As Christmas lists go, it can be tough competing with Xboxes, GAMECUBES and Pokemon, but among the batch of children's books bestowed with awards in 2001 there are some serious contenders.
The American Library Association's 2001 list of notable children's books travels across the English Channel, to the Dominican Republic, to Madagascar.There are Lakota warriors, history-making blizzards and adventures at sea. Some books for older children confront war and AIDS. And, of course, there's good old Harry.
Whether the reader on your Christmas list is 2 or 12, this was a good year for children's books as the abridged list that follows can attest. And if your heart belongs to timeless classics, there's room on our list for those, too. Billie M. Levy of West Hartford, who co-founded and donated more than 8,000 books to UConn's Northeast Children's Literature collection, offers some classic titles from her should-read roster.
2001's Notable Children's Books
"America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle"By David Adler; illustrated by Terry Widener; Harcourt/Gulliver.Ederle's determination to be the first woman to swim the English Channel, 21 arduous miles of cold, choppy water, leads to personal triumph and a victory for all womankind. "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type"By Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Betsy Lewin; Simon & Schuster.Using the barnyard typewriter, Farmer Brown's cows draft ultimatums, while negotiating better living conditions for all the farm animals. Caldecott Honor Book. "Olivia"By Ian Falconer; Atheneum/Anne Schwartz.The days of one irrepressible pig are busy from morning to night, as Olivia excels at everything, including wearing people out. Caldecott Honor Book. "Wemberly Worried"By Kevin Henkes; Greenwillow.Wemberly worries about everything, especially about beginning nursery school. Her courage grows with family support and a successful first day. "Virgie Goes to School With Us Boys"By Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard; illustrated by E.B. Lewis; Simon & Schuster.Virgie, a spunky young African-American girl living in the post-Civil War South, is determined to join her brothers at the local Quaker school. King Illustrator Honor Book. "In Every Tiny Grain of Sand: A Child's Book of Prayers and Praise"Reeve Lindbergh (editor); illustrated by Christine Davenier, Bob Graham, Anita Jeram and Elisa Klevan; Candlewick Press.A diverse collection of prayers, affirmations and poems in praise of God, nature and the good things in life is supported by joyous, colorful illustrations. "Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888"By Ernest Lawrence Thayer; illustrated by Christopher Bing; Handprint.In the format of an aging 1888 scrapbook, the immortal ballad of Ernest Thayer finds new life through Christopher Bing's innovative treatment. Pen and ink scratchboard "engravings" are seamlessly blended with memorabilia and trompe l'oeil recreations in an homage to the great American pastime. Caldecott Honor Book. MIDDLE READERS "Digging for Bird-Dinosaurs: An Expedition to Madagascar"By Nic Bishop; Houghton Mifflin.Paleontologist Cathy Forster travels to Madagascar in search of fossils that will further explore her research on the relationship between dinosaurs and birds. "Crazy Horse's Vision"By Joseph Bruchac; illustrated by S.D. Nelson; Lee & Low Books.Embodying the spirit and culture of the legendary Lakota warrior, this fictionalized biography focuses on his journey to adulthood. "Because of Winn-Dixie"By Kate DiCamillo; Candlewick Press.During her first summer in a Florida town, Opal's yearning for her missing mother and companionship leads the young girl to her first new friend - an ugly dog with a winning smile. Newbery Honor Book. "Joey Pigza Loses Control"By Jack Gantos; Farrar Straus & Giroux.Joey, much calmer and in control of his life since starting his "good meds," spends his summer with his out-of-control father and eccentric grandmother, trying to pitch his father's baseball team to the championships. Newbery Honor Book. "The Doll People"By Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin; illustrated by Brian Selznick; Hyperion.Annabelle Doll has been 8 years old for over 100 years. Being cooped up in the same dollhouse with the same people is boring - until the pink plastic Funcrafts arrive. "Surviving Brick Johnson"By Laurie Myers; illustrated by Dan Yaccarino; Clarion.Fifth-grader Alex discovers that the classmate he fears as bully is nothing of the sort - in fact, he becomes a friend. With an open format and quirky, humorous illustrations, it's a perfect choice for reluctant readers. "So You Want to be President?"By Judith St. George; illustrated by David Small; Philomel.Entertaining trivia, intriguing scandals and thought-provoking lessons embellish an overview of the presidency and the men who lead our country. Caldecott Medal Winner. OLDER READERS "Kit's Wilderness"By David Almond; Delacorte.In an old coal-mining town, 13-year-old Kit meets a boy who invites him to play the game of "Death," and discovers the stories and ghosts of his child-ancestors. Printz Award Winner. "Samir and Yonatan"Daniella Carmi (Translated from Hebrew by Yael Lotan); Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic Press.Samir, a Palestinian boy, enters an Israeli hospital for surgery. The initial fear and antagonism that he feels is mitigated by his bond with Yonatan, an Israeli. Batchelder Medal Winner. "The Longitude