Judy Freeman and I Agree – 10 of the Best Books Published in 2015

Recently I attended an excellent workshop by Judy Freeman called What’s New In Children’s Literature and Strategies for Using It in Your Program.  It includes a workbook with an list of the 150 Best Children’s Books published in 2015.  I was excited to see some of the books I featured on the blog on the list.  There were several that I started entries about last year; but wasn’t able to polish and publish the posts.  Truthfully, some of the posts just have a title and author.  Here are 10 books that Judy Freeman loved which I meant to share with you in 2015.

I love what Judy said on how to determine if a book is great.  “Did the book leave you Surprised? Startled? Satisfied?  Each of these books left me that way.

Mesmerized

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff and illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

Ketzel

Ketzel, the Cat who Composed by Leslea Newman and illustrated by Amy June Bates

lillians

Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Mama Seeton

Mama Seeton’s Whistle by Jerry Spinelli and illustrated LeUyen Pham

mango]

Mango, Abuela and Me by Meg Medina and illustrated by Angela Dominguez

three best friends

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Billys Boogers

Billy’s Booger: A Memoir by William Joyce

Stick and Stone

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and illustrated Tom Lichtenheld

Imagiinary Fred

Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Nest

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel and illustrated by Jon Klassen

There’s No Such Thing as Little

No Such Thing as Little

There’s No Such Thing as Little by LeUyen Pham (with die-cut holes to peek through) – Today, an outstanding picture book arrived.  My post about it is short because I wanted to share the book right away.  The die-cut peek holes aren’t the only charming thing about this book.  Each illustration changes your perspective of what is small.  My favorite page shows why a little “i” is important.  Read the book.  You’ll understand why I love it!  Not a little.  I love it ENORMOUSLY!

The Princess in Black: A Beginning Chapter Book

Princess in Black

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale and illustrated by LeUyen Pham – “Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret?”

Why should you read this book?
ML immediately gravitated to this book because black is currently her favorite color.  Plus, you can tell from the cover this isn’t your typical princess.  ML informed me recently she doesn’t like princesses anymore… except Elsa and Anna.  I’m pretty certain her tune will change in March.  Her dad is surprising her with a daddy/daughter trip to Disney.  When he approached me about taking her, I had one request, “Please take her on It’s a Small Word.”  It was my favorite ride when I visited Disney forty plus years ago.

An important note to parents of boys.
This book should be read with boys too.  The author explains why better than I could on her blog post “Boys and the Princess in Black.”

My Little Vampire

ML decided months ago she wanted to be a vampire. We bought a black dress for the occasion. Recently, we’ve read several vampire picture books.  The books reminded us she needed a cape, fangs and bright red lipstick.  They have been purchased and are ready for Friday night.

Below are our favorite vampire picture books.  Plus a bonus for parents of toddlers.

Vampirina

Vampirina Ballerina written by Countess Anne Marie Pace and pictures by Mistress of the Night LeUyen Pham – ML loved the illustration of Vamperina demonstrating her plies and arabesques to all the creatures in her house… a ghost, Frankenstein, a mummy and more.

Vampire Boy

Vampire Boy’s Good Night by Lisa Brown – ML found the illustration featuring two legs with black and white tights and ruby red slippers sticking out from under a house hilarious.  We saw The Wizard of Oz Broadway play last year; so ML fully appreciated the reference.

Dear Vampa

Dear Vampa by Ross Collins – “A young vampire writes a letter to his grandfather bemoaning his new neighbors.” The vampires decide to sell their house.  ML and I howled when we saw who bought the house. Here’s a hint about the buyers.  On the full moon, they’ll be howling too.

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The Sleepless Little Vampire by Richard Egielski – Why isn’t the little vampire sleeping.  Is it the noisy creatures around?  Spiders, bats, cockroaches and more?  Of course not.  He’s waiting for the sun to rise.

Hampire

Hampire! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrated by Howard Fine – Who is this vampire and what does it eat?  Not your average vampire book.

I'm a Vampire

I’m a Little Vampire by Sonali Fry and illustrated by Sanja Rescek – It’s a board book so ML wouldn’t let me read it stating, “That’s for babies.”  But it’s so adorable I had to include it for those of you with toddlers.

Books for Boys – Series Fiction for Elementary School Boys

DannysDoodles

David Adler sent me an advanced copy of his new series, Danny’s Doodles.  His first book, The Jelly Bean Experiment follows the antics of two extremely different personalities, Danny and Calvin.  According to Danny, “My new friend is 100% weird.”   Danny is an average baseball playing fourth grader.  When Danny and Calvin team up for an experiment it  is anything but average.  The result the beginning of a friendship… a dynamic duo for a new series  of  books for boys.

Unfortunately, the next book in the series, The Donut Dilemma won’t be published until the fall of 2014.   Check out the books below for other ideas.

JoSchmo

Adventures of Jo Schmo by Greg Trine and art by Frank W. Dormer – Wait a minute… the main character is a girl.  Yes, but one book is called Wyatt Burp Rides Again… and she’s a superhero.

AlvinHo

Alvin Ho by Lenore Look and illustrated by LeUyen Pham – With titles like Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things, Allergic to Babies, Burglars and Bumps in the Night, and Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters…   readers are destined to find a title highlighting their greatest anxiety.  If you want your home filled with laughter, buy Alvin Ho.

CalvinCoconut

Calvin Coconut by Graham Salisbury and illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers – Most boys I know live in North Carolina or Georgia.  A book about Calvin who lives close to the beach in Hawaii is exotic.  Kung Fooey,

EllrayJakes

EllRay Jakes  by Sally Warner and illustrated by Jamie Harper – Straight from the publisher Penguin’s website.  “From trouble with bullies to the need to impress friends, EllRay Jakes finds himself in situations that young boys can relate to.”

georgebrown

George Brown, Class Clown by Nancy Krulik and illustrated by Aaron Blecha – What boy doesn’t find burping, toilets, wedgies, and boogers funny?  These subjects and more are covered in this series of 11 books.

HankZipzer

Hank Zipzer by Henry Winkler (best known as the Fonz) and Lin Oliver and illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson.  It’s hard not to be a winner with the Fonz as the author and titles like Barfing in the Backseat.   The Hank Zipzer website states, “Inspired by the true life experiences of Henry Winkler, this winning series about the world’s greatest underachiever is funny, touching, and deals with learning differences in a gentle and humorous manner.”

Stink

Stink by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds – Stink is the brother to Judy Moody, a popular series first published in 2000.  According to Megan McDonald, his own series was conceived when she walked into a classroom yelling, “Stink! Stink! Stink!”

TimeWarp

The Time Warp Trio by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith – I’m getting lazy, but I’m honest… giving credit where it is due.  This is straight from Wikipedia.  “The Time Warp Trio is a book series written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith and later by Adam McCauley, which chronicles the adventures of three boys – Joe, Sam, and Fred – who travel through time and space with the aid of the mysterious Book.”

Disclaimer:  I’ve only read the first chapter of most of these.  But various friends promise me their boys love them.