Blogger Jennifer Schultz

The Halfway Mark

June–and this post–crept up on me.  Like many youth services librarians in public libraries, we are just about to launch our crazy-busy summer reading program. Finding that it was already Wednesday, and that I had not even started on my ALSC post, I began to panic.  What should I blog about? Father’s Day picture books? Okay.  Summertime-theme books? Well, sure.  But then I began to think–I’ve been blogging (off and on) for this blog for a while now.  I certainly don’t want to accidentally repeat a theme!

Then it occurred to me that perhaps ALSC members would find it interesting to read about and discuss our favorite books from the 2012 publishing year, since we are halfway through the year.  I’m not asking for your picks for the Caldecott/Newbery/etc, although if you want to promote your favorites for those awards, please do. But feel free to mention books that aren’t eligible for those awards (because of author’s geography or any other reason). Are there some books that you feel have flown under the radar this year? I’d love to know about them.


For those in a summer frame of mind, Beach Feet by Kiyomi Konagaya should not be missed.  From the burning hot sand to the cool waves of the water, the sensations felt while running barefoot on the beach are charmingly and lovingly created and captivated by author Konagaya and Saito. Translated from the Japanese, this is a delightful and welcome addition to any beach or summer related story time.


Backseat A-B-See

Like many of you, I’ve seen so many alphabet books that new ones really have to have something special about them to catch my attention.  Happily, Backseat A-B-See is one of my new favorite ABC books.  Road signs, viewed from the perspective of a child in the back seat, take us through the alphabet.  It’s a fun and inventive look at the alphabet, sure to attract young learners and their caregivers (and librarians–guess what sign is used for “L?”).


Hannah’s Way

Hannah’s Way is one of my “flew under the radar” titles for 2012.  It hasn’t been starred-as far as I know–and only two publications have reviewed it so far.  Hannah already feels different from the other children in her class, as she is the only Jewish child in her Depression-era Minnesota school.  When her teacher announces a special school picnic on Saturday, Hannah feels even more left out, as the only way her parents will allow her to attend the picnic is if she finds someone to walk with her (being Orthodox, riding in a car is forbidden on the Sabbath).  Hannah’s Way is a striking and heartfelt story about friendship, overcoming shyness, and staying true to your convictions. The ending is beautiful; knowing that this is based on a true story makes it even more satisfying.

I could go on and on (and on and on) with my favorites from 2012, but I want to hear from you. Picture books, easy readers, novels, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels….if it was published in 2012 and it’s already one of your favorites for the year, let us know in the comments.




  1. Misti

    My favorite picture book of the year so far is One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo — the twist at the end completely surprised me, and made me laugh out loud (while I was staffing the public service desk, no less)!

    As for chapter books, I enjoyed Wonder by R.J. Palacio (as did a lot of other people, I know), and Merits of Mischief: The Bad Apple by T.R. Burns was a lot of fun (reminded me of The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Series of Unfortuate Events in some ways).

  2. Abby

    Picture books: Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (this one is full of good puns) and Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett (a unique story with wonderful illustrations by Jon Klassen).

    Chapter books: I agree that Wonder is one of my favorites from this year. I also enjoyed Caddy’s World by Hilary McKay.

    I’m looking forward to the second half of the year-there are so many great books coming out that I can’t wait to read. It was fun to reflect on the books from 2012 (so far). Great idea for a post!

  3. Jennifer Schultz

    I’ll join the love fest for Wonder. Thought it was remarkable. Misti, we have One Cool Friend, but I haven’t read it yet. Will have to grab it when it is returned. Abby, I enjoyed Extra Yarn as well. Thanks for commenting!

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