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Happy New Year !

Looking back over the previous year is one of the great pleasures of the first weeks of the New Year. This is a time of list making, reviewing and picking the *bests* of last year, even as we anticipate all the exciting new things coming our way.

In the spirit of reflection, we at The Voracious Reader would like to offer you our favorites of 2007 ... some of the more wonderful books in all categories, in the hopes that, if you haven't yet discovered them, you'll make time for them in 2008.

The only thing more fun than making recommendations is getting them, so we encourage you to tell us what your favorites of 2007 are.
We'd love to hear from you.

And now ... our picks:

Favorites of '07


Kim's picks:

The Daring Book for Girls
Andrea J. Buchanan & Miriam Peskowitz

Do you know how to make a quill pen, build a campfire or tree swing, or tie a sari? Would you be able to use the word "brobdingnagian" in a sentence, or use the rules of public speaking to negotiate a salary? If you answered "no" to any of the above, and are a female between the ages of 8 and 108, you will love this book! "The Daring Book for Girls" is a practical reference for girls of all ages, with content ranging from biographies of influential women in history, to instructions for weaving a friendship bracelet. It is sure to ignite the independent spirits of all who open its cover!

Recomended for ages 8 and up

Do Unto Otters
Laurie Keller

"Do unto otters as you would have otters do unto you". In a picture book teeming with fun, fresh, and often hilarious illustrations, Laurie Keller presents the importance of good manners from the perspective of a rabbit who is wary of his new neighbors, the otters. "Do Unto Otters" is a truly original book, full of humor and sound instructions for polite young readers.

Recomended for ages 4 - 7


Ginny's choice:

A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Linda Urban


Zoe, the 10-year-old protagonist, learns the valuable lesson that sometimes we have to adjust our perfect dreams to fit reality. In Zoe's case, her dream of being a piano prodigy is not quite realized when her socially-anxious dad comes home with a Perfectone D60 organ instead. But she adjusts and figures out, with practice, she can be a pretty darn-good organist! When her best friend tells her she's been replaced, she's soon chosen to be the friend of Wheeler, the school's lonely, misunderstood bully. A Crooked Kind of Perfect is quick, light and funny without being pretentious and touches on lots of typical middle school issues without seeming preachy.

Recommended for ages 8-12


Francine's picks:

The Absolutely True Diary
of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie

The story of a 14 year old Native American boy, based on Alexie's own experiences, as he observes and attempts to break free of reservation life filled with poverty and despair, will break your heart at the same time it has you rolling with earthy laughter. His big break comes with acceptance into a fancy all-white school, along with alienation from friends and family and some survivor's guilt as well. An astonishingly true-hearted book, it's already won the National Book Award. You can listen to Alexie read an excerpt here.

Recommended for ages 12 and up

The Magic Rabbit
by Annette Leblanc Cate

This delightful debut picture book is a simple story about a pair of friends: Ray the Magician and his loyal rabbit assistant, Bunny. Charmingly detailed in black and white illustrations, hand lettering, storyboard formatting, this is a tale of lost and found as Bunny gets jarringly separated from Ray.The only touch of color in this quietly reassuring tale belongs to the magical yellow stars that lead Bunny back to Ray. As they gaze up at the night sky, reunited, one gets the sense that each would truly be lost without the other.Full of gentle whimsy and subtly layered, this is a beautiful bedtime or anytime story to share with a 3 to 6 year old.


Liv's*
favorites:


My Friend is Sad
by Mo Willems

The talented writer/illustrator of Knuffle Bunny fame has started a new series about two characters, Gerald the careful Elephant and Piggie, who is not so careful. My Friend is Sad,is not a sad book. It is sweet and funny and perfect for emergent readers. Easy to read, great illustrations and keeps the adults even more entertained than the kids.

Recommended for early readers

Peak
by Roland Smith

Peak is the name of the hero of this book. A 14 year old living in NYC with his mom, step dad and twin half-sisters, Peak is a mountain climber. Except, due to a lack of mountains, he's taken to climbing skyscrapers. Which leads to some trouble with the law and the arrival of his long lost father who wants Peak to climb Mt. Everest with him.

The details about climbing; the equipment, the sherpas, the stink and the temperatures throw in much to contend with, but that ain't nothin' compared to life with dad. Along the way, Peak meets monks, Chinese officials and another young man his age. The story is fun, exciting and recommended for young boys who think books are boring.

Book of a Thousand Days
by Shannon Hale

The story of a Princess and her hand-maid locked in a tower together for what is meant to be a seven year stay. What a warm, wonderful story that Dashti, the hand-maid tells of her life in service to her Princess. This story of love, loss, fear and belief is a page turner. Dashti, is one of those characters you are loathe to leave.

For readers 12 and up


Mike's picks:


The Book
Thief
by Markus Zusak
(new in paperback 2007)


"Small fact- You are going to die. Reaction-Does this worry you? I urge you-don't be afraid. I'm nothing if not fair."
From the moment you pick this New York Times # 1 Bestseller up you are
engrossed. Told from the perspective of Death, this moving tale of a young girl in
Nazi Germany is a compelling read. Liesel's foster parents are too poor to
buy books, so she must steal them. Marcus Zusak, a young Australian writer,
packs a lot of emotion into a book that the New York times calls 'Brilliant and
hugely ambitious.' Written as a young adult novel, this important book is
making the rounds of adult book clubs as well.

The Wall
Peter Sis

This long awaited autobiographical modern picture classic/ graphic novel
tells the story of Czechoslovakia under the rule of the communist regime. Peter
Sis's brilliant use and non-use of color give the feeling of the rigidity of
the communist regime and the eventual freedom when the communist party falls.
This book is a must read for those who are interested in, or who lived through
that time period. A great discussion prompting book for an adult to share with
a child.

Recommended for ages 8 and up

*Okay, that's NOT Liv, as she didn't have a photo available, but really, isn't she the image of Hilary Swank?

Check back soon for reviews of the new crop of 2008, or better yet, come visit us and see them first hand!