2002 Notable Children's Books
2002 Notable Children's Books Committee: Toni Bernardi, Chair, San Francisco Public Library; Rita Auerbach, East Patchogue, NY; Revital Balas, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York; Elizabeth Guldseth, Montgomery County (Md.) Dept. of Public Libraries; Walter Minkel, School Library Journal, New York; Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library; Katie O'Dell, Multnomah County (Ore.) Library; Penny Peck, San Leandro (Calif.) Public Library; Marion Hanes Rutsch, Our Lady of Lourdes School Library, Bethesda, Md.; Maria Salvadore, Washington, D.C.; Maureen White, University of Houston at Clear Lake School Library; and Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, Minn.
Milo’s Hat Trick
Michael di Capua/Hyperion Books for Children. 0-7868-0902-7
Milo the Magician needs a spectacular new trick and turns to a bear to rescue his failing show.
Alarcón, Francisco X.
Iguanas in the Snow
Illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez.
Children's Book Press. 0-892-39168-5
Iguanas in the Snow, a collection of seventeen bilingual poems depicting winter in San Francisco and nearby mountains, surprise and delight like peppermint candy on the tongue. Alarcón's rich verbal imagery peppers the pages with Latino children's experiences in a multicultural setting. A 2002 Pura Belpre Author Award Honor Book
Brilliant colors, collage and bold graphics are combined with a simple text to tell of Sam, his beloved car, and the bus the he drives at work.
Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.
In this celebration of a freight train with 100 cars, a rollicking poem from the 1950’s is matched with retro-style gouache paintings.
Inside Freight Train.
William Morrow/HarperCollins. 0-688-17087-0
Freight train car doors slide open to reveal the train’s contents in an interactive board book ideal for toddlers.
Waiting for Wings.
Caterpillars grow and change into beautiful butterflies and explore the colorful world of garden flowers as they perpetuate their life cycle.
Olivia Saves the Circus.
An Anne Schwartz Book/Atheneum. 0-689-82954-X
Olivia, the spunky porcine dynamo, regales her class with her imagined triumphs when “all the circus people were out sick with ear infections”, and she filled in as lion tamer, juggler and tight-rope walker.
Turtle Splash: Countdown at the Pond.
Textured collages and alliterative text vividly depict the countdown of turtles from ten to one, leaving their log to rest on the bottom of the pond.
Fraustino, Lisa Rowe
The Hickory Chair.
Illustrated by Benny Andrews.
Arthur A.Levine/Scholastic. 0-590-52248-5
When Gran dies, Louis, a young blind boy, finds all the notes she left for her loved ones except for one – his own.
“Let’s Get A Pup,” Said Kate.
Kate’s pierced and tattooed parents help her select a dog from the pound, but they all yearn for an additional dog that they left behind.
Sheila Rae’s Peppermint Stick.
In their first board book appearance, Sheila Rae teases little sister Louise with candy, until a sweet accident inspires them to share.
Hoberman, Mary Ann
You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together.
Illustrated by Michael Emberley.
Megan Tingley Books/Little Brown. 0-316-36350-2
Vivacious illustrations combine with colorful word placement to encourage the reading aloud of these short, snappy poems intended for two voices.
Kipper’s A to Z: An Alphabet Adventure.
Red Wagon Books/Harcourt. 0-15-202594-4
Kipper and Arnold stroll through the alphabet, finding unexpected treats and friends along the way in this charming concept book.
Illustrated by Tomek Bogacki.
Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux. 0-374-32341-0.
Through simple words and pictures, a young girl explores the similarities and differences between the five members of her family.
Emma’s Yucky Brother.
Illustrated by Jennifer Plecas.
When Emma’s family adopts a 4-year-old boy, she experiences both dismay and joy in this heartwarming, appealing easy reader.
Illustrated by Molly Bang.
Harley the llama struggles to become a pack animal, until he triumphs as a sheep herding guard. Suspenseful, warm and funny with Bang’s expressive portrayal of animal kinship.
Henry’s First-Moon Birthday.
Illustrated by Yumi Heo.
An Anne Schwartz Book/Atheneum. 0-689-82294-4.
Jenny takes charge of her baby brother’s first month party in this loving look at a hectic family celebration where even the childlike illustrations seem to be in motion.
The Race of the Birkebeiners.
Illustrated by Mary Azarian.
Houghton Mifflin. 0-618-10313-9.
