Here’s a different kind of list to kick off 2014. Please read what reviewer and bookseller Hilary Taber has entitled her Author Shout Out for Good Reads With Ronna.
We always look forward to Hilary’s take on what’s selling in her store and can just picture her standing up on a stage, behind a podium, announcing all these wonderful winners.
The Top Ten Authors That I Most Admire,
Why You Should Know About Them,
& Why I’m Giving Them a Coveted Bookseller Award
Well, folks, I’ve officially read over 400 hundred children’s books! This has given me a real perspective on the craft of writing, and what makes an author someone whose books I will recommend without hesitation. I’ve gathered together my top ten authors, and the reasons why I am their fan for life. Certainly, personal taste has a lot to do with it, but so does a winning streak of books. In each of these excellent books the writing (and sometimes the art as well) speaks for itself in terms of excellence. Each author, in their own way, has hit their stride with every book they write. So, from board books to young adult, here are my top ten author shout outs. I only wish I had a lovely statue with a bookseller on top in gold to give to each of you, but hope this star will suffice.
Best Board Books and Pop Up Books:
Winner: Petr Horáček
His latest book, Animal Opposites, was a wonderful collection. Each illustration was so finely done. There is pairing not just animals, but also opposite characteristics such as quiet and loud. Each pop up element was so beautifully done, and so pleasing to the eye. His board books are colorful, eye catching, and beautifully drawn. In this author and artist’s work, beautiful art meets a lively story. Strawberries Are Red remains my very favorite. Petr, you rock, and your books are this bookseller’s dream come true for the two and up set!
For more information, please visit this website – www.petrhoracek.co.uk
Best Picture Books:
Winner: Mo Willems
Can we ever have too much of Mo Willems’ books? I think not. Every book is so full of humor that appeals to both adults and children. Willems books are always story time hits. Do you know how rare that is? It’s very rare that I am able to sell a book that is more guaranteed to bring a smile and a laugh to the entire family. My favorite books are in the Pigeon series, but the beginning reader series of Elephant and Piggy has earned a special place in my heart for being such fantastically engaging beginning reading. Thank you so much, Mo, for your humor. Thank you for sharing it with us, and by sharing it you make reading so much fun!
For more information, please visit this website – www.mowillems.com
Best Junior Fiction:
Winner: Kate DiCamillo
Kate, how can I tell you how much your books mean to me, and to all the children to whom I’ve sold them? Your books are so full of hope at an age when children are just beginning to learn that the world needs their hope. I’ve never met a child who wasn’t just in love with your work. The care you put into each book makes it shine like stars in the night sky. When I read a book written by you, I admire the effort you put into each book, and also the love. God bless you, Kate! My favorite titles include Because of Winn-Dixie, and Kate’s latest book, Flora and Ulysses about a girl named Flora who discovers a new best friend in the form of a squirrel, named Ulysses who has super powers, can write poetry, and can type!
For more information, please visit this website – www.katedicamillo.com
Winner: Jeanne Birdsall
Will I ever tire of reading about the charming Penderwick family? I really don’t think so. Every book is filled with adventure, and the reassuring presence of family. I’ve loved seeing each character grow and change to become the person that they can most fully be. Plus, there’s Hound, the Penderwick’s dog! I adore Hound. Little Women comes to mind as a possible “ancestor” of the Penderwick series. I so appreciate that every child can recognize some part of themselves in each of the sisters in the family, just as you can in Little Women. There’s something for everyone here in this lovely series of the changing lives of this most eccentrically beloved family. This is a family who affirms that the person you are is fantastic. This type of personal affirmation is present throughout the books. In fact, you should be free to be yourself!
For more information, please visit this website – www.jeannebirdsall.com
Winner: Roderick Townley
I don’t think it’s any secret how much I admire you and your work. From The Great Good Thing about a storybook princess who leaves her book for high adventure to The Blue Shoe about a mysterious blue shoe that has a whole town mesmerized I could never say no to such adventures. I’m always taken aback by the wonderful poetic presence in every story. I often think that there is hardly a more original writer out there, and I am very much looking forward to your new book! I hope it’s out soon! I’m in your debt as a reader, as are so many others. Luckily, it is a happy debt.
