Tag Archives: favorite books

2020 Favorites

Hello, jFIC fans,

Happy New Year! Looking forward to a year full of awesome reads!

My favorite dozen from 2020:

Eva Evergreen (Semi Magical Witch Book 1) by Julie Abe (Ages 8-12; Grades 3-7)

Eva Evergreen’s quest is to earn the rank of Novice Witch before her thirteenth birthday, for if she doesn’t, she’ll lose her magic powers forever. The problem is that Eva only has “a pinch of magic” – or so she believes. This delightful fantasy novel reads like an anime movie. I look forward to the sequels!

The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman (Ages 9-12; Grades 4-7)

After a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explodes, two rival fifth-grade girls from completely different backgrounds end up on a train on their way to stay with one of the girls’ estranged grandmother. A poignant multigenerational historical novel about the power of friendship.

Premeditated Myrtle (Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery 1) by Elizabeth C Bunce  (Ages 10-18; Grades 5-12) (some diversity)

Myrtle Hardcastle is a brilliant twelve-year-old girl obsessed with forensic science and detective work who persists in her investigations in spite of the social expectations of her time. The series has similarities to the award-winning Flavia de Luce Mystery Series by Alan Bradley, but it’s written for kids! Engaging and delightful!

The Sisters of Straygarden Place by Hayley Chewins (Ages 10-14; Grades 5-9)

A beautifully-written surreal fantasy about an enchanted house, menacing plants, bonds between sisters, and reality-bending revelations. I loved the little black dogs that squeeze inside their owners’ brains to help them sleep. Spooky and original!

Leaving Lymon (Finding Langston Trilogy Book 2) by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Ages 8-12; Grades 3-7) (BIPOC author)

The second installment of the Finding Langston Trilogy follows the story of the bully Lymon, and includes the reasons for his anger, his love of music, and his finding hope for a better future. A moving and inspiring historical fiction story told by an outstanding writer.

One Time by Sharon Creech (Ages 8-12; Grades 3-7) (some diversity)

With the help of a brilliant teacher and a boy with a generous smile, 11-year-old Gina Filomena and her classmates discover that their future is full of wonderful possibilities. An uplifting coming-of-age story that’s perfect for classroom reading groups.

The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher (Ages 9-12; Grades 4-7)

Thirteen-year-old Seren Rhys is an orphan hoping for a better life in her Godfather’s country mansion. But nothing turns out as she expects, and she ends up going on a fantastic journey to rescue the family’s young son who has been stolen by fairies. A mysterious and fast-paced fantasy with themes of resilience, courage, and belonging.

A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison (Ages 8-12; Grades 3-7)

The Widdershins sisters discover that they’re under a generations-long curse that keeps them from leaving their island, so they set out to break the curse and save their lives with the help of three magical objects and a mysterious prisoner. An exciting fantasy adventure with excellent world-building and characterization.

The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay (Ages 8-12; Grades 3-7) (bi-racial blended family)

A gorgeously-written, enchanting family story that follows the daily lives of 11-year-old Abi, her two stepbrothers, and her father and stepmother, as they adjust to a new family and a new home: a mysterious and possibly magical ivy-covered house. A suspenseful and heartwarming novel from a brilliant author. My favorite juvenile novel of the year!

Of Salt and Shore by Annet Schaap (Ages 10-12; Grades 5+)

Lampie, the lighthouse keeper’s 11-year-old daughter, makes a terrible mistake that results in punishments both for her and her alcoholic father. Hers is to be sent to live and work at the Admiral’s house, where a monster is said to live. A fantasy adventure with extraordinary characters and themes of courage, friendship, belonging, and self-worth.

The Monster Who Wasn’t (Monster Who Wasn’t Trilogy Book 1) by T. C. Shelley (Ages 8-12; Grades 3-6)

Imp hatched in a monsters’ lair, but looks just like a human boy and is possibly something between fairy and monster. The gargoyles and their angel take him under their wings, but the king of ogres has sinister plans for him. A fantasy story of family, good vs evil, and seeking one’s place in the world. Exciting and heart-warming!

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk (Ages 8-12; Grades 5+)

The Great Depression forces 12-year-old Ellie’s family to leave their home in town and move to the untamed forests of Echo Mountain. There Ellie discovers a love of nature and is enjoying her new life until her father has an accident that leaves him in a coma. Ellie then decides to go to the reclusive “hag” of the mountain for help. A story about having the courage and persistence to become your own true self.

Happy reading!

“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.

“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”

“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”

“Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice.

~ from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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Happy New Year!

Hi, sweeteas,

Happy 2013 to all! The century is now a teenager, isn’t that cool? And tomorrow school starts, isn’t that great? You’ll get to see your school friends, learn useful things, and — best of all — check out awesome books from the school library! 🙂

How about starting the new year with a couple of reading goals? Here are mine:

1- Read 1-2 books per week (between 50 to 100 books by the end of the year).

2- Read a diverse diet of outstanding books.

I want to be more selective in the books I read this year. If I start reading a book, and it doesn’t interest me, I’ll switch to another. There are so many wonderful books I haven’t read, and I don’t want to waste my time reading those I won’t completely enjoy. (So many (great) books; so little time!)

Having said that, let me share a few of my favorites reads from 2012:

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (April 29 post)

I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchet (April 29 post)

Chime by Franny Billingsley (July 7 post)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Aug 7 post)

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage  (Sept 8 post)

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (Sept 8 post)

Today I’ll tell you about another favorite book that I read over the holidays:

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce *****

Cosmic is a hilarious story about a twelve-year-old boy who often gets confused for an adult because of his size and facial hair. He takes advantage of this mistake and gets into a lot of funny situations. He even manages to con his way into going as the only adult chaperone in the first space rocket taking four kids around the moon and back. But something goes wrong, and he and the rest of the kids end up lost in space. What I love about this book is how the author manages to make the quirky characters and the preposterous situation so believable and humorous. He totally pulls it off! This has to Mr. Boyce’s best book so far. Don’t miss it!

I’ll post again next month. Enjoy the start of the new year!

“I’m a little teapot, short and stout. Here is my handle. Here is my spout. When I get all steamed up, hear me shout. Tip me over and pour me out!” ~ from “The Teapot Song” by George Harold Sanders and Clarence Z. Kelley

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