Blogger Jennifer Schultz

Halfway Mark: Favorite Books (So Far) for 2015

The calendar doesn’t lie; it’s nearly June, which means that summer reading programs are fast approaching. The looming of June also brings ALA Annual, during which awards committees will meet (many in secret, of course) to discuss their readings and thoughts (so far) for 2015.

Although the awards committee meetings are closed to non-members, you can attend meetings for Children’s Notable Books, Children’s Notable Recordings, and YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults committees. If you have time during your packed Annual schedule, I recommend attending at least one meeting. It gives you great insight into how committees choose and discuss titles. If you can’t attend meetings in person, look for the committees to publish their nominations lists sometime after Annual (YALSA’s committees for Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels, Popular Paperbacks, and Quick Picks post their nominations lists here, and ALSC’s Notable Books committee usually publishes its first nominations lists here after Annual). They are great collection development tools, especially when it gets closer to Youth Media Awards time! (I check the sites every several months for updates and right before Midwinter). Check the Scheduler section on the conference site for more details on where/when the open committee meetings are held.

If you’re not a committee member and can freely discuss your favorites for the 2015 publication year, please discuss in the comments below! Here are several titles that I personally hope have a shot at making the committee lists and Youth Media Awards. (Did you know that you can nominate books for the Notable Children’s Books and even many awards committees? Check the individual pages for the committees for further detail.)

detective

(image taken from author’s website)

I’m a fan of historical fiction, but even I can admit that it can be heavy and sobering reading at times. If you’re in need of fun, fast-paced historical fiction with a great deal of heart (and mystery!), The Detective’s Assistant (based on the life of the first American female detective) should be in your collection.

finedessert

(image taken from publisher website)

I try not to attach too much hope on any particular book for the Newbery or Caldecott; at the end of the day, my main wish is that we have the titles in our collection on the day the Youth Media Awards are announced. Occasionally I can’t help it, and I get too invested in one book being the big winner.  A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat is my #1 hopeful (at this point!) for the Caldecott, and I’m already way too invested in it winning, I’m afraid. This extraordinarily researched, written, and illustrated look at the evolution (social and technical) of food preparation through the creation of one dessert (blueberry fool) is one of a kind.

xanovel

 

(image taken from author’s website)

I believe ALSC ran an online poll (last year?) in which it asked readers to vote for their favorite Youth Media Award. While many chose Newbery or Caldecott, quite a few (including me) chose “all of them!” I look forward to each and every announcement of the awards. While X: A Novel is probably more mature than the audience for the Newbery, I’m quite hopeful for its chances for the Coretta Scott King Medal and the Printz Medal. Co-written by Ilyasah Shabazz (Malcolm X’s third oldest daughter) and Kekla Magoon, this is a moving and eye-opening fictionalized look at the childhood and early adulthood of the civil rights leader.

What have been your favorite reads for 2015 (2015 books only, please)? Tell us about them in the comments!

 

 

5 comments

  1. Lisa Taylor

    Can it be that we’re halfway through the year already? Yikes!
    I have many new favorites, but here are a few:
    If You Plant a Seed – Kadir Nelson
    Echo – Pam Muñoz Ryan
    Masterminds – Gordon Korman
    Butterfly Park – Elly MacKay
    Pepper & Poe – Frann Preston-Gannon
    Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall

  2. Jennifer Schultz

    Lisa–If You Plant a Seed is also one of my favorites. (I could only include a sample in this post!) I think it’s remarkable. I have Echo checked out and will start it tonight–looking forward to it.

  3. angie bayne

    One of my favorites that I have read recently has been The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.

  4. Kary Henry

    Echo!!

  5. Jennifer Schultz

    Kary, I started Echo last night, and it’s definitely a contender for me. Angie–we have The War That Saved My Life. I will need to check it out soon.

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