Tag Archives: stars

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

Newbery Possibilities Updated for April Stars

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: I am not affiliated with the Newbery committee and I have no knowledge of their official rulings on eligibility – 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 is just one way to focus your reading.

As of the end of April there were 87 titles with three or more starred reviews.
Continue reading Newbery Possibilities Updated for April Stars

Printz Possibilities Updated for April 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 April stars have been entered are marked in bold. We have five new traditional contenders with three or more stars and six more outliers.

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 April Stars

April 2017 Starred Reviews

Hello, my reading friends and fellow book nerds! I’m making lemonade from my lemons today – home sick with almost no voice, so I had time to write a blog post before a much-needed nap. I haven’t noted where titles have moved up this time around (say from 5 starred reviews to 6 like Vincent and Theo), but anything that is entirely new to the list is marked as such in the citations.

April 2017 journals have been entered; here’s the tally:

  •  510 books published in 2017 have been awarded 852 starred reviews as of the end of April.
  • 2 books have 6 starred reviews, 9 books have 5 starred reviews, 23 books have 4 starred reviews, 53 books have 3 starred reviews, 121 books have 2 starred reviews, 302 books have 1 starred review.

On to the list of titles!
Continue reading April 2017 Starred Reviews

Early Newbery Possibilities

The Newbery Award is given by the Association for Library Service to Children to

“the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published by an American publisher in the United States in English during the preceding year.” – Newbery Medal Terms and Criteria

Additional criteria notes:

  • 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.

The Newbery committees as of late have been delightfully wide-ranging in their choices including everything from picture books to graphic novels to poetry to memoirs to non-fiction. So this year, I’m breaking up my lists a little differently. Looking at everything with three or more starred reviews from the six journals I track, I’m dividing titles into four lists. The first list is novels since even with the titles noted above, this is what makes up the majority of past Newbery winners and honors. The second list is everything else solidly in the age range: graphic novels, non-fiction, picture books, poetry collections, etc. The third list is YA titles that technically hit the age range, but are probably too old. The fourth list is books that I think are ineligible – mostly due to nationality of the author, but there’s a few listed there for other reasons. To be clear: I am not affiliated with the Newbery committee and I have no knowledge of their official rulings on eligibility – I’m making my best guesses based on the terms and criteria and internet searches regarding citizenship/residency.

As of the end of March there were 71 titles with three or more starred reviews.

ETA 5/10/17: Please see the note towards the bottom of this post for some additional links and commentary on The Secret Project and Undefeated.
Continue reading Early Newbery Possibilities

Early Printz Possibilities

Now that the first quarter of starred reviews have all been entered let’s start breaking it down by award. First up, the Printz.

The Michael L. Printz Award annually honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit, each year. – YALSA Website

Two additional eligibility notes:

  • Must be published between January 1 and December 31 by a United States publishing house. Works previously published in other countries are eligible the year they are published in the U.S.
  • Must have been designated by the publisher as a young adult book or within YALSA’s stated audience range of 12-18 years.

Given these criteria, when I make my Printz list, I include anything that hits the 12-18 year age range in at least one review and has three or more starred reviews. For why I stick with three or more stars, see How Many Stars Does It Take to Catch a Printz? over on Someday My Printz Will Come However, given what historically is honored most of the time (novels in the upper part of the age range), I divide the list into two parts. The first part is “traditional” contenders and the second part is outliers with reasons why noted. Ignore the outliers at your own risk *cough*NavigatingEarly*cough*. Read on to see this year’s first list. Continue reading Early Printz Possibilities

2017 Titles with Starred Reviews – a First Look

I started this post almost two months ago. I was experimenting with using citations so the list would be more easily printable. Given that it took me this long, it’s likely I won’t keep up with the citations, so enjoy them while they’re here. I’m a little rusty on citations, so my apologies if I’ve noted something wrong – especially in the publishing/imprints. Also it’s immediately out of date since it doesn’t take into account any 2017 journals – this is just 2017 titles that received stars in 2016 journals.

