2010 Notable Children's Books

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According to ALSC policy, the current year's Newbery, Caldecott,  Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books automatically are added to the Notable Children's Books list.


For your convenience, Notable Children's Books that have also received other ALA awards, such as the  Coretta Scott King Award Michael L. Printz Award, Alex Award, and Schneider Family Book Award,    are  noted on this list.

Younger Readers

All the World. By Liz Garton Scanlon. Illus. by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane, $17.99 (9781416985808).
The myriad joys of the world are reflected with warmth and affection in this look at a day in a small community near the ocean. (A 2010 Caldecott Honor Book.)

Benny and Penny in the Big No-No! By Geoffrey Hayes. Illus. by the author. TOON, $12.95 (9780979923890)
Siblings Benny and Penny encounter trouble when curiosity about a mysterious neighbor leads them into unexpected adventures. (The 2010 Geisel Award Book.)

Big Wolf and Little Wolf. By Nadine Brun-Cosme. Illus. by Olivier Tallec; Trans. by Claudia Bedrick. Enchanted Lion, $16.95 (9781592700844)
Big Wolf lives alone until Little Wolf appears. Bit by bit, Big Wolf allows Little Wolf to join him in daily activities. Only when Little Wolf goes away does Big Wolf realize how much he cares for his new friend. (A 2010 Batchelder Honor Book.)

Birds.  By Kevin Henkes.  Illus. by Laura Dronzek.  Greenwillow, $17.99 (9780061363047).
An young unseen narrator explores  colors, shapes, and sizes as she watches red, blue, yellow and green birds outside her window. Perfect for the youngest.

A Book. Mordicai Gerstein. Illus. by the author. Roaring Brook,  $16.95 (9781596432512).
Part of a family who live inside a book, a young girl travels through fairy tales, mysteries, adventure yarns, and historical novels in search of a story of her own.

Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children's Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/ El día de los libros . By Pat Mora. Illus. by Rafael López.  Rayo, $17.99 (9780061288777)
Latino children invite children of other cultures into their book fiesta, leading the reader on a visual journey that shows how reading sparks the imagination and unites us all. (The 2010 Belpré Illustrator Award Book.)

The Curious Garden. By Peter Brown. Illus. by the author. Little, Brown, $16.99 (9780316053297).
Liam discovers a patch of lonely plants in an elevated train track and encourages them to grow into a magnificent garden that spreads throughout the drab city.

Gracias * Thanks. By Pat Mora. Illus. by John Parra.  Lee & Low, $17.95 (9781600602580)
Small pleasures of Latino family life and experiences are captured in nostalgic folk art illustrations. (A 2010 Belpré Illustrator Honor Book.)

Higher! Higher!  By Leslie Patricelli.  Illus. by the author.  Candlewick, $15.99 (9780763632410).
With Dad pushing her higher and higher in the swing, a little girl soars into the realm of fun and fantasy.

I Spy Fly Guy! By Tedd Arnold. Illus. by the author.  Scholastic, $5.99 (9780545110280)
A disastrous ending to a game of hide and seek finds Fly Guy hauled away to the local dump in this new take on a lost pet. (A 2010 Geisel Honor Book.)

Little Mouse Gets Ready. By Jeff  Smith. Illus. by the author. TOON, $12.95 (9781935179016)
Little Mouse narrates this story with humor and excitement as he dons clothes and dreams of adventures to come. (A 2010 Geisel Honor Book.)

Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea. By Greg Mortenson and Susan L. Roth.  Collages by Susan L. Roth.  Dial,  $16.99   (9780803730588).
Children of Korphe, Pakistan describe their world and how they worked with an American to build a school for their village. Stunning collages enhance the story.

Mommy, Mama and Me. By Lesléa Newman. Illus. by Carol Thompson. Tricycle, $7.99 (9781582462622).
In this gentle board book two loving mothers share daily activities with their baby.

Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends.  By Wong Herbert Yee. Illus. by the author. Houghton, $15.00  (9780547152226)
Artistic Mole and poetic Mouse join forces to hatch a clever plan for watching skittish birds and create their own book of paintings and poems celebrating their bird-watching adventures (A 2010 Geisel Honor Book.)

My Abuelita. By Tony Johnston. Illus. by Yuyi Morales. Harcourt, $16.00 (9780152163303)
As a grandmother flows through the book pages in her robes as flamboyant as the stories she loves to tell, she inspires her grandson to want to be just like her when he grows old. (A 2010 Belpré Illustrator Honor Book.)

Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day. By Kate McMullan. Illus. by R. W. Alley. Dial, $14.99 (9780803730854)
Friends Pearl and Wagner experience the hijinks and pranks of April Fools’ Day. (A 2010 Geisel Honor Book.)

Posy.  By Linda Newbery.  Illus. by Catherine Rayner.  Atheneum,  $16.99 (9781416971122).
Posy the kitten scampers through a busy day tangling yarn and catching spiders. Her antics are described with minalist art and playful rhyming text perfect for the youngest reader.

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors. By Joyce Sidman.  Illus. by Pamela Zagarenski. Houghton, $16.00  (9780547014944).
Evocative poems celebrate color and enliven the senses as readers follow a woman and her dog surrounded by myriad intricately costumed and stylized figures through the seasons.  (A 2010 Caldecott Honor Book.)

Thunder-Boomer!  By Shutta Crum. Illus. by Carol Thompson. Clarion, $16.00 (9780618618651).
A family runs for cover on their farm as a hot day brings  a frightening storm, then delivers a soaked and shivery surprise.

Waiting for Winter.  By Sebastian Meschenmoser.  Illus. by the author.  Kane Miller,  $15.99  (9781935279044).
 First squirrel, then hedgehog, and finally bear wait anxiously for winter to appear as they mistake several  white and wet and cold and soft objects for snow.

Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales.  By Lucy Cousins.  Illus. by the author. Candlewick, $18.99 (9780763644741).
Bright illustrations in primary colors accompany bold retellings of eight familiar folktales. Young listeners will gobble these up!

Middle Readers

Adventures in Cartooning. By James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost. Illus. by the authors. First Second,  $12.95  (9781596433694).
The Magic Cartooning Elf mesmorizes readers with the story of a knight and a princess that also provides step-by-step instruction for creating cartoons.

An Eye for Color: The Story of Josef Albers.  By Natasha Wing. Illus. by Julia Breckenreid. Holt,  $16.99  (9780805080728).
In a picture book format, Wing offers simple explanations of the unusual ways that artist Josef Albers used color and shape to open the eyes of the world.

Anne Frank: Her life in words and pictures from the archives of The Anne Frank House. By Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol.  Roaring Brook, $19.99 (9781596435469).
A visual companion to other accounts of Anne Frank’s life is told chiefly through photographs, many published nowhere else, and handwritten excerpts from her actual diary in a well-researched and powerful and compact package.

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal. By Vaunda Micheaux Nelson.  Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. Carolrhoda, $17.95  (9780822567646).
Former slave Bass Reeves, the first black U.S. Marshall,  staunchly defended territorial law in the American West through many remarkable deeds. (The 2010 Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner)

Crow Call. By Lois Lowry.  Illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline. Scholastic, $16.99 (9780545030359).
Reunited after serving in the war, a father and youngest daughter  begin their journey of reconnection through a hunting shirt, cherry pie, tender conversation, and a crow call.

The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors. By Chris Barton.  Illus. by Tony Persiani. Charlesbridge, $18.95  (9781570916731).
This glowing biography tells of two inventive brothers who worked together from a startling discovery in their basement to a lifetime creating fluorescent colors. (A 2010 Sibert Honor Book.)

