ALA Midwinter 2012

Notable Children’s Books – 2012 Discussion List

The 2012 Notable Children’s Books Committee, chaired by Kathy Isaacs,  has been hard at work all year reading, re-reading, & evaluating books published in the 2011 calendar year to arrive at a list of nominated titles.

Notable Children’s Books 2012— Nominated Titles

(Titles in italics were discussed in June at the Annual Conference and will be briefly reviewed after Midwinter discussions are complete.)


Barnhill, Kelly Regan. The Mostly True Story of Jack. Little, Brown

Bauer, Joan. Close to Famous. Viking Childrens Books

Billingsley, Franny. Chime. Dial Books for Young Readers

Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. Alfred A. Knopf

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. Jefferson’s Sons: A Founding Father’s Secret Children. Dial Books for Young Readers

Brooks, Martha. Queen of Hearts. Farrar Straus Giroux

Brosgol, Vera. Anya’s Ghost. First Second

Burgis, Stephanie. Kat, Incorrigible. Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Christopher, Lucy. Flyaway. Chicken House

Cottrell Boyce, Frank. The Unforgotten Coat. Illus. by Carl Hunter and Clare Heney. Candlewick Press

Deedy, Carmen Agra and Randall Wright. The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale. Illus. by Barry Moser. Peachtree

Ellis, Deborah. No Ordinary Day. Groundwood

Engle, Margarita. Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. Henry Holt

Frost, Helen. Hidden. Farrar Straus Giroux

Gantos, Jack. Dead End in Norvelt. Farrar Straus Giroux

Gleitzman, Morris. Then. Henry Holt

Gourlay, Candy. Tall Story. David Fickling Books

Hatke, Ben. Zita the Spacegirl. Illus. by Ben Hatke. First Second

Henkes, Kevin. Junonia. Greenwillow Books

Ibbotson, Eva. The Ogre of Oglefort. Illus. by Lisa K. Weber. Dutton Children’s Books

Holm, Jennifer L. The Trouble with May Amelia. Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Kent, Trilby. Stones for My Father. Tundra Books of Northern New York

Lai, Thanhha. Inside out and Back Again. HarperCollins

Lewis, Gill. Wild Wings. Illus. by Yuta Onoda. Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Magoon, Kekla. Camo Girl. Aladdin

Mason, Simon. Moon Pie. David Fickling Books

Mccall, Guadalupe Garcia. Under the Mesquite. Lee & Low Books

Mckissack, Pat. Never Forgotten. Illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. Schwartz & Wade Books

Ness, Patrick. A Monster Calls. Candlewick Press

Noe, Katherine L. Schlick. Something to Hold. Clarion Books

Oliver, Lauren. Liesl & Po. Illus. by Kei Acedera. HarperCollins Children’s Books

Peck, Richard. Secrets at Sea. Illus. by Kelly Murphy. Dial Books for Young Readers

Reinhardt, Dana. The Summer I Learned to Fly. Wendy Lamb Books

Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan. The Secret River. Illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Reedy, Trent. Words in the Dust. Arthur A. Levine Books

Schmatz, Pat. Bluefish. Candlewick Press

Schmidt, Gary D. Okay for Now. Clarion Books

Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck. Illus. by Brian Selznick. Scholastic

Sepetys, Ruta. Between Shades of Gray. Philomel Books

Shang, Wendy Wan Long. The Great Wall of Lucy Wu. Scholastic Press

Stephens, John. The Emerald Atlas. Alfred A. Knopf

Sternberg, Julie. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie. Illus. by Matthew Cordell. Amulet Books

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Scorpio Races. Scholastic Press

Thomson, Holly. Orchards. Delacorte Press

Ursu, Anne. Breadcrumbs. Illus. by Erin McGuire. Walden Pond Press

Venkatraman, Padma. Island’s End. G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Voigt, Cynthia. Young Fredle. Illus. by Louise Yates. Alfred A. Knopf

Wolitzer, Meg. The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman. Dutton Childrens Books

Wynne-Jones, Tim. Blink & Caution. Candlewick Press


Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Naamah and the Ark at Night. Illus. by Holly Meade. Candlewick Press

Bently, Peter. King Jack and the Dragon. Illus. by Helen Oxenbury. Dial Books for Young Readers

Blackall, Sophie. Are You Awake? Illus. by Sophie Blackall. Henry Holt

Clement, Nathan. Job Site. Illus. by Nathan Clement. Boyds Mills Press

Crum, Shutta. Mine! Illus. by Patrice Barton. Alfred A. Knopf

Cunnane, Kelly. Chirchir Is Singing. Illus. by Jude Daly. Schwartz & Wade Books

Compestine, Ying Chang. The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale. Illus. by Sebastií  Serra. Dutton Children’s Books

