Select Category:

> Picture Books

> Middle Readers

> Teen Readers

> Poetry

> Graphic Novels

Book Sense Picks for children is a seasonal selection of eclectic new books chosen by independent booksellers.

Winter 2013

Fall 2012

Summer 2012

Spring 2012

Spring 2011

Winter 2011

Fall 2010

Summer 2010

Spring 2010

Winter 2009

Fall 2009

Summer 2009

Spring 2009

Winter 2008/2009

— Fall 2008

— Spring 2008

Fall 2007

— Summer 2007

Favorites of 2007












































































































Feb 19, 2008

1. MY MOST EXCELLENT YEAR: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park, by Steve Kluger, "In one of the most genuine books of the year, Kluger brings to life an endearing group of teenagers. This realistic fiction has multiple love stories, bravely including a young gay man's first crush. The characters love Red Sox baseball, Broadway musicals, their parents, a deaf orphan child, and each other! A must-read for this spring!" --Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT Available in March

2. ALLIE FINKLE'S RULES FOR GIRLS: Moving Day, by Meg Cabot "The diary I wish I had kept when I was nine years old, and a celebration of the run-on sentence in all its glory. Allie is instantly likable, and you can't help but admire her for dedicating herself to being a good person by learning from the mistakes of others." --Isabel de Anda, Booksmart, Morgan Hill, CA

3. RUNEMARKS, by Joanne Harris "This tale, nestled in Norse mythology, tells of Maddy: an outsider to her own village, reviled for the 'ruin' mark she was born with. By the novel's conclusion, though, she's learned what her rune means and discovered her place in the tapestry of gods, goblins, and regular folk at the beginning of a new world. This wise narrative of courage, hope, and sacrifice will appeal to people of all ages." --Trevor Kirk, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Oakland, CA

4. WAITING FOR NORMAL: A Novel, by Leslie Connor "Addie and her mom are forced to move to a trailer in downtown Schenectady, where Addie learns to cope with a life that is unsafe. Friends, family, and undaunted spirit save Addie -- and her wait for 'normal' proves worth it. A wonderful, warm novel for the middle-grader." --Carol Stoltz, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

5. NEVER TAKE A SHARK TO THE DENTIST: And Other Things Not to Do, by Judi Barrett, John Nickle (Illus.) "This wonderful picture book combines humor, animal facts, and extraordinary art to capture the imagination of young and old. What if you sat next to a porcupine on the subway? Or went shoe shopping with a centipede? This gem from the author of the beloved Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs will spark both laughter and your own list of animal 'don'ts.'" --Gayle Wingerter, Inklings Bookshop, Yakima, WA

6. STEEL TRAPP: The Challenge, by Ridley Pearson "Here comes Stephen 'Steel' Trapp, a 14-year-old science geek with a photographic memory. His mysteriously absent father, a suspicious briefcase found on the way to the National Science Challenge, the attractive Kaileigh, and a federal agent add up to a great adventure. Great for boys age 10 and up, readers and nonreaders alike." --Jeanne Snyder, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL Available in late March

7. PRIMAVERA: A Novel, by Mary Jane Beaufrand "Primavera, by bookseller Mary Jane Beaufrand, is an exciting, brutal look at the Medici and Pazzi families during the Italian Renaissance. She has truly captured the time period in this absolutely riveting book. Flora, a Pazzi daughter, tells the story of how power, corruption, art, and desire left her family in ruins, even as she found her own way through destruction and death." --Rene Kirkpatrick, All For Kids Books & Music, Seattle, WA

8. WINSTON OF CHURCHILL: One Bear's Battle Against Global Warming, by Jean Davies Okimoto, Jeremiah Trammell (Illus.) "Winston, a polar bear from Churchill, Manitoba, organizes a protest against global warming: The bears aren't going to act cute for the tourists anymore. But Winston's wife wonders if his cigar-smoking habit might also be contributing to the problem. This clever, beautifully drawn book teaches the lesson that real change starts at home, in a story that will appeal to both kids and parents." -- Rich Rennicks, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC

9. GALLOP!: A Scanimation Picture Book, by Rufus Butler Seder "Seder used Scanimation, a new technology, to create this wonderful book's old-time 'animation' feel. Watching the animals move along the pages is fascinating. A perfect gift for young and old alike." --Jennifer Siegel, Anderson's Bookshop, Downers Grove, IL

10. LOGAN'S JOURNEY, by Kathy Heath, Karla Martin, Theresa Ornoff (Illus.) "This children's book is a gem for every family. It discusses adoption and celebrates family in all its forms. Beautiful illustrations complete this delightful tale." --Lori Peters, Wild About Books, Clearlake, CA

Picture Books

APE, by Martin Jenkins, Vicky White (Illus.) "A beautiful nonfiction picture book about the five great apes. Jenkins presents simple facts children will find interesting, and White's glorious, haunting illustrations depict the protective orangutan mother, the feisty chimp, the social bonobo, and the gentle gorilla. Jenkins ends by pointing out the fifth great ape, the human, and our responsibility to preserve the environment for these amazing 'relatives.'" --Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

HOW TO PAINT THE PORTRAIT OF A BIRD, by Jacques Prevert, Mordicai Gerstein (Illus.) "Gerstein's vibrant illustrations bring Prevert's poem to life. A young child is given instructions for painting a bird's portrait, and, as each page is read and reflected upon, the two-dimensional magically becomes three-dimensional and the whole world seems alive. This delightful book will speak, if not sing, to you." --Beth Reynolds, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

I LOVE YOU, SUN, I LOVE YOU, MOON, by Karen Pandell, Tomie de Paola (Illus.) "If you're trying to teach your children to approach the world with love, then this reissue in board book is just right for you. The simple text and childlike illustrations honor the earth and all its creatures." --Elisabeth Grant-Gibson, Windows a bookshop, Monroe, LA

IVY + BEAN BREAK THE FOSSIL RECORD, by Annie Barrows, Sophie Blackall (Illus.) "Ms. Aruba-Tate creates a spark in the hearts of her second graders by giving Bean a copy of The Amazing Book of World Records. Bean convinces her best friend Ivy of the importance of being the youngest record-holder, and this sassy pair begin a quest to find a task they can accomplish. Will the perfect team set a new world record?" --Sarah Durkin, Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, CA

LADYBUG GIRL, by Jacky Davis and David Soman (Illus.) "Nobody has time for Lulu, but no problem. The backyard is full of challenges, and Lulu, now Ladybug Girl, accepts the call. With her wings and her boots on, she saves ants, clears puddles, and jumps into your heart. Here is a pitch-perfect picture book for every preschooler who has felt unappreciated." --Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC Available in March

A LOT OF OTTERS, by Barbara Helen Berger "A child floats in a box and reads a bedtime story as friendly otters drift nearby. Tears from Mother Moon fall into the sea and turn into stars. The otters frolic with the stars, catching Mother Moon's attention, and she swoops down to cradle her sleepy child. As in Berger's Grandfather Twilight, the steady, soothing rhythm and gentle, lush illustrations create a sense of calm and peace." --Ellen Davis, Dragonwings Bookstore, Waupaca, WI

MOUSE NOSES ON TOAST, by Daren King, David Roberts (Illus.) "Ever heard of a mouse being allergic to cheese? Paul Mouse is: His behind turns blue and his tail curves into a question mark. To make matters worse, while at a neighborhood restaurant he hears a human order mouse noses on toast (with whiskers)! This fun and captivating story tells how a Christmas tree ornament, a shaggy sheepdog, and a sort-of monster help Paul remedy a dreadful situation." --Judith Lafitte, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA

POLAR BEAR PUZZLE, by Andrea Lumry and Laura Hurwitz "Riley and his family are in the arctic circle; it isn't as cold as it should be, so it's difficult for polar bears to find food. The authors use a vibrant blend of photos and illustration, facts and fiction, to create an adventure that teaches kids about global warming without being heavy-handed." --Rich Rennicks, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC

SUN AND MOON, ICE AND SNOW, by Jessica Day George "This is a glorious telling of an old, old Norweigan fairy tale that begs to be read aloud. George's narrative voice captures the tone of quiet stories told around a warm fire on a cold night. The woodcutter's family is so human, it could be mine, and there are gifts from a magical reindeer, trolls, a nameless pika determined to set things right...who could ask for more?" --Keri Holmes, The Kaleidoscope: Our Focus Is You, Hampton, IA

UNCLE BOBBY'S WEDDING, by Sarah S. Brannen "This charming and beautifully illustrated book skillfully addresses the fears of children who are 'losing' a beloved relative to marriage. In this case, that marriage is of two men whose families love them and support their relationship." --Blake Hardy, Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Atlanta, GA Available in late March

WOOLBUR, by Leslie Helakoski, Lee Harper (Illus.) "Full of great illustrations, delightful characters and an important lesson, this book tells the story of a sheep who doesn't want to follow the herd. Children and parents will love reading this laugh-out-loud-funny book over and over." --Angie Fesperman, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

Middle Readers

42 MILES, by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, Elaine Clayton (Illus.) "In compact verse, we meet JoEllen, who splits her time between her mother's tidy apartment in Cincinnati and her father's chaotic farmhouse 42 miles out in the country. She loves them both, but the divide bothers her so much she's dreading a school assignment to write an autobiography. With the arrival of her thirteenth birthday, she decides to make some changes: invite city pals to the country, take her farm accomplishments in to town, and live as one person, indivisible." --Carol B. Chittenden, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA Available in April

100 CUPBOARDS, by N.D. Wilson "A new fantasy adventure series featuring 12-year-old Henry York, who discovers cupboards of different shapes and sizes that are portals into other worlds. A dark, creepy, suspenseful read." --Barbara Wilson, Butterfly Books, De Pere, WI

AMULET BOOK ONE: The Stonekeeper, by Kazu Kibuishi "Sure to be a big hit with young graphic-novel lovers, this is a suspenseful, action-packed ride featuring terrific, full-color art by the very talented Kibuishi. Kids will clamor to get their hands on the series' next installment." --Alison L. Morris, Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, MA

BENJAMIN DOVE, by Fridrik Erlings "Four friends, ages nine to 12, are feeling helpless after an encounter with a bully. They decide to stand together and become Knights in the Order of the Red Dragon. This quality book about the good and bad power of camaraderie will keep boys interested and aid them in exploring friendship issues." --Janet Bibeau, Storybook Cove, Hanover, MA

THE BIG FIELD, by Mike Lupica "When Hutch is voted team captain, hotshot player Darryl becomes resentful, and Hutch loses his cool and lets his team down. Hutch's deep love of baseball helps him make amends and pull his team together in time for the big game. Whether or not you love sports, it's easy to get hooked by Lupica's stories." --Ellen Davis, Dragonwings Bookstore, Waupaca, WI

THE BOY WHO DARED, by Susan Campbell Bartoletti "This work of historical fiction from Newbery Honor winner Bartoletti is based on real-life experiences of Helmuth Huebner, who, as a teenager, had the courage to stand up to the Nazi regime -- with tragic consequences. The author does an outstanding job of depicting the realities of the Holocaust through the eyes of young people." --Mary Reilly-Kliss, Fireside Books and Gifts, West Bend, WI

DARKSIDE BOOK 1: Don't Turn Out the Light, by Tom Becker "Can't get enough evil? The Darkside of London is an actual place, with loathsome evil creatures. Jonathan must travel there for answers, and face a menace that makes the blood run cold. Who is Jonathan Starling, and why does he really want to go to Darkside?" --Ellen Perry, Browsing Bison Books, Deer Lodge, MT

DO NOT OPEN: An Encyclopedia of the World's Best-Kept Secrets, by John Farndon "Designed like a metal box, this is one of the coolest books I've ever seen! So many secrets are revealed, from safe-cracking to the Bermuda Triangle to telepathy, and much more. I even learned how to do a spectacular magic trick!" --Sarah Mamula, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

THE FACTTRACKER, by Jason Carter Eaton, Pascale Constantin (Illus.) "In the town of Traakerfaxx lives the Facttracker, who tracks facts; a bunch of silly townspeople, who sell the facts; and the Just Small Enough Boy, who has no facts. When the Facttracker's twin brother Ersatz convinces the people that lies are more interesting than facts, the world goes crazy. The Just Small Enough Boy must save Traakerfaxx, and truth itself, in this wonderfully Roald Dahl-ian middle reader." --Sarah Farnsworth, Briggs Carriage Bookstore, Brandon, VT

THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES, by Jody Feldman, Victoria Jamieson (Illus.) "Good fun and lots of brainteasers. There's a hero you can cheer for who gets help from an interesting assortment of friends, as honesty is rewarded. What's not to like?" --Julie Leonard, Troubadour Books, Boulder, CO

HOW DOES THE SHOW GO ON? An Introduction to the Theater, by Thomas Schumacher with Jeff Kurtti "This is a backstage pass to the theater for anyone who wants to learn the ins and outs of 'on stage' and behind the scenes. Using actual Broadway productions as examples, the authors explore every aspect of putting on a theatrical extravaganza." --Barbara Wilson, Butterfly Books, De Pere, WI

THE KEY TO RONDO, by Emily Rodda "The Langlander family have a secret even they had forgotten...until great-aunt Bethany dies and leaves a music box to Leo, the sensible cousin, and an odd and ugly pendant finds its way to Mimi, the prickly cousin. When Mimi's dog disappears into the music box with an evil queen, Leo and Mimi follow. Excitement and intrigue abound." --Ellen Perry, Browsing Bison Books, Deer Lodge, MT

THE LONDON EYE MYSTERY, by Siobhan Dowd "When Ted's cousin Salim vanishes while riding the London Eye, his family fears the worst and it's up to Ted and his sister, Kat, to figure out what happened. Ted has Aspberger's Syndrome: He has 'a funny brain that runs on a different operating system from other people's' and sees things in ways no one else does. Ted's unique perspective is the hero here, leaving us in awe, and delighted to have met him." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

SIMON BLOOM, THE GRAVITY KEEPER, by Michael Reisman "Simon, a sixth-grader, is thrilled when he discovers a book that allows him to control the laws of physics. An amazing mix of humor, science, mystery, and intrigue." --Julia Green, Front Street Books, Alpine, TX

SURPRISES ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY, by Betty G. Birney "I just love Humphrey, the introspective classroom hamster from Birney's first three According to Humphrey titles. As one young reader said: 'Humphrey is a hilarious hamster with a big imagination who is always willing to help a friend.'" --Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

SWINDLE, by Gordon Korman"When Griffin holds a sleepover in a house that's about to be demolished, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card worth millions -- but will he keep it? Think Ocean's Eleven with 11-year-olds and you'll get the picture -- it's a very fun read." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

TENNYSON, by Lesley M. M. Blume "Tennyson Fontaine and her sister Hattie are sent to live with their aunt on the rundown family plantation, Aigredoux, in depression-era Louisiana. The rich prose and fantastic imagery will delight readers as they learn the history of Aigredoux and discover whether Tennyson will become the author she yearns to be." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

TUNNELS, by Roderick Gordon, Brian Williams "Tunnels is the story of a colonial city hidden under the streets of London. Discovered by Will Burrows, son of an archaeologist, the city is accessed not by magic spells or portals, but by hard work on the part of Will and his cohort, Chester. Their anticipation grows as they dig, and the urgency of finding the now-missing Dr. Burrows draws the young men into the hidden city -- and unthinkable danger. An exciting new trilogy." --Jill Moore, Square Books, Oxford, MS

THE VANISHING CHIP: Misfits, Inc., No. 1, by Mark Delaney "Four nerdy, bright kids form a relationship around their ability to investigate mysteries in this series. A prototype computer chip on display in a museum suddenly disappears, and, as the foursome dig into the chip's disappearance, they find themselves in dire danger. A fun read that teaches a lot about the computer industry." --Bob Spear, The Book Barn, Leavenworth, KS

Teen Readers

A LITTLE FRIENDLY ADVICE, by Siobhan Vivian "When Ruby's long-lost dad shows up at her sixteenth birthday, what she thinks she knows about friends and family will be put to the test. A wonderful debut." --Jennifer Laughran, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS, by James Lecesne "A wonderful book for teens that deals not only with being different, but complex emotions and situations. A lesson in learning how much those around us affect our lives, and loving them before they are gone. I laughed, I cried, I will sell the daylights out of this book!" --Meaghan Leenaarts, Island Bookstore, Corolla, NC

