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2018 Award-Winners You Need to Read

2018 is almost over! Goodness, where does the time go? It’s now the time of year when “Best of 2018” lists will start popping up. It was certainly an amazing year for books. But you know what really shows that a book was one of the best of the year? Awards and honors. And, wow, do these novels have them! Check out these five incredible books if you really want to read the best.

 

 


Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot contributor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Steinbeck and Millay. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive.

2017 ALA Award Winners & Honors


 

 

2017 ALSC NOTABLE CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Sound of Silence cover
The Sound of Silence
Horrible Bear
Thunder Boy Jr. cover
Thunder Boy Jr.
The Secret Keepers cover
The Secret Keepers
When the Sea Turned to Silver cover
When the Sea Turned to Silver
The Wild Robot Escapes
The Wild Robot

2017 YALSA BEST FICTION FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Every Exquisite Thing cover
Every Exquisite Thing
Girl in the Blue Coat
Girl in the Blue Coat
Not If I See You First

When The Sea Turned to Silver

When the Sea Turned to Silver coverWhen the Sea Turned to Silver

By Grace Lin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Heroes/Heroines, Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family

Grades: 3-7

 

Listen to Author Interview Activities Readers Theatre Educator Guide

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

 

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.

 

A fast-paced adventure that is extraordinarily written and beautifully illustrated, When the Sea Turned to Silver is a masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.

 

PRAISE

A 2016 National Book Award Finalist

 

★ “Lin’s evocative language sweeps readers away, and the stories within the story are juicy and delicious.” —Booklist

 

★ “Lin’s stonecutter claims that storytellers ‘can make time disappear… bring us to places we have never dreamed of…feel sorrow and joy and peace’; the description is a fitting one for author-illustrator Lin herself, who has proven herself a master.” —The Horn Book

 

★ “The meticulous craft delivers what Lin’s fans have come to expect… This beautifully told companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky offers lyrical storytelling, bringing ‘us to places we have never dreamed of.'” —Kirkus

 

★ “Lin’s fans will not be disappointed: she again delivers a rich interweaving of ancient tales with fast-paced adventure, fantasy, and slowly unfolding mysteries told through captivating language with beguiling similes.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “A stunning addition to a deservedly beloved set of novels; recommended for all middle grade collections.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

Radiant Child

Radiant Child coverRadiant Child

The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

By Javaka Steptoe

Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies: African American Heritage, Social Studies: Biographies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Guidance/Health: Emotions

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Educator Guide

Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.

 

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

Winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal

Winner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

 

★ “Javaka Steptoe is the perfect person to create this book: a tour de force that will introduce an important artist to a new generation.” —The Horn Book

 

★ “Vibrant colors and personal symbols channel the ‘sloppy, ugly, and sometimes weird, but somehow still BEAUTIFUL’ paintings, incorporating meticulously attributed collage elements and capturing the artist’s energy and mystery. Stellar bookmaking—a riveting portrait of a young artist.” —Kirkus

 

★ “Visually arresting and vibrantly narrated.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work—vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs—Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations…. Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary.” —School Library Journal

 

“It takes an artist to display another artist. Had Basquiat chosen to create his own picture book autobiography, I don’t think he could have done a better job that what Radiant Child has accomplished here. Timely. Telling. Overdue.” —A Fuse #8 Production, an SLJ blog

 

VIDEOS

 

Live Illustration: Javaka Steptoe

"Radiant Child," a biography for children about the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, just won the prestigious 2017 Caldecott Medal. The books author/illustrator, Javaka Steptoe, joins us to demonstrate his art and talk about Basquiat. Ask him questions in the comments, and Maria Russo will ask some too.

Posted by The New York Times Books on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

• School Library Journal‘s Author Interview

 TeachingBooks.net Meet the Author

• The Yarn Podcast

Finding Winnie

Finding Winnie

The True Story of The World’s Most Famous Bear

By Lindsay Mattick

Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies: Biographies, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Animals, Adventure: Animals

Grades: Pre-K-1st

 

Listen to Author & Illustrator Interview Educator Guide

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie.

 

In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

 

Harry Colebourn’s real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey–from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England…

 

And finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin.

 

Here is the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

Winner of the 2016 Randolph Caldecott Medal

 

★ “Little ones who love Milne’s classic stories will be enchanted by this heartening account of the bear’s real-life origins.” — Booklist

 

★ “The sum total is as captivating as it is informative, transforming a personal family story into something universally resonant.” — The Horn Book

 

★ “The book strikes a lovely, understated tone of wonder and family pride…[Sophie Blackall] proves that she’s equally imaginative at chronicling straight-on reality too.” — Publishers Weekly

 

★ “A perfect melding of beautiful art with soulful, imaginative writing, this lovely story, penned by Colebourn’s great-great granddaughter, is ideal for sharing aloud or poring over individually.” — School Library Journal

 

“Written by one of the descendants of the veterinarian that started it all. Add in the luminous artwork of Sophie Blackall and you’ve got yourself a historical winner on your hands.” – A Fuse #8 Production

 

VIDEOS

The Thing about Jellyfish

The Thing about Jellyfish

By Ali Benjamin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Guidance/Health: Death, Guidance/Health: Emotions, Personal Development: Loss, Family Life: Divorce/Stepfamilies, Science: Animals/Insects/Pets

Grades: 5 & up

 

A stunning debut about how grief can open the world in magical ways.

