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Some of the Year's Best Kids Books for ages 10 - 13, 2011

<img src=" align=right hspace=5 />These recommendations from our staff were published in our <a href="">2011 Winter Newsletter</a>. <br><br>This year was particularly fortunate in the number of very fine books published for 10- to 13-year olds. Here are a few of the many.

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

Beginning with The Penderwicks (winner of the National Book Award), and continuing with the Penderwicks on Gardam Street and now The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (a book on many 2012 Newbery shortlists), Jeanne Birdsall has created a series so well written that it easily deserves classic status. “Suffused with affectionate humor, this charming, old-fashioned story feels familiar in the way the best books seem like old friends. Nostalgic but never stale, this fresh, satisfying novel is like a cool breeze on a summer’s day.” —The Horn Book

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375851353
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling - May 8th, 2012

The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm

Although readers have waited 11 years for this sequel to the 2000 Newbery Honor book Our Only May Amelia, no time has passed for our protagonist, still 12-years-old and living in rural Washington at the beginning of the 20th century. Although perceived as “trouble” by her father simply because she’s not a boy, May Amelia’s resolve and “sisu” (Finnish for chutzpah) never wavers. Her striking narrative voice is edgy and accessible, and Holm’s choice to forgo quotations marks in favor of the creative use of capital letters adds a modern quality to this unique historical novel. An engaging and original look at turn-of-the-century misogyny and feminism, skillfully told.

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The Trouble with May Amelia Cover Image
By Jennifer L. Holm, Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781416913740
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - May 1st, 2012

The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

In the midst of his parents’ divorce, Jack leaves San Francisco to live with his unusual aunt and uncle in Iowa where, much to his surprise, he is suddenly the center of the town’s attention. It’s not all welcome, however, as some of that attention is inexplicably devoted to trying to kill him. In a starred review for Booklist, Michal Cart says, “The answers are not given up easily, and that’s just one facet of this delightful puzzle of a book that is filled with wonders and magic, yes, but magic that is ancient, numinous, and tied to the natural world.… [Barnhill’s] plotting and characterization…provide a foundation for the omnipresent magic that elevates this title to the first rank of contemporary children’s literature. Best of all, an open ending suggests the possibility of a sequel. Readers can only hope.”

The Mostly True Story of Jack Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316056724
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 11th, 2012

Fly Trap by Frances Hardinge

Picking up where Fly by Night left off, and continuing to use the kind of language that sucked me into the first book, poet/con-man Eponymous Clent, 12-year-old Mosca Mye, and Mosca’s fierce goose Saracen, are running from Mandelion after inadvertently starting a revolution. They find themselves in the wealthy, dysfunctional, gated city of Toll, where half the population is active diurnally and half nocturnally. Mosca is exiled to Toll-by-Night, the different and very dangerous place that the town transforms itself into after dark. Privy to information about the kidnapping of the mayor’s daughter, Mosca makes new allies, finds the kidnappers, and reknits Toll. Wonderful language and wordplay make this fantasy world poignantly real and the book hard to put down.

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Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

In the first of a projected trilogy, orphaned siblings Kate, Michael, and Emma find a book that transports them back in time 15 years. From old familiar fantasy elements, Stephens creates a new story. The children are treated individually, each with a distinct personality. There is bickering, there are rivalries, but all three hide a fierce, underlying loyalty to one another. Every child will identify with at least one of the three siblings. Perhaps this is the next Percy Jackson.

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The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375872716
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Yearling - April 24th, 2012

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

Here, as in her two previous titles (Before I Fall and Delirium), Lauren Oliver creates a unique worldscape. Orphans Liesl and Will, along with a child-sized ghost named Po and Po’s pet Bundle, are swept up in a grand adventure that takes them from loss to healing and hope. In a starred review, Kirkus says this is “a wonderfully imaginative, startlingly moving and at times wickedly funny fantasy. With nods to Dahl, Dickens, the Grimms and even Burnett, the author has made something truly original. Acedera’s frequent black-and-white illustrations are a perfect compliment. An irresistible read: this book sings.”

Liesl & Po Cover Image
By Lauren Oliver, Kei Acedera (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062014528
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: HarperCollins - August 28th, 2012

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