As of December 31 there are 157 books either published or due to be published in 2017 that have received 244 stars.

4 starred reviews: 7 books


3 starred reviews: 17 books




4 starred reviews (7 titles):
Flying Lessons and Other Stories.
Ellen Oh, ed. Crown. ISBN 9781101934593. B, K, SLJ, PW.
A Greyhound, a Groundhog. Emily Jenkins, illus. by Chris Appelhans. Random House/Schwartz & Wade. ISBN 9780553498059. B, K, SLJ, PW.
History Is All You Left Me. Adam Silvera. SoHo Press/SoHo Teen. ISBN 9781616956929. B, K, SLJ, PW.
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. Nikki Grimes. Bloomsbury. 9781619635548. BCCB, K, PW, SLJ.
Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth. Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm, illus. by Molly Bang. Scholastic/Blue Sky. 9780545805414. B, K, PW, SLJ.
We Are Okay. Nina LaCour. Penguin/Dutton. 9780525425892. B, K, PW, SLJ.
Wolf in the Snow. Matthew Cordell. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends. 9781250076366. B, HB, K, PW.

3 starred reviews (17 titles):
Allegedly. Tiffany D. Jackson. HarperCollins/Katherine Teagen. 9780062422644. B, K, PW.
American Street. Ibi Zoboi. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062473042. B, K, PW.
Antoinette. Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Christian Robinson. 9781481457835. B, K, PW.
Dreamland Burning. Jennifer Latham. Little, Brown. 9780316384933. B, K, SLJ.
Egg. Kevin Henkes. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 9780062408723. K, PW, SLJ.
Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History. Walter Dean Myers, illus. by Floyd Cooper. HarperCollins. 9780060277093. B, PW, SLJ.
The Hate U Give. Angie Thomas. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062498533. B, K, PW.
Hello Universe. Erin Entrada Kelly. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 9780062414151. B, K, PW.
The Legendary Miss Lena Horne. Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 9781481468244. B, K, PW.
Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs, and Stories from an African American Childhood. Patricia C. McKissack, ed., illus. by Brian Pinkney. Random House/Schwartz & Wade. 9780375870880. K, PW, SLJ.
A List of Cages. Robin Roe. Disney-Hyperion. 9781484763803. B, K, PW.
Little Fox in the Forest. Stephanie Graegin. Random House/Schwartz & Wade. 9780553537895. B, K, PW.
The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power. Ann Bausum. National Geographic Kids. 9781426326653. K, PW, SLJ.
The Murderer’s Ape. Jakob Wegelius. Random House/Delacorte. 9781101931752. B, K, PW.
Optimists Die First. Susin Nielsen. Random House/Wendy Lamb. 9780553496901. K, PW, SLJ.
Pathfinders: The Journeys of 16 Extraordinary Black Souls. Tonya Bolden. Abrams. 9781419714559. K, PW, SLJ.
The Secret Project. Jonah Winter, illus. by Jeanette Winter. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane. 9781481469135. B, K, PW.