In 1206, Norway’s baby prince is saved from certain murder in this true story of the warrior skiers who risked their lives one cold winter night. Azarian’s strong woodcuts convey the spirit of this Scandinavian tale.
Gus and Grandpa at Basketball.
Illustrated by Catherine Stock.
Farrar Straus Giroux. 0-374-32818-8.
In four easy-to-read chapters Gus, with Grandpa’s help, is able to close his ears to the yelling crowds so that he can finally score in a basketball game.
McKissack, Patricia C.
Goin’ Someplace Special.
Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.
An Anne Schwartz Book/ Atheneum. 0-689-81885-8.
Pinkney’s illustrations focus the eye on ‘Tricia Ann, who braves the segregated buses in 1950’s Nashville to visit her Special Place – the integrated public library where “All are welcome”. A 2002 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner.
Juan Bobo Goes to Work
Illustrated by Joe Cepeda.
Juan Bobo Goes to Work is a retelling of a traditional Puerto Rican folktales. Cepeda humorously depicts Juan Bobo's determined but disastrous antics through bold brush strokes, expert use of varied perspectives, and vibrant Caribbean colors. A 2002 Pura Belpre Illustrator Award Honor Book
The Web Files.
Illustrated by Richard Egielski.
A duck-tective and his partner solve a barnyard crime in this spoof of TV’s “Dragnet”, complete with wry, staccato dialogue and colorful cartoon artwork.
Ryan, Pam Muñoz
Mice and Beans.
Illustrated by Joe Cepeda.
Vivid paintings and a lively text, sprinkled with Spanish, energetically portray Rosa Maria’s week-long party preparations for her granddaughter’s birthday.
The Stray Dog.
A chance encounter turns into a family love affair in this disarmingly simple, gently humorous, and emotionally satisfying tale. The soft palette and subtle touches in the distinctive watercolors perfectly capture the heroic actions of the young protagonists and convey the universal feelings of longing and belonging. A 2002 Caldecott Honor Book.
Steen, Sandra and Susan Steen
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas.
Come along for an unforgettable ride in a car wash that turns into an exciting underwater sea adventure with octopi and other sea monsters.
Stevens, Janet and Susan Stevens Crummel
And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon.
Illustrated by Janet Stevens.
Energetic, fun-for-all parody of this familiar nursery rhyme which tells of the hilarious search for the run-away Dish and Spoon.
Illustrated by Heather Solomon.
Poor girl outwits rich but slow-thinking giant in this ‘conte’ from the French-Canadian tradition. Illustrated with fresh, imaginative collages.
The Other Side.
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis.
Evocative watercolors and telling placement illustrate the story of two girls challenging the notion that sides must be drawn between black and white.
Allen, Thomas B.
Remember Pearl Harbor: American and Japanese Survivors Tell Their Stories.
National Geographic. 0-7922-6690-0.
Photographs, maps, and extensive quotations from participants tell the dramatic story of the attack on Pearl Harbor from both American and Japanese sides.
Handel: Who Knew What He Liked.
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.
A light-hearted, yet very informative picture book biography of the noted composer. Hawkes’illustrations extend the humor and historic details.
Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy.
Rescued by a whaling ship, 14-year-old Manjiro becomes the first Japanese ever to visit the United States and becomes a bridge between two cultures.
After her parents disappear, Molly lives with a “great-uncle” whose menacing behavior suggests the Skeleton Man in a traditional Mohawk story. Bruchac’s scary contemporary novel respectfully incorporates traditional Mohawk lore.
Nathan longs to become a surfman with the only African-American life-saving crew on 1890’s Pea Island. When confronted with his own personal limitations, he sees a better way to contribute.
Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People.
A telling portrait of folk musician Woody Guthrie, whose life and work was highly influenced by his intimate experiences with the struggling poor of the Depression.
Love That Dog.
Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins. 0-06-029287-3.
Spare free verse poems tell the moving story of a boy coming to terms with loss and grief, through his reluctant discovery of the power of poetry.
Elegant paintings, fascinating diagrams and compelling prose convey the tortuous creation of the New York and Brooklyn Bridge. Explaining both the drama and the engineering, Brooklyn Bridge captivates readers of all ages by documenting the technical challenge and human perseverance that resulted in a practical structure that serves as a metaphoric victory for civilization. A 2002 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book.
In the Days of the Vaqueros: America’s First True Cowboys.
The eye-opening history of cow herding as invented by Mexican-Americans 500 years ago and adapted later by the American cowboy.
