Cynsational Books of 2010

Congratulations to the children’s-YA authors and illustrators of 2010!

Thank you to everyone who discussed and debated and cheered and championed this year’s books!

Just for fun, here are a few of my favorites.

Quick caveats:

(a) to varying degrees, I know or have met some (but not most) of the authors/illustrators–if I discounted everyone I knew, potential picks would be so significantly reduced in number as to be meaningless;

(b) I will continue to read and feature 2010 titles in 2011 and beyond;

(c) these are highlights, not predictions, not an all-inclusive list of my favorites.

Picture Books

The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Tim Ladwig (Eerdmans, 2010)

Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Simon & Schuster, 2010)(author guest post)

Librarian on the Roof! A True Story by M. G. King, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin (Albert Whitman, 2010)(author interview)

Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Scott Magoon (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2010)(author guest post)

Out of the Way! Out of the Way! by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy (Tulika, 2010)(A Tale of Two Umas)

Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Karen Clarkson (Cinco Puntos, 2010)

Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly (Holiday House, 2010)

Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom Lichtenfeld (Little, Brown, 2010)(author interview)

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Don Tate (HarperCollins, 2010)(illustrator interview)

Soar Elinor by Tami Lewis Brown, illustrated by François Roca (FSG, 2010)(author guest post)

Time to Pray by Maha Adassi, illustrated by Ned Gannon (Boyds Mills, 2010)(author interview; illustrator interview)

Chapter Books

Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (Aladdin, 2010-)(co-authors guest post)

Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Miguel Benitez (Whitman, 2010)(author guest post)

Continuing Series: Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm (Random House); Joey Fly, Private by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Neil Numberman (Henry Holt); Piper Reed by Kimberly Willis Holt (Henry Holt).

Middle Grade Realistic Fiction

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (Charlesbridge, 2010)

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O’Connor (FSG, 2010)

The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Scholastic, 2010)

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (HarperCollins, 2010)

The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier (Delacorte, 2010)(author guest post)

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Knopf, 2010)(author interview)

Selling Hope by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb (Feiwel & Friends, 2010)

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (Amulet, 2010)(author guest post)

Truth with a Capital T by Bethany Hegedus (Delacorte, 2010)(author interview)

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm (Random House, 2010).

Middle Grade Fantasy

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch (Abrams, 2010)(graphic format).

The Dark Deeps (The Hunchback Assignments #2) by Arthur Slade (Wendy Lamb, 2010)(author guest post)

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone (Random House, 2010)(author interview)

The Suburb Beyond the Stars by M.T. Anderson (Scholastic, 2010)(author interview)

Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R.L. LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin 2010)(series website)

Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shutta Crum (Knopf, 2010)(author interview)

Middle Grade Nonfiction

Spilling Ink: A Young Writers Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, illustrated by Matt Phelan (Flashpoint, 2010)(co-authors interview)

YA Realistic Fiction

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Dutton, 2010)

Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson (Delacorte, 2010)

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Viking, 2010)(author interview)

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Dial, 2010)

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala (HarperTeen, 2010)(author interview)

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride (Egmont, 2010)(author interview)

Queen of Secrets by Jenny Meyerhoff (FSG, 2010)(author interview)

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy duBurke (Lee & Low, 2010)

YA Mysteries

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee (Candlewick, 2010)(author interview)

The Agency: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee (Candlewick, 2010)(author interview)

Girl, Stolen by April Henry (Henry Holt, 2010)(author guest post)

The Less-Dead by April Lurie (Delacorte, 2010)(author interview)

Speculative YA Fiction

Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky (Candlewick, 2010)(author guest post)

Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri (Candlewick, 2010)(co-authors interview)

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill (Greenwillow, 2010)

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson (Simon Pulse, 2010)(author interview)

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle (Henry Holt, 2010)(author guest post)

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Philomel, 2010)

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (HarperTeen, 2010)(author interview)

Young Adult Nonfiction

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll’s History and Her Impact on Us by Tanya Lee Stone (Viking, 2010)(author interview)

Janis Joplin, Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel (Amulet, 2010)(author guest post)

Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos (Clarion, 2010)

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)(author guest post)

All Ages

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis (Scholastic, 2010)

Keeper by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum, 2010)(author interview)

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2010)

Virginia Hamilton: Speeches, Essays, & Conversations, co-edited by Arnold Adoff (Hamilton’s husband) and Kacy Cook (Scholastic/Blue Sky Press, 2010)(guest post)

Favorite Trailer

Brains For Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! by K.A. Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson (Roaring Brook, 2010). Trailer by K.A. Holt. Note: bonus points for being low budget; an inspiration in tough economic times.

Favorite New Blogs

Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac: “Daily children’s book recommendations from Anita Silvey. Discover the stories behind children’s book classics and the new books good enough to become classics.”

Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels: Writing for Kids from the Heart of Texas AKA Jessica Lee Anderson, P.J. Hoover, Jo Whittemore, K.A. Holt, Jeanette Larson, Don Tate, and Emma Virjan.

Cynsational Notes

My 2010 release was an original tall tale picture book, Holler Loudly, illustrated by Barry Gott (Dutton)(see sidebar for teachers guides by Shannon Morgan). Trailer by P.J. Hoover with voice-over by Tim Crow.

I also celebrated the paperback release of Eternal (Candlewick, 2010), which debuted at #5 on The New York Times bestseller list and #13 on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list. Trailer by Shayne Leighton.

Cynsational Notes

“Fireworks” by Anna Cervova from

Thanks to Debbie Gonzales, Carmen Oliver, and Mark G. Mitchell at Austin SCBWI.

Thanks to Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys, the designer and webmaster of Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.