2 starred reviews (32 titles):
ABC Pasta: An Entertaining Alphabet. Juana Medina. Penguin/Viking. 9781101999783. B, SLJ.
Big Cat, Little Cat. Elisha Cooper. Roaring Brook. 9781626723719. K, PW.
Bull. David Elliott. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544610606. B, K.
Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism. Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos. Henry Holt. 9780805098358. B, K.
Fire Color One. Jenny Valentine. Penguin/Philomel. 9780399546921. BCCB, K.
Forever, or a Long, Long Time. Caela Carter. HarperCollins. 9780062385680. K, SLJ.
Gorilla Down. Gill Lewis, illus. by Susan Meyer. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy. 9781481486576. K, PW.
Grand Canyon. Jason Chinn. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. 9781596439504. B, PW.
The Harlem Charade. Natasha Tarpley. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9780545783873. K, PW.
Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World. Kelly Jensen, ed. Workman/Algonquin Young Readers. 9781616205867. K, PW.
Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d. Mary Losure. Candlewick. 9780763670634. K, SLJ.
Lesser Spotted Animals: The Coolest Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of. Martin Brown. Scholastic/David Fickling. 9781338089349. B, K.
Life in a Fishbowl. Len Vlahos. Bloomsbury. 9781681190358. B, PW.
Life on Mars. Jon Agee. Penguin/Dial. 9780399538520. K, SLJ.
The Lotterys Plus One. Emma Donoghue, illus. by Caroline Hadilaksono. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 9780545925815. K, PW.
Loving Vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case. Patricia Hruby Powell, illus. by Shadra Strickland. Chronicle. 9781452125909. B, K.
Me and Marvin Gardens. Amy Sarig King. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 9780545870740. PW, SLJ.
Noisy Night. Mac Barnett, illus. by Brian Biggs. Roaring Brook. 9781596439672. B, K.
Piecing Me Together. Renée Watson. Bloomsbury. 9781681191058. K, PW.
The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet. Carmen Agra Deedy, illus. by Eugene Yelchin. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9780545722889. K, PW.
See You in the Cosmos. Jack Cheng. Penguin/Dial. 9780399186370. K, PW.
Silver Stars. Michael Grant. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062342188. B, K.
Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis. Jeannine Atkins. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 9781481459051. B, K.
This House, Once. Deborah Freedman. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 9781481442848. K, PW.
Tony. Ed Galing, Illus. by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. 9781626723085. K, PW.
Train I Ride. Paul Mosier. HarperCollins. 9780062455734. K, PW.
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team. Steve Sheinkin. Roaring Brook. 9781596439542. B, K.
The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling. Timothy Basil Ering. Candlewick. 9780763664329. B, K.
Velocity. Chris Wooding. Scholastic/Scholastic Press. 9780545944946. K, PW.
The Warden’s Daughter. Jerry Spinelli. Knopf. 9780375831997. K, PW.
What Will Grow? Jennifer Ward, illus. by Susie Ghahremani. Bloomsbury. 9781681190303. PW, SLJ.
When Morning Comes. Arushi Raina. Tradewind. 9781896580692. K, PW.

