All posts by Jen J.

About Jen J.

I am a Young Adult Librarian in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

November 2017 Starred Reviews

The end of the year is fast approaching – that means Best Book lists are arriving! PW, Kirkus, Horn Book and SLJ are already out – you can see them in my Best Books 2017 Spreadsheet. Booklist is announcing theirs via newsletter this week; the Bulletin Blue Ribbons won’t come out ’til January.

Several of the journals have switched over to primarily reviewing 2018 titles at this point so there’s fewer additions to the 2017 list than in previous months. However, the 2018 list is starting to build already – I’ve listed those here, but will probably do two separate posts next month once the December reviews are tallied.  I’m also still discovering online only starred reviews from Kirkus – if you see something I’ve missed please send it my way.

November 2017 stars tally:

  • 1079 books published in 2017 have been awarded 1861 starred reviews as of the end of November.
  • 4 books have 6 starred reviews, 29 books have 5 starred reviews, 58 books have 4 starred reviews, 122 books have 3 starred reviews, 228 books have 2 starred reviews, 638 books have 1 starred review.
  • 102 books published in 2018 have been awarded 131 starred reviews as of the end of November.  1 book has 4 starred reviews, 6 books have 3 starred reviews, 14 books have 2 starred reviews, 81 books have 1 starred review.

2018 Titles:

4 starred reviews: 1 book

3 starred reviews: 6 books

4 starred reviews (1 title):
The Hazel Wood. Melissa Albert, illus. Jim Tierney. Macmillan/Flatiron. 9781250147905. B, K, PW, SLJ.

3 starred reviews (6 titles):
The Cruel Prince. Holly Black. Hachette/Little, Brown. 9780316310277. B, PW, SLJ.
Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man. Tonya Bolden. Abrams/Amulet. 9781419725463. B, K, SLJ.
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science. Joyce Sidman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544717138. B, K, PW.
Love, Hate, and Other Filters. Samira Ahmed. Soho/Soho Teen. 9781616958473. B, PW, SLJ.
Martin Rising: Requiem for a King. Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9780545702539. B, K, PW.
The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle. Leslie Connor. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062491435. K, PW, SLJ.

2017 titles are after the jump.

Continue reading November 2017 Starred Reviews

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Printz Possibilities Updated for October Stars

See the Early Printz Possibilities post for information on criteria and how I’m dividing the lists. Titles new to the list since the last Printz post are marked in bold. There’s a lot of them because it’s been so long since I had time to put this list together!

I do want to remind everyone that the criteria for starred reviews varies significantly from the criteria for the Printz – there are plenty of books out there that the real committee members will be looking at that aren’t on this list and some that are on both of these lists that they’ve probably already judged unworthy of serious consideration.
Continue reading Printz Possibilities Updated for October Stars

October 2017 Starred Reviews

Not as many new titles, but some movement going on in this month’s stars: Long Way Down moves on to the six starred reviews list, Her Right Foot moving on to the five starred reviews list and we even have our first book of 2018 with three starred reviews: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black!

October 2017 stars tally:

  • 1056 books published in 2017 have been awarded 1800 starred reviews as of the end of October.
  • 4 books have 6 starred reviews, 20 books have 5 starred reviews, 60 books have 4 starred reviews, 116 books have 3 starred reviews, 232 books have 2 starred reviews, 624 books have 1 starred review.
  • 35 books published in 2018 have been awarded 42 starred reviews as of the end of October.  1 book has 3 starred reviews, 5 books have 2 starred reviews, 29 books have 1 starred review.

Continue reading October 2017 Starred Reviews

September 2017 Starred Reviews

Fall is such a busy and exciting time in the book world! Book Award season is in full swing – The Marrow Thieves just won the Kirkus Prize; the National Book Award announced its shortlist (What Girls Are Made OfFar From the TreeI Am Not Your Perfect Mexican DaughterClayton Byrd Goes Underground; and American Street), and PW announced their Best of 2017 list.

As the year rushes towards its close, the September journals covered a pretty large chunk of the Fall publishing season – and there’s a very small smattering of 2018 titles with stars already! I won’t list 2018 titles here until something has at least 3 starred reviews, but you can check out the new page in the spreadsheet anytime. Also keep your eyes peeled for a link to the spreadsheet where I will track the 2017 best lists from the six journals I follow; it should appear on the site sometime this week.

We also have our first (Will it be the only?) picture book to receive six starred reviews appearing this month: When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson.

September 2017 stars tally:

  • 1000 books published in 2017 have been awarded 1707 starred reviews as of the end of September.
  • 3 books have 6 starred reviews, 20 books have 5 starred reviews, 56 books have 4 starred reviews, 109 books have 3 starred reviews, 226 books have 2 starred reviews, 586 books have 1 starred review.

Continue reading September 2017 Starred Reviews

Newbery Possibilities Updated for August Stars

I’m back! It’s been awhile – between family things and preparing for and attending the Illinois Library Association’s annual conference (where I was on a panel discussion for the first time – slightly terrifying, but mostly fun!), my nerdy book stat stuff had to take a back seat.

I didn’t have a chance to update my list of possible Newbery contenders over the summer at all which means this is four months of added titles. Unfortunately, since that meant adding over 70 books it took me so long that the data is immediately out of date because it does not account for any September or October starred reviews (entering September reviews is next on my blog/spreadsheet list of to-dos). I will try to post another update once the September data is in since hopefully that will be a smaller task.

Please note that I have no official connection to the Newbery Award or Committee – nothing I say here has any bearing on the Committee’s deliberations. I’m merely an avid fan and data nerd. For people with far more experience who have actually served on the Newbery Committee I encourage you to check out SLJ’s Heavy Medal blog.