Diego: Bigger Than Life.  By Carmen T. Bernier-Grand. Illus. by David Diaz. Marshall Cavendish, $18.99 (9780761453833)
A series of chronological poems delve into the life of artist Diego Rivera, enlivened by bold, bigger than life images. (A 2010 Belpré Illustrator Honor Book and Belpré Author Honor Book.)

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea.  By Steve Jenkins. Illus. by the author. Houghton, $17.00  (9780618966363).
This irresistable underwater exploration reveals the mysteries of the sea by going deeper and deeper and deeper from top to bottom,viewing little known creatures and encoutering spaces where few have ever been.

Eidi. By Bodil Bredsdorff. Trans. by Kathryn Mahaffy. Farrar, $16.99 (9780374312671)
Feeling displaced by the birth of her half-brother, Eidi leaves her beloved family in Crow Cove and sets out on a journey to discover her independence and talents. (A 2010 Batchelder Honor Book.)

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. By Jacqueline Kelly. Holt, $16.99 (9780805088410).
Eleven-year-old Calpurnia Virginia Tate and her curmudgeony old grandfather bond over their interest in the evolution of the species on a Texas plantation at the turn of the last century. (A 2010 Newbery Honor Book.)

A Faraway Island.  By Annika Thor. Trans by Linda Schenck. Delacorte, $16.99 (9780385736176)
Two Jewish sisters from Vienna, Austria, are sent by their parents to Sweden to escape the Nazis. (The 2010 Batchelder Award Book.)

Federico García Lorca. By Georgina Lázaro. Illus. by Enrique S. Moreiro. Lectorum,  $14.99 (9781933032399)
Lázaro’s lyrical poetry, written in Spanish, evokes the spirit and style of  20th-century poet and playwright, Federico García Lorca (A 2010 Belpré Author Honor Book.)

The Frog Scientist.  By Pamela S.Turner.  Photographs by Andy Comins. Houghton, $18.00  (9780618717163).
Tyrone Hayes and his students work to understand frogs so they can save these amphibians from the pesticides that are slowly killing off creatures older than dinosaurs.

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust.  By Karen Gray Ruelle and Deborah Durland DeSaix.  Illus. by  the authors.  Holiday,  $17.95  (9780823421596).
Powerful illustrations illuminate a little known aspect of WWII resistance: the heroic Muslim effort to orchestrate the escape of Jews who were aggressively pursued by Nazis during the four year occupation of Paris.

How Oliver Olson Changed the World.  By Claudia Mills.  Illus. by Heather Maione. Farrar,  $15.95 (9780374334871).
A third-grade science project gives Oliver the confidence to break free from his overprotective parents in this humorous, realistic school story.

In the Belly of an Ox: the Unexpected Photographic Adventures of Richard and Cherry Kearton.  By Rebecca Bond.  Illus.  by  the author.  Houghton, $16.00 (9780547076751).
Establishing a new era in nature photography, two brothers spend many weekends finding ingenious ways to photograph bird nests in the nineteenth century English countryside.

The Magician’s Elephant.  By Kate DiCamillo.  Illus. by Yoko Tanaka.  Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763644109).
A fortune teller's strange prediction and a magician’s startling trick lead Peter on an extraordinary journey to find his sister in the kingdom of Baltese.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg.  By Rodman Philbrick. Blue Sky, $16.99  (9780439668187).
Homer, an admitted liar and teller of tales, must rescue his brother Harold after Uncle Squinton Leach sells him to the Union Army. (A 2010 Newbery Honor Book.)

Pharaoh's Boat. By David L. Weitzman.  Illus.  by the author. Houghton, $18.00 (9780547053417).
Meticulously created, hieroglyphic-like illustrations along with a detailed text reveal the riddle of reconstructing a regal boat commissioned by Cheops, the Pharaoh, to journey into the afterlife.

River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River.  By Hudson Talbott.  Illus. by the author. Putnam,  $17.99  (9780399245213). 
With illustrations that flow along with the text, this book celebrates the river that has played a key role in the settling of the New World, the outcome of the Revolutionary War, and the history of a state and a country.

