It is hard to believe that 2015 has already come and gone. It has been an extremely busy year for me professionally and personally. I took some time to look back on my Goodreads page at all the books I have read in 2015. I often paused to say, "oh yeah, I loved that book". I shared my favorite nonfiction picture books published in 2015 yesterday on Kidlit Frenzy's Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. So today I am sharing the fiction picture books, novels and graphic novels published in 2015 that I really loved. I have not provided a review, but please click on the covers to go to the Goodreads page for each book if you are interested in learning more. Here they are in no particular order.
My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.
It has been far too long since I paid attention to my blog and post much of anything. Today I would like to share five of my favorite nonfiction picture books from 2015. I have not provided a review, but click on the title to learn more about each book. It was very hard to narrow it down, but here they are in no particular order.
The classic song gets a fresh new twist! The fun begins when Grandma and Grandpa send invitations to their far-flung, modern, and multiracial family: Come to our house for the holidays—and bring your favorite pie!Off everyone goes, driving down snowy roads, riding the train, boarding a plane . . . even sailing along in a hot-air balloon. As each family faces an obstacle that delays their trip, they learn that sometimes the most old-fashioned form of transportation works best . . . NEIGH!
Even though this song/story is usually thought of as a Thanksgiving tale, the holiday in this book is not specific. The snowy scenes and sleigh make it feel like the holiday could also be Christmas with family traveling to be together.
While I am not always a fan of books that rhyme, this book makes it work. By the end of the book I can imagine the children shouting "Neigh" each time the sleigh arrives to help more family members.
The illustrations are bold, colorful and have an appealing realistic yet cartoonish quality. Each page is filled from top to bottom with color.
Over the River and Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure would make a great addition to any holiday collection.
See what others have to say about Over the River and Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure.
The Twelve Days of Christmas in Vermont by Toni Buzzeo Illustrated by Liza Woodruff Published October, 2015 Sterling Publishing Hardcover 32 Pages Review copy provided by publisher Summary Grace gets to visit her cousin Camden and tour New England for 12 days. Each day cousin Camden gives her something related to the state they are in. Grace writes letters back to her Mom and Dad about her trip which tell the story and provide the reader with interesting information about each of the New England states.
Don't let this little picture book fool you, it is much more than just an adorable story of two cousins touring New England. Toni Buzzeo naturally weaves in information about each state in a way that the readers will barely notice they are learning about each state. As a lifelong New Englander, I can tell you that Buzzeo and Woodruff do a fabulous job together presenting information and capturing the feel of New England in the winter. There are also things that I learned about New England. Did you that Rocky Hill Connecticut has a state park called Dinosaur State Park with large prehistoric animals and hundreds of fossilized tracks? Me either!
I would definitely recommend this books for any child ages 5-9 (publisher's range). It will definitely be reading to to my 4th graders. It would make a great addition to a classroom library or a gift for a New England child or a relative "from away".
See what others have to say about The Twelve Days of Christmas in New England.
Mina's White Canvas by Hyeon-Ju Lee Published 2015 Peter Pauper Press 38 Pages Fiction-Picture Book Review copy provided by publisher Goodreads Summary
When young artist Mina looks up at the cold winter sky, she is struck with an idea. And as she draws with her crayon, something magical begins. Her canvas expands to the snowy world beyond -- a world in which Mina uses her creativity to help others, forge new friendships, and make memories to warm the heart for seasons to come.
This gorgeous book reminds me of Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson which I LOVE! It is a sweet story of how Mina uses her crayon (which can draw in many colors) to escape the boredom of a gray, gloomy winter day. It takes her on an adventure through the snowy forest where she meets several different woodland creatures, each with a problem which she helps solve using her artistic ability and her special crayon.
The illustrations are beautiful, soft and often appear to be colored in crayon. With lots of white space for snow, the colorful scenery, animals and Mina pop from the page. I can see little ones wanting to look at this one very closely.
I would highly recommend Mina's White Canvas for any K-2 classroom or school library.
See what others have to say about Mina's White Canvas.
The sweet tale of Lakota, the shy wolf pup, is sure to touch the heart of any animal lover. Readers will marvel at Lakota's strength growing up as the lowest-ranking and frequently picked-on member of a wolf pack until he finally finds that supportive and nurturing friend he's always wanted. The book also introduces young readers to the need for conservation awareness: through Lakota's life story, readers will come to understand the many challenges wolves in the wild face today.
My Thoughts Oh my word! Even in the wild, all you need is one good friend who has your back. I just loved this sweet story of friendship and the fact that it is true, makes it all the sweeter. Husband and wife team Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived among the wolves for six years in a tented camp in the mountains of Idaho. They studied wolf behavior in an attempt to show the world how intelligent and social these animals are. Although Lakota was physically the largest, his timid, mild personality put him at the bottom of the social hierarchy. He was picked on by other members of his pack and forced to submit to them. But one pack member, Matsi, never joined in the bullying. Finally Matsi had enough of the others cruelty and he stuck up for Lakota by putting himself between Lakota and the others. Things change for Lakota as his friendship with Matsi develops. As one would expect with National Geographic, the pictures are just gorgeous and take up most of the page. I would recommend Lakota's beautiful story for grades 1-4.
Every week, Ruth Ayres over at Discover. Play. Build. invites people to share celebrations from their week.Please visit and consider linking up your own celebration.
Thanks to Ruth for providing a platform for me to share my big and small celebrations. This year's NCTE convention was a whirlwind of activity as usual. I was thrilled to be able to have two of my colleagues, Anna Sedenka and Lynne Walsh with me. We had so much fun learning and talking together!
But I missed my friend Susan Dee who brought me to my first NCTE 3 years ago, so I decided to bring her along with me. Flat Susan met many new people and connected with old friends.
Pernille Ripp and Jillian Heisse
I had many fangirl moments meeting authors I admire.
At The Nerdy gathering with Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Nikki Loftin
Ok, so I did not meet her, but I LOVE Kate DiCamillo! Hearing her speak was a huge thrill!
Then there are MY nerds!! I love being able to call this group of passionate educators my friends!