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Cynsational Books of 2010

Congratulations to the children's-YA authors and illustrators of 2010!

Thank you to everyone who discussed and debated and cheered and championed this year's books!

Just for fun, here are a few of my favorites.

Quick caveats:

(a) to varying degrees, I know or have met some (but not most) of the authors/illustrators--if I discounted everyone I knew, potential picks would be so significantly reduced in number as to be meaningless;

(b) I will continue to read and feature 2010 titles in 2011 and beyond;

(c) these are highlights, not predictions, not an all-inclusive list of my favorites.

Picture Books

The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Tim Ladwig (Eerdmans, 2010)

Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus (Simon & Schuster, 2010)(author guest post)

Librarian on the Roof! A True Story by M. G. King, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin (Albert Whitman, 2010)(author interview)

Mostly Monsterly by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Scott Magoon (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2010)(author guest post)

Out of the Way! Out of the Way! by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy (Tulika, 2010)(A Tale of Two Umas)

Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Karen Clarkson (Cinco Puntos, 2010)

Shades of People by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly (Holiday House, 2010)

Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton, illustrated by Tom Lichtenfeld (Little, Brown, 2010)(author interview)

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Don Tate (HarperCollins, 2010)(illustrator interview)

Soar Elinor by Tami Lewis Brown, illustrated by François Roca (FSG, 2010)(author guest post)

Time to Pray by Maha Adassi, illustrated by Ned Gannon (Boyds Mills, 2010)(author interview; illustrator interview)

Chapter Books

Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (Aladdin, 2010-)(co-authors guest post)

Zapato Power: Freddie Ramos Takes Off by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Miguel Benitez (Whitman, 2010)(author guest post)

Continuing Series: Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm (Random House); Joey Fly, Private by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Neil Numberman (Henry Holt); Piper Reed by Kimberly Willis Holt (Henry Holt).

Middle Grade Realistic Fiction

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (Charlesbridge, 2010)

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor (FSG, 2010)

The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little (Scholastic, 2010)

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (HarperCollins, 2010)

The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier (Delacorte, 2010)(author guest post)

The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (Knopf, 2010)(author interview)

Selling Hope by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb (Feiwel & Friends, 2010)

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (Amulet, 2010)(author guest post)

Truth with a Capital T by Bethany Hegedus (Delacorte, 2010)(author interview)

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm (Random House, 2010).

Middle Grade Fantasy

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch (Abrams, 2010)(graphic format).

The Dark Deeps (The Hunchback Assignments #2) by Arthur Slade (Wendy Lamb, 2010)(author guest post)

The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone (Random House, 2010)(author interview)

The Suburb Beyond the Stars by M.T. Anderson (Scholastic, 2010)(author interview)

Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R.L. LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin 2010)(series website)

Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shutta Crum (Knopf, 2010)(author interview)

Middle Grade Nonfiction

Spilling Ink: A Young Writers Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, illustrated by Matt Phelan (Flashpoint, 2010)(co-authors interview)

YA Realistic Fiction

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Dutton, 2010)

Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson (Delacorte, 2010)

The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Viking, 2010)(author interview)

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Dial, 2010)

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala (HarperTeen, 2010)(author interview)

The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride (Egmont, 2010)(author interview)

Queen of Secrets by Jenny Meyerhoff (FSG, 2010)(author interview)

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy duBurke (Lee & Low, 2010)

YA Mysteries

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee (Candlewick, 2010)(author interview)

The Agency: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee (Candlewick, 2010)(author interview)

Girl, Stolen by April Henry (Henry Holt, 2010)(author guest post)

The Less-Dead by April Lurie (Delacorte, 2010)(author interview)

Speculative YA Fiction

Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky (Candlewick, 2010)(author guest post)

Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri (Candlewick, 2010)(co-authors interview)

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill (Greenwillow, 2010)

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson (Simon Pulse, 2010)(author interview)

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle (Henry Holt, 2010)(author guest post)

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Philomel, 2010)

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (HarperTeen, 2010)(author interview)

Young Adult Nonfiction

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact on Us by Tanya Lee Stone (Viking, 2010)(author interview)

Janis Joplin, Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel (Amulet, 2010)(author guest post)

Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos (Clarion, 2010)

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)(author guest post)

All Ages

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis (Scholastic, 2010)

Keeper by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum, 2010)(author interview)

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (Clarion, 2010)

Virginia Hamilton: Speeches, Essays, & Conversations, co-edited by Arnold Adoff (Hamilton’s husband) and Kacy Cook (Scholastic/Blue Sky Press, 2010)(guest post)

Favorite Trailer

Brains For Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?! by K.A. Holt, illustrated by Gahan Wilson (Roaring Brook, 2010). Trailer by K.A. Holt. Note: bonus points for being low budget; an inspiration in tough economic times.

Favorite New Blogs

Anita Silvey's Children's Book-A-Day Almanac: "Daily children's book recommendations from Anita Silvey. Discover the stories behind children’s book classics and the new books good enough to become classics."

Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels: Writing for Kids from the Heart of Texas AKA Jessica Lee Anderson, P.J. Hoover, Jo Whittemore, K.A. Holt, Jeanette Larson, Don Tate, and Emma Virjan.

Cynsational Notes

My 2010 release was an original tall tale picture book, Holler Loudly, illustrated by Barry Gott (Dutton)(see sidebar for teachers guides by Shannon Morgan). Trailer by P.J. Hoover with voice-over by Tim Crow.