Czekaj, Jef. Cat Secrets. Illus. by Jef Czekaj. Balzer + Bray

Daly, Cathleen. Prudence Wants a Pet. Illus. by Stephen Michael King. Roaring Brook Press

Deacon, Alexis. A Place to Call Home. Illus. by Viviane Schwarz. Candlewick Press

Devernay, Laetitia. The Conductor. Illus. by Laetitia Devernay. Chronicle

Dunklee, Annika. My Name Is Elizabeth! Illus. by Matthew Forsythe. Kids Can Press

Ehlert, Lois. Rrralph. Illus. by Lois Ehlert. Beach Lane Books

Evans, Shane. Underground. Illus. by Shane Evans. Roaring Brook Press

Goodrich, Carter. Say Hello to Zorro! Illus. by Carter Goodrich. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Hall, Michael. Perfect Square. Illus. by Michael Hall. Greenwillow Books

Henkes, Kevin. Little White Rabbit. Illus. by Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow Books

Intriago, Patricia. Dot. Illus. by Patricia Intriago. Farrar Straus Giroux

Klassen, Jon. I Want My Hat Back. Illus. by Jon Klassen. Candlewick Press

Lamb, Albert. Tell Me the Day Backwards. Illus. by David McPhail. Candlewick Press

Latimer, Alex. The Boy Who Cried Ninja. Illus. by Alex Latimer. Peachtree

Lehman, Barbara. The Secret Box. Illus. by Barbara Lehman. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Lichtenheld, Tom. E-Mergency. Illus. by Ezra Fields-Meyer. Chronicle Books

Mason, Margaret H. These Hands. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Mcguirk, Leslie. If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet. Illus. by Leslie McGuirk. Tricycle Press

Medina, Meg. Tí¬a Isa Wants a Car. Illus. by Claudio Muñoz. Candlewick Press

Maclachlan, Patricia and Emily Maclachlan Charest. Before You Came. Illus. by David Diaz. Katherine Tegen Books

Park, Linda Sue. The Third Gift. Illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline. Clarion Books

Pearson, Susan. How to Teach a Slug to Read. Illus. by David Slonim. Marshall Cavendish Children’s

Ray, Mary Lyn. Stars. Illus. by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane Books

Rinker, Sherri Duskey. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. Illus. by Tom Lichtenheld. Chronicle Books

Rocco, John. Blackout. Illus. by John Rocco. Hyperion Books for Children

Rohmann, Eric. Bone Dog. Illus. by Eric Rohmann. Roaring Brook Press

Savage, Stephen. Where’s Walrus? Illus. by Stephen Savage. Scholastic

Shea, Susan A. Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? Illus. by Tom Slaughter. Blue Apple Books

Smith, Lane. Grandpa Green. Illus. by Lane Smith. Roaring Brook Press

Tan, Shaun. Lost & Found. Illus. by Shaun Tan. Arthur A. Levine Books

Trottier, Maxine. Migrant. Illus. by Isabelle Arsenault. Groundwood Books

Tullet, Hervé. Press Here. Illus. by Hervé Tullet, translated by Christopher Franschelli. Handprint Books/Chronicle

Underwood, Deborah. The Loud Book! Illus. by Renata Liwska. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Vamos, Samantha R. The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred. Illus. by Rafael Lí³pez. Charlesbridge

Wadham, Tim. The Queen of France. Illus. by Kady MacDonald Denton. Candlewick Press

Wardlaw, Lee. Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. Illus. by Eugene Yelchin. Henry Holt

Wild, Margaret. Harry and Hopper. Illus. by Freya Blackwood. Feiwel & Friends

Willems, Mo. Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! Illus. by Mo Willems. Balzer + Bray

Willems, Mo. Should I Share My Ice Cream? Illus. by Mo Willems. Hyperion Books for Children

Yu, Li Qiong. A New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story. Illus. by Zhu Chen Liang Candlewick Press


Arni, Samhita. Sita’s Ramayana. Illus. by Moyna Chitrakar. Groundwood

Burkert, Rand. Mouse & Lion. Illus. by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. di Capua/Scholastic

Napoli, Donna Jo. Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters. Illus. by Christina Balit. National Geographic Society

Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists. Illus. by Patrick McDonnell … et al. First Second


Arnosky, Jim. Thunder Birds: Nature’s Flying Predators. Illus. by Jim Arnosky. Sterling

Aston, Dianna Hutts. A Butterfly Is Patient. Illus. by Sylvia Long. Chronicle Books

Aston, Dianna Hutts. Dream Something Big : The Story of the Watts Towers. Illus. by Susan L.Roth. Dial Books for Young Readers

Brown, Don. America Is under Attack : September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell. Illus. by Don Brown. Roaring Brook Press

