What a year in books it has been!
Young adult novels in particular really shined (so many of them in pink that I’ve labeled one of my bookshelves the Malibu Barbie YA Fiction Collection).
Across the age ranges, humor was strong, and, hopefully, will finally receive some overdue critical recognition. What’s more, debut voices were among the brightest and best.
It’s always hard to pick favorites, but then again, why not take advantage of the opportunity to highlight?
The following is not a list of predictions for ALA or other award programs, but rather the top choices I’m recommending to cynsational readers.
That said, I stand behind all of this year’s recommendations and urge you to also consult the archives on this blog and the bibliographies on my site. And of course, as always, I’m only one person with so much reading time. I’ll continue reading 2005 and other backlist titles even though the 2006 ARCs have begun to arrive. I encourage y’all to do likewise.
Cynsational Young Adult Novel
Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won The Girl by D.L. Garfinkle (Putnam, 2005).
Cynsational Middle Grade Novel
Three Good Deeds by Vivian Vande Velde (Harcourt, 2005).
Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles (Harcourt, 2005).
Cynsational Picture Book
Hotel Deep: Light Verse from Dark Water by Kurt Cyrus (Harcourt, 2005).
Beyond The Great Mountains by Ed Young (Chronicle, 2005).
Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses, and Crescents by Mark Podwal (Doubleday, 2005).
I’m not the byline author on Tofu and T. rex by Greg Leitich Smith (Little Brown, 2005) or Moccasin Thunder: American Indian Stories for Today edited by Lori M. Carlson (HarperCollins, 2005). But the former is by my husband and the latter includes one of my stort stories, “A Real-Live Blond Cherokee and His Equally Annoyed Soul Mate.” Therefore, however much I appreciate those books, it seems a conflict of interest to consider them for purposes of picking the Cynsational Books for 2005. That said, I do hope you’ll seek out those titles and that you enjoy them as much as I do.
While I enjoyed a bit of excellent non-fiction this year, I don’t feel as though I read enough of it to give a thoughtful endorsement of a slate of books as “cynsational.”
I’d also like to point out that many of this year’s pink books are absolute literary gems!
Cynsational News & Links
Advice from a Caterpillar: Writing for Children by Peggy Tibbetts from Writing-World.com. December 2005. Focus on: “Understanding “Reluctant Readers,” Fighting Writer’s Block, Getting Online Reviews and Interviews.” Note: the mention of my site is most appreciated. See also What Every Writer Needs To Know About Titles by Julie K. Cohen.
“It’s Only Pink on the Outside” by Rosemary Graham from Not-So-Terrible After All. Rosemary talks about pink cover art, feminism, the associations of the “chick lit” label, and acknowledges its market power and limitations. Rosemary is the author of Thou Shalt Not Dump The Skater Dude (And Other Commandments I Have Broken)(Viking, 2005). Read a recent cynsations interview with her on the novel. See also her blog, not-so-terrible after all for “Gift Ideas for the Reading Teens in Your Life.”
Thanks to those readers who’ve commented of late on my cynsations LJ syndication: Tanya Lee Stone on the interview with author/illustrator Ed Young; Debbi Michiko Florence on critiquing first drafts (see post on her related insights) and personalized picture book protagonists; Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci on Miss Cecil’s upcoming release, Queen of Cool (Candlewick, 2006); Monique Madigan on agents. Thanks to all my LJ readers for their interest, participation, and support!