Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011 Holiday Guide: Best books of the year

'Smiling Snowman' photo by Paula Slade

This is the sixth installment of this series that provides numerous entertainment options for holiday gift giving for children and teens, and today we turn our attention to the best books released this year.
The products, which appear, below have been researched for quality as well as value, and are geared to provide hours of positive and fun-filled entertainment.
Best pricing options, at the time of this posting are provided below, but it is suggested that you cross-compare, when available, book prices and editions with your favorite online as well as stick and brick retailers, as pricing may fluctuate on a daily basis.
If you happened to have missed earlier posts, links are provided at the end of this article.
Also, you may wish to bookmark this page, as the links include reviews and videos, (when available) that enable further in-depth exploration at your leisure.
As always, you are the best judge of what is appropriate for your child’s entertainment.
 Moon over Manifest is written by Clare Vanderpool, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Designated this year’s winner of the John Newbery Medal, for the “most outstanding contribution to children's literature,” Moon over Manifest is a brilliant debut novel for author Vanderpool.

The story, a beautifully woven mixture of history and fiction is told in first person by “Abilene”, a 12-year old girl in search of her father’s family history, in a town that holds many secrets and tantalizing characters.

Below for your enjoyment, is the official book trailer for Moon over Manifest.
Best pricing for the hardcover edition in “new” condition is through Amazon Marketplace for $9.25. 
Best pricing for paperback edition is direct from for $7.99.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead, this is a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing, and it is the 2011 winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” 

A charming tale that highlights the important bonds of friendship, A Sick Day for Amos McGee , follows zookeeper Amos McGee’s caring animal friends as they treat him with a special visit of get-well greetings.

The woodblock print illustrations are very satisfying visuals that fully enhance this gentle story.

Connect to the video below, with children's book illustrator Erin E. Stead as she talks about the woodblock printing process she used to create the picture book illustrations for A Sick Day for Amos McGee.

More detailed customer reviews for A Sick Day for Amos McGee are available through

Best price for this hardbound edition in “new” condition is through Amazon Marketplace for $9.73.

Ship Breaker is written by Paolo Bacigalupi, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group

Ship Breaker was honored with the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award for “excellence in literature written for young adults.”

A dark and dystopian, post apocalyptic future serves as the setting for this YA/adult crossover gripping tale about a teenage boy, “Nailer” and his day-to-day existence, which teeters on the edge of survival.

A fast-paced read, some parents may find Ship Breaker’s theme and conflicts more appropriate for older readers.

In the video below, author Paolo Bacigalupi provides additional insights into his book Ship Breaker.

Read more reviews through
Best price “new” condition paperback is through Amazon Marketplace for $5.22.
Hardcover edition, best price “new” condition is also found through Amazon Marketplace for $5.93.

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill (Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

This uplifting and inspirational Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award-winner is a beautiful marriage of watercolor, collage, warm earth tones and poetry, in a tale, based on historical fact of a literate slave in 19th century South Carolina, whose exquisite pottery is still prized today.
To find out more about Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, visit
Best pricing is available through the Amazon Marketplace at $9.65 for the hardcover “new” condition edition.

One Crazy Summer written by Rita Williams-Garcia, (Amistad - an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers) is the recipient of this year’s Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, which recognizes “an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults.”  

One Crazy Summer also received the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction in addition to other honors.
In 1968, 11-year-old “Delphine” and her two younger sisters “Vonetta” and “Fern” travel to California and encounter relationship challenges with their mother who had abandoned them at early age.

A sometimes humorous, but definitely compelling drama, One Crazy Summer takes a hard look at family relationships, friendships and the social issues of that time.

In the video below, author Rita Williams-Garcia discusses her book One Crazy Summer at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

More reviews on One Crazy Summer are available through

Best price for the hardcover edition in “new” condition is through Amazon Marketplace for $9.05

One Crazy Summer is set for paperback release on December 27, 2011 and may be ordered in advance through where the price is listed at $6.99. (Release-day delivery option may be available at checkout for most continental U.S. addresses.)

A Time of Miracles is written by Anne-Laure Bondoux and translated by Y. Maudet. Publisher is Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

A Time for Miracles is the 2011 winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for “an outstanding children's book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States.” 

Originally published in French in 2009 as “Le Temps des Miracles,” A Time of Miracles, is the story of a young refugee in search of his identity.

Exquisite prose and richly crafted in details, this journey of self-discovery spreads from the war torn Caucasus to France, and carries messages of hope and love from characters that live long in the mind after the book is closed.

Additional reviews for A Time of Miracles are available at, and best pricing for this hardbound edition in “new” condition is through Amazon Marketplace at $8.86.

The paperback edition in “new” condition is best priced at $7.99 through

If you found this article helpful, or are still searching for more gift ideas, you may want to read previous installments of The Gift Guide by connecting to the links below:

2011 Holiday Guide: Part 2 - Gifts of Music for year round listening

No comments:

Post a Comment