Ellen’s BookKids Favorites of 2014

There have been so many great children’s books this year, I hardly know where to begin. Many of my favorites from this year (Viva Frida, Brown Girl Dreaming, The Farmer & the Clown, The Right Word,  Tiny Creatures, Greenglass House, Egg & Spoon, I’ll Give You the Sun, Grasshopper Jungle) are included in our Winter 2014 catalog, recent newsletters, or on other best of the year lists. I love these books and think they deserve all the attention they are getting. With that in mind, this list – which I had an incredibly hard time paring down, so I cheated a little and added runners-up in each category – is a selection of my favorite books of the year that you might have missed. These are totally deserving of some love and a look!

Picture Book

The Lion & the Bird
by Marianne Dubuc
This is a beautiful little book about a lion who befriends and gently nurses an injured bird. They become friends and get through the long, cold, lonely winter together. But when Bird’s wing heals, Lion knows Bird will have to rejoin her flock. The seasons pass and Lion is once again alone, wondering what Bird is doing. I love the art and story of this touching, tender, and sweet book that just makes you want to hug someone.

Peggy by Anna Walker
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd


Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands
by Katherine Roy
Doesn’t that cover image just send chills up your spine? Sharks have always fascinated me. They are prehistoric animals living in our modern world. This book is a fabulous look at the anatomy, hunting behavior, and ecosystem of the white shark. The author focuses on the huge seasonal population of white sharks that hunt around Farallon Islands every year, and the scientists who study them. Information is presented in both text and illustrations in a clear, thoughtful, and as far as I know according my layman’s knowledge of sharks, accurate manner. A really great and interesting look at what makes the white shark one of the most perfect predators on the planet.

Sniffer Dogs: How Dogs (and Their Noses) Save the World by Nancy F. Castaldo
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Chapter Book

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place
by Julie Berry
I highly enjoyed this Victorian murder mystery set at a girls boarding school. Each girl has her own unique personality and talent – which all come into play as they solve a double homicide. The mystery is well-done and kept me guessing whodunnit until the reveal at the end. I liked the twists and turns the story took as well as the unexpected humor. This is a funny book! Smart characters, snappy writing, and an absolute delight to read.
Lockwood & Co., Book 2: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud
The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

Young Adult

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
I honestly wanted to read this book because of the cover image and that it was about dance. I like things about dance. What I discovered is a beautiful novel about Veda, an incredibly gifted dancer who excels at the classical Indian dance form called Bharatanatyam. Veda’s dance dreams fall away when she loses her foot in an auto accident. But since she is a dancer to her core, she pushes herself to relearn how to dance. Written in verse, the rhythm of the words beats along with Veda’s heart, which is like how Veda feels the music in everything all around her. Lush, sensual, spiritual, inspiring, honest, and vivid, this is a great read. Inspired by true story.

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrano
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

2 thoughts on “Ellen’s BookKids Favorites of 2014

  1. Thanks, Ellen, for the amazing praise for NEIGHBORHOOD SHARKS! I’m so delighted that you love it so much that you named it a top non-fiction favorite! Thank you for the support, and good luck with the final sales days leading up to Christmas. May many children get their hands on many books thanks to you! 🙂

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