Every year, we create a gift book booklist for the holidays. If you are thinking of giving a book for a gift, check our recommendations! All of the books on the elementary and picture book lists came out in 2010, and should be readily available in any bookstore.
Books are especially nice if you pair them with something more concrete. For example, Touch Blue could be given with a Monopoly game, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda could be partnered with origami paper and an origami book, Finally could come with pierced earrings or a cell phone charm. Ideas can come from reading the book, looking at the reviews, or by asking your friendly local librarian!
Another thing that are starting to pop up everywhere are The Best Books of 2010 lists. Because our lists cover books published in 2010, you may see some overlap. Librarians all over the United States are currently wondering about which books will win the two coveted prizes for Children’s Literature in the U.S.–The Newbery and The Caldecott–which will be announced on January 10th. We’re definitely hoping we recommended the winners on our lists as well!
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Grades 3 – 6
Angleberger, Tom. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
Tommy and his friends think that Dwight is strange, especially the day he shows up with a little origami Yoda finger puppet. Somehow though, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment. Is Yoda is just Dwight talking in a funny voice or does it actually has mystical powers? Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. Can the class uncover the truth?
Bell, Cathleen. Little Blog on the Prairie
Gen’s mom signs her whole family up for a pioneer vacation. But when they get there, they discover that they have to live exactly like it’s 1890. Forced to give up all technology (and makeup, skin cleanser and music), Gen manages to smuggle in a cell phone. Texting her friends about the horror of life on the prairie, Gen lets her friends turn her emails into a blog. But just when it seems Gen and family might pull through the summer, disaster strikes as a TV crew descends on the camp, intent on discovering the girl behind the nationwide blogging sensation—and perhaps ruining the best vacation Gen has ever had.
Barnett, Mark. Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World. illustrated by Dan Santat
Some kids are too smart for their own good! When an ambitious little girl builds a huge robot for her science fair, she expects to win first place. Unfortunately, when the robot escapes and runs amok, she realizes she forgot to teach him the commands to stop. Oops! A combination graphic novel/picture book, this book will appeal to all young scientists.
DiCamillo, Kate. Bink and Gollie. Also by Alison McGhee. Illustrated by Tony deFucile
Meet Bink and Gollie, two precocious little girls — one tiny, one tall, and both utterly irrepressible. Setting out from their super-deluxe tree house and powered by plenty of peanut butter (for Bink) and pancakes (for Gollie), they share three comical adventures involving painfully bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion. No matter where their roller skates take them, at the end of the day they will always be the very best of friends.
DiTerlizzi, Tony. The Search for WondLa
Eva Nine is being raised by Muthr, a pale blue robot in an underground home on the planet Orbona. Entirely unaware of the world outside, she finally gets her chance to see it when she flees a fierce hunter beast looking to capture her for display in his Queen’s museum. Alone, at least temporarily, she sets out on a quest to find other humans like herself. Aboveground is a fantastic and frightening world where Eva faces many dangers. The illustrations are lush and enhance this unique universe. The novel’s ending is a stunning shocker that will leave kids frantically awaiting the next installment.
Erskine, Kathryn. Mockingbird
In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white–the world is full of colors–messy and beautiful.
Gidwitz, Adam. A Tale Dark and Grimm
Trying to escape their fate, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other Grimm-inspired tales. As the siblings wander through a forest brimming with menacing foes and dangerous circumstances, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches. Alternately hilarious and horrifying, fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.
Law, Ingred. Scumble
Nine years after his cousin Mib’s journey (in Savvy), Ledger Kale turns thirteen and discovers his savvy is a total dud–all he does is make little things fall apart. Thinking it safe to head to visit the family in Wyoming, Ledge soon discovers that his savvy is much more powerful than anyone thought. But even worse, the disaster is seen by Sarah Jane Cabot, reporter wannabe and daughter of the local banker. Ledge’s normal life is over. Now he has to keep Sarah from turning family secrets into headlines, stop her father from foreclosing on the family ranch, and scumble his savvy into control so that, someday, he can go home.
Lin, Grace. Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same. Illustrated by the author
Ling and Ting are twins. They have the same brown eyes. They have the same pink cheeks. They have the same happy smiles.Ling and Ting are sisters, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving–people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same. For younger readers.
Lord, Cynthia. Touch Blue
Because there aren’t enough children on Tess’s island, the state of Maine plans to shut down the schoolhouse. That would force Tess’s family to move to the mainland. Fortunately, the islanders have a plan: increase the numbers of students by having several families take in foster children. So now Tess and her family are taking a chance on Aaron, but he is not at all what she expected: he doesn’t like reading, he throws up on her dad’s lobster boat, and he’d rather stay in his room than play Monopoly. Tess needs a plan of her own. This is a feel-good story about letting go of your expectations and accepting the good things already in front of you.
Mass, Wendy. The Candymakers
At the Life Is Sweet factory, four kids gather to create new goodies for the annual Confectionery Association Conference. As they run amok in the candy factory, who will invent the most delicious candy? The Candymaker’s son, who can detect the color of chocolate by touch alone? The boy who is allergic to merry-go-rounds and the color pink? The cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy like it’s a feather? Or the suit-and-tie wearing boy who’s always scribbling in a secret notebook? This sweet and cleverly crafted story is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.
Mass, Wendy. Finally
You can pierce your ears when you’re twelve. You can go to the mall with your friends when you’re twelve. You can babysit the kid next door when you’re twelve. You can get a cell phone when you’re twelve. Hey, you can even ride in the front seat when you’re twelve. When you’re twelve, when you’re twelve, when you’re twelve . . . Rory Swenson has been waiting to turn twelve her whole life. In exactly 18 hours, 36 minutes, and 52 seconds, it will finally happen. Her life will officially begin…
McLaughlin, Patricia. Word after Word after Word
Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class, bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding. Ms. Mirabel becomes a catalyst for the students’ growing awareness in writing and gives them a means to cope with changes in their lives. The friends meet to talk about their hopes, their fears, their families, to talk about serious matters, support each other in direct and indirect ways, and find plenty to laugh about, too. Even the adults in their lives are drawn into the magical power of words.
Pennypacker, Sarah. Clementine, Friend of the Week. Illustrated by Marla Frazee
Popular Clementine has been chosen Friend of the Week, but will the kids find enough nice things to write about in her friendship booklet? Best friend Margaret, a grade older, gets all weird when the topic of the booklet comes up. A fun chapter book for kids just starting to read longer books. Try the whole series!
Pierce, Lincoln. Big Nate Strikes Again
Self-confidence is Big Nate’s strongest suit. Big Nate will surpass all others! But it won’t be easy. He’s stuck with Gina, his all-time enemy, who just might ruin everything! Will Nate win or lose? Pass or fail? Or end up in detention…AGAIN? Also try Big Nate From the Top, a graphic novel of Big Nate’s adventures!
Potter, Ellen. The Kneebone Boy
Since the three Hardscrabble kids’ mother mysteriously disappeared five years earlier, Dad will not talk about her. After the kids get a hint that Mama may still be alive, they take off to find her, first in London and then in a small seaside town, where they search through a castle with dungeons, dragons, and secret passageways and try to save a young sultan held prisoner in a wild forest. You race through the story, anxious to know how it’s all going to end. And the ending is quite a twist!
Riordan, Rick. The Lost Hero
Return to the world of Camp Half-Blood with a new group of heroes. Jason, Piper and Leo are minding their own business at school when they’re attacked by wind spirits. They’re rescued by some familiar heroes, and end up at Camp Half-Blood, where they inherit a prophecy and a quest. But with Percy missing, and Annabeth distracted, will they be on their own? To survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods…but maybe not the ones you expect.
Schlitz, Laura. The Night Fairy. Illustrated by Angela Barrett
When a bat eats Flory’s wings by mistake, the fairy is stranded in a giant’s garden. What she discovers is that the world is very big and very dangerous. But Flory is fierce and willing to do whatever it takes to survive. If that means telling others what to do (like Skuggle, a squirrel ruled by his stomach) so be it. Not every creature, however, is as willing to bend to Flory’s demands.
Schulman, Polly. The Grimm Legacy
Elizabeth has a new job at the library; an unusual lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection, where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, items both dangerous and fun. When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime…or captured by the thief.
Springstubb, Tricia. What Happened on Fox Street
Fox Street doesn’t have foxes, and it doesn’t have Mo Wren’s mother. Mo never stops looking for a fox in the ravine where her street dead-ends. And she never stops missing her mother, even as she takes on the responsibility of being in charge of wild-child Dottie and helping her dad. When her best friend Mercedes comes for the summer, it’s a year full of conundrums and upsets for both girls as their lives change and truths are revealed.
Wiles, Deborah. Countdown
It’s 1962, and it seems everyone is living in fear. Franny Chapman lives in Washington, DC, during the days surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. Amidst the pervasive threat of nuclear war, Franny must face the tension between herself and her younger brother, figure out where she fits in with her family, and look beyond outward appearances. For Franny, as for all Americans, it’s going to be a formative year.
Williams-Garcia, Rita. One Crazy Summer
Delphine and her sisters are going to stay with their mother Cecile for the summer. But Cecile wants nothing to do with them. She sends the girls to a summer camp sponsored by the Black Panthers, where the girls get a radical new education. A heartbreaking, funny tale of three girls in search of the mother who abandoned them.
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Print copies of this and our other lists (Picture Books, Non-Fiction, Holiday Books and Teen Books) are available in print form at the library. Come in and help yourself, or see the lists as they’re posted over the next few days.