Every month, we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the August edition of BayViews.
Dare the Wind: The Record-Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud by Tracey Fern; illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2014.
At the height of the gold rush Eleanor Prentiss navigated the clipper ship Sea Cloud, smashing the speed record from New York to San Francisco. Compelling prose and strong illustrations combine for an exciting read, a fine piece of local history and a testament to a brave and talented woman who was not afraid to dare both the wind and the status quo. (Kindergarten – Grade 4)
The Midnight Library written and illustrated by Kazuno Kohara
Roaring Brook, 2014.
Run by a tiny pig-tailed librarian and her three assistant owls, the Midnight Library opens only at night, ready to serve a community of dogs, rabbits, sheep and mice. Kohara successfully highlights the use of the library as a community space, and the thick-lined black ink linocut illustrations create a happy, retro feel while maintaining a sense of cozy, nighttime fun. (Preschool – Grade 1)
The Pigeon Needs a Bath! written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Disney Hyperion, 2014.
Mo Willems’ famous dickering pigeon returns, this time trying to convince the reader he really doesn’t need a bath. Graphically strong cartoon style images are wittily expressive. The ultimate, humorous, and entirely realistic ending, will have both parents and kids chuckling in recognition. (Preschool – Grade 2)
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman; illustrated by Kristyna Litten
Magination Press, 2014.
With vibrant color, simple phrases, and beautifully diverse characters, This Day in June is a first of its kind: a cheerful, exuberant readaloud about a gay pride parade. (Preschool – Grade 2)
Minion: A Companion to Sidekicked by John David Anderson
Walden Pond, 2014.
Michael Morn isn’t evil, but when the arrival of a superhero shifts him from an aider and abettor of villains to the center of a plot to take over the world, he must choose sides. A fast-paced, smart, fun read with a satisfying and open ending that hints there may be more to come. (Grades 5 – 8)
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier and Greg Salsedo; illustrated by Marc Lizano
First Second, 2014.
In this moving, powerful graphic novel for our youngest readers, author Dauvillier and illustrator Lizano have created a work I did not think possible, a graphic novel exposition of the Holocaust within World War II for an age level not necessarily able to take in so much of the magnitude of the events. Grades 1 – 5)
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl written and illustrated by Ben Hatke
First Second, 2014.
Filled with humor but serious themes as well, this third and final adventure ties together all of Zita’s previous exploits and reunites the many friends she’s made during her outer-space adventures in a completely satisfying conclusion to the series. (Grades 3 – 7)
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki; illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
First Second, 2014.
This graphic novel for teens examines a summer in the life of Rose at her family’s cottage in a small beach town. The stunning art blends seamlessly with the text, resulting in a complex picture of Rose’s emotions and her personal growth over the course of the summer. (Grade 9 – Adult)
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen, 2014.
Jacqueline Woodson shares her experience of growing up in the 1960s and 1970s through a series of poem vignettes. This quiet book requires a special reader, one willing to forego action for a window into the life of a young girl finding her voice in tumultuous times. (Grades 5 – 8)
Bedtime Math 2: This Time It’s Personal by Laura Overdeck; illustrated by Jim Paillot
Paillot and Overdeck captivate their audience’s attention and effectively achieve their goal of having children hanging off the edge of their seats with excitement about math and a strong sense of its relevance in their lives. (Preschool – Grade 2)
D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, 1944 by Rick Atkinson
Adapted from the author’s book for adults on WWII’s D-Day, The Guns at Last Light (Holt, 2013), the text has a real “you are there” quality that makes for a dramatic narrative nonfiction experience. The book design, with a b&w photo on every page, maps, sidebars, timeline, charts, and other visuals, are inviting for casual readers, and will motivate browsers to read the equally compelling text. (Grades 6 – 12)