Also, welcome to my new readers; I’ve been seeing a significant increase in views this fall which is great! I would encourage you to read the Starred Reviews page for a list of which journals I track (there are many entities that give starred reviews out and I do not follow all of them) and an explanation of my notation system.

Brief reminder of the basic Newbery qualifications:

  • Children are defined as being up to and including the age of 14.
  • Books must be published in the U.S. first; titles originally published elsewhere are not eligible.
  • The author must be a U.S. citizen or resident.

Here’s how the four lists break down:

  • List one: Novels solidly in the age range
  • List two: Everything else solidly in the age range: graphic novels, non-fiction, picture books, poetry collections, etc.
  • List three: YA titles that technically hit the age range, but are probably too old.
  • List four: What I think are ineligible titles – mostly due to nationality of the author, but there’s a few listed there for other reasons.

DIsclaimer: My eligibility rulings are far from final – I’m making my best guesses based on the terms and criteria and internet searches regarding citizenship/residency.

Also – please remember starred reviews do not have the same criteria as the Newbery. There are plenty of titles not on this list that the committee will likely be looking at for a variety of reasons.  This list is just one way to focus your reading, I encourage you to seek out excellent children’s literature in other places as well!

As of the end of August there were 161 titles with three or more starred reviews. New titles are marked in bold.
Continue reading Newbery Possibilities Updated for August Stars

August 2017 Starred Reviews

With the return of Heavy Medal and Calling Caldecott it’s the official opening of Mock Awards season! For more mock awards fun be sure to check in with Guessing Geisel who have been going strong all summer and Someday My Printz Will Come once they return.

It’s also the opening of actual awards season with the announcement of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature longlist this morning and don’t forget to watch for the Kirkus Prize shortlist to be announced Tuesday, September 26.

UPDATE: Thanks to readers Avan and Matt who pointed out online only starred reviews for The Black Witch (from Booklist) and Lexie the Word Wrangler (from Kirkus). I’ve added both to the three star list now and updated the numbers below.

In the process of looking into that, I also discovered an online only starred review from Kirkus for Stanley’s Numbers. There may be more starred online only reviews from Kirkus, but I haven’t yet found an easy way to search that, so it’s going to take me a while to sift through those on the Kirkus website. I was able to double check Booklist through their advanced search function, so I don’t think I’ve missed anymore from them.

Please – I encourage anyone who notices something missing to let me know! I definitely appreciate the help.

UPDATE #2: Thanks to Kazia who pointed out that York: The Shadow Cipher was recorded with two different titles with two stars each (York and The Shadow Cipher) so actually has four stars!

UPDATE #3: Whelp, I’m on fire this month, friends! Thanks to Jennifer Schultz who pointed out that I cited When’s My Birthday? in one instance as What’s My Birthday? – a book that, to my knowledge, does not exist. That moved When’s My Birthday? up to the four stars list. Numbers and citations are updated below.

August 2017 stars tally:

  • 917 books published in 2017 have been awarded 1531 starred reviews as of the end of August.
  • 2 books have 6 starred reviews, 17 books have 5 starred reviews, 44 books have 4 starred reviews, 98 books have 3 starred reviews, 208 books have 2 starred reviews, 548 books have 1 starred review.

Continue reading August 2017 Starred Reviews

July 2017 Starred Reviews

Mock Awards season approaches so let’s take a look at where we stand after July journals have been entered.

July 2017 stars tally:

  • 830 books published in 2017 have been awarded 1364 starred reviews as of the end of June.
  • 2 books have 6 starred reviews, 17 books have 5 starred reviews, 36 books have 4 starred reviews, 85 books have 3 starred reviews, 178 books have 2 starred reviews, 512 books have 1 starred review.

Continue reading July 2017 Starred Reviews

June 2017 Starred Reviews

For a variety of reasons June and July got away from me this year: Summer Reading at work along with training two new hires, my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary in July (Congrats again Bob and Monica!) which included a party at my home – the list could go on, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re here for the stars, so without further ado….

June 2017 stars tally:

  •  699 books published in 2017 have been awarded 1151 starred reviews as of the end of June.
  • 2 books have 6 starred reviews, 15 books have 5 starred reviews, 31 books have 4 starred reviews, 71 books have 3 starred reviews, 147 books have 2 starred reviews, 433 books have 1 starred review.

OK – just a slight more ado before we get to the lists – in case you didn’t see the update to my previous post, Kelly Jensen kindly let me know that I had incorrectly recorded Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World as two separate books with two stars each. It actually has four starred reviews! My apologies and thanks to Kelly for pointing it out. And if you hadn’t picked this one up before, you really should. It is part of my vacation reading this week and I can assure you it should not be missed!

Continue reading June 2017 Starred Reviews

May 2017 Starred Reviews

I had a wonderful time at ALA seeing friends and checking out the latest books from publishers; many thanks to those I saw – especially Beth from Bloomsbury who had some very kind words about this  blog! Since it’s the last day of June and I’ve just finally finished the May stars update, I’m going to skip the May Newbery and Printz posts and go right into adding the June starred reviews.

ETA: The numbers below have been updated to include Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World as a 4 star title rather than two 2 star titles. My thanks and apologies go to Kelly Jensen who noticed and pointed out the error to me.

May 2017 stars tally:

  •  593 books published in 2017 have been awarded 1003 starred reviews as of the end of May.
  • 2 books have 6 starred reviews, 15 books have 5 starred reviews, 24 books have 4 starred reviews, 65 books have 3 starred reviews, 138 books have 2 starred reviews, 349 books have 1 starred review.

Continue reading May 2017 Starred Reviews

ALA Annual

Just a quick post to say May starred reviews are entered and next week I’ll update the list I post here. This weekend though I’ll be wandering the exhibits at the ALA Annual conference in Chicago. If you see me say hi! Here’s what I look like today: