2001 Notable Children's Books


notable seal

2001 Notable Children's Books Committee: Leslie Molnar, Chair, Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library; Rita Auerbach, East Patchogue, N.Y.; Toni Bernardi, San Francisco Public Library ; Janice Harrington, Champaign (Ill.) Public Library; Maeve Visser Knoth, San Carlos, Calif.; Kathryn McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, Conn.; Martha Parravano, Horn Book, Inc., Boston; Penny Peck, San Leandro (Calif.) Public Library; Janice Smuda, Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library; Helen Cannon Wiley, Katherine Burke School, San Francisco; Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County (Minn.) Public Library.

Younger readers

Adler, David A.
America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle
Illustrated by Terry Widener
Harcourt/Gulliver. 0-15-201969-3

Despite all odds, Ederle's determination to be the first woman to swim the English Channel, twenty-one arduous miles of cold, choppy water, leads to personal triumph and a victory for all womankind

Banks, Kate
Night Worker
Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben
Farrar Straus Giroux/ Frances Foster. 0-374-35520-7

Alex visits his father's construction site one night and discovers a world that is as fascinating and mysterious as it is warm and inviting.

Barasch, Lynne
Radio Rescue
Farrar Straus Giroux/ Frances Foster. 0-374-36166-5

In an exciting story about the heroism of ordinary people, a ten-year-old boy earns his amateur radio license and aids in the rescue of hurricane victims.

Brown, Don
Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa
Houghton Mifflin. 0-618-00273-1

Finally freed from the stifling responsibilities of family, Mary embarks on an outstanding voyage of discovery to unexplored West Africa in 1893.

Cronin, Doreen
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
Illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Simon & Schuster. 0-689-83213-3

Using the barnyard typewriter, Farmer Brown's cows draft ultimatums, while negotiating better living conditions for all the farm animals. Caldecott Honor Book.

Falconer, Ian
Olivia
Atheneum/Anne Schwartz. 0-689-82953-1

The days of one irrepressible pig are busy from morning to night, as Olivia excels at everything, including wearing people out! Caldecott Honor Book.

Graham, Bob
Max
Candlewick Press. 0-7636-1138-7

Although Max has been born into a family of flying superheroes, he just cannot seem to get the hang of flying.

Guest, Elissa Haden
Iris and Walter
Illustrated by Christine Davenier
Harcourt/ Gulliver. 0-15-202122-1

In four easy-to-read chapters, Iris discovers a new friend and decides that maybe life in the country is not so bad after all.

Henkes, Kevin
Wemberly Worried
Greenwillow. 0-688-17027-7

Wemberly worries about everything, especially about beginning nursery school. Her courage grows with family support and a successful first day.

Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys
Illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Simon & Schuster. 0-689-80076-2

Virgie, a spunky young African-American girl living in the post-Civil War South, is determined to join her brothers at the local Quaker school. King Illustrator Honor Book

James, Simon (Editor)
Days Like This: A Collection of Small Poems
Candlewick Press. 0-7636-0812-2

An anthology of brief, expressive poems, traditional and modern, celebrates everyday experiences like jumping on the bed, illustrated with cartoon watercolors outlined in ink.

Lindbergh, Reeve (Editor)
In Every Tiny Grain of Sand: A Child's Books of Prayers and Praise
Illustrated by Christine Davenier, Bob Graham, Anita Jeram and Elisa Klevan
Candlewick Press. 0-7636-0176-4

A diverse collection of prayers, affirmations and poems in praise of God, nature, and the good things in life is supported by joyous, colorful illustrations.

Medearis, Angela Shelf
Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story
Illustrated by Daniel Minter
Albert Whitman. 0-8075-7315-9

In an original Kwanzaa tale, seven bickering brothers must use the seven principles of Nguzo Saba and work together to make gold from thread and claim their inheritance.

Osborne, Mary Pope
Kate and the Beanstalk
Illustrated by Giselle Potter
Atheneum/Anne Schwartz. 0-689-82550-1

After selling the family cow for magic beans, a spunky young Kate climbs the beanstalk and meets the giant who has murdered a knight and stolen his castle. A femisist version of a familiar tale.