1 star (101 titles):
10 Things I Can See From Here. Carrie Mac. Knopf. 9780399556258. K.
Adrift: An Odd Couple of Polar Bears. Jessica Olien. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062451774. BCCB.
Alice Paul and the Fight for Women’s Rights. Deborah Kops. Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek. 9781629793238. K.
Another Castle: Grimoire. Andrew Wheeler, illus. by Paula Ganucheau. Oni. 9781620103111. PW.
At the Edge of the Universe. Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. 9781481449663. K.
Beautiful Broken Girls. Kim Savage. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 9780374300593. K.
Becoming Bach. Tom Leonard. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. 9781626722866. SLJ.
Bird, Balloon, Bear. Il Sung Na. Knopf. 9780399551550. K.
Blueberry Pancakes Forever. Angelica Banks, illus. by Stevie Lewis. Henry Holt. 9781627791564. K.
Bob, Not Bob! Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, illus. by Matthew Cordell. Disney-Hyperion. 9781484723029. PW.
Braced. Alyson Gerber. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 9780545902144. K.
Bronze and Sunflower. Cao Wenxuan. Candlewick. 9780763688165. PW.
Calico Girl. Jerdine Nolen. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman. 9781481459815. K.
Captain Pug. Laura James, illus. by Eglantine Ceulemans. Bloomsbury. 9781681193809. SLJ.
Caraval. Stephanie Garber. Flatiron. 9781250095251. PW.
The Carpenter. Bruna Barros. Gibbs Smith. 9781423646761. K.
A Cat Named Swan. Holly Hobbie. Random House. 9780553537444. PW.
City of Saints & Thieves. Natalie C. Anderson. Penguin/Putnam. 9780399547584. PW.
A Crack in the Sea. H.M. Bouwman, illus. by Yuko Shimizu. Penguin/Putnam. 9780399545191. PW.
Dad and the Dinosaur. Gennifer Choldenko, illus. by Dan Santat. Penguin/Putnam. 9780399243530. PW.
Daughter of the Pirate King. Tricia Levenseller. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends. 9781250095961. PW.
Delivery. Aaron Meshon. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 9781481441759. K.
Dorothea Lange: The Photographer Who Found the Faces of the Depression. Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Sarah Green. Albert Whitman. 9780807516997. K.
Dreadnought. April Daniels. Diversion Books. 9781682300688. K.
Empress of a Thousand Skies. Rhoda Belleza. Penguin/Razorbill. 9781101999103. K.
The Ethan I Was Before. Ali Standish. HarperCollins. 9780062433381. PW.
Fred Korematsu Speaks Up. Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi, illus. by Yutaka Houlette. Heyday. 9781597143584. K.
Freya. Matthew Lawrence. Macmillan/Imprint. 9781250088178. K.
Frogkisser. Garth Nix. Scholastic. 9781338052084. K.
Gem & Dixie. Sara Zarr. Harpercollins/B alzer + Bray. 9780062434593. B.
Girl Rising. Tonya Lee Stone. Random House/Wendy Lamb. 9780553511468. K.
The Goldfish Boy. Lisa Thompson. Scholastic. 9781338053944. K.
Goodbye Days. Jeff Zentner. Crown. 9780553524062. B.
Hair. Leslie Patricelli. Candlewick. 9780763679316. PW.
Harry Miller’s Run. David Almond, illus. by Salvatore Rubbino. Candlewick. 9780763689759. PW.
Heart to Heart. Lois Ehlert. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane. 9781481480871. PW.
Hunted. Meagan Spooner. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 9780062422286. K.
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion. 9780544586505. K.
Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush. Peter Lourie, illus. by Wendell Minor. Henry Holt. 9780805097573. B.
Just a Girl. Carrie Mesrobian. HarperCollins. 9780062349910. B.
A Kids’ Guide to America’s First Ladies. Kathleen Krull, illus. by Anna DiVito. HarperCollins/Harper. 9780062381071. K.
The Land of Nod. Robert Louis Stevenson, illus. by Robert Hunter. Nobrow/Flying Eye. 9781911171041. PW.
Last Day on Mars. Kevin Emerson. HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press. 9780062306715. K.
The Last of August. Brittany Cavallaro. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. 9780062398949. B.
Laundry Day. Jessixa Bagley. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. 9781626723177. PW.
Legends’ Lair: Where History Is Made. Joe O’Brien. Dufour Editions/O’Brien Press. 9781847178268. K.
Mama’s Kisses. Kate McMullan, illus. Tao Nyeu. Penguin/Dial. 9780525428329. PW.
The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming. J. Anderson Coats. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 9781481464963. K.
Maresi. Maria Turtschaninoff. Abrams/Amulet. 9781419722691. B.
Marlo. Christopher Browne. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062441133. K.
Mickey Mantle: The Commerce Comet. Jonah Winter, illus. by C.F. Payne. Random House/Schwartz & Wade. 9781101933527. SLJ.
