1995 Notable Children’s Books

 

Younger readers

 
Byars, Betsy. The Golly Sisters Ride Again. Illus. by Sue Truesdell. HaperCollins.
Energetic, expressive cartoon-style illustrations humorously convey the joys, fears, and squabbles of two wacky sisters as they sing and dance their way through the Old West in this easy reader.

Fleming, Denise. Barnyard Banter. Illus. Holt.
The barnyard is alive with activity, but where is goose? An exuberant, rhyming text and vibrant illustrations add to the delight of this hide-and-seek game.

Fox, Mem. Tough Boris. Illus. by Kathryn Brown. Harcourt.
No pirate is tougher than Boris, "but when his parrot died, he cried and cried."

Mahy, Margaret. The Rattlebang Picnic. Illus. by Steven Kellogg. Dial.
Granny McTavish's homemade pizza is always too tough to eat, but it saves the day when a family outing turns into a race to escape an erupting volcano.

Nolen, Jerdine. Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm. Illus. by Mark Buehner. Lothrop.
A child finds Harvey growing balloons in the middle of the night in this magical fantasy. Bold and bright illustrations seem to glow with a life of their own.

Priceman, Marjorie. How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. Illus. Knopf.
Baking an apple pie is easy unless the grocery store is closed. In that case, you only need to travel around the world to collect the ingredients. Lighthearted proof that food doesn't grow on the shelves.

Rathmann, Peggy. Good Night, Gorilla. Illus. Putnam.
Mr. Zookeeper tucks all the animals in, but the reader will find he is much sleepier than they are! A hilarious bedtime read-aloud.

Reiser, Lynn. The Surprise Family. Illus. Greenwillow.
Chicks and ducks wander among and beyond the vibrant illustrations in this sensitive telling of a baby chick's acceptance of a loving surrogate mother.

Schertle, Alice. How Now, Brown Cow?. Illus. by Amanda Schaffer. Harcourt.
Here is a super mix of irreverent, tender, humorous, explanatory, and matter-of-fact poems about beautiful bovines. Strong, bold, full-page illustrations with a broad stroke reflect the fanciful text.

Scott, Ann Herbert. Hi!. Illus. by Gio Coalson. Putnam/Philomel.
Glowing watercolors capture the toddler's perspective, as Margarita persistently attempts to greet everyone standing in line at the post office.

Silverman, Erica. Don't Fidget a Feather!. Illus. by S.D. Schindler. Macmillan.
Duck and gander are determined combatants in a "freeze" contest that almost has fatal results in this humorous tale.

Stoeke, Janet Morgan. A Hat for Minerva Louise. Illus. Dutton.
Minerva Louise, an enterprising chicken, searches for a hat to keep herself warm. Instead she finds a pair of mittens fitting both tail and head.

Turnbull, Ann. Too Tired. Illus. by Emma Chichester Clark. Harcourt.
In this humorous adaptation of the Flood story, Noah and the rest of the animals manage to rescue the sloths, who are "too tired" to climb aboard themselves.

Wild, Margaret. Going Home. Illus. by Wayne Harris. Scholastic.
A young patient learns how to magically escape the hospital without leaving his bed as nearby zoo noises launch him on a series of journeys. Clear, spacious illustrations celebrate the power of imagination.

Wild, Margaret. Our Granny. Illus. by Julie Vivas. Ticknor & Fields.
Two young children talk about their beloved granny, comparing her to other grannies, all delightfully different.

 

Middle-grade readers

Aardema, Verna. Misoso: Once upon a Time: Tales from Africa. Illus. by Reynold Rufins. Knopf/Apple Soup.
A renowned storyteller retells fables and folktales gathered from many regions of Africa. Presented in a colorful, inviting format.

Cooper, Floyd. Coming Home: From the Life of Langston Hughes. Illus. Putnam/Philomel.
Thoughtful paintings in warm golds and browns complement this perceptive portrait of a youth who dreamed of having a home.

Dalokoy, Vedat. Sister Shako and Kolo the Goat: Memories of My Childhood in Turkey. Tr. by Güner Ener. Illus. Lothrop.
The former mayor of Ankara lovingly recalls his childhood in rural Turkey and his special friendship with a widow and her remarkable goat, Kolo. The 1995 Mildred Batchelder Honor Book.

Facklam, Margery. The Big Bug Book. Illus. by Paul Facklam. Little, Brown.
Giant insects–depicted life size–crawl, flutter, or swim across common household items in this lively portrait gallery.

Florian, Douglas. Beast Feast. Illus. Harcourt.
Droll illustrations and wildly inventive poetry combine for a hilarious visit to the animal world.

Grimes, Nikki. Meet Danitra Brown. Illus Floyd Cooper. Lothrop.
Meet "the most splendiferous girl in town" in this celebration of a friendship in poetry and warmly colored art.

Hughes, Langston. Sweet and Sour Animal Book. Illus. by students from the Harlem School of the Arts. Oxford.
A collection of 27 previously unpublished poems chronicles this animal alphabet. The brief verse is decorated with paper, board, and clay sculputures created by children.

Kendall, Russ. Russian Girl: Life in an Old Russian Town. Illus. Scholastic.
Strikingly clear color photographs follow the life of nine-year-old Olga Surikova and her family in an old Russian town–from home and school, through town, chores and play.

Kimmel, Eric A. The Three Princes: A Tale from the Middle East. Illus. by Leonard Everett Fisher. Holiday.
Luminous acrylic paintings illustrate this story of a princess who sends three cousins on a year-long quest to win her hand.

King-Smith, Dick. Three Terrible Trins. Illus. by Mark Teague. Crown.
Three young mice brothers take charge of a farmhouse ruled too long by cats. Read-aloud, laugh-aloud fun!

Lasky, Kathryn. The Librarian Who Measured the Earth. Illus. by Kevin Hawkes. Little, Brown.
Colorful acrylic paintings enhance this biography of the Greek geographer/librarian Eratosthenes, who accurately calculated the circumference of the earth 2,000 years ago.

Lester, Julius. John Henry. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. Dial.
The strength, dignity, and courage of this African American hero have never been expressed with greater power. A 1995 Caldecott Honor Book.

Lester, Julius. The Last Tales of Uncle Remus. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. Dial.
The escapades and antics of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, Brer Possum, and their friends are revisited in the storytelling language of Uncle Remus. The special voice of Lester blends with Pinkney's soft watercolor and line illustrations.

Maguire, Gregory. Seven Spiders Spinning. Clarion.
High heroic humor pervades in this farcicial tale of seven gruesome snow spiders closing in on a small Vermont town.

Markle, Sandra. Outside and Inside Birds. Illus. Bradbury.
Fascinating details of bird anatomy, from internal organs to feathers, appear in this inviting photo-essay.

Mayne, William. Hob and the Goblins. Illus. by Norman Messenger. Dorling Kindersley.
A house sprite adopts a new family and struggles to save it from the impending threat of goblins in a humorous blend of fantasy and reality.

McDermott, Gerald. Coyote: A TricksterTale from the American Southwest. Illus. Harcourt.
Vibrant colors and exquisitely detailed designs illustrate this rich telling of the misfortune that befalls Coyote when vanity intrudes.

Polacco, Patricia. My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother. Illus. Simon & Schuster.
A wish on a falling star helps a young girl catch her brother's attention--and a glimpse of his not-so-rotten other side.

Polacco, Patricia. Pink and Say. Illus. Putnam/Philomel.
A former slave saves the life of a young white soldier and pays for it with his own life in this poignant Civil War story.

Stanley, Diane and Peter Vennema. Cleopatra. Illus. Morrow.
Mosaic-designed paintings beautifully illustrate this well-researched biography of Cleopatra.

 

Older readers

Avi. The Barn. Orchard/Richard Jackson.
Nine-year-old Ben must leave school to return to his home in the Oregon Territory when his father becomes ill. This intense first-person narrative deals with the deep issues of hope in the face of hopelessness and the strength that comes from hard work.

Bachrach, Susan D. Tell Them We Remember: The Story of the Holocaust. Illus. Little, Brown.
Powerful images drawn from resources of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum are presented in an informative and readable style in this introduction to the topic.

Brust, Beth Wagner. The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Anderson. Illus. Ticknor & Fields.
This beautifully designed book details the exceptional art created by the gifted storyteller.

Celebrate America: In Poetry and Art. Ed. by Nora Panzer. Illus. Hyperion/National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Join in the celebration of the American way of life through this rich mulitcultural collection of poetry and art.

Christiansen, C.B. I See the Moon. Atheneum.
Bitte's horror upon learning that her unwed sister will give up her baby for adoption is the catalyst for lessons about life, love, and growing up.

Creech, Sharon. Walk Two Moons. HarperCollins.
This funny yet poignant intergenerational story reveals one family's history. The characters' individual journeys of self-discovery provide intricate plot twists. The 1995 Newbery Medal Winner.

Cushman, Karen. Catherine, Called Birdy. Clarion.
Detailed medieval castle life is presented through the eyes of strong-willed Birdy and recorded in her diary. A 1995 Newbery Honor Book.

Dorris, Michael. Guests. Hyperion.
Unhappy that his father has invited strangers with white faces to the harvest feast, Moss takes his "away time" alone in the forest, beginning his journey into adulthoood. A provocative view of Thanksgiving, survival, and coming-of-age.

Farmer, Nancy. The Ear, the Eye and the Arm. Orchard/Richard Jackson.
When the overprotected children from a future police state in Zimbabwe are kidnapped, mutant detectives Ear, Eye, and Arm are never far behind in pursuit of the kidnappers. This well-balanced, suspenseful world is steeped in myth, technology, and tension.

Fine, Anne. Flour Babies. Little, Brown.
Parenting a six-pound flour-baby forces Simon to come to grips with his own life and the absence of his father. Lively characters combine with humorous situations.

Foreman, Michael. War Game. Illus. Arcade.
Christmas Day, 1914, finds four young British soldiers playing a rousing game of soccer with the Germans in the opposite trenches. A powerful exploration of the paradoxical nature of war.

Freedman, Russell. Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade against Child Labor. Illus. Clarion.
Hine's investigative reporting of early-twentieth-century child labor is presented in black-and-white photographs and succinct text.

Harris, Robie H. It's Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health. Illus. by Michael Emberley. Candlewick.
A well-organized and straightforward text provides the young adolescent with honest and accurate information. Cartoon drawings provide the right amount of humor to defuse the reader's embarrassment.

Hesse, Karen. Phoenix Rising. Holt.
Thirteen-year-old Nyle and her grandmother try to go on with their lives on a Vermont sheep farm, despite the disatrous radiation leak at a nearby nuclear power plant. The thought-provoking story is sustained by the calm grace and strength of the characters

Johnston, Julie. Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me. Little, Brown.
After enduring a long series of unhappy foster homes, Sara is won over with love and caring by her new family. Her moving story is told with honesty and humor.

Koertge, Ron. Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright. Orchard.
The special relationship between Jesse and his unpredictable grandfather, who is becoming old and forgetful, is explored with compassion and humor.

Monceaux, Morgan. Jazz: My Music, My People. Illus. Knopf.
The many talented people who contributed to the creation and development of jazz are profiled in extraordinary mixed-media paintings accompanied by the artists' personal recollections.

Nelson, Theresa. Earthshine. Orchard/Richard Jackson.
Twelve-year-old Slim stays with her father during his last battle with AIDS in this funny, poignant, tragic story.

Oppenheim, Shulamith Levey. Iblis. Illus. by Ed Young. Harcourt.
Haunting illustrations suggest the power of evil in this Muslim version of the story of Adam and Eve.

Paterson, Katherine. Flip-Flop Girl. Dutton/Lodestar.
Nine-year-old Vinnie's grief and loneliness crescendo in this tightly written, multilayered story.

Reuter, Bjarne. The Boys from St. Petri. Tr. by Anthea Bell. Dutton.
A group of Danish teenage boys' resistance to the Nazis in 1942 evolves from childish pranks to deadly sabotage in a tension-laden tale that examines the complexities of human relationships and conflicts. The 1995 Batchelder Award winner.

Salisbury, Graham. Under the Blood Red Sun. Delacorte.
A Japanese American and his "haole" best friend find their carefree routine of school, baseball, and fishing trips disrupted by the bombing of their neighborhood, Pearl Harbor.

Stanley, Jerry. I Am an American: A True Story of Japanese Internment. Illus. Crown.
This photo-essay documents the personal experiences of Japanese Americans interned during World War II.

Wolf, Sylvia. Focus: Five Women Photographers. Illus. Albert Whitman.
By introducing five persons with startingly original visions, Wolf explores the creative possibility of this artform.

Woodson, Jacqueline. I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This. Delacorte.
Marie forms an unexpected friendship with Lena as they both attempt to cope with loss, discrimination, and abuse.

 

For all ages

De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children. Selected and trans. by José-Luis Orozco. Illus. by Elisa Kleven. Dutton.
Piano and guitar chords accompany this joyful collection of singing games, finger rhymes, lullabies, and songs for special occasions. Spirited illustrations enliven the Spanish and English texts.

Bunting, Eve. Smoky Night. Illus. by David Diaz. Harcourt.
Richly textured collage illustrations depict the story of an inner-city riot as seen through the eyes of a child. The 1995 Caldecott Medal winner.

Goldin, Barbara Diamond. The Passover Journey: A Seder Companion. Illus. by Neil Waldman. Viking.
The story of the Israelites' journey from Egyptian bondage to freedom is combined with a lucid explanation for the symbolism and origin of the Passover seder. Brilliant pastels with geometric borders.

Isaacs, Anne. Swamp Angel. Illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky. Dutton.
Primitive-style illustrations painted on wood panels provide the perfect visual accompaniment to the spirited tall tale of Angelica Longrider. A 1995 Caldecott Honor Book.

Johnson, James Weldon. The Creation. Illus. by James E. Ransome. Holiday.
An African American storyteller shares the poetic version of this biblical story with a circle of entranced young listeners.

Rohmann, Eric. Time Flies. Illus. Crown.
In this wordless picture book, a bird flies on a startling journey through a time-shifting dinosaur museum. A 1995 Caldecott Honor Book.

Sabuda, Robert. The Christmas Alphabet. Orchard.
Elegant and inventive paper sculputre makes this an extraordinary alphabet book.
Winter Poems. Selected by Rogasky, Barbara. Illus. by Trina Schart Hyman. Scholastic.
This collection of poems brightens the winter season with uncommon selections and illustrations in soft grays, blues, and white.