Blogger Jennifer Schultz

The Halfway Mark: Your 2013 Favorites So Far

The end of ALA Annual Conference time make this a perfect time to reassess our favorite 2013 reads so far, and to think about what’s on the horizon.  Do you have a favorite for the Caldecott? Newbery? How about the Geisel, Sibert, or any of the other ALA Youth Media Awards? If you’d rather not talk about awards, perhaps you can tell us your favorite new books for your story time crowd. Let’s chat!



What a delicious combination–Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen!  The Dark focuses on the common childhood fear of the dark.  Our young protagonist conquers his fear of the dark in a witty yet sensible manner, through the encouragement of an unexpected ally.  I haven’t been able to use this in a story time setting; it’s a bit too long for my toddler and preschool story times (and the humor might be a bit too sophisticated).  I have my eye on this for a Halloween story time for our slightly older patrons. It’s a terrific suspenseful (and funny) yet not scary story.


The absent-minded among us no doubt identify with poor Duck.  Duck has some pretty awesome blue socks, but they are no where to be found!  Duck is desperately searching for his prized socks, when a friend helpfully provides a hint as to the mysterious location of his footwear.  Arrrgh! Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? is a funny and flawless read aloud.


Do we need another read aloud about ducks? Yes, yes, YES! We need this one.  Proud mama duck takes her ducklings out for a little stroll on a nice day, when suddenly–DANGER! The ducklings get trapped in a storm drain.  Thankfully, with the help of some humans, the ducklings are freed.  Lucky Ducklings is a superb read aloud, with its expansive illustrations and text that is effortless to read aloud (your audience may pick up on the phrase that is repeated throughout the narrative).  This darling story is based on an actual incident, which makes it that much enjoyable.



Even the most ardent squirrel hater can’t help but be fond of David Ezra Stein’s latest offering.  Mama Squirrel has raised many children, so her “Chook chook chook!” warning to anyone who gets a little too close to her young family has been perfected over the years.  Most animals, human and non, are effectively shooed away by her warning, until a great big bear enters the scene.  Ol’ Mama Squirrel may have met her match–or has the bear met his match?  Ol’ Mama Squirrel would fit into a variety of story times, but I’ll wager that it will be a popular choice for fall-themed story times.

Now, it’s your turn! What have been your favorites for 2013, in terms of story times or awards? Discuss them in the comments!



  1. Angela Reynolds

    I personally cannot wait to share “Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great” at storytime, because it is such a funny book. Bob Shea’s humour carries the whole thing. And it makes some nice little points about friendship, too.

  2. Jenna

    My favorite picture books of the year so far:

    Count the Monkeys — Mac Barnett (Can’t wait to use this one in storytime!)
    The Day the Crayons Quit — Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers
    Ribbit! — Rodrigo Folgueira, Poly Bernatene
    Flora and the Flamingo — Molly Idle
    How to Be a Cat — Nikki McClure
    A Long Way Away — Frank Viva
    Open This Little Book — Jesse Klausmeier

    My favorite middle-grade reads:

    Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library — Chris Grabenstein (A perfect book for a children’s lit and game enthusiast like myself!)
    Doll Bones — Holly Black (My top pick for Newbery so far)

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