Illustrated by Hudson Talbott.
The dramatically illustrated story of da Vinci’s plan for a giant horse statue, and how 500 years later Charles Dent realized the dream with a statue in Milan.
The Hero of Ticonderoga.
An unlikely hero emerges when an unenthusiastic student gets the plum assignment of reporting on local legend Ethan Allen, discovering her own talent for ribald storytelling.
The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours.
A Byron Preiss Book/Scholastic. 0-439-21310-X.
Jane Goodall reviews for young people her seminal studies of chimpanzees in Gome, Tanzania, and her concerns for preserving the planet, in a work beautifully illustrated with expressive photographs.
How I Became an American.
Translated by James Skofield.
Ten-year-old Johann recalls the hardships and triumphs of the immigrant experience in 1902, as his German family emigrates in search of the "paradise" said to lie in America. This well-researched novel has much to tell us about what it means to leave one's homeland for another. The 2002 Batchelder Award Winner.
Illustrated by Lawrence Migdale.
Holiday House. 0-8234-1581-3.
A photo-essay introduction to Islam and the feast of Ramadan as seen through the lives of one American family and their nine-year-old son.
Illustrated by Margot Apple.
In easy, straightforward language, Haas has captured the winsome life of a pony named Radish and the little girls he trains.
Everything on a Waffle.
Farrar Straus Giroux. 0-374-32236-8.
When 11-year-old Primrose Squarp's parents disappear at sea, her faith in their return defies all adult logic. Set in British Columbia, Everything On A Waffle combines quirky characters, recipes, and amazing twists of plot in a striking combination of the barely credible and profoundly true. A 2002 Newbery Honor Book.
The Black Bull of Norroway: A Scottish Tale.
Illustrated by Anita Lobel.
Glowing illustrations enhance this Scottish folktale about a brave girl determined to rescue her true love from two witches.
Hurst, Carol Otis
Rocks in His Head.
Illustrated by James Stevenson.
A young man pursues his love of rocks until the director of a museum discovers his passion and appoints him curator despite his lack of formal education.
The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: An Illuminating History of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, Artist and Lecturer.
Illustrated by Brian Selznick.
With a sense of showmanship echoing the spectacle of Waterhouse Hawkins's own public presentations, this dramatic biography brings the work of the 19th century dinosaur artist to life. Using a rich palette, theatrical staging, and monumental dimensions, Selznick creates an exquisite balance between illustration and design in this distinguished marriage of science and art. A 2002 Caldecott Honor Book.
Illustrated by Jill Barton.
Spoiled Princes Penelope meets her match in Johnny, a quick witted swineherd and his extraordinary pig, Lollipop.
Hidden Worlds: Looking Through a Scientist’s Microscope.
Photographs by Dennis Kunkel.
Houghton Mifflin. 0-618-05546-0.
Readers are introduced to dramatic new worlds hidden to the naked eye in this exploration of the scientific work of Dr. Dennis Kunkel.
The Cod’s Tale.
Illustrated by S.D. Schindler.
Whimsical, fact-filled text and appealing illustrations tell the story of the relationship between humans and the once abundant codfish.
Bull’s Eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley.
National Geographic. 0-7922-7008-8.
Macy separates the fact from the myth in this dazzling celebration of the noted female sharpshooter. Rich with photos, reproductions, quotations and page decorations.
The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish.
Illustrated by Beth Krommes.
Houghton Mifflin. 0-618-00341-X.
In a story and format that dazzles and reflects the culture of the Far North, an Inupiaq family helps the survivors when their ship is destroyed by pack ice.
Judy Moody Gets Famous!
Illustrated by Peter Reynolds
Jealous of a classmate’s renown as spelling bee champion, Judy Moody devises a series of outlandish schemes to gain attention in this handsomely designed and accessible novel.
A Book of Coupons.
Translated by Gill Rosner. Illustrated by Serge Bloch.
Penguin Putnam/Viking. 0-670-89970-4.
Monsieur Noël welcomes his fifth grade class with permission slips for such unlikely activities as sleeping late, forgetting homework, and making lots of noise, which gets him into trouble with a sour principal. This charming and deceptively simple school story presents valuable insights into what really matters in life. A 2002 Batchelder Award Honor Book
Park, Linda Sue
A Single Shard.