The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis.  By Barbara O’Connor.  Farrar, $16.99 (9780374370558).
Popeye grabs at a chance for adventure and friendship when a boy his age named Elvis rolls into the sleepy town of Fayette.

The Storm in the Barn.  By Matt Phelan.  Illus. by the author. Candlewick, $24.99 (9780763636180).
At the stark, dry height of the 1937 Kansas dust bowl, 11-year-old Jack tries to bring back the rain when he challenges a mythical figure in this stirring graphic novel.

Tsunami!  By Kimiko Kajikawa.  Illus. by Ed Young. Philomel,  $16.99 (9780399250064).
Through deep personal sacrifice, Ojiisan, known as grandfather, saves his village from a tsunami. The tension in this Japanese folktale is heightened by the rich texture of the mixed media illustrations.

When You Reach Me.  By Rebecca Stead.  Random/Wendy Lamb,  $17.99 (9780385737425).
Twelve-year-old Miranda must unravel a puzzle involving increasingly strange notes warning that someone she knows may die. (The 2010 Newbery Award Winner.)

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. By Grace Lin. Illus. by the author. Little, Brown,  $16.99  (9780316114271).
A young Chinese girl, long a believer in her father’s fantastic stories, goes on a quest to find the legendary Old Man of the Moon in the hope of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain.  (A 2010 Newbery Honor Book.)

A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk: A Forest of Poems.  By Deborah Ruddell  Illus. by Joan Rankin.  Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry,  $16.99 (9781416942115).
Clever rhyming verse showcases a variety of forest animals throughout the seasons.

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!  By Jonah Winter. Illus. by André Carrilho. Random/Schwartz & Wade,  $17.99  (9780375837388).
Sandy Koufax's achievements as a great left-handed pitcher come to life in dramatic and dynamic illustrations coupled with smitherings of alluring facts and figures.

Older Readers

Anything But Typical.  By Nora Raleigh Baskin. Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (9781416963783).
Jason, a 12-year-old with autism spectrum disorder, finds life in a “neurotypical” world daunting but achieves success through his creative writing online. (The 2010 Schneider Family Book Award Winner for middle grades)

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. By Tanya Lee Stone. Candlewick, $24.99  (9780763636111).
In the early 1960s, 13 women endured rigorous testing and training for the space program, as well as prejudice. Numerous photographs and a revealing text chronicle their difficulties and achievements. (The 2010 Sibert Award Winner.)

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. By Phillip Hoose. Farrar/ Melanie Kroupa, $19.95 (9780374313227).
Nine months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, a 15-year-old girl was arrested for defying the same Montgomery, Alabama bus laws. This is her long-neglected story. 
(A 2010 Newbery Honor Book and Sibert Honor Book.)

The Giant-Slayer.  By Iain Lawrence. Delacorte, $16.95 (9780385733762).
An epic narrative spun for the residents of a polio ward in 1955 becomes personal for the young storyteller Laurie Valentine.

The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum.  By Candace Fleming.  Random/Schwartz & Wade, $18.99 (9780375945977).
This sweeping biography of a famous, sometimes infamous, trickster and businessman who left no stone unturned to bring the famous Barnum & Bailey Circus to an eager 19th century audience.

Leviathan. By Scott Westerfeld. Illus. by Keith Thompson. Simon Pulse,  $19.99 (9871416971733).
A hunted young Prince Aleksander Ferdinand and a girl disguised as a boy must form an unlikely alliance to survive in this steampunk version of WWI.

The Lost Conspiracy. By Frances Hardinge. HarperCollins, $16.99 (9780060880415).
A complex political puzzle filled with subterfuge and intrigue is at the center of this enticing fantasy set on a remote tropical island about two sisters who must grapple with an unknown evil. 