For more information, please visit this website – www.rodericktownley.com
Winner: Frank Cottrell Boyce
No other author quite gets the essence of being a child who doesn’t understand grown ups and their situations fully like Frank. My favorite books of yours capture a certain wonder that the child protagonist posses, combined with amazing, original plot. Millions and Framed remain my favorites. The main characters are so incredibly endearing without being too good to be true. Millions is about two brothers who run into a bag of British pounds which turn out to be stolen. Framed is the story of a boy, a small Welsh village, and an exploration of a hidden stash of art. Packed with humor, there is true junior fiction flair going on here, and you really don’t want to miss the adventures! Thank you, Frank, for remembering so well what it is like to be a child. Here’s a link to a GRWR review of Boyce’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again.
For more information, please visit this website – www.harpercollins.com/authors/27915/Frank_Cottrell_Boyce/index.aspx
Winner: Hilary McKay
Ever since I read about the Casson family, I’ve been hooked. I’ve always wanted my parents to be artists who let me live a really independent life. There is not a member of the Casson family who I don’t love with my whole heart, but I think that the youngest, Rose, is the one that really impresses me. Still, to this day, I like to quote the spunky Rose to my family and friends. Hilary understands the joys of family, and the frustrations as well. Every line makes the loveably eccentric Casson family more and more real. I feel as if I know each one of them so well that I could walk down my street and find that, in fact, they live very nearby. How I would love that to be true! Saffy’s Angel is my favorite book about Saffy who finds out that, in fact, she has been adopted by the Cassons. She then proceeds to set out to find the truth of how this came to be, which ends happily with the realization that she is loved. Saffy is where she belongs, with the Cassons. Isn’t that the best ending of all to find out that you belong where you are? Thank you, Hilary, for your books that celebrate diverse personalities in a family, and the Casson family who all support each other as best they can. To my way of thinking, that is the best gift a family can give each other.
For more information, please visit this website – www.hilarymckay.co.uk
Winner: Lisa Yee
“Did I ever tell you you’re my hero? You’re everything I wish I could be.” Ah, you get the quote! Who else but Lisa can combine multigenerational family, middle grade themes, and laugh out loud humor so well in each book? From Millicent Min Girl Genius to Warp Speed I have laughed and empathized with each character in some way. It is so rewarding to follow the journey of each of your characters in the situations they find themselves in whether that is making new friends, discovering a new crush, passing summer school, coping with the divorce of parents, or finally confronting the school bully. Every character is very dear to me, every one of their stories has a resolution that is believable, and every book lightens my heart. Thank you for your humor. Thank you for teaching me that it is possible to go through a hard time, and come out on the other side happy.
For more information, please visit this website – www.lisayee.com
Winner: Polly Shulman
Polly, you never cease to amaze me in your writing. From The Grimm Legacy where we meet Elizabeth who needs to solve the mystery of magical stolen objects from the Grimm fairytales to The Wells Bequest (time travel anyone?) I have never experienced children’s literature that weaves together so many nonfiction facts with such magical experiences. Every time I read one of your books I am smarter, and I feel that life holds so many promises of adventure. If only I could find the New-York Circulating Material Repository I would plan a trip right away. Thank you for your multi-ethnic characters as well, in addition to your easy elegance style of writing. Thank you for making knowledge so accessible, and a library that is a dream come true. Thank you for the adventures, and the adult characters who encourage it.
For more information, please visit the website – www.pollyshulman.com
Best Young Adult Fiction:
Winner: L.A. Meyer
Sir, you have finally won an award of sorts that you absolutely deserve. Even if you won’t grant me an interview, I don’t hold it against you. No, not one bit for there was never such a lively, adventurous, and mischievous heroine as Jacky Faber. In the first book, Bloody Jack we met Jacky posing as a ship’s boy in 1802, England to finally get regular meals, an education, and adventure. Now the fans are on your eleventh book, Boston Jacky! We have watched Jacky go from one amazing adventure to another. The fans have also been able to travel the globe with her, and have watched her occupation move from ship’s boy to head of Faber Shipping Worldwide with amazement. How you have kept that romantic entanglement going, much to the chagrin of your fans! Certainly we know that if Jacky and her true love Jamie are ever able to finally get married that it constitutes the end of the series. However, oh please let Jamie finally marry his Jacky! Nominated for various awards by NPR and other various organizations for the best of YA, these books are historically well researched (amazingly so), and cheer me up no end. Such an incredibly well-written, first person narrative deserves kudos! So, here are mine. You are very dear to your fans, this one included.
For more information, please visit this website – www.clairdeloon.com
Hope you have enjoyed this list! Who are your top ten authors? I would love to hear back from you! Happy reading to my fellow book fans!
NOTE: This list was solely created by Hilary Taber. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of all the other Good Reads With Ronna reviewers, although we do share many of the favorites Hilary has selected.