Tree-ear, an orphan who lives under a bridge with his wise friend Crane-man, becomes fascinated with a nearby community of potters. Drawn by their exquisite craftsmanship, the adolescent boy begins to assist the master potter Min. The 2002 Newbery Medal Winner.
Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354.
Houghton Mifflin. 0-618-08366-9.
Ibn Battuta’ fascinating journey is described using simple text, hand-drawn maps, Arabic calligraphy, watercolors and quotes from Battuta and other ancient travelers.
Ryan, Pam Muñoz
Scholastic Press. 0-439-12041-1.
Pampered thirteen-year-old Esperanza and her mother are forced to flee Mexico following her father's sudden death and his brothers' takeover of their land. In a California migrant-worker camp, they encounter poverty and racism that are mitigated by the support of family and friends. Esperanza's response to the fall from privileged life into a 1930s, immigrant experience transforms her from a spoiled child into a strong adolescent. The Pura Belpre Author Medal Winner
Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic. 0-439-19313-3.
Ten-year-old Alyssa, “Blister”, learns about resiliency and fighting back after the breakup of her parents’ marriage in this poignant, funny novel.
Love, Ruby Lavender.
Gulliver Books/Harcourt. 0-15-202314-3.
In Wiles’ first novel, nine-year-old Ruby Lavender corresponds with her beloved grandmother and copes with a death in the family and classmate Melba Jane, her arch-enemy.
Illustrated by Chris Soentpiet.
Glowing watercolors illustrate the story of brothers who immigrated to California in the mid-1800’s. Enduring prejudice and dangerous working conditions, they joined thousands of other Chinese laborers to build the Transcontinental Railroad.
Dinosaur Parents, Dinosaur Young: Uncovering the Mystery of Dinosaur Families.
Illustrated by Paul Carrick and Bruce Shillinglaw.
Though focused on dinosaur parenting, this is also an exploration of the scientific process and how theories change with new discoveries.
The Gawgon and the Boy.
In a warm memoir filled with unforgettable relatives, 11-year-old David takes a year off to be sick and is tutored by Great Aunt Annie, Her lessons inspire imagined adventures with Sherlock Holmes, Leonardo, and a pirate gang.
Delacorte Press. 0-385-32770-6
Erin, January, and Mouse take a vacation from the orphanage and accidentally float into the dark, dilapidated world of a strange young girl named Heaven Eyes.
Bartoletti, Susan Campbell.
Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850.
Houghton Mifflin. 0-618-00271-5
Using first-hand accounts, illustrations and documents from archival sources, Bartoletti recreates the milieu of a century and a half ago, and links the lives or ordinary people to larger social, cultural and political issues. A model of engaging scholarship and accessible social history, Bartoletti's beautifully designed book makes clear the long-lasting impact of this event and the economic and political issues that lead to famine today.
The 2002 Robert F. Sibert Award Winner
The Seeing Stone.
Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic. 0-439-26326-3
Arthur, a boy who lived on an English manor in 11999, finds his life meshing magically with that of his namesake, King Arthur.
A Face First
A moving story of the physical and emotional recovery of 12-year-old Kelley who was horribly burned in a car accident.
The World at Her Fingertips: The Story of Helen Keller.
Dash brings to life this complex, controversial, and accomplished woman – her childhood relationship with Annie Sullivan and John Macy, and the ideas which inspired her life.
When the magic protecting their valley begins to disappear, Tilja, her grandmother, and two others journey through the empire to seek help in this richly imagined fantasy. A 2002 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book
Cricket Books. 0-8126-4900-1
In this innovative coming-of-age novel told in more than 50 voices, Rob searches for his long-gone father’s voice by repeatedly scanning radio broadcasts.
Greenberg, Jan (editor)
Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art.
A sampler of original poems celebrate the richness of American art pieces in this handsome volume. A 2002 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book
Greenberg, Jan and Sandra Jordan.
Vincent van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist.
Greenberg and Jordan detail van Gogh's life in a compelling and engaging narrative that deftly incorporates quotes from his letters, and vividly portrays the circumstances that so influenced the painter's work and tormented life. The authors adeptly use first-hand material and paintings in their thoughtful interpretation of this passionate genius. A 2002 Robert F. Sibert Award Honor Book
In simple, evocative poems, Hesse tells the story of a small Vermont town in the 1920s dealing with the Ku Klux Klan through the voices of eleven townspeople.