Mighty Mighty Construction Site. Sherri Rinker Duskey, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld. Chronicle. 9781452152165. PW.
Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt. Mary Kay Carson, illus. by Tom Uhlman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780544416710. K.
Molly & Pim and the Millions of Stars. Martine Murray. Knopf. 9780399550409. SLJ.
MWD: Hell Is Coming Home. Brian David Johnson & Jan Egelson, illus. by Laila Milevski & Karl Stevens. Candlewick. 9780763657062. K.
My Valley. Claude Ponti, illus. by Alyson Waters. Elsewhere Editions. 9780914671626. K.
Nemesis. Brendan Reichs. Penguin/Putnam. 9780399544934. K.
NewsPrints. Ru Xu. Scholastic/Graphix. 9780545803113. SLJ.
No More Bows. Samantha Coterill. HarperCollins/Harper. 9780062408709. K.
North, South, East, West. Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Greg Pizzoli. HarperCollins/Haper. 9780060262785. K.
Nowhere Near You. Leah Thomas. Bloomsbury. 9781681191782. B.
Our Own Private Universe. Robin Talley. Harlequin/Harlequin Teen. 9780373211982. K.
Our Very Own Dog. Amanda McCardie, illus. by Salvatore Rubbino. Candlewick. 9780763689483. K.
Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets. Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, illus. by Ekua Holmes. 9780763680947. PW.
Pablo in the Snow. Teri Sloat, illus. by Rosalinde Bonnet. Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano. 9781627794121. B.
Perfect. Nicola Davies, illus. by Cathy Fisher. Graffeg/Trafalgar Square. 9781910862469. K.
A Perfect Day. Lane Smith. Roaring Brook. 9781626725362. K.
Poison’s Kiss. Breeana Shields. Random House. 9781101937822. BCCB.
Princess Cora and the Crocodile. Laura Amy Schlitz, illus. by Brian Floca. Candlewick. 9780763648220. B.
Priscilla Gorilla. Barbara Bottner, illus. by Michael Emberley. Simon & Schuster/Atheneum. 9781481458979. K.
The Radius of Us. Marie Marquardt. St. Martin’s/Griffin. 9781250096890. SLJ.
Samson: The Piranha Who Went to Dinner. Tadgh Bentley. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. 9780062335371. K.
Scar Island. Dan Gemeinhart. Scholastic. 9781338053845. K.
The Search for Olinguito: Discovering a New Species. Sandra Markle. Lerner/Millbrook. 9781512410150. K.
Shackles From the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy. Michael Cottman. National Geographic. 9781426326639. B.
Shake a Leg, Egg! Kurt Cyrus. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane. 9781481458481. K.
Short. Holly Goldberg Sloan. Penguin/Dial. 9780399186219. B.
Soldier Song: A True Story of the Civil War. Debbie Levy, illus. Gilbert Ford. Disney-Hyperion. 9781484725986. PW.
The Someday Birds. Sally J. Pla, illus. by Julie McLaughlin. HarperCollins. 9780062445766. PW.
A Song About Myself. John Keats, illus. by Chris Raschka. Candlewick. 9780763650902. K.
Spring Hare. Eugene Yelchin. Henry Holt. 9781627793926. PW.
Storm Horse. Nick Garlick. Scholastic/Chicken House. 9780545904148. B.
The Storm Whale in Winter. Benji Davies. Henry Holt. 9781250111869. B.
Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song. Gary Golio, illus. by Charlotte Riley-Webb. Lerner/Millbrook. 9781467751230. K.
The Sweetest Sound. Sherri Winston. Little, Brown. 9780316302951. K.
Ten Miles One Way. Patrick Downes. Penguin/Philomel Books. 9780399544996. K.
Things to Do. Elaine Magliaro, illus. by Catia Chien. Chronicle. 9781452111247. PW.
Thunder Underground. Jane Yolen, illus. by Josée Masse. Boyds Mill/Wordsong. 9781590789360. K.
The Time Museum. Matthew Loux. First Second. 9781596438491. K.
Time Now to Dream. Timothy Knapman, illus. by Helen Oxenbury. Candlewick. 9780763690786. K.
The Truth of Right Now. Kara Lee Corthron. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. 9781481459471. K.
Warrior Bronze. Michelle Paver. Penguin/Dial. 9780803738843. K.
Watersong. Tim McCanna, illus. by Richard Smythe. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman. 9781481468817. K.
What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies. Ruby Shamir, illus. by Matt Faulkner. Penguin/Philomel. 9780399547249. K.
When My Sister Started Kissing. Helen Frost. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 9780374303037. K.
When the Rain Comes. Alma Fullerton, illus. by Kim LaFave. Pajama Press. 9781772780123. K.
The White Road of the Moon. Rachel Neumeier. Knopf. 9780553509328. K.
Wintersong. S. Jae-Jones. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne. 9781250079213. B.
XO,OX: A Love Story. Adam Rex, illus. by Scott Campbell. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter. 9781626722880. PW.
The You I’ve Never Known. Ellen Hopkins. Simon & Schuster/McElderry. 9781481442909. PW.
Yvain: The Knight of the Lion. M.T. Anderson, illus. by Andrea Offermann. Candlewick. 9780763659394. PW.

