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Best Books for Children in 2012

Updated on December 28, 2012
Children reading.
Children reading. | Source

Look to this year's award lists to find the best books to choose for your children

Each year the American Library Association chooses several books which stand out from all the others for the beauty of their illustrations or the compelling nature of their narrative. Among the prizes given out by the American Library Association for outstanding work by those creating books for children includes the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Medal, the Geisel Award, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, the Coretta Scott King Awards, and the Pura Belpre' Awards. Here are some of the outstanding books for children published in 2012.

Dead End in Norvelt
Dead End in Norvelt | Source

Outstanding Fiction Book

TItle: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos.

Winner: The 2012 Newbery Award for the outstanding fiction book written for children.

Dead End in Norvelt is the slightly autobiographical, mostly fictional look at the summer when author Jack Gantos was twelve years old. Jack's summer is off to a terrible start; he's been grounded by his parents for various misdeeds and his nose explodes into a fountain of blood every time he gets excited or worried, Things get worse when his mom makes him help a cranky old neighbor write obituaries for the town newspaper. But when all the little old ladies in Norvelt begin dying off at an incredible rate, Jack has to wonder - is this natural, or is there foul play afoot? This wacky mystery features unconventional, offbeat characters and an engaging protagonist who may (or may not - who knows?) be the author himself.


A Ball for Daisy
A Ball for Daisy | Source

Outstanding Picture Book

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka.

Winner: The Caldecott Medal for Outstanding Illustrations for Children in 2012.

Chris Raschka, winner of the 2006 Caldecott Medal for The Hello, Goodbye Window, takes his second prize with this tale of a lively, excitable terrier who loves to play with her beloved red ball. In this wordless picture book, the reader shares in Daisy's joy as she plays with the beloved toy and is similarly heartbroken when the ball is destroyed by a bigger dog. The deceptively simple illustrations take the reader on an emotional journey that ends with a warm, logical, and satisfactory solution to Daisy's problem.

Balloons Over Broadway
Balloons Over Broadway | Source

Outstanding Nonfiction Book

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's by Melissa Sweet.

Winner: The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

Author Melissa Sweet was showered with a number of awards for this celebration of master puppeteer Tony Sarg. Hired by Macy's Department Store of New York City in 1923, this German immigrant was asked to come up with a way to display spectacular animal puppets for the new Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 1028, after several years of struggling, Sarg came up with an innovation that remains to this day. He created several huge helium balloons made of rubberized silk. These huge parade balloons made their debut in 1928 and they have remained a fixture of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade ever since.


Outstanding Easy Reader for Children

Tales for Very Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider.

Winner: The Geisel Award for the Outstanding Easy Reader of the Year.


This funny and engaging easy reader strives to convince very young readers why they should be adventurous enough to try foods that are outside their normal experience. In one chapter, a father describes to his milk hating son what he can expect if he develops soft bones from lack of calcium.

Underground by Shane Evans.
Underground by Shane Evans. | Source

Outstanding Books by African-American Authors and Illustrators

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson.

Winner: Coretta Scott King winner (Author) and illustrator (nominee)

Author/illustrator was both a Coretta Scott King Winner for this volume, which presents the African-American experience from the time of the American Revolution onward through the eyes of an elderly matriarch. The author relates the experience of the African - American citizen, through the betrayed hope of the American Revolution and the hope that arose through the Emancipation Proclamation and onward through the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s.

Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane Evans.

Winner: Coretta Scott King Illustrator

In the dark of night, slaves flee the plantations of the South and head towards freedom and the North. Dazzling illustrations with minimal text follow escaped slaves as they run from the plantations of their servitude and attempt to escape to freedom and Canada. Not all will survive the journey,

Outstanding Books by Latin American Authors and Illustrators

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall.

Winner: Pura Belpre' Award Author

A teenager named Lupita struggles to hold her family, which includes seven younger siblings, together when her mother faces a battle with cancer. Lupita finds refuge for her tumultuous feelings under the shade of the mesquite tree.

Winner: Pura Belpre' Award llustrator

Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tenatiuh. A charming introduction of artist Diego Rivera to young readers, including a discussions of styles used by the artist.


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