Each 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 November edition of BayViews. Not a member? Join, come to our monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books in person!
Night Job written by Hesse, Karen and illustrated by Karas, G. Brian; Candlewick, 2018.
A young son joins his father for an overnight shift at his school custodian job. Hesse and Karas create a beautiful, affectionate portrayal of a working-class single father and his loving son. (Grades K-2.)
The Patchwork Bike written by Clarke, Maxine Beneba and illustrated by Rudd, Van Thanh; Candlewick, 2018.
A dark-brown-skinned young girl tells us about the bike that she and her brothers put together out of recycled materials. This exuberant, unusual picture book celebrates the power of imagination, the do-it-yourself ethic, and the pride and joy of creating something out of almost nothing. (K-5.)
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge written by Anderson, M.T. and illustrated by Yelchin, Eugene; Candlewick, 2018.
A wonderful combination of elaborate illustrations and creative text present the story of the truly bizarre diplomatic mission of an elfin historian visiting a goblin academic. Serious themes of war, intolerance and social constructs underlie a humorous and creative buddy story packed with action. (4-12.)
Begone the Raggedy Witches written by Kiernan, Celine; Candlewick, 2018.
A lyrical, descriptive story of a young girl facing loss and protecting her family as she is thrown into the Glittering Realm, the frightening fairy birthplace of her mother. Otherworldly characters are supplemented by glimpses of the “real world” and family relations in a fast-paced story. (3-7.)
The Cursed Ground [Zora & Me: Book 2] written by Simon, T.R.; Candlewick, 2018.
The Cursed Ground is T.R. Simon’s second novel set in Eatonville and can be enjoyed without having read the first. Set in overlapping American pasts, many of its themes remain relevant today. The Cursed Ground would be welcome in public and school libraries serving tweens and teens. (5-9.)
The Ghost Road written by Cotter, Charis; Tundra/Penguin Random House, 2018.
Set in Newfoundland, this complex story of a family over the years that regularly has female twins is both frightening and gripping. The twins all suffer from a curse that has lasted for generations – they all die shortly after their own twins are born, never to see their children grow up. (5-9.)
I, Claudia written by McCoy, Mary; Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2018.
A thriller narrated by Claudia McCarthy, a disabled teen, I, Claudia covers the politics and personalities of a diverse array of teenagers attending an elite high school in contemporary Los Angeles. Based on Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, the book cleverly evokes both ancient Rome and modern America. (9-12.)
Louisiana’s Way Home written by DiCamillo, Kate; Candlewick, 2018.
Louisiana’s grandmother whisks her away in the night setting in motion a series of encounters that cause Louisiana to question everything she thought she knew about her world and her place within it. A spare and efficient triumph that highlights DiCamillo’s gift for crafting memorable characters. (3-6.)
Lost Soul, Be at Peace written and illustrated by Thrash, Maggie; Candlewick, 2018.
In this idiosyncratic graphic sequel to Honor Girl (2015), Thrash mixes memoir with fiction to convey vividly the intensity of growing up. (8-Adult.)
Apollo 8: This Mission That Changed Everything written by Sandler, Martin W.; Candlewick, 2018.
Without the advancements tested during the Apollo 8 mission, the Apollo 11 success of putting a person on the moon would not have happened, as described in this coffee table-style book. (6-12.)
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science written by Sidman, Joyce; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.
In the seventeenth century, a time when women were neither scientists nor artists, Maria Merian was both. Award-winning poet Joyce Sidman explores the life of this amazing woman and deftly draws a direct line from science to art. (4-6.)
Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein written and illustrated by Judge, Lita; Roaring Brook, 2018.
Lita Judge’s darkly beautiful biography of Mary Shelley. Spare, riveting first-person verse poetry printed over richly detailed watercolor and ink illustrations lend a suitably macabre tone to a life filled with loss, yet Mary’s Monsters also highlights the redemptive power of passionate creativity. (7-12.)