American Library Association Notable Children’s Book picks for 2012

One of the features that we will begin doing yearly is showcasing the American Library Association list of Notable Children’s Books of the past year.

Why the ALA’s list? The ALA has a policy of including not only books that their committee has found to be notable but it also includes books that have won other awards of note like; Newbery, Caldecott, Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books, the Coretta Scott King Award , Michael L. Printz Award, Alex Award, and Schneider Family Book Award. We’ll be making posts in the future describing all those awards and their histories but for now enjoy the beginnings of the list.

With the number of awards being included it’s easy to see that this would be an incredibly long post if we did them all at the same time! So we’ll break the list up into parts to be posted every Friday until complete.

The list will work from Young Readers – Preschool-grade 2 (age 7), including easy-to-read books, Middle Readers – Grades 3-5, ages 8-10, Older Readers – Grades 6-8, ages 11-14, and then All Ages. Hopefully it isn’t 2014 before we finish the whole list!

So get out your library cards, check out these books and give them a good going over to get a feeling for what is doing well within our industry. It’s always great to have our imaginations opened by the amazing things that other authors and illustrators are being noted for. Enjoy!


All the Water in the World. By George Ella Lyon, Illus. by Katherine Tillotson, Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

From deserts to the kitchen sink, the water cycle is lyrically yet economically described in Lyon’s poem emphasizing the importance of water conservation. Katherine Tillotson’s digital paintings splash, surge and drip off the page.


(2012 Caldecott Medal Book)

A Ball for Daisy. By Chris Raschka, Illus. by the author, Schwartz & Wade Books,

A wordless tale of an irrepressible little dog whose most prized possession is accidently destroyed. A buoyant tale of loss, recovery, and friendship.


(A 2012 Caldecott Honor Book)

Blackout. By John Rocco, Illus. by the author. Disney/Hyperion Books.
A summer power outage draws an urban family up to their building’s roof and then down to the street for an impromptu block party.


Bring on the Birds. By Susan Stockdale, Illus. by the author. Peachtree.

Rhyming couplets and clear, identifiable illustrations remind readers that birds vary in many ways, but all have feathers and are hatched from eggs. Colorful acrylics help provide just the right of information for preschool ornithologists.


(A 2012 Belpré Illustrator Honor Book)

The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred. By Samantha R. Vamos, Illus. by Rafael López. Charlesbridge.

Nothing is better than a delicious bowl of arroz con leche unless, of course, a host of farm animals have a hand in the preparation!

chirchir is singing

Chirchir Is Singing. By Kelly Cunnane, Illus. by Jude Daly. Schwartz & Wade Books.
In this cumulative story set in Kenya, Chirchir sings as she tries to help with family chores.  Acrylic folk art highlights the activities of daily life in this rural setting.


Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?, By Susan A. Shea, Illus. by Tom Slaughter. Blue Apple Books.

This book playfully challenges children’s concepts of the growth capacity of living vs. non-living things in a fun and engaging way.


Dot. By Patricia Intriago, Illus. by the author. Farrar Straus Giroux.

To a child’s delight, bright dots and brief rhyming verses cleverly demonstrate antonyms and synonyms in this clever picture book.


Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. By Sherri Duskey Rinker, Illus. by Tom Lichtenheld. Chronicle Books.

Truck-loving toddlers will be willingly tucked into bed along with the vehicles in this superbly constructed goodnight poem.

grandpa green

(A 2012 Caldecott Honor Book)

Grandpa Green. By Lane Smith, Illus. by the author. Roaring Brook Press.

Elaborate topiary sculptures give visual form to memories in a wildly fanciful garden tended by a child and his beloved great-grandfather.


Harry and Hopper. By Margaret Wild, Illus. by Freya Blackwood. Feiwel & Friends.

A poignant depiction of grief and acceptance at the loss of a beloved pet is relayed in this quietly moving story whose illustrations add emotional depth.


  1. Jeanette W. Stickel

    Thanks for the annotated list!


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