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Hilary Taber’s Top Ten Kids’ Books Authors

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

UnknownWell, 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

CBA - Coveted Bookseller AwardHis 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 –

Best Picture Books:

Winner: Mo Willems

CBA - Coveted Bookseller AwardCan 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 –

Best Junior Fiction:

Winner: Kate DiCamillo

CBA - Coveted Bookseller AwardKate, 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 –


Winner: Jeanne Birdsall

CBA - Coveted Bookseller AwardWill 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 –

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

Today’s review is by author Kristen Kittscher. Please see below to read about her upcoming middle grade novel.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fans can rejoice! Cosmic and Millions author Frank Cottrell Boyce teamed up with illustrator Joe Berger to deliver the very fun and charming sequel,Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again ($15.99, Candlewick, ages 9 – 12). Though there are lots of nods to Ian Fleming’s classic (and only children’s book), kids unfamiliar with Chitty will happily climb aboard for this adventure-fueled, silly romp, too.

 Mr. Tooting has lost his job — and the company car that went along with it. When he channels his underused engineering talents into a old camper van and a racing engine the family stumbles across, they’re all in in store for some crazy adventures! The engine, of course, is the same one that powered the famous flying car… only the Tootings discover it the hard way. No matter how much they try to control the car, Chitty forges ahead on her own mission to find all her lost pieces. Worse yet, a dastardly villain is also on their tail! Will the family make it through their escapades unscathed?

With quick pacing and funny dialogue, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again is an especially good pick for reluctant readers or for a classroom read-aloud. It’s billed for readers 9 and up, but there’s no reason younger readers wouldn’t also enjoy the book, even if some of the wry humor goes over their heads. The many colorful characters and the Tooting family’s optimism in the face of adversity made them especially delightful to spend time with. Though I preferred Boyce’s outstanding Cosmic  and Millions more, Sir Ian Fleming’s heirs were wise to turn to Boyce for this wonderful sequel. Chitty is certainly one wild (and fun) ride!

Visit the Candlewick website by clicking here for an activity kit, teacher’s guide and lots more!  


Photo: ©Konrad Tho Fiedler

Kristen Kittscher grew up in many places, including San Francisco, Dallas, and London but she feels most at home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, Kai, and their hopelessly spoiled cat and dog. A graduate of Brown University and former English teacher, she now writes funny mysteries for the precocious middle-schoolers she once enjoyed teaching so much. Her debut novel, THE WIG IN THE WINDOW, comes out in 2013 with Harper Children’s. She’s now at work on its sequel, THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE.

THE WIG IN THE WINDOW (Harper Children’s, 2013)
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