Prize"By Joan Dash; illustrated by Dusan Petricic; Farrar Straus & Giroux/Frances Foster Books.Set in the historical framework of the 18th century, "The Longitude Prize" chronicles the invention of a seagoing clock by John Harrison and the surrounding scientific, economic and political activity of 18th-century Great Britain. Petricic's black-and-white illustrations chart with levity Harrison's drive to solve the longitude problem with his clocks and his struggle to receive recognition for his ultimate achievement. Sibert Honor Book. "The Color of My Words"By Lynn Joseph; HarperCollins/Joanna Cotler.A young writer in the Dominican Republic discovers her daring words have power to build community, threaten life and keep the memory of her beloved brother alive. "The Art of Keeping Cool"By Janet Taylor Lisle; Atheneum/Richard Jackson.Set during World War II, two cousins face family secrets and community violence aimed at a refugee from Nazi Germany, raising questions about mob mentality, creativity and survival. "Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America"By Jim Murphy; Scholastic.A gripping account of one of America's great natural disasters, the Blizzard of 1888, focuses on the "human-interest" side with personal writings, newspaper articles and archival photographs. Sibert Honor Book. "Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned"By Judd Winick; Henry Holt.Cartoonist Winick tells the true story of his friendship with AIDS-educator Pedro Zamora in a graphic-novel format. Important lessons are presented in a style friendly to young teens. Learning from the friend he met on MTV's "The Real World," Winick continues Pedro's work even after his death. Sibert Honor Book. ALL AGES "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"By J.K. Rowling; illustrated by Mary Grandpre; Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine.As he enters his fourth year at Hogwart's, Harry suffers bad dreams about the evil Voldemort and is mysteriously entered in the Triwizard Tournament that endangers his very life. For a complete list of the ALA's 2001 Notable Children's Books, visit www.ala.org/alsc/. (Click on Children's Notables.) Levy's List of Classics Little Bear, by Elsa Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak (illustrator), Harpercollins. Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss, Random House. Doctor De Soto, by William Steig, Farrar Straus & Giroux. Frog and Toad Are Friends, by Arnold Lobel, Harpercollins. Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard, James Marshall, Houghton Mifflin Co. Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola, Simon & Schuster. Andy and The Lion, by James Daugherty, Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, by Bernard Waber, Houghton Mifflin Co. Rumpelstiltskin, Paul O. Zelinsky (illustrator), a Grimms fairy tale, Dutton Children's Books. Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group. Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt, Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Sounder, by William H. Armstrong, James Barkley (illustrator), HarperCollins Children's. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, HarperCollins Children's Books. The Dark Is Rising Sequence, by Susan Cooper, Simon & Schuster Trade. Ramona Quimby, by Beverly Cleary, Alan Tiegreen (illustrator), Morrow, William & Co. James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl, Lane Smith (illustrator), Penguin USA. Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh, Bantam Doubleday Dell. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George, John Schoenherr (illustrator), HarperCollins. M.C. Higgins, the Great, by Virginia Hamilton, Symeon Shimin (illustrator), Simon & Schuster Children's. The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, Viking Penguin. Red Wall series, by Brian Jacques, Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E. L. Konigsburg, Simon & Schuster Children's. Ben and Me, by Robert Lawson, Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, Bantam Doubleday Dell. Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, Pauline Baynes (illustrator), HarperCollins Publishers. The Story of Doctor Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting, Dell Publishing Co. The Giver, by Lois Lowry, Bantam Doubleday Dell. Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan, HarperCollins Children's. Homer Price, by Robert McCloskey, Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard (illustrator), Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery, Bantam Books. The Borrowers, by Mary Norton, Joe Krush (illustrator), Harcourt. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson, Donna Diamond (illustrator), HarperCollins Children's Books. Twenty-One Balloons, by William Paene Du Bois, Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls, Dell Publishing Co. Crickett in Times Square, by George Selden, Garth Williams (illustrator), Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers. The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare, Barry Moser (illustrator), Houghton Mifflin Co. Abel's Island, by William Steig, Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor, Jerry Pinkney, Penguin USA, ISBN: 014034893X. Mary Poppins, by Pamela L. Travers, Mary Shepard (illustrator), Harcourt. Charlotte's Web, E.B. White, Garth Williams (illustrator), HarperCollins Children's Books. Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times