Marching for Freedom: Walk together, children, and don’t you grow weary. By Elizabeth Partridge.  Viking,  $19.99 (9780670011896).
Haunting illustrations and moving text tell the story of children leading the way on freedom marches, through voter registration drives, and even to jail during the quest for civil rights.

Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness. By Nahoko Uehashi. Illus. by Yuko Shimizu. Trans. by Cathy Hirano. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $17.99 (9780545102957)
Bodyguard-for-hire Balsa returns in this tale of redemption and political intrigue set in a fantasy world reminiscent of medieval Japan. (A 2010 Batchelder Honor Book.)

Mother Poems.  By Hope Anita Smith.  Illus. by the author.  Holt/Christy Ottaviano Books, $16.95  (9780805082319).
This touching collection of free verse poems explores a child’s view of her mother and their life together, then expresses raw emotions after her mother’s death.

Mr. Lincoln’s High-Tech War: How the North Used the Telegraph, Railroads, Surveillance Balloons, Ironclads, High-Powered Weapons, and More to Win the Civil War. By Thomas B. Allen & Roger MacBride Allen. National Geographic, $18.95  (9781426303791).
Breaking new historical ground, this book explores how Lincoln came to understand, value, and use “modern” technology to assist the North and help win the Civil War.

Return to Sender.  By Julia Alvarez . Knopf, $16.99 (978037858383)
When Tyler's father is unable to maintain the family farm, he hires undocumented workers, resulting in an interdependent relationship that mirrors current social and political conditions in the U.S. (The 2010 Belpré Author Award Winner.)

The Rock and the River.  By Kekla Magoon.  Aladdin, $15.99 (9781416975823).
Seeing the injustice in his 1968 Chicago neighborhood after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is killed, Sam Childs knows he can’t be patient like his Civil Rights leader father nor join the Black Panthers like his brother: he must struggle to be his own man. (The 2010 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award Winner)

Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World. By Marilyn Nelson. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney.  Dial, $21.99 (9780803731875).
Unique poetry and creative illustrations bring to life the story of an integrated all-girl swing band that traveled the US in the 1940s.

Tales from Outer Suburbia. By Shaun Tan. Illus. by the author. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $19.99 (9780545055871).
Fifteen ‘radically’ and surrealistically illustrated tales guide readers in unexpected directions in this quirky, thoughtful, and sometimes even disturbing collection of stories and art.

tofu quilt. By ching yeung russell. Lee & Low, $16.95 (9781600604232).
In a patchwork ‘quilt’ of free verse poems the author recounts her struggle to become a writer growing up in 1960s Hong Kong.

Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales.  Edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.  Viking,  $16.99 (9780670061419).
Fifteen deeply twisted, fantastically funny, and hauntingly human fairy tales are told from the point of view of the villain in this excellent collection of very grim short stories.

Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting.  By Jim Murphy. Scholastic, $19.99  (9780545130493). 
In the middle of World War I, British and German forces quit fighting to celebrate Christmas together peacefully. First person details present the human side of this bloody war.

Wild Things.  By Clay Carmichael. Front Street, $17.00 (9781590786277).
Spunky eleven-year-old Zoe comes to live with Uncle Henry who is a metal sculptor  and learns that a safe home and acceptance are possible, even for wild things like her.

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland. By Sally M. Walker.  Carolrhoda,  $22.95 (9780822571353).
Crime Scene Investigation meets early American History—exposing ancient crimes and describing patterns of everyday life as told and written on the bones of the early Jamestown settlers.

Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl.  By Albert Marrin. Dutton,  $22.99 (9780525420774).
This  ecological disaster created by human misdeed forces a grim choice upon the people of the plains during the depths of the Great Depression.

All Ages

Ashley Bryan: Words To My Life's Song.  By Ashley Bryan. Photographs by Bill McGuinness.  Atheneum,  $18.99  (9781416905417).
Numerous photographs and illustrations from the author’s books accompany this joyful autobiography in which Bryan, author, storyteller, and artist, talks about growing up, school, art, and