Burleigh, Robert. Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic. Illus. by Wendell Minor. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Capaldi, Gina and Q. L. Pearce. Red Bird Sings: The Story of Zitkala-Å a, Native American Author, Musician, and Activist. Illus. by Gina Capaldi. Carolrhoda Books

Drummond, Allan. Energy Island. Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Harris, Robie H. Who Has What? All About Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies. Illus. by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Candlewick Press

Jenkins, Martin. Can We Save the Tiger? Illus. by Vicky White. Candlewick Press

Jenkins, Steve. Just a Second. Illus. by Steve Jenkins. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Lyon, George Ella. All the Water in the World. Illus. by Katherine Tillotson. Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Macy, Sue. Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map. Illus. by Matt Collins. Holiday House

Martin, Bill. Ten Little Caterpillars. Illus. by Lois Ehlert. Beach Lane Books

McDonnell, Patrick. Me– Jane. Illus. by Patrick McDonnell. Little, Brown

Messner, Kate. Over and under the Snow. Illus. by Kate Messner. Chronicle Books

Ogburn, Jacqueline K. Little Treasures: Endearments from around the World. Illus. by Christopher Raschka. Houghton Mifflin

Peña, Matt de la. A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. Dial Books for Young Readers

Roth, Susan L. and Cindy Trumbore. The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families. Illus. by Susan L. Roth. Lee & Low Books

Say, Allen. Drawing from Memory. Illus. by Allen Say. Scholastic Press

Sidman, Joyce. Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature. Illus. by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Stockdale, Susan. Bring on the Birds. Illus. by Susan Stockdale. Peachtree

Sweet, Melissa. Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade. Illus. by Melissa Sweet. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Van Allsburg, Chris. Queen of the Falls. Illus. by Chris Van Allsburg. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Winter, Jeanette. The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps. Illus. by Jeanette Winter. Schwartz & Wade Books

Yezerski, Thomas. Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story. Illus. by Thomas F. Yezerski. Farrar, Straus, Giroux

Young, Ed and Libby Koponen. The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China. Illus. by Ed Young. Little, Brown and Co.


George, Kristine O’Connell. Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems. Illus. by Nancy Carpenter. Clarion Books

Greenfield, Eloise. The Great Migration: Journey to the North. Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. HarperCollins Children’s Books

Raczka, Bob. Lemonade, and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word. Illus. by Nancy Doniger. Roaring Brook Press

Yolen, Jane. Birds of a Feather. Illus. by Jason Stemple. Wordsong


Bragg, Georgia. How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous. Illus. by Kevin O’Malley. Walker & Co.

Fleming, Candace. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Schwartz & Wade Books

McClafferty, Carla Killough. The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon. Carolrhoda Books

Rubin, Susan Goldman. Music Was It: Young Leonard Bernstein. Charlesbridge

Sullivan, George. Tom Thumb: The Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature. Clarion Books


Blumenthal, Karen. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. Roaring Brook Press

Downer, Ann. Elephant Talk: The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication. Twenty-First Century Books

Galbraith, Kathryn Osebold. Planting the Wild Garden. Illus. by Wendy Anderson Halperin. Peachtree

Lourie, Peter. The Manatee Scientists: Saving Vulnerable Species. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Marrin, Albert. Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy. Alfred A. Knopf

Nelson, Kadir. Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. Illus. by Kadir Nelson. Balzer + Bray

O’Connell, Caitlin and Donna M. Jackson. The Elephant Scientist. Illus. by Caitlin O’Connell and Timothy Rodwell. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Pringle, Laurence. Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution. Illus. by Steve Jenkins. Boyds Mills Press

Ross, Stewart. Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air. Illus. by Stephen Biesty. Candlewick Press

Schanzer, Rosalyn. Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem. Illus. by Rosalyn Schanzer. National Geographic Society

Scott, Elaine. Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time: What the Hubble Telescope Saw. Clarion Books

Thompson, Ruth. Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust. Candlewick Press

Vanhecke, Susan. Raggin’, Jazzin’, Rockin’ : American Musical Instrument Makers. Boyds Mills Press

Walker, Sally M. Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917. Henry Holt

Webb, Sophie. Far from Shore: A Naturalist Explores the Deep Ocean. Illus. by Sophie Webb. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

ALA attendees are invited to observe the discussions which will be held at the ALA Midwinter Conference on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 1:30 to 4:30 in Room A115/117 in the Dallas Convention Center.    Final selections will be made after these discussions.


  1. Kim Tomsic

    This is a fantastic list. Thank you for putting it together.

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  4. Josh

    How do you go about submitting a book for next year? I wrote a children’s book that aims to help young children with their fear of the dark.
    “Janko and the Darkness”

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