Now I have to catch up on all those 2017 journals! In the meantime – happy reading!

Awards and Best Books and Stars, Oh My!

On Monday, January 23 various sections of the American Library Association gave out some of the biggest awards for children’s and young adult books from the previous year at the Youth Media Awards. I look forward to the Youth Media Awards every year – not much can get me out of bed that early in the morning, but the excitement just can’t be beat!

Part of why I started tracking starred reviews and best books was to try to read likely contenders, so let’s see how this year’s winners and honors stack up!

Newbery Award:


Winner: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 3: Horn Book, Kirkus, SLJ

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 3: Booklist, Kirkus, SLJ

Printz Award

Winner: March, Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; Illustrated by Nate Powell
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ


Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
Starred reviews – 1: SLJ
Best lists – 1: SLJ

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Horn Book, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, PW, SLJ

Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 3: Kirkus, PW, SLJ

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW
Best lists – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW

Caldecott Award

Winner: Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
Starred reviews – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol
Starred reviews – 2: PW, SLJ
Best lists – 2: Horn Book, PW

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Starred reviews – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, SLJ

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW
Best lists – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Starred reviews – 3: Booklist, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 2: Booklist, SLJ

Some notes of interest:

  • Many of the titles with 5 starred reviews were honored this year, but none of the titles with 6 starred reviews were!
  • As usual, when there were 5 starred reviews, the Bulletin was the journal most likely to have abstained. In the case of March, Book Three I’m pretty sure they never even reviewed it although I would have to double check to be sure. This was a little more spread around than sometimes though – Kirkus didn’t star The Passion of Dolssa; SLJ didn’t star The Sun Is Also a Star or Du Iz Tak?; and Horn Book didn’t star Scythe or The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
  • Typically the starred reviews are the widest net of excellence, narrowed down into best books and then the awards only honor a handful of titles. However, Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol did not receive a starred review from Horn Book, but did make their Fanfare (best of the year) List.
  • Asking for It (1 star and list) and Leave Me Alone (2 stars and lists) are our annual reminder that starred reviews and best lists are far from perfect predictors and that the committee members read far more widely than most of us are able to do!

I read fewer books in 2016 than I have in quite awhile, but still managed to have read several of these before the awards. Trying to read up for the Mock Printz I participated in meant I read The Passion of Dolssa, Scythe and The Sun Is Also a Star; we picked The Passion of Dolssa as an honor book, but I thought all three were excellent. I listened to Wolf Hollow crying my eyes out at times and just finished the lovely The Girl Who Drank the Moon which I was halfway through at the time of the announcements. I haven’t really looked at any of the Caldecotts yet which is maybe not surprising since 11/12 of 2016 I was focused on teens!

Had you read any of these ahead of time? Which ones did you love? What books will you now be championing to readers yourself since they didn’t get awards?

I also encourage you to check out the many other awards that were announced at the Youth Media Awards – there are many other wonderful awards that focus on diverse titles or other formats that are well worth your while. You can see a list of some of them in my Award Winners spreadsheet.

Stay tuned for a post in the next week of 2017 titles that are already accumulating stars – maybe next year’s winners and honors will be among those! Happy reading!