We love the Newbury and Caldecott awards–but when kids vote themselves on the books they love, you get two things: books your own kids are almost bound to enjoy themselves, and proof positive that kids care–ferociously–about books, literature and reading. If you think extreme popularity removes a book or its author from the “literature” category, then you won’t like the choice of the 115,000 kids who voted online for Author of the Year (but, with 39 New York Times bestsellers to his credit, I’ll bet you’ve read one of his books)–but I disagree: in my mind, anything that immerses you in its pages is a literary experience.
For the Author of the Year (plus the best book choices for K-2, 3-4th graders, 5-6th graders and teens), read on.
The Children’s Choice Book Awards Author of the year (chosen by kids across the country voting online) is James Patterson, for Max, the fifth book in the popular Maximum Ride series. Not surprisingly, given that Patterson wrote Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, School Library Journal says “fast-paced thrills spill from the pages and pull readers in.” It’s a book meant for YA readers, but judging from the Amazon reviews, its readership goes down to pre-teens and up to their college-age siblings and beyond.
Best book votes went to:
Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year
Lulu the Big Little Chick by Paulette Bogan (Bloomsbury USA)–(a big hit in our house, and one that eventually had to be hidden behind the bookcase temporarily to avoid its becoming a nightly ritual, Lulu is the story of a little chick who thinks she’s ready to be independent, and finds that she isn’t, quite. “Next time I go far, far away,” she tells her mother, “I think I’ll take you with me.”)
Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Knopf/Random House) (Clicking through to order this goofy graphic novel about a lunch-lady superhero and a school bully for my semi-reluctant third-grade reader right now.)
Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year
Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster) School Library journal doesn’t love these books about a scholarship student struggling with mean girls and crushes at a private middle school, but kids must.
Teen Choice Book of the Year
Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press) Young teens, young adults and adults are reading these futuristic books about a dystopic nation where teens are forced to battle to the death for the entertainment of the populace.
Peter Brown was voted Illustrator of the Year for his The Curious Garden, a picture book about a boy whose lush green garden spreads to encompass his dark grey city in beautiful, large illustrated spreads (where you can search for the little boy, Liam, on every page).
Lulu image courtesy Bloomsbury Kids.