HOW THEY MET, AND OTHER STORIES, by David Levithan "Full of humor, drama, and kind-hearted empathy, these stories spin to the magnetic pull of young love of all kinds: the coffee-shop love of a boy and his barista; the love song of a girl with rhymes in her heart; the love that trips you up on the down escalator; and more than one episode of crash-and-burns and bad prom misunderstandings. First-rate." --Mark Bradshaw, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS

HOW TO HOOK A HOTTIE: A Novel, by Tina Ferraro "Ferraro captures the high school voice perfectly with this enjoyable romp about a smart young girl's desire to make money, only to come up with a slightly harebrained plan that is not what she bargained for. A good, fun read for girls 14 and older." --Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

THE OPPOSITE OF INVISIBLE, by Liz Gallagher "This is the story of an ordinary girl with problems we can relate to. Alice discovers the confidence to be herself, the opposite of invisible. She acquires and loses her first boyfriend, makes new friends, and finds a new artistic medium to explore." --Sara Carter, Children's Bookshop, Kent, WA

THREE LITTLE WORDS: A Memoir, by Ashley Rhodes-Courter "Anyone who reads this memoir of years spent in the foster care system will be moved by the broken system we have for 'lost' children in this country. Maybe some of those readers will be motivated to do something about it. For teens and older readers both." --Keri Holmes, The Kaleidoscope: Our Focus Is You, Hampton, IA

YOU KNOW WHERE TO FIND ME, by Rachel Cohn "I really like this book. Miles, the 17-year-old main character, is pretty much lost when her cousin, who's more like a sister, commits suicide. Even though they were complete opposites, they were very close. Miles must battle her own addiction even as she struggles with grief. A moving tale." --Karly Everett, The Next Page Bookstore, Decatur, IN


OOPS!, by Alan Katz, Edward Koren (Illus.) "This book of poems is amazing! They are well put together for young kids, with great pictures for each poem. If you have read Shel Silverstein and loved his poems, you'll enjoy this." --Heather Bentz, The Next Page Bookstore, Decatur, IN

Children's and Teen's Graphic Novels

One of the most popular categories in children's and teen books is graphic novels. Here's a list of some recent and backlist titles derived from suggestions of independent booksellers.

BABYMOUSE: Puppy Love (#8), by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm,

OWLY: A Time To Be Brave (#4), by Andy Runton

PHONICS COMICS: The Fix-It Crew (Vol. 19, Issue 1), by Lara Rice Bergen, Stacy Curtis (illus.)

ROBOT DREAMS, by Sara Varon

RUN FAR, RUN FAST, by Timothy Decker

SARDINE IN OUTER SPACE 5, by Emmanuel Guibert


Middle Readers

ALEX RIDER: Point Blank, The Graphic Novel, by Anthony Horowitz et al.

AMULET: The Stonekeeper (#1), by Kazu Kibuishi

THE ARRIVAL, by Shaun Tan

ARTEMIS FOWL: The Graphic Novel, by Eoin Colfer, Giovanni Rigano (illus.)

THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB: Mary Anne Saves the Day (#3), by Raina Telgemeier and Ann Matthews Martin

COURTNEY CRUMRIN: Volume 3, The Twilight Kingdom, by Ted Naifeh

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: Rodrick Rules, by Jeff Kinney


THE FOG MOUND: Travels of Thelonious (#1), by Susan Schade and Jon Buller


LAIKA, by Nick Abadzis, Hilary Sycamore (illus.)

THE LETTER HOME, by Timothy Decker

REDWALL: The Graphic Novel, by Brian Jacques


TO DANCE: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel, by Siena Cherson Siegel, Mark Siegel (illus.)

WARRIORS: The Lost Warrior (Volume 1), by Erin Hunter

Teen Readers


BEOWULF, by Gareth Hinds

COWBOY BEBOP (#3), by Yutaka Nanten

DUNGEON, Vol. 1: Duck Heart, by Joan Sfar and Lewis Trondheim

FRUITS BASKET: Volume 19, by Natsuki Takaya

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: Volume 16, by Hiromu Arakawa

GIRL STORIES, by Lauren R. Weinstein

I LUV HALLOWEEN: Volume 3, by Keith Giffen,

MAUS: A Survivor's Tale, by Art Spiegelman

MAUS II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began, by Art Spiegelman

PERSEPOLIS: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi

PERSEPOLIS 2: The Story of a Return, by Marjane Satrapi