 

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory– even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

 

PRAISE

A 2015 National Book Award Finalist

 

★ “An uncommonly fine first novel.” – Booklist

 

★ “A painful story smartly told, Benjamin’s first solo novel has appeal well beyond a middle school audience.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

★ “A shining example of the highs and lows of early adolescence, as well as a testament to the grandeur of the natural world.” – Publishers Weekly

 

★ “Authentic and poignant.” – School Library Journal

 

★ “This novel has it all: just-right pacing, authentic voices and characters, beautifully crafted plot, and superb writing.” – Voices of Youth Advocates

 

VIDEOS

The Adventures of Beekle

The ABeekledventures of Beekle

The Unimaginary Friend

By Dan Santat

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Friendship, Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Personal Development: Individuality

Grades: PreK-1st

 

[button link=”http://www.scribd.com/doc/255316299/The-Adventures-of-Beekle-PARTY-KIT”]Party Kit[/button]

 

This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.

 

Bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat combines classic storytelling with breathtaking art, creating an unforgettable tale about friendship, imagination, and the courage to find one’s place in the world.

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

Winner of the 2015 Randolph Caldecott Medal

 

★ “Santat’s attention to detail in the mixed-media illustrations shares a child’s eye for laughter and movement on full-bleed spreads with strategically placed text. Gazes of wonderment, broad smiles, and changes in perspective ensure an easy transition from page to page… Like Beekle’s new friend, there’s something here that feels just right as an ‘unimaginaru’ friendship creates a joyous, recognizable bond. A terrific addition to any library.” —School Library Journal

 

“How does an imaginary friend feel before he’s been imagined? In Santat’s sweet, mind-bending gumdrop of a tale, Beekle lives on a rainbow-hued island, ‘hoping for his turn to be picked by a child.’ Eventually, like Max in Where the Wild Things Are, he takes to the seas and soon lands in the real world — which looks a lot like Manhattan. Though this island seems awfully drab, Beekle and his friend find each other at last. She’s everything he’s ever dreamed of, and the feeling is mutual.” —The New York Times Book Review

 

“Dan Santat is one of the hardest working people in the industry today. And while his immense talent was always evident, Beekle takes his artistry to a new level. The story (which is just bursting at the seams with charm) begins on an island of colorful creatures, each waiting to be imagined by a special child and thus transported to the real world…. As with all great books, Beekle has an air of inevitability about it. As if somewhere out there is an island of perfect stories just waiting for the right person to come along and imagine it into being. We should all be grateful that Santat, with his brilliant use of color and humor, was here to bring Beekle to life.” —The Huffington Post

 

 

VIDEOS

Me…Jane

Me…Jane

By Patrick McDonnell

Genre: Picture Book

Curriculum subjects: Self-Discovery, Individuality, Careers

Grade: PreK-1st

 

Download Educator Guide

 

In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of “a life living with and helping all animals,” until one day she finds that her dream has come true.

 

One of the world’s most inspiring women, Dr. Jane Goodall is a renowned humanitarian, conservationist, animal activist, environmentalist, and United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global nonprofit organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things.

With anecdotes taken directly from Jane Goodall’s autobiography, McDonnell makes this very true story accessible for the very young– and young at heart.

 

PRAISE

A 2012 Caldecott Honor Book

A Charlotte Zolotow Award Winner

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book

 

★ “This remarkable picture book is one of the few that speaks, in a meaningful way, to all ages.” –Booklist

 

★ “McDonnell’s book is… inspirational.” –The Horn Book

 

★ “Children will appreciate McDonnell’s original format and take heart that interests logged in their own diaries might turn into lifelong passions.” –Kirkus Reviews

 

“McDonnell’s concentration on [Goodall’s] childhood fantasies carries a strong message to readers that their own dreams – even the wildly improbable ones–may be realizable, too.” –Publishers Weekly

 

“[A] tender homage… engaging… an appealing and satisfying introduction to a well-known scientist and activist.” –School Library Journal

Dave the Potter

Dave The Potter

By Laban Carrick Hill

Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Genre: Non-Fiction Picture Book

Curriculum Subjects: African American Heritage, Poetry

Grade: PreK-1st

 2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award 

2011 Caldecott Honor Book

Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave. In this inspiring and lyrical portrayal, National Book Award nominee Laban Carrick Hill’s elegantly simple text and award-winning artist Bryan Collier’s resplendent, earth-toned illustrations tell Dave’s story, a story rich in history, hope, and long-lasting beauty.

 

Download Educator Guide

 

★ “The volume is a visual feast, packed with contemporary photographs, reproductions, magazine covers, and posters, and enhanced by an interesting design. Together, the words and images bring this extraordinary period to life.”
 —School Library Journal

 

 

 

 

 

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