Peters, Lisa Westberg
Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck
Illustrated by Sam Williams
Greenwillow. 0-688-16178-2

Arriving one cold and miserable spring day to discover the pond is still frozen, a little duck begins to wish and dream, filling the sky with thoughts of spring.

Soto, Gary
Chato and the Party Animals
Illustrated by Susan Guevara
G.P. Putnam. 0-399-23159-5

Chato throws a surprise "pachanga" for his "carnal" Novio Boy, who as an orphan isn't sure he wants a birthday party.

Thayer, Ernest Lawrence
Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888
Illustrated by Christopher Bing
Handprint. 1-9297-6600-9

In the format of an aging 1888 scrapbook, the immortal ballad of Ernest Thayer finds new life through Christopher Bing's innovative treatment. Pen and ink scratchboard "engravings" in the late 19th century style are seamlessly blended with memorabilia and trompe l'oeil recreations in an homage to the great American pastime. Caldecott Honor Book

Thomas, Shelley Moore
Good Night, Good Knight
Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas
Dutton. 0-525-46326-7

The Good Knight comes to the rescue of three little dragons as they try to settle down for the night. A humorous story for beginning readers.

Unobagha, Uzo
Off to the Sweet Shores of Africa and Other Talking Drum Rhymes
Illustrated by Julia Cairns
Chronicle. 0-8118-2378-4

A colorful collection of more than seventy-five original nursery rhymes reflect the writer's Nigerian roots, while conjuring up images and sounds of Africa.

Yolen, Jane
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?
Illustrated by Mark Teague
Scholastic/Blue Sky Press. 0-590-31681-8

Whether you are a dinosaur or child, perplexed (and sometimes, vexed) parents must endure many childhood ploys to avoid going to bed.

Middle readers

Bishop, Nic
Digging for Bird-Dinosaurs: An Expedition to Madagascar
Houghton Mifflin. 0-395-96056-8

Paleontologist Cathy Forster travels to Madagascar in search of fossils which will further explore her research on the relationship between dinosaurs and birds.

Bruchac, Joseph
Crazy Horse's Vision
Illustrated by S.D. Nelson
Lee & Low Books. 1-880000-94-6

Embodying the spirit and culture of the legendary Lakota warrior, this fictionalized biography focuses on his journey to adulthood and the life paths that created the man he was.

Cline-Ransome, Lesa
Satchel Paige
Illustrated by James E. Ransome
Simon & Schuster. 0-689-81151-9

The life of one of baseball's greatest pitchers and the first African American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame is celebrated in a biography that captures the spirit of this sports legend.

Curlee, Lynn
Liberty
Atheneum. 0-689-82823-3

Uncover the history and construction of one of the most famous symbols of the United States, the majestic Statue of Liberty.

DiCamillo, Kate
Because of Winn-Dixie
Candlewick Press. 0-7636-0776-2

During her first summer in a Florida town, Opal's yearning for her missing mother and companionship, leads the young girl to her first new friend; an ugly dog with a winning smile. Newbery Honor Book

Gantos, Jack
Joey Pigza Loses Control
Farrar Straus and Giroux. 0-374-39989-1

Joey, much calmer and in control of his life since starting his "good meds," spends his summer with his out-of-control father and eccentric grandmother, trying to pitch his father's baseball team to the championships. Newbery Honor Book

Gherman, Beverly
Norman Rockwell: Storyteller with a Brush
Atheneum.0-689-82001-1

With a stroke of his brush, Norman Rockwell captures the emotion of everyday America. His life and legacy is recounted in a warm and affectionate style so like his paintings that graced the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

Giblin, James Cross
The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin
Illustrated by Michael Dooling
Scholastic. 0-590-48534-2

An illustrated biography traces the life, accomplishments, disappointments and triumphs of one of America's greatest scientists and statesmen.

Giff, Patricia Reilly
Nory Ryan's Song
Delacorte. 0-385-32141-4

Twelve-year-old Nory Ryan, along with her family and friends, learns how to survive and help one another during the Potato Famine in Ireland.

Govenar, Alan (Editor)
Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter
Illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Hyperion/Jump at the Sun. 0-7868-2357-7

Osceola Mays grew up in an era still tethered to the legacy of slavery's oppression. Collecting stories and anecdotes from years of conversations with Osceola, Govenar shares those childhood memories of growing up in Texas.

Greenberg, Jan and Sandra Jordan
Frank O. Gehry: Outside In
Dorling Kindersley/DK Ink. 0-7894-2677-3

A photo-biography looks into the life and work of one of America's most provocative architects. Creative genius at work.

Martin, Ann M. and Laura Godwin

The Doll People
Illustrated by Brian Selznick
Hyperion. 0-7868-0361-4

Annabelle Doll has been eight-years-old for over one hundred years. Being cooped up in the same dollhouse with the same people is boring--until the pink plastic Funcrafts arrive.

McDonald, Megan
Judy Moody
Illustrated by Peter Reynolds
Candlewick Press. 0-7636-0685-5

Judy Moody, an irrepressible third-grader is working on her class project, a "Me Collage," in this contemporary story full of child-appealing humor and situations, presented in an accessible, attractive, generously illustrated package.

Myers, Christopher
Wings
Scholastic. 0-590-03377-8

New to the neighborhood, Ikarus Jackson's ability to fly casts him in the role of outsider, until a shy, quiet girl finds the courage and voice to speak for a friend's special gift.

Myers, Laurie
Surviving Brick Johnson
Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Clarion. 0-395-98031-3

Fifth-grader Alex discovers that the classmate he fears as bully is nothing of the sort--in fact, he becomes a friend. With an open format and quirky, humourous illustrations, it's a perfect choice for reluctant readers.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis
Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters
Illustrated by Stephen Alcorn
Harcourt/Gulliver Books. 0-15-201005-X

In this collective biography, vivid stylized portraits introduce ten extraordinary African American women who have shown courage in their struggles against inequality and prejudice. King Author Honor Book

Rappaport, Doreen
Freedom River
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
Hyperion/Jump at the Sun. 0-7868-0350-9

John Parker, an ex-slave and successful businessman from Ohio, is also a conductor on the Underground Railroad. On one of his trips, Parker must convince Jim and his family to leave the plantation for freedom. King Illustrator Honor Book

Rockwell, Anne
Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth
Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Alfred A. Knopf. 0-679-89186-2

A picture book biography based primarily on the autobiography of Sojourner Truth. Rockwell's proud, eloquent prose is accompanied by powerful and visceral impressionistic paintings. King Illustrator Honor Book

St. George, Judith
So You Want to be President?
Illustrated by David Small
Philomel. 0-399-23407-1

Entertaining trivia, intriguing scandals, and thought-provoking lessons embellish an overview of the presidency and the men who lead our country. Caldecott Medal Winner

Waugh, Sylvia
Space Race
Delacorte. 0-385-32766-8

Father and son aliens from the planet Ormingat race to recover their spaceship before time runs out and they are stranded on Earth.

Webb, Sophie
My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal
Houghton Mifflin. 0-395-92291-7

Webb deftly uses illustrated journal entries to document her participation in a two-month expedition to Antarctica to study Adelie penguins in 1996. She includes absorbing details of daily life for a scientist in the field, as well as the life and behavior of penguins. Clear prose and engaging illustrations done in watercolor, gouache and graphite convey how an ornithologist works and lives in the field. Sibert Honor Book

Older readers

Almond, David
Kit's Wilderness
Delacorte. 0-385-32665-3

In an old coal-mining town, thirteen-year-old Kit meets a boy who invites him to play the game of "Death," and discovers the stories and ghosts of his child-ancestors. Printz Award Winner

Aronson, Marc
Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado
Clarion. 0-395-84827-X

Authoritative and rigorous research creates a biography that explores the larger-than-life adventurer who explored the New World, fought the Spanish, courted Queen Elizabeth's favor and engaged in political intrigue that was his ultimate downfall. Sibert Medal Winner

Bauer, Joan
Hope Was Here
G.P. Putnam's Sons. 0-399-23142-0

Sixteen-year-old Hope and her aunt move to a small town in Wisconsin to join the "short order dance" of life at the Welcome Stairways Diner. In the course of just a few months, Hope encounters issues as diverse as her customers: corruption in politics, a new love, serious illness and the meaning of family. Newbery Honor Book

Brenner, Barbara (Editor)
Voices: Poetry and Art From Around the World
National Geographic Society. 0-7922-7071-1

A sampler of traditional, ancient and modern poetry from six continents is interspersed with illustrations of world art and sculpture.

Carmi, Daniella (Translated from Hebrew by Yael Lotan.)
Samir and Yonatan
Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic Press. 0-439-13504-4

Samir, a Palestinian boy, enters an Israeli hospital for surgery. The initial fear and antagonism that he feels is mitigated by his bond with Yonatan, an Israeli. The relationship of the children in the ward grows as they face their own physical and emotional trials. Batchelder Medal Winner

Creech, Sharon
The Wanderer
Illustrated by David Diaz
HarperCollins/Joanna Cotler. 0-06-027730-0

Sophie and her cousin Cody keep journals during their voyage aboard the sailboat, Wanderer, on the way to see their ailing grandfather in England. Newbery Honor Book

Dash, Joan
The Longitude Prize
Illustrated by Dusan Petricic
Farrar Straus and Giroux/Frances Foster Books. 0-374-34636-4

Set in the exciting historical framework of the 18th century, The Longitude Prize chronicles the invention of a seagoing clock by John Harrison and the surrounding scientific, economic and political activity of 18th-century Great Britain. Petricic's black-and-white illustrations chart with levity Harrison's drive to solve the longitude problem with his clocks and his struggle to receive recognition for his ultimate achievement. A detailed glossary and concise timeline complement the book's bibliography and index. Sibert Honor Book

Fradin, Dennis Brindell and Judith Bloom Fradin
Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement
Clarion. 0-395-89898-6

Quotations from contemporaries, excerpts from letters, grim photographs of lynchings and Wells's own words create an engrossing portrait of a civil rights activist and the co-founder of the NAACP.

Graham, Lorenz
How God Fix Jonah
Illustrated by Ashley Bryan
Boyds Mills. 1-56397-698-6

Breath-taking blockprints, the vibrant vernacular of West-Africa and lyrical retellings showcase twenty-three Bible stories in this pioneering collection.

Joseph, Lynn
The Color of My Words
HarperCollins/ Joanna Cotler. 0-06-028232-0

A young writer living in the Dominican Republic discovers her daring words have power to build community, threaten life and keep the memory of her beloved brother alive.

Lawrence, Iain
Ghost Boy
Delacorte. 0-385-32739-0

Tired of the taunts and indignities of the local residents, fourteen-year-old Harold, an albino, runs away to join the circus.

Lehmann, Christian (Translated from French by William Rodarmor.)
Ultimate Game
David R. Godine. 1-567-92107-8

Lehmann's novel relates moments in the lives of three teenagers who purchase a computer game that recreates a virtual reality of a time machine of history's evils: war after war. Eric and Charles are pitted against Andreas, the oldest, whose need for power propels him to play the game as judge, jury, and finally, prey. Batchelder Honor Book

Lewis, J. Patrick
Freedom Like Sunlight: Praisesongs for Black Americans
Illustrated by John Thompson
Creative Editions. 1-56846-163-1

An anthology of thirteen original poems and museum-quality portraiture celebrates outstanding African-Americans including Malcolm X, Sojourner Truth, Billie Holiday and Arthur Ashe.

Lisle, Janet Taylor
The Art of Keeping Cool
Atheneum/ Richard Jackson. 0-689-83787-9

Set during World War II, two cousins face family secrets and community violence aimed at a refugee from Nazi Germany, raising questions about mob mentality, creativity and survival.

Lynch, Chris
Gold Dust
HarperCollins. 0-06-028174-X

Set against the backdrop of the Boston bussing order of the 1970's, baseball-obsessed Richard Riley Moncrief befriends Napoleon Charlie Ellis, newly arrived from Dominca, at St. Colmcille's parochial school.

Macaulay, David
Building Big
Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine. 0-395-96331-1

An up-close examination of famous large-scale construction projects around the world and throughout time celebrates man's ability to imagine and build.

Murphy, Jim
Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America
Scholastic.0-590-67309-2

A gripping account of one of America's great natural disasters, the Blizzard of 1888, focuses on the "human-interest" side. Personal writings, newspaper articles and archival photographs document this chilling weather event. Sibert Honor Book

Nicholson, William
The Wind Singer
Illustrated by Peter Sis
Hyperion.0-7868-0569-2

Kestrel Hath and her twin brother Bowman escape from their stifling city of Aramanth to rescue the key to the wind singer and free their people.

Peck, Richard
A Year Down Yonder
Dial. 0-8037-2518-3

Mary Alice goes alone to spend a year with her Grandmother while brother Joey works out west and her parents find their way during the recession of 1937. Newbery Medal Winner

Pullman, Philip
The Amber Spyglass
Alfred A. Knopf. 0-679-87926-9

As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living and dead comes to depend on Lyra and Will, two ordinary children with extraordinary powers.

Whelan, Gloria
Homeless Bird
HarperCollins. 0-06-028454-4

As tradition dictates, thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage only to find herself a homeless widow who must decide whether to join the hordes chanting for food or find the courage to change her life.

Winick, Judd
Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned
Henry Holt. 0-8050-6403-6

Cartoonist Winick tells the true story of his friendship with AIDS-educator Pedro Zamora in a graphic-novel format. Important lessons are presented in a style friendly to young teens. Learning from the friend he met on MTV's "The Real World," Winick continues Pedro's work even after his death. Sibert Honor Book

All ages

Aesop's Fables
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
North-South/SeaStar. 1-58717-000-0

More than sixty of Aesop's most compelling tales have been selected and paired with lavish and eloquent watercolors.

Baum, L. Frank
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-Up
Art by Robert Sabuda
Simon & Schuster/Little Simon. 0-689-81751-7

Spectacular paper engineering and pop-up effects reminiscent of W.W. Denslow illustration highlight an abridgement of Baum's classic fantasy.

Casanova, Mary
The Hunter: A Chinese Folktale
Illustrated by Ed Young
Atheneum. 0-689-82906-X

After being rewarded with the ability to speak with animals, Hai Li Bu sacrifices his life to save the village from a disastrous flood.

DeFelice, Cynthia
Cold Feet
Illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker
Dorling Kindersley/DK Ink. 0-7894-2636-6

Loose, lively watercolors match this shivery, just-scary-enough Scottish tale of a cold, bootless wandering bagpiper and what happens after he "borrows" a new pair of boots--from a dead man.

Hicks, Ray as told to Lynn Salsi
The Jack Tales
Illustrated by Owen Smith
Callaway. 0-9351-1258-8

Jack searches for the North Wind, knocks off a man-eating giant, and outsmarts good-for-nothing robbers in this rousing collection of Appalachian folktales.

Janeczko, Paul B. (Editor)
Stone Bench in an Empty Park
Photographs by Henri Silberman
Orchard. 0-531-30259-8

Urban landscapes and experiences are the subjects of thirty-three haiku poems illustrated with expressive, sepia-toned photographs.

Jimenez, Francisco
Christmas Gift: El regalo de Navidad
Illustrated by Claire B. Cotts
Houghton Mifflin. 0-395-92869-9

As Christmas approaches, a migrant family finds disappointment, compassion and love in this bilingual memoir with glowing folklore illustrations.

Kimmel, Eric A.
Gershon's Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year
Illustrated by Jon J. Muth
Scholastic. 0-439-10839-X

Gershon never makes reparations for the wrongs he commits. Instead, he throws his misdeeds into the sea each year until they grow into a monstrous demon that threatens the life of his children.

Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Illustrated by Mary Grandpre
Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 0-439-13959-7

As he enters his fourth year at Hogwart's, Harry suffers bad dreams about the evil Voldemort and is mysteriously entered in the Triwizard Tournament that endangers his very life.