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Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog
Inside Heavy Medal

It’s Written in the Stars

It’s a great year for nonfiction!  I know I say that every year, but this year I really mean it!  And to illustrate my point I combed back through my starred review lists for the past five years looking for longer works of nonfiction (more than 64 pages) which earned three or more starred reviews.  First up is a weak year (2007) followed by a good year (2008), then a bumper crop (2009), two more good years (2010 and 2011), and then this year (2012), another bumper crop

2007 (3 titles)

(3) TASTING THE SKY by Ibtisam Barakat

(3) POCKET BABIES by Sneed Collard

(3) WHO WAS FIRST? by Russell Freedman

2008 (8 titles)

(5) WE ARE THE SHIP by Kadir Nelson

(4) THE TROUBLE BEGINS AT 8 by Sid Fleischman

(4) THE LINCOLNS by Candace Fleming

(4) THE WAY WE WORK by David Macaulay

(4) AIN’T NOTHING BUT A MAN by Scott Nelson with Marc Aronson

(3) LINCOLN SHOT by Barry Denenberg

(3) PAINTING THE WILD FRONTIER by Susanna Reich

(3) LIFE ON EARTH–AND BEYOND by Pamela Turner

2009 (11 titles)

(5) CHARLES AND EMMA by Deborah Heiligman

(5) CLAUDETTE COLVIN by Phillip Hoose

(5) MARCHING FOR FREEDOM by Elizabeth Partridge

(4) THE FROG SCIENTIST by Pamela Turner

(3) MISSION CONTROL, THIS IS APOLLO by Andrew Chaikin

(3) ALMOST ASTRONAUTS by Tanya Lee Stone

(3) 1968 by Michael Kaufman

(3) YEARS OF DUST by Alfred Marrin

(3) A SAVAGE THUNDER by Jim Murphy

(3) TRUCE by Jim Murphy

(3) WRITTEN IN BONE by Sally Walker

2010 (7 titles)

(6) THE WAR TO END ALL WARS by Russell Freedman

(5) THEY CALLED THEMSELVES THE KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

(5) KAKAPO RESCUE by Sy Montgomery

(4) SIR CHARLIE by Sid Fleischman

(3) SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos

(3) LAFAYETTE AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION by Russell Freedman

(3) THE NOTORIOUS BENEDICT ARNOLD by Steve Sheinkin

2011 (8 titles)

(5) HEART AND SOUL by Kadir Nelson

(5) DRAWING FROM MEMORY by Allen Say

(4) TRAPPED by Marc Aronson

(4) BOOTLEG by Karen Blumenthal

(4) AMELIA LOST by Candace Fleming

(4) AROUND THE WORLD by Matt Phelan

(3) TITANIC SINKS! by Barry Denenberg

(3) FLESH & BLOOD SO CHEAP by Albert Marrin

(3) I.M. PEI by Jill Rubalcaba

2012 (20 titles and counting . . .)

(6) MOONBIRD by Phillip Hoose

(5) BEYOND COURAGE by Doreen Rappaport

(5) BOMB by Steve Sheinkin

(4) ABRAHAM LINCOLN & FREDERICK DOUGLASS by Russell Freedman

(4) A BLACK HOLE IS NOT A HOLE by Carolyn DeCristofano

(4) TITANIC: VOICES FROM THE DISASTER by Deborah Hopkinson

(4) WE’VE GOT A JOB by Cynthia Levinson

(4) THE GIANT by Jim Murphy

(4) MILES TO GO FOR FREEDOM by Linda Barrett Osborne

(4) THE MIGHTY MARS ROVERS by Elizabeth Rusch

(4) THE IMPOSSIBLE RESCUE by Martin Sandler

(3) MASTER OF DECEIT by Marc Aronson

(3) CHUCK CLOSE: FACE BOOK by Chuck Close

(3) FACES FROM THE PAST by James Deem

(3) WILD HORSE SCIENTISTS by Kay Frydenborg

(3) TO THE MOUNTAINTOP by Charlayne Hunter-Gault

(3) THE FAIRY RING by Mary Losure

(3) LITTLE WHITE DUCK by Andres Vera Martinez and Na Liu

(3) INVINCIBLE MICROBE by Jim Murphy and Alison Blank

(3) THE BRONTE SISTERS by Catherine Reef

Some of these are late summer and early fall titles which are still in the process of accruing reviews, potentially earning even more stars.  We all know that starred reviews do not correlate to Newbery recognition (or even Newbery worthiness).  Thus, some of these books are strong contenders, some weak contenders, and some outright pretenders.  But then, too, there are books with one or two starred reviews which may merit serious consideration.  Again, several are fall books which will almost certainly climb into the three-star group in the next month or so.

(2) MARCHING TO THE MOUNTAINTOP by Ann Bausum

(2) THE AMAZING HARRY KELLAR by Gail Jarrow

(2) HAND IN HAND by Andrea Davis Pinkney

(2) DISCOVERING BLACK AMERICA by Linda Tarrant-Reid

(2) LITTLE ROCK GIRL 1957 by Shelley Tougas

(1) STEVE JOBS: THE MAN WHO THOUGHT DIFFERENT by Karen Blumenthal

(1) SUPERMAN VERSUS THE KLU KLUX KLAN by Rick Bowers

(1) TEMPLE GRANDIN by Sy Montgomery

(1) THEIR SKELETONS SPEAK by Sally Walker and Douglas Owsley

I want to throw this list out there early because I know many of you keep up with the fiction, but need some nudging and guidance when it comes to nonfiction.  I have a good feeling about the possibility of some Newbery nonfiction this year.  It’s written in the stars, after all.

share save 171 16 Its Written in the Stars
Jonathan Hunt About Jonathan Hunt

Jonathan Hunt is the County Schools Librarian at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at hunt_yellow@yahoo.com

Comments

  1. Alys says:

    I’m pretty sure Little Rock Girl 1957 was published in 2011, so I don’t think it’s eligible for this year’s award.

  2. Jonathan Hunt says:

    LITTLE ROCK GIRL 1957 has been on and off my list because of conflicting information. Both Amazon and B&N have it listed with an August 2011 publication date, but when I checked the book out from the library it had a 2012 copyright date–and the publisher’s website also lists it as a 2012 publication. Also, the three reviews I find on Titlewave are Booklist (11/11), SLJ (1/12), and Bulletin (2/12) which suggest a later publication date.

  3. Nina says:

    Google “newbery manual” and scroll to page 73. Interpretations suggest this is likely eligible this year. Amazon and B&N get their info very early on from publishers, and it often changes. The actual committee chair, in considering this title, might confer with the publisher about exactly when it was released and how, and with the ALSC Priority Group Consultant for the award committees who would have info from the previous year’s chair if they looked into it too. From the manual: “The intent is that every eligible book be considered, but no book be considered in more than one year.”

  4. Brandy says:

    Thanks for this. As you say this is exactly what those of us who focus on fiction most of the year need. I already had Moonbird and Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas on hold and was wondering what to read after those. Now I can bookmark this page read my way through the list.

    I’m really interested in reading Bomb and hope our library gets it soon. It should since Oak Ridge National Lab is here.

  5. Mark Flowers says:

    I’ve read about half of the titles you list for this year, and I agree – it’s an incredible year so far. I loved loved loved AMELIA LOST, but I think BOMB has got it beat, and THE GIANT and MASTER OF DECEIT are almost as good. (Haven’t gotten my copy of MOONBIRD yet).

    A couple other possibilities:
    THEIR SKELETONS SPEAK by Sally M. Walker
    WE’VE GOT A JOB by Cynthia Levinson – I think this one is the best of this year’s Civil Rights crop

  6. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Yikes! Did I leave WE’VE GOT A JOB off the list?! It has four starred reviews so I’ve added it above. I also added THEIR SKELETONS SPEAK. I liked that one a lot, too, but I haven’t seen any reviews for it yet, despite an August publication.

  7. Jonathan: Someone should do a statistical analysis of past data to see whether starred reviews in fact have predictive power for Newbery awards. ;-)

    (I have a gut feeling that there may be more of a correlation between multiple stars and Newbery awards than we found for the Printz, but it would be fun to see the numbers.)

  8. Kathy says:

    I believe the title mentioned in 2012 starred lists as CHUCK CLOSE, UP CLOSE was actually meant to read CHUCK CLOSE FACEBOOK. (know I mentally make this mistake regularly as I adored CC, UP CLOSE and it just natural follows).
    And of the non-fiction list above, one title that has my vote for Newbery literary quality for certain is MOONBIRD. Amazing.

  9. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Beth: I don’t know if I’m using the word correlation in the most correct sense (i.e. mathematical or statistical). What I mean to say is that Newbery and Printz recognition is not dependent upon starred reviews so using them as a predictive measure is fickle at best.

    The exception, however, seems to be nonfiction. THE VOICE THAT CHALLENGED A NATION and AN AMERICAN PLAGUE both had four starred reviews, CLAUDETTE COLVIN and CHARLES AND EMMA had five, and HITLER YOUTH and JOHN LENNON had six. If we limited fiction to only four or more starred reviews we would lose half the Newbery and Printz canon. For example, this past year we would have lost DEAD END IN NORVELT (three), BREAKING STALIN’S NOSE (two), WHERE THINGS COME BACK (one), and THE RETURNING (one).

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the primary audience for Publishers Weekly is booksellers and they don’t review as much nonfiction as the other journals do, especially if it’s aimed at the school and library market (although I do think they have improved in recent years). For example, PW never reviews any of the books in the Scientist in the Field series, so in my lists above THE FROG SCIENTIST got 4/5, KAKAPO RESCUE got 5/5, and THE MIGHTY MARS ROVERS has 4/5.

    Kathy: Ack! Yes, the excellent CHUCK CLOSE UP CLOSE by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan was published over a decade ago. It should say CHUCK CLOSE: FACE BOOK. Off to make the change.

  10. Wendy says:

    Fairly consistently, I find that whether it’s in popular opinion or in starred reviews, attention given to non-fiction means it’s very, very good, and probably Newbery/Sibert-worthy. I think that’s the case more than with fiction for two reasons–one, there are fewer enthusiastic adult readers of juvenile non-fiction, so if it’s catching people’s attention outside that circle, that’s going to mean something. Two, for the most part non-fiction is less likely to be able to ride on the high interest of the subject matter the way a novel can. I just read a novel that’s getting plenty of attention that I almost loathed; I think people are carried away by its evergreen subject matter (child abuse). With the exception of certain topics like the Titanic, non-fiction books can’t skate by without being really well-written. Agree? Disagree?

  11. Disagree. In fact, I think “certain topics like the Titanic” have to be better written to get by. In the case of the Hopkinson’s book, I picked it up with great reluctance being very much NOT interested in that topic — and was absolutely drawn in in spite of my disinterest due to the outstanding structure, research, and writing. Well-done indeed.

  12. Wendy says:

    Don’t you think you’re unusual in not being interested in the Titanic, though, Monica? It always seems to me like one of the most common “obsessions” among children and adults alike. But anyway, you seem to be agreeing with my point, if not my example–that non-fiction, if it’s getting attention for being really good, isn’t likely to be skating on the high interest of its subject matter.

  13. Brandy says:

    Wendy, I see your point. Many fiction novels are lauded simply because of the subject matter they cover or because they fit a mold that we have come to associate with quality. People notice those things and tend to forgive flaws (or not notice them at all). I agree non-fiction is harder to do that with. I am more inclined to buy non-fiction recommended here and other places than I am fiction recommendations for that very reason. I too find that if people are excited about a non-fiction title it is often truly exceptional, whereas the fiction titles are often disappointing.

  14. Wendy, I see what you are saying, Indeed my point supports it in that I admired Hopkinson even more because she engaged me in a topic that does not interest me.

    Everyone, one of the things that I’m wondering about is the idea that the best books engage us emotionally. When it comes to nonfiction especially I think there are books that engage intellectually, but possibly not emotionally. That is, they may not tug on the heartstrings, but excite the reader with new and fascinating information elegantly and clearly presented. Does this lack of emotional response make a book any less worthy?

  15. Sandy D. says:

    Thank you! I was just looking for some good new nonfiction to recommend (and read myself!).

  16. Jonathan Hunt says:

    1. I do think that middle grade fiction is kind of the lowest common denominator, meaning that everybody on the committee is predisposed to the idea of recognizing the genre. Less traditional genres (nonfiction included) do seem to need to be better in order to get Newbery recognition. You may not personally warm up to THE VOICE THAT CHALLENGED A NATION, AN AMERICAN PLAGUE, HITLER YOUTH, or CLAUDETTE COLVIN, but I don’t think you’d describe them as mediocre books. But with the fiction books from the same time span, we could each probably name a handful of “misguided” choices.

    2. You have stumbled on a reading conundrum–emotion vs. intellect–that I have been thinking about, both in terms of fiction *and* nonfiction. I may explore this more fully in a subsequent post, but I do think that nonfiction with a human rights angle (the Holocaust or the Civil Rights movement, for example) does tend to pull at our heartstrings more. I think we also see them as more “important” than other kinds of nonfiction, and by important I mean that we assign a political value to a book–above and beyond it’s literary value. What about something like A BLACK HOLE IS *NOT* A HOLE or THE MIGHTY MARS ROVERS? Isn’t it harder to warm up to these stories simply because they may appeal more to the intellect than to the emotion?

  17. Mark Flowers says:

    Monica and Jonathan – I think you are both exactly right. I think that many of us have been trained to associate emotional reaction with quality (good emotional reaction=good book, movie, whatever; negative emotional reaction=bad book, movie, whatever). And it is exactly why mediocre novels and movies can get a lot of attention.

    Over on another thread, someone said that No Crystal Stair “reads like nonfiction” and associated that with keeping the reader at a distance, with the implication that those were both bad (or at least negative) things. It probably isn’t a surprise to anyone here that I completely disagree. I think that there can be absolutely amazing fiction that is totally cerebral, and even that is emotionally repugnant, and I think there can be incredibly nonfiction that affects the reader positive, negative, and neutral.

    None of this is to say that emotional reaction should be taken out of the equation, but if we are really going to evaluate a book, we need to look at the how and the why of those emotional reaction, not just the fact of them.

  18. Eric says:

    Jonathan,
    I’m very interested in your second point above re: emotion vs. intellect.

    In past years, I’ve had trouble gauging the merits of nonfiction such as Claudette Colvin, Almost Astronauts, and other titles which tackle easy to agree with social issues. I find that it’s difficult to judge a book harshly when the purpose seems so worthy.
    It seems like many nonfiction books within the newbery age frame are written with a mission in mind. Some books hope to recognize historically important but overlooked individuals (C. Colvin) or groups (Almost Astronauts) who have been previously overlooked.
    Other books try to point out ways readers can act to make the world a better place (Moonbird for example spends a great deal of time discussing the disappearing ecosystems which shorebirds require and explaining to readers who they themselves can affect change. [I really enjoyed Moonbird but found at times I was being preached to.)
    In both types of nonfiction w/ a mission, I usually find that I agree that our students should be expose to these ideas but if the Newbery’s purpose is to award distinguished literature I don’t know how to deal with the didactic nature of the book’s mission.
    I’m excited to work through this emotion vs. intellect issue when we discuss the nonfiction titles individually. I was particularly impressed by the lack of moralizing in BOMB (until the very end when we get the whole sermon about the grave situation the human race had to face as it entered the atomic age).

  19. Jonathan Hunt says:

    This past year I worked on a YALSA task force to revise the Nonfiction Award manual (with Angela Carstensen, Diane Colson, and Mary Ann Nichols). We found it helpful when discussing excellent nonfiction writing to refer to the domains of writing: narrative, expository, descriptive, and persuasive–the writing teachers among us may already be familar with these–which apply across all genres of writing to one degree or another. Thus, in MOONBIRD you can find passages which tell the story, passages which convey information (including “how to” passages, that is, how to be an environmental activist), passages which describe with sensory detail the birds, their habitats, and their migratory patterns, and passages which persuade the reader that action is necessary to preserve an endangered species. Indeed, one passage may actually perform several functions at once. We could also pick a fiction book and find that one book may actually contain all four domains of writing. A Newbery book can be didactic; it just can’t be the reason the book merits the award. The word “didactic” has a negative connotation and we would have to unpack that in separate discussions of individual titles, as Eric suggests.

  20. TeenReader says:

    I don’t doubt that this is a good year for nonfiction, I just have had bad luck in my selections! I had mixed to negative reactions to “Titanic,” “Miles to Go For Freedom,” and “We’ve Got A Job”. Luckily, I just finished “Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas”, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and is currently in my top three, and I am waiting to get “Bomb”.

  21. Sondy says:

    I’ve read a lot more of this nonfiction this year, since I’m participating in Capitol Choices — a DC area group that chooses 100 top children’s books for the year. Anyway, I still have trouble comparing excellence in Nonfiction with excellence in Fiction. I’m the one who made the “reads like Nonfiction” comment, and I’m still trying to put my finger on what bothered me about that book. Maybe Jonathan has it with intellect vs. emotion?

    Now, I think of myself as an intellectual (no, really) and a math nut, but I guess when I read I’m more interested in emotional exercise. Even a fantasy book with an intricate, cleverly developed world (like Seraphina) I don’t personally like quite as much as a simpler, fairytale world (like Palace of Stone). It’s hard to evaluate which is more distinguished, when they are working toward different objectives.

    I still don’t claim to have mastered this. I guess that’s part of what I’m trying to learn, following this blog. And I appreciate your valiant efforts, Jonathan, to open up your readers’ biases!

  22. Mark Flowers says:

    @ Sondy – thanks for the candid response. This is exactly the sort of baggage that ALL of us have in one way or another, which we have to try to identify and put aside if we are going to be on a committee or pretend to be on one (they talk about it all the time over on Someday My Printz Will Come).

    Personally, as much as I loved Seraphina, I happen to agree with you on your bias towards simpler stories over complicated worldbuilding books (my younger brother calls them “books with maps”). So, now we know we have to look at Palace of Stone a little more critically to see if our inherent love of the style is making us go easy on the book.

  23. “What about something like A BLACK HOLE IS *NOT* A HOLE or THE MIGHTY MARS ROVERS? Isn’t it harder to warm up to these stories simply because they may appeal more to the intellect than to the emotion?”

    This is a very interesting idea, Jonathan. I have long wondered why history/biography nonficiton seens to do much better with the Sibert and Newbery committees than some of the great science books out there. I’m so pleased to see A Black Hole Is Not a Hole getting so much attention thsi year.

  24. The question we haven’t considered yet is how any of these books fare with the kids for who they are intended. A book might get 4 or 5 stars from reviewers, but are kids actually reading and loving them? I’m not so sure they are.

    We all know how popular books like Guinness Book of World Records is with young readers. Will they move on to read books that elicit emotion? Or would they be more interested an adventurous science-themed book? Or do they just stop reading? If so, is there something that they would read that isn’t being published right now?

  25. Mr. H says:

    Jonathan, I have to say, you’ve gotten me out of my comfort zone a few times over the past few years, and usually, it’s worked! That or I’ve just gotten lucky and chosen a small sampling of great nonfiction that worked for me.

    A few years ago I loved the picture book MOONSHOT and never would have probably seen it if it wasn’t for this site.

    Last year, I really really enjoyed AMELIA LOST.

    And this year, I am halfway through BOMB and have to say, it’s my favorite so far.

  26. Sam Bloom says:

    Melissa, in my experiences, if a kid is a reader/very interested in a particular subject, with an enthusiastic pitch I can sell a book like Claudette Colvin, or Master of Deceit, or A Black Hole is Not a Hole… it really just depends on the read I’m getting from the kid. I sort of gravitate to nonfiction myself, so I find it easier to speak enthusiastically about these titles than some librarians/teachers/parents may. But to answer your question, YES, children are reading these books… they just need a nudge finding them!

  27. DaNae says:

    I agree with Sam. Many of my students read tons of non-fiction, but those books tend to be in the quick fact format. For instance Melissa, my kids love the IS THAT A FACT?, series you contributed to. However this year my older classes are stressing more non-fiction reading and all the books that have been discussed in this thread have been checked out. Due more to assignment rather than preference. Fingers crossed, they will surprise themselves. I understand the core stresses non-fiction reading so it is bound to pick up.

  28. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying BOMB, Mr. H. Sheinkin’s earlier book, THE NOTORIOUS BENEDICT ARNOLD is also worth checking out. If you like this style of suspenseful narrative nonfiction then be sure to check out THE IMPOSSIBLE RESCUE by Martin Sandler, another pretty solid contender, IMHO.

  29. Brandy says:

    I couldn’t sleep last night and as I lay there wanting to it occurred to me, “Hey, I have a non-fiction book about a bird. That should do the trick.” Hahaha. Who would have thought a scientific non-fiction book would have an engrossing plot? About birds? Not me. Also never thought I would care. My thoughts regarding birds in my whole life up to this point have involved eating them and being annoyed by them while trying to sleep. I can see why it has received 5 stars and am looking forward to a discussion on it now. (I’m not completely in love with it, but as it had a lot of genre bias going against it and yet engrossed me, I certainly see the argument for distinguished writing.)

  30. Danyelle says:

    I just finished Bomb, The Impossible Rescue, and Moonbird. Fantastic all. While Bomb is my favorite, I can hardly imagine not seeing a sticker going to at least one of the great nonfiction books this year. (But then I said that about Amelia Lost last year, and well . . .)

  31. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Yeah, not only do I think all three are worthy of the Medal, I can actually see consensus being built around them (compared to things like MASTER OF DECEIT and A BLACK HOLE IS *NOT* A HOLE which are also quite strong but are not as consensus-friendly).

  32. Finished BOMB yesterday too. Just put it on my goodreads Newbery list and did a blog post about it (http://medinger.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/steve-sheinkins-bomb-the-race-to-build-and-steal-the-worlds-most-dangerous-weapon/). Growing on me by the hour.

  33. DaNae says:

    My BOMB is coming in the mail – Today. Not via Kaczynski.

  34. Mark Flowers says:

    Sooo happy to see all the love for BOMB. I said a month ago (http://crossreferencing.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/more-good-books/) that I thought it was my favorite book of the year, and it continues to excite me the more I think about it.

  35. Eric says:

    The more I think about BOMB the more I find distinguished about it. I’m really looking forward to rereading it once I get through Splendors and Gloom and a few others my local library is just now getting in.

  36. Susanna Reich says:

    The question of whether a book engages us emotionally or intellectually is perhaps the wrong one. Emotions and intellect are not necessarily separate. I can be emotionally moved by the sheer beauty of a sentence or the inventiveness of a metaphor. And I get very excited when I read an elegantly-wrought argument. Great nonfiction can evoke emotion that has nothing to do with the subject matter.

    Also, for the record, Painting the Wild Frontier: The Art and Adventures of George Catlin (Clarion, 2008) received 3 starred reviews, bringing to 8 the number of nonfiction books that received 3 or more stars that year.

  37. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I’ve noted the change above, Susanna. Undoubtedly, I’ve missed a few more. Please let me know if you spot any. Thanks!

  38. Alison says:

    Another “for the record”: In 2009, Jim Murphy’s Truce: The Day that the Soldiers Stopped Fighting also received 3 starred reviews.

  39. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I should know this because my student Newbery group picked TRUCE as an honor book. I think some of the lists that I pulled were not the final year-end versions. I’ll make the change above. Thanks.

  40. Jen J. says:

    I don’t have any records before 2011, but I did finally get to go back and look at that. I show Heart and Soul with 5 stars (Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ). The only other thing I see is I. M. Pei by Jill Rubalcaba had 3 stars (from Kirkus, Booklist and the Bulletin). I’m assuming that Donna Napoli’s Treasury of Greek Myths (3 stars) either wouldn’t be considered non-fiction exactly or wouldn’t be eligible.

    I haven’t had a chance to get through this year’s list yet, but I do know the Bronte Sisters grabbed a third star, so there’s one more to bump up into this year’s non-fiction multi-star dominance!

  41. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I’m not going to include poetry or mythology/folklore here so no to TREASURY OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY. I bumped HEART AND SOUL to five stars, and added both BRONTE SISTERS and BOMB to the three-star list. It now stands at 17 and counting. Wow!

  42. Sam Bloom says:

    Not to split hairs, but not including poetry means you didn’t include Dark Emperor on your list of 2010 books… a book that won the Heavy Medal Mock Newbery, if I’m not mistaken? Since it includes a nonfiction section on each spread (same with Ubiquitous), I motion that you add these two to the 2010 list. I’m sure they both received plenty of starred reviews, right? And all of this is just a ploy to show that 2010 was, in fact, a pretty amazing year for nonfiction. (Say it, Jonathan… say that 2010 was a bumber crop!!)

  43. Susanna Reich says:

    Whether or not Dark Emperor qualifies as nonfiction (which I would argue it does not), it still wouldn’t make this list because it’s less than 64 pages long.

  44. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Sam: I agree that the Sidman books make 2010 an especially strong and deep year–perhaps at the same level as 2009. I mean, the Sidman books are so good that they tweaked the Sibert rules so that something like that could win in the future. But I’m not counting anything less than 64 pages for the purposes of this list, not because they aren’t worthy, but because (with the possible exception of poetry) you start getting a triple bias (against short texts *and* illustrations *and* nonfiction). Nevertheless, this is a freakishly good year for nonfiction, both in terms of quality and quantity. I mean, if we wanted to include the nonfiction picture books, too . . .

    (4) ISLAND by Jason Chin

    (4) THE BEETLE BOOK by Steve Jenkins

    (4) LIFE IN THE OCEAN by Claire Nivola

    (4) BROTHERS AT BAT by Audrey Vernick

    (3) OCEAN SUNLIGHT by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

    (3) ELECTRIC BEN by Robert Byrd

    (3) BARNUM’S BONES by Tracey Fern

    (3) IT JES HAPPENED by Don Tate

  45. Sam Bloom says:

    Well, yeah… I ignored that whole 64 page rule, sorry. =) But that sort of is mind–boggling about this year; we’re going to hit 30 (or maybe 40) books with multiple starred reviews by the time all is said and done!

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