Wednesday, January 21, 2015

2014 Chapter Book Roundup

Every year, I like to take a look back at my favorites before the announcement of the ALA Youth Media Awards.  Since those are just a little more than a week away (where did January go?), I'd better hop to it! This year I've been having a hard time gathering my thoughts about my favorite books.  I've decided I'm not going to even attempt a Young Adult roundup -- my YA reading has just been too scattered, and I haven't been trying to read noteworthy YA books at all.  And, while I'll post about some favorite picture books and chapter books, I don't have one standout title in either field.  Some years are like that, I guess . . .

So, favorite chapter books:

Greenglass House by Kate Milford (my review) -- This may be my personal favorite of the year.  I loved the world-building, the mystery, the characters.  Do I really think this will win?  Nah, probably not.  But it's one I know I will often revisit.

Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire (my review) -- Russia!  Fairy tales!  Feisty heroines!  I ate this one up.  It's maybe a little ponderous and self-conscious at times, but it's also just so good.

West of the Moon by Margi Preus (my review) -- Another story with fairy tales interwoven and elements of historical fiction, this one also has a really complex and intriguing main character.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (my review) -- This is the one I think will actually win, and I know a lot of people will be disappointed if it doesn't.  Actually, I think this will take an honor, and the medal winner will be something that nobody's talked about very much, probably something that I haven't even read.  Guess we'll find out!
El Deafo by Cece Bell (my review) -- So, the last title I mentioned was a verse memoir, and this one is a graphic memoir.  It's been an interesting year for the middle-grade memoir.  Do I really think this will win?  Well, I'm not sure a graphic novel ever can win the Newbery, given the criteria, but if one did, I think this just might be it. 

That's where I'll stop with this post.  I've read a few others that might be contenders, but I'm just not completely sold on any of them.  I really feel like I'm missing something this year.  Care to fill in the blanks?  What are your picks for this year's Newbery?

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