More 2013 Favorites

Back in June, I posted a list of my favorite books of the year at that point.  Here are the books that made the list for the second half of the year.

  • Journey_by_Aaron_Becker1Wild by Emily Hughes – You can’t tame everything.  You might remember this book from this post. (Ages 4-8)
  • Journey by Aaron Becker – Beautiful wordless book.  The trailer gives a peek into the magic. (Ages 4-8)
  • Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden – A poem turned into a picture book that looks at changes with a gentle touch. (Ages 4-8)
  • The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt – Fun and different. (Ages 4-8)
  • Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo – Great mix of humor and heart.  This was my Book Pick in September. (Ages 8-12)
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan – I love pretty much anything David Levithan does in books, and this one was particularly good.  I had more to say about it in this post. (Teen)
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – If I could only choose one book by this author, I’d choose Eleanor & Park for sure, but Fangirl is a close second.  (Teen/Adult)
  • A look inside What the Heart Knows by Joyce Sidman.

    A look inside What the Heart Knows by Joyce Sidman.

    What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings by Joyce Sidman – The subtitle of this book of poems threw me off a bit, but once I gave it a chance, I found a lovely tribute to the power of words.  (Teen/Adult)

  • Handling the Truth by Beth Kephart – I’m still dreaming of writing, and this book fueled the dream. (Adult)

The best book I read in 2013 was  an old favorite that I reread in anticipation of the movie version, which I still haven’t seen.  The Book Thief was just as good as I remembered it, and I highly recommend it if you have yet to read it.

What were your favorite reads of 2013?

My favorite books of 2013 (so far)

We’re six months into 2013, and my running favorites list has already gotten long enough to share.  Here are the seven books I’ve loved so far this year:

  • howtoHow To by Julie Morstad  - This picture book is simple and nostalgic.  It is for anyone who wants to remember what being a kid was like.  I don’t know if it will have tons of kid appeal, but the Mindy appeal is through the roof.  (All ages)
  • The Big Wet Balloon by Liniers – Anyone who has a sibling and a heart will probably at least “aww” a little at this book.  It’s an easy-to-read graphic novel, and it’ll be available in English and in Spanish in September.  (Ages 5-8)
  • The Sleepwalkers by Viviane Schwarz – The Sleepwalkers will save you from your nightmares.  They are the superheroes of your dreams, but they are training in new heroes in this graphic novel.  So we get to watch the new Sleepwalkers take on scary-weird dream stuff of the night.  It’s all about empowering kids to face their fears, and I love it.  (Ages 7-10)
  • Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler – You remember this one from last week’s post, right?  (Teen)
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – This is the book that everyone in the library world has been talking about.  It took me a while to get it from the library because there was already a long list by the time I added my name to it.  I guess I kind of thought that it wouldn’t live up to the hype since I’d heard and read so many of my colleagues gushing about it.  I was wrong.  All the hype is deserved.  I adored this book. (Teen)
  • Relish by Lucy Knisley – I must recommend this book to all of my foodie friends, if not for the delightful coming-of-age food-related memoir stuff,  then for the visual recipes throughout.  Very cool.  (Teen/Adult)
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Fowler – This is kind of an unusual novel.  It took me a bit to get into it, but once it grabbed my attention, it kept it.  A couple of reviews have advised readers to avoid spoilers on this one, so if you are the sort who likes to be surprised, don’t research too much.  Just give it a chance.  I think you’ll be surprised.  (Teen/Adult)

What 2013 releases have you read and loved?  What are you looking forward to?

You Are Stardust

I read the first line of You Are Stardust: “Every tiny atom in your body came from a star that exploded long before you were born.”  My 4 year-old interrupted, “Is that true?”  She is the child of skeptics, and I could hear the disbelief in her voice.  I had to smile as I assured her it is, indeed, true.

I mentioned You Are Stardust in a recent post I contributed to Parents Beyond Belief about gift books for secular families, and I’ll probably bring it up again because it is easily my favorite picture book of 2012.  I could go on and on about science and wonder, but you read this blog so you know how I feel about that already. ;)

I really want you to see inside this book.  The illustrations are rather extraordinary. Take a look:

 

 

Here’s a video that shows the making of the book and there’s more cool stuff, including a teacher’s guide, here.

More about the book:

  • Julie Danielson said on the Kirkus blog, “Don’t miss this one, which begs to be shared intimately with children. Gather together, be still, and learn how we are stardust.”
  • Illustrator Soyeon Kim talks about her work in this “extraordinary debut” at Shelf Awareness.
  • More from inside the book in this Scientific American blog post.

 

A portion of purchases made from Amazon.com links on this site benefit Proper Noun Blog.  Thanks for your support!

Local love

I love Minneapolis.  Other people love it too.  Here’s the video to prove it:

Why We’re Here: Twin Cities from Seven and Sixty Productions on Vimeo.

With all the possibilities around the world, what is the “it” that keeps people here in the Twin Cities? We suspected the answer to the question “Why We’re Here” was both simple and incredibly nuanced — worthy of art. We took our camera to the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul to find people willing to talk, unscripted, on film. The result is our collective love poem to the Twin Cities.

Why We’re Here: Twin Cities is a six-minute film that explores what unites us, and unites us here, in the Twin Cities. Filmed on location the spring and summer of 2010 in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, the film features an original score by John Munson of the New Standards, the Twilight Hours, Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare, camerawork by Adam Olson and editing by Sam Heyn.

Visit http://www.sevenandsixtyproductions.com to post your response and tell us, with all the possibilities that exist in the world, why you’re living where you do.

Produced in association with the Minnesota Culture Club. Visit them at http://mncultureclub.com.

I’m a Minnesotan by birth, but I didn’t spend much of my childhood here.  Somehow I found myself in the Twin Cities as an adult, and I’m not planning to leave any time soon.  I’m not sure when it happened, but this has become my home.  I feel a Twin Cities pride when I read books like Julia Gillian and the Art of Knowing and see familiar places pop up (including Magers and Quinn, Our Kitchen, Bryant Hardware, and Quang).  I feel excited to take friends or family who visit to my favorite restaurants (Pizza Luce, Nick and Eddie, or one of the many sushi places around here).  And let’s not even start on music.  Okay, fine.  We have POS, Gospel Gossip, Red Pens, HighTV (my partner’s band).  We are always finding great new local music or, in my partner’s case, making it. :)

It’s been a long winter.  I think everyone is ready for spring.  But I can still manage to feel nostalgic for the almost-winter described in Sister Mischief, an upcoming YA novel by Minnesota native Laura Goode:

Fall is a heady apple-tree season in Minnesota; the sinking feeling of winter hasn’t quite sunk, and the wind is aromatic with embering pumpkins and unpacked quilts and dirty, wet red leaves and a distinct, immodest scent of anticipation veiled over it all.

The quote is from the ARC, and the book doesn’t come out until July of this year.  I tried to wait to post it, but I was too enthusiastic to wait any longer.  The book, much like Julia Gillian, is a love letter to the TC.   I might be a bit biased to liking it given my affinity for the area.  With that in mind, I’m recommending it to you.  :)

I’m also recommending Minneapolis.  If you need more reasons to love it: Citypages offers 50.