Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts

From Monica Edinger comes the announcement of this year's Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts. Here are the 30 books selected by the committee:

2008 Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts

Poetry and Drama
  • Dillons, Leo and Diane. (2007). Jazz on a Saturday Night. New York: Blue Sky Press/Scholastic.
  • Forman, Ruth. (2007). Young Cornrows Callin Out the Moon. Illustrations by Cbabi Bayoc. San Francisco, CA: Children's Book Press.
  • Neri, G. (2007). Chess Rumble. Illustrations by Jesse Joshua Watson. New York: Lee & Low.
  • Park, Linda Sue. (2007). Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo Poems. Illustrations by Istvan Banyai. New York: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin.
  • Schlitz, Laura Amy. (2007). Good Masters, Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
Historical and Realistic Fiction
  • Compestine, Ying Chang. (2007). Revolution is Not a Dinner Party. New York: Henry Holt.
  • Ellsworth, Loretta. (2007). In Search of Mockingbird. New York: Henry Holt.
  • Gifford, Peggy. (2007). Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little. Photographs by Valorie Fisher. New York: Schwartz & Wade/Random House.
  • Murphy, Pat. (2007). The Wild Girls. New York: Viking/Penguin.
  • Schmidt, Gary D. (2007). The Wednesday Wars. New York: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin.
  • Selznick, Brian. (2007). The Invention of Hugo Cabret. New York: Scholastic.
  • Sheth, Kashmira. (2007). Keeping Corner. New York: Hyperion.
  • Woodson, Jacqueline. (2007). Feathers. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons/Penguin.
Fantasy/Folklore
  • Fleischman, Paul. (2007). Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella. Illustrated by Julie Paschkis. New York: Henry Holt.
  • Higgins, F.E. (2007). The Black Book of Secrets. New York: Feiwel and Friends/Holtzbrinck.
  • Varon, Sara. (2007). Robot Dreams. New York: First Second/Holtzbrinck.
Information/Biography/Autobiography/Memoir
  • Bausum, Ann. (2007). Muckrakers. Washington, DC: National Geographic.
  • Fletcher, Ralph. (2007). How to Write Your Life Story. New York: Collins/Harper Collins.
  • Marcus, Leonard S. (2007). Pass it Down: Five Picture-Book Families Make Their Mark. New York: Walker/Holtzbrinck.
  • Sis, Peter. (2007). The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Sullivan, George. (2007). Helen Keller: Her Life in Pictures. New York: Scholastic.
Picture Books
  • Baretta, Gene. (2007). Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones. New York: Henry Holt.
  • Gravett, Emily. (2007). Orange Pear Apple Bear. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Harrington, Janice N. (2007). The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County. Illustrations by Shelley Jackson. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Judge, Lita. (2007). One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II. New York: Hyperion.
  • Lee, S. (2007). The Zoo. La Jolla, CA: Kane/Miller.
  • Messinger, Carla and Katz, Susan. (2007). When the Shadbush Blooms. Illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle.
  • Tan, Shaun. (2007). The Arrival. New York: Scholastic.
  • Watt, Melanie. (2007). Chester. Toronto, ON: Kids Can.
  • Wild, Margaret. (2007). Woolvs in the Sitee. Illustrated by Anne Spudvilas. Honesdale, PA: Front Street/Boyds Mills Press.
This is an outstanding, diverse list, but I've got to whinge about something out on the Fire Escape to keep things interesting, right? This time, I'm wondering about humor. I haven't read all the books listed above, but do any of them make kids giggle? 

After all, the criteria for selection are books that (1) deal explicitly with language, such as plays on words, word origins, or the history of language; (2) demonstrate uniqueness in the use of language or style; and/or (3) invite child response or participation. 

The skill of using wordplay and storytelling to make kids laugh while reading is rarely lauded in the awards machinery, apart from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Sid Fleischman Humor Award. Don't we value humor in the book world?  

5 comments:

MotherReader said...

No, not really. It's a shame, but funny and literary are considered opposites. Or that's how it seems to me and I don't like it. Especially in kidslit.

Mitali Perkins said...

Maybe that's why they're watching television. Writers who make kids laugh in that venue get major kudos (and big bucks).

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

I don't tend to go for the "funny" books myself, but I respect how hard they must be to write and love it when I stumble across a really good one in my reading for the kids. It would be nice to see them get more recognition--that would definitely make me more likely to seek them out.

I was particularly pleased to see that Fantasy/Folklore (emphasis on the folklore) gets its own category on this list. Folklore (retellings and original tales) is a staple of our reading. And Fleischman's Cinderella is a wonderful book.

Monica Edinger said...

A non-voting member of the committee this year, I wasn't involved in the final deliberations, but can say that, in my experience, humor is one of the hardest things for any committee to agree upon. Among the ones selected for this list that I know I think the following are quite funny (and/or have some seriously funny moments): Moxy Maxwell, The Wednesday Wars, Tap Dancing on the Roof, Chester, The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County,and Orange Pear Apple Bear.

Mitali Perkins said...

Thanks, Monica, that's helpful!

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