We Were There, Too!: Young People in U.S. History
Farrar Straus Giroux 0-374-38252-2
Profound portraits of the many young people who played pivotal roles in the history of the United States are accompanied by well-chosen photographs and illustrations.
Houghton Mifflin. 0-618-01173-0.
Jiménez's compelling autobiographical stories in Breaking Through, sequel to The Circuit, combine dramatic social issues of poverty and prejudice in the 1950s with timeless adolescent experiences of family tension, school, and romance. A Pura Belpre Author Award Honor Book
Helen Keller: Rebellious Spirit.
Holiday House 0-8234-1588-0
Helen Keller the individual emerges from this carefully researched and comprehensive biography that will make good reading for pleasure as well as for research.
After a mysterious encounter with a boy on a bicycle near her home in rural France, 13-year-old Zazoo learns about family secrets, love, and death.
Myers, Walter Dean.
The Greatest: Muhammad Ali.
Myers explores the very public life of heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali, depicting not only his fights in the ring but the ones outside as well involving racism, politics, and religion.
A Step from Heaven.
Front Street. 1-886910-58-8
Ju, a girl who immigrates from Korea as a toddler and grows up in California, is conflicted by her attraction to the American customs and her parents’ urge to keep their Korean traditions. The 2002 Michael L. Printz Award Winner
The Other Side of Truth.
Smuggled out of Nigeria after their mother’s murder, Sade and her brother struggle to survive as exiles in London, hoping to reunite with their father. A powerful testament to the resilience of childhood.
Carver: A Life in Poems.
Front Street. 1-886910-53-7
Told from multiple perspectives, this breathtaking collection of 59 poems reveals little known facets of the remarkable scientist who is too often dismissed as "the peanut man. A 2002 Newbery Honor Book and a 2002 Coretta Scott King Honor Book
Slaves of the Mastery.
In this powerful sequel to The Wind Singer, 15-year-old twins Kestrel and Bowman pit their wits and magic against the slave-holding mastery.
Rochelle, Belinda (editor)
Words With Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art.
A range of poetry and works of art by acclaimed African-Americans are paired to create an evocative and powerful exploration in images and words.
Phyllis Fogelman/Penguin Putnam. 0-8037-1950-7.
Paul Edward, son of a slave and slave owner, searches to find his place in the world and land to call his own in this epic prequel to “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry”. The 2002 Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner.
Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps.
Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps is the powerful story of Jack Mandelbaum, who as a teenager was torn from a life of warmth and family love, to spend three horrific years in a concentration camp. Vintage photographs, effective design and engrossing narrative introduce the reader to a man who still refuses to be consumed by hate, choosing instead to live a life of tolerance and forgiveness. Warren creates a testimony of determination and courage using information gained from her interviews with Mr. Mandelbaum. She supports her historical portrait with a variety of sources connecting readers to this period. A 2002 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book.
Wolff, Virginia Euwer
Told in free-verse form, fifteen-year-old La Vaughn faces serious changes with friends, family and school, choosing in the end to “rise to the occasion which is life”. A 2002 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book.
Janeczko, Paul (editor)
A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems.
Illustrated by Chris Raschka.
Thirty visually-appealing concrete poems are brought to life through stunning collage illustrations – surely just the right poke-in-the-I to appeal to readers.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.
Illustrated by Christopher Bing.
Handprint Books. 1-929766-13-0.
Hand-rendered illustrations suggest the engravings of the colonial period and combine with historic realia to give a masterful sense of time and place in this innovative rendition of the classic poem.
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Illustrated by Bryan Collier.
Jump at the Sun/Hyperion. 0-7868-0714-8.
In this picture book biography of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rappaport's spare text and carefully chosen quotes are carried to a powerful emotional level by Collier's art. From the smiling, inviting image on the cover to each striking double spread the artist portrays significant events evoking King's purpose, telling readers that "His big words are alive for us today." A 2002 Caldecott Honor Book and A 2002 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book.
The Three Pigs.
The plot and form of a familiar folktale unravel as the pigs are huffed and puffed off the page and into a new world. The trio cavorts through scenes from nursery rhyme to fairy tale, liberating other characters on the fly. Wiesner uses a range of artistic styles and thrilling perspectives to play with the structure and conventions of traditional storytelling, redefining the picture book. The 2002 Caldecott Medal winner.
Williams, Vera B.
Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart.
In this beautiful collection of poems and illustrations, two sisters, Amber and Essie, comfort and sustain each other during the difficult time while their father is in jail.