I think it’s time to officially bid adieu to my blog. If the extreme lack of posts hadn’t tipped you off that this was coming already, then I should also confess that I now have a Kindle in my possession—my only solace being that I’m using it for work. But as this blog started as a tirade against ebooks, this feels like the right time to make my exit.
But first, as it’s the season for Best Books lists, I’ll leave you with my personal favorites of the year:
Mabel and Me, by Mark Sperring & illus. by Sarah Warburton
Rude Cakes, by Rowboat Watkins
I Don’t Like Koala, by Sean Ferrell & illus. by Charles Santos
Interstellar Cinderella, by Deborah Underwood & illus. by Meg Hunt
Ace Dragon, Ltd, by Russell Hoban & illus. by Quentin Blake
Orion and the Dark, by Emma Yarlett
Hands down, my favorite is The Story of Diva and Flea, by Mo Willems and beautifully illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi.
This early chapter book is the delightful account of a timid dog and worldly cat who become friends in Paris.
Princess Harriet Hamsterbone is not content “trailing around the castle all looking ethereal.” She would rather be fighting monsters, riding her quail, or going cliff-diving, much to her parents’ dismay. Harriet the Invincible is also a hilarious and smart retelling of Sleeping Beauty, sure to delight elementary-school readers.
If You Find This, by Matthew Baker
Both thoughtful and adventurous, this middle-grade mystery involves a Goonies-style treasure hunt in order for a boy to save his home. The main character is a math and music genius, and written notations appear throughout the text, letting the reader experience the unique way he sees the world.
Dream On, Amber, by Emma Shevah
In the Wimpy Kid tradition, this doodle-filled journal looks at one girl’s transition to middle school. Both funny and poignant, it takes on the challenges of being of mixed race, having a single parent, dealing with bullies, and convincing your mom that having an up-to-date cell phone is critical to having a social life.
Do you remember the Scary Stories books? Well, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods is their modern counterpart in bestiary form. Somehow tongue-in-cheek and terrifying, this collection of illustrated stories is amazingly imaginative, and kids will love the thrill that comes with reading about these North American monsters.
Kate Hannigan strikes gold again with The Detective’s Assistant, which takes the true story of the Pinkerton Detective Agency’s first female detective, and gives her an orphaned niece/sidekick.
The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
This magical blend of folklore and history will transport readers to the snowy wilderness of Russia, where a girl strikes out to rescue her mother with the help of a wolf pack she considers family. Strong characters, danger, and beautiful writing make this a standout.
I Crawl Through It, by A.S. King
It’s no secret that I love A.S. King, and her latest was stunning—though it may not appeal to everyone. You have to be okay with magical realism and reading with the faith that the author will make sense of things in the end. Which she does, beautifully. In alternating perspectives, it tells the story of 4 teens trying to escape from personal traumas, while dealing with the pressures of standardized testing and school bomb threats. Heavy, I know, but worth taking the plunge. You’ve never read anything like it.
Newt’s Emerald is the most fun I’ve had reading all year. It’s a Recency Romance with magic, farce, and an ensorcelled mustache. What more do you need?
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1: At the Edge of Empire, by Daniel Kraus
You may accuse me of being partial, as I work with Mr. Kraus, but this book is fantastic. It was just named one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of 2015, so I promise I’m not the only one who thinks so. It’s a sweeping alternate history, beginning in 19th century Chicago, that follows resurrected teen gangster Zebulon Finch as he lives through different decades. Here’s a little Q&A I did with Dan earlier in the year.
Not enough books for you? Check out the Booklist 2015 Editor’s Choice List.
(“You’re Wondering Now” by The Specials)
So if you, too, are wondering what to do now that we’ve reached the end of this blog, don’t despair. You can still find the occasional post from me over at The Booklist Reader. Whew! Thanks for reading with me over the years!