (6)

We read a lot around these parts.  We read picture books, easy readers, graphic novels, non-fiction, juvenile fiction, young adult fiction, and sometimes we even get a chance to pick up a novel intended for adults.  And we’ve finally made it to #1!  Check out the posts from the previous 9 days to see what else we recommend!

This is a Moose by Richard T. Morris

This book is silliness at its best!  A picky director is creating a perfect documentary for the reader about a normal moose doing moose things.  His shoot keeps getting interrupted because his star moose is anything but normal.  From lively grannies to scrappy squirrels, this book will have kids laughing to the last page.  Morris puts a cute and funny spin on what it means to be true to one’s self. -Marta

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve talked about Brown Girl Dreaming before on the blog, so I think it is pretty clear that this book was a standout for me.  In a year when the call for diversity ( has been the hottest topic in children’s literature, it is appropriate that the best book of the year showed exactly why diverse books are necessary.  A beautiful, lyrical autobiography, Woodson has written the best book of the year. -Amanda

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

A quiet holiday becomes full of suspense as one guest after another arrives unannounced to the secluded smuggler’s inn. Twelve year old Milo has to sort out the strange stories, missing items and unresolved deaths without being detected. -Christina

Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

Thirteen-year-old Margaret O’Malley is convinced of her father’s innocence even after he’s sentenced to death by the cruel Judge Lucas Biggs.  In a desperate attempt to save her dad, Margaret uses her family’s secret – and forbidden – ability to time travel.  With the help of her best friend, Charlie, and his grandpa Josh, Margaret jumps back to a year that changed Lucas Biggs into the cruel man of today.  The forces of history resist, and Margaret is running out of chances to set things right. -Teresa

Naked by Michael Ian Black

An energetic book about a boy being free. -Sarah


Link Grab Bag

Link Grab Bag (1)

  • A study released Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that children benefit from attending full-day preschool, rather than part-time preschool.  The study found improvements in four of six measures of school readiness: social development, language, math, and physical health.
  • Readers of this blog know how much we love Brown Girl Dreaming around these parts, so you won’t be surprised that we want to share another post about the book and its wonderful author, Jacqueline Woodson.  This is a short interview following her National Book Award win.
  • Have you seen Mockingjay Part 1 yet?  Here is a rundown of the movie for diehard fans.  What do you think?  How did it stack up against the other movies and the book?
  • Want to know what the Association for Library Services to Children thinks are the best graphic novels for K-8th graders? These great lists will help guide you as you search for the best for you kids.
  • We’re loving this recipe for peppermint playdough for the holidays!

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

indexThis morning it was announced that Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson won the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.  This beautiful, emotional read was a fantastic choice that will stand tall next to previous winners like Katerine Erskine’s 2010 winner, Mockingbird  and last year’s winner, The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata.

Woodson’s autobiographical book in verse tells the story of an African-American girl growing up split between the south and the north during a time of great change.  Displaying the best of her powerful storytelling skills, Brown Girl Dreaming is as likely to make the reader think as feel.  Passages examining her challenges with reading are made more powerful by her discovery of books that featured people that looked like her.  At a time when the children’s book world is protesting the dearth of diverse literature for children, Woodson makes the best argument I’ve read for why it is important it is for kids to find themselves in what they read.

But like any great children’s book, I would recommend this to adults as well as kids.  Woodson is a brilliant writer who finds beauty in pain and hope in hopelessness.  She never shies away from complicated topics or speaking a tough truth.  Adults will find comfort in her charming voice, while still examining their own childhoods and beliefs.  Recommended for 4th grade and up, this book will easily appeal to longtime fans and readers new to Woodson’s work.

Link Grab Bag

Link Grab Bag

  •  Are wordless books intimidating to you? If so, you’re not alone!  But they are fantastic tools for building language and literacy skills. Mel’s Desk has a great rundown of the importance of including wordless books in your family’s reading.
  • This NPR interview with author, Jacqueline Woodson about her newest book, Brown Girl Dreaming, is a wonderful listen or read.
  • Speaking of Brown Girl Dreaming, it made the long list for the National Book Award, along with two John Corey Whaley’s second novel, Noggin.  Do you have a favorite on this list?
  • We probably all think that someone in our family is the favorite child to one or both of our parents.  A study in August’s Journal of Family Psychology found that children’s perceptions of favoritism counted a lot more than the reality.
  • With Halloween just around the corner, we’re scowering the internet looking for costume ideas.  We love this list of cute homemade costumes for kids.
  • The New York Public Library made a great list of books about failure and mistakes.  We love encouraging kids to try things, even if it might not work out as they planned, and these books will go far in teaching that.  We’d like to add a personal favorite — The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires — to that list.

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