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SLJ Best Books of 2012!

November 30, 2012

Congratulations to our School Library Journal 2012 Best Books selections! Annotations are included below.


Oh, No! by Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann
PreS-Gr 2 –When Frog falls into a deep hole and can’t get out–and is soon followed by a series of hapless critters–Tiger prepares to pounce, but a jumbo-size rescuer rumbles up just in time to save the day. Toe-tapping rhythms, chant-along refrains, sing-it-out sound effects, and elegant antic-filled artwork make for a boisterous read-aloud treat. (Aug.)

Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills.
PreS-Gr 2–A book-loving pup is determined to author his first work, collecting interesting words, searching for inspiration, and finally settling on a topic that brings him success…and a new friend. Packed-with-personality paintings and an entertaining text communicate the creativity, perseverance, and sense of satisfaction that define the writing process. (July)

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Gr 7 Up–In the kingdom of Goredd, humans and dragons have forged a fragile alliance, with the super-rational creatures assuming human form to serve as ambassadors and teachers. Seraphina, a gifted court musician, must hide the truth about her mixed heritage and call upon all of her abilities to investigate a royal murder that threatens to undermine a generation of peaceful accord. Brilliantly realized high fantasy at its fire-breathing best! (Aug.)

One Year in Coal Harbor by Polly Horvath
Gr 5-7–Wise, witty, and loaded with pizzazz, Primrose Squarp of Everything on a Waffle returns with an update about life in her small Canadian town. She is back with her mother and father, who had been presumed lost at sea, but her attachment to her foster parents is as keen as ever. Lonely no more, she has a best friend at last, and high drama has arrived with loggers and a plan to clear-cut trees on Mendolay Mountain. Quirky, funny, and unforgettable. (Aug.)

Every Day by David Levithan
Gr 9 Up–Each morning, A inhabits a different body and has learned not to get too involved in or possessive of the host’s life. All that changes when the 16-year-old wakes up as a blowhard teen and falls for the boy’s sweet, but much-maligned girlfriend. A tender and surreal exploration of identity, personal responsibility, and love. (Sept.)

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Gr 4-7–It’s always hard being the new kid, but 10-year-old Auggie has severe facial deformities that make his transition from homeschooling to a fifth-grade classroom particularly trying. Palacio tells the boy’s story from a number of perspectives (including his sister’s and friends’), and readers will root for him as he experiences cruelty and kindness and makes friends. (Feb.)

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Gr 5-8–Bullied at school, reeling from changes in his family, and adjusting to a new apartment, seventh-grader Georges hopes that he’s found a kindred spirit in Safer, a 12-year-old loner who wants his help spying on a suspicious neighbor. Then their efforts become increasingly daring, and Georges feels pushed to the boundaries of friendship. Filled with memorable characters, authentic humor and heartache, and thought-provoking dilemmas. (Sept.)

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr.,  illus. by Kadir Nelson.
Gr 2 Up–An excerpt from this iconic speech is gloriously illustrated with regally composed oil paintings. Still eloquent and relevant, Dr. King’s words are interpreted through close-ups of the speaker, expansive overviews of the 1963 gathering before the Lincoln Monument, and affecting portrayals of handholding harmony. (Nov.)