With the new year upon us, I thought it was time to take one last look back at 2015 and give you my favorite books of the year. It was hard for me to narrow things down, especially in nonfiction, but that is the benefit of writing my own blog, I don't have to! I hope these books bring you joy in the new year and here's to 2016!
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This is the book I kept going back to time and time again. It is funny, smart and even the older kids can't seem to get enough of the story. I guess everyone can remember being embarrassed in first grade by something, and it is wonderful to realize that you can laugh at yourself and survive the humiliation.
Favorite Early Chapter Book/ Early Reader
Nothing to see here! I am a Cybils judge this year for this category so I am unable to post any reviews of these book until February 14th. In case you are unfamiliar with the Cybils, they are the children's internet book awards that recognize authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal. To see this years finalists, click here!
This one is my pick for a Newbery win. There is a magical circus, a hopeful child, a faithful friend and a wonderful villain to round out this outstanding story. Beautifully written, but still with plenty of kid appeal, it works on all levels. Without a doubt my favorite of the year.
Books of fiction that are written to teach a skill are often times the worst kind. Kids quickly see through the story to the "learning opportunity" embedded in the book and it's all downhill from there. However, in this case, the author has been able to tell a great story while teaching coding. It is a winning combination that I don't see very often and gives this book my best of the year distinction!
Favorite Non Fiction
Ok, here is where my system broke down. I had to give the distinction of "favorite" to three, yes three books. But once you read them, you really won't be able to blame me!
Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel TowerbyGreg Pizzoli(Author)
This picture book tells the story of the man who sold the Eiffel Tower - twice! Kids will delight in hearing about a real life con man who outsmarts the system time and time again, of course until he doesn't. Yes, he gets his just deserts, but it is quite a fun ride along the way.
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War bySteve Sheinkin(Author)
This book was one of the most thought provoking books I read this year. Sheinkin manages to make the Vietnam War and the Pentagon Papers read like a thrilling can't put down spy novel. The amount of information I learned was astounding while being completely caught up in a real life drama. This one will take home several well deserved awards this year.
The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation): The True Story of an American Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics byDaniel James Brown(Author)
This wonderful adaptation of the adult book, teaches kids about hard work and perseverance. They will be amazed at what it took to get this team to the Olympics, and the dedication and teamwork required absolutely astounded me. Pictures were used very effectively in this book to reflect the actual heroes in this story.
This book absolutely blew me away with it's multiple stories that all combined so beautifully to give us an intricate look at love and friendship. For kids who are on completely different levels of the spectrum when it comes to relationships, every one will find themselves and their friends uniquely portrayed in the story. My favorite book yet by Rebecca Stead.