I also celebrated the paperback release of Eternal (Candlewick, 2010), which debuted at #5 on The New York Times bestseller list and #13 on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list. Trailer by Shayne Leighton.

Cynsational Notes

"Fireworks" by Anna Cervova from PublicDomainPictures.net.

Thanks to Debbie Gonzales, Carmen Oliver, and Mark G. Mitchell at Austin SCBWI.

Thanks to Lisa Firke of Hit Those Keys, the designer and webmaster of www.cynthialeitichsmith.com. Read a Cynsations interview with Lisa.


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 31st, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC)
Oh my gosh, thank you, Cyn. I'm completely honored and so thrilled!

I had HOLLER LOUDLY wrapped up under the Christmas tree for the 2 year old in my house - and was so excited to sit down and read it with him. Wow, we LOVED it!!! What fun! What great use of imagery and language! I predict fantastic sales. It's a keeper for sure. Congratulations!

Dec. 31st, 2010 01:30 pm (UTC)
My pleasure, Kimberley! Thank you! I'm definitely a fan.

Thanks too for sharing HOLLER LOUDLY with that special two-year-old. I'm honored!
Dec. 31st, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Thanks for the wonderful round-up of titles in 2010! And thanks for your vision, guardianship, support and celebration of children's literature. You inspire us all to create only the best for the youth of today and tomorrow.
Dec. 31st, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank you!
My pleasure! Thank you, Carmen! I'm doing work I love with people I adore--like you!
Dec. 31st, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC)
What a great list! I read a lot of YA this year, and a few favorites not listed here are Where the Truth Lies by Jessica Warman, Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, Josh Berk's funny mystery The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin, The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams, Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu, The Duff by Kody Keplinger, & Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

Wow, that's more than a few, I guess. I read a lot of good books this year. Right now I'm reading Matched by Allie Condie and can't put it down.
Dec. 31st, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for highlighting! I haven't gotten to all/most of those! It was such a booming year, especially in YA.
Dec. 31st, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC)
ooh! I just finished Matched two days ago and still in the glow of having read a great book. such writing!
Dec. 31st, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Cyn, thank you, both for including Selling Hope in this list of super-star titles, and for the list as a whole. My TBR list just grew. :-) Happy of New Year to you and yours!
Dec. 31st, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank you!
Hooray! Thank YOU for writing such an amazing book!
Dec. 31st, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
Have you seen the picture book Chalk by Bill Thomson? We just read it and fell in love with the wordless story. Truly brilliant artwork and story telling. Just thought I'd mention it. Bill Thomson under the Craft & Career section for Cynsations? Plus, Greg will love the dinosaur! Happy New Year!
Dec. 31st, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Chalk
Thanks! Not yet, but I'll definitely take a look. Did you find it at BookPeople? (Go dinosaurs!)
Jan. 2nd, 2011 10:35 am (UTC)
Re: Chalk
Actually, we found it when we returned some books to the Round Rock library. We checked it out. I haven't looked to see if B&N carries it yet or not. Sorry I can't be more helpful. Hugs.
Dec. 31st, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
Woo! Love how you organized this list! Must look for some of these!
Dec. 31st, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I had a lot of fun putting it together!
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 1st, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Happy New Year!
Jan. 1st, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks for putting me on the list Miss Cyn! I am honored to be in such illustrious company!

One book that totally blew my socks off was HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS. Boy, was that brilliant!

And congratulations on all your accomplishments! You are an inspiration to all of us!
Jan. 1st, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Robin! And totally agreed on HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS! Yowza!
Jan. 1st, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Cyn, for Including Time to Pray on this list. I'm honored.
Jan. 1st, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow!
Thank you, Maha! It's a beautiful book in every way!
Jan. 1st, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC)
Such an honor!
Thank you for including The Red Umbrella on your list. Knowing how involved you are in the children's book writing community (and how much you read) makes it an especially great honor! You've made my 2011 begin with a smile!
Jan. 2nd, 2011 11:41 am (UTC)
Re: Such an honor!
Thank YOU, Christina! It's a gorgeous book in every way.
Jan. 2nd, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
Um, WOW!!!!!!!!
Jan. 2nd, 2011 11:42 am (UTC)
Yes, much to WOW! about! Looking forward to NOODLE AND LOU!
Jan. 4th, 2011 11:17 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing...and of course for the nod for Dark Deeps. Hope the next year for you is glorious, fun and productive and restful and... well happy new year!
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! Thank you for a terrific read, and Happy New Year!
Jan. 4th, 2011 12:28 pm (UTC)
Love the Kid-Lit Round-up!
It's a huge honor to be included in your list! And congrats on making the NYT Bestseller list again. Best wishes for 2011.
Jan. 4th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Love the Kid-Lit Round-up!
My pleasure! Thank you for a wonderful book and many blessings to you in the new year!
Jan. 11th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
Hey Cyn,

I'm a little late in checking out your list (holiday crazies, followed by a bad cold and then compiling my own list.) But thanks for the reminder of Selling Hope. I'd forgotten the name but knew there was a book out there I wanted.
Jan. 11th, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! I hope that the cold and crazies are both behind you now!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

about me & cynsations

Cynthia is a New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of fiction for young readers. Graphic novelist. Fond of cats, comics, and cocoa.

Cynsations is a source for conversations, publishing information, literacy and free speech advocacy, writer resources, inspiration, news in children's and teen literature, and author outreach.

Note: via various means and mirror sites, Cynsations has about 6,000 regular subscribers and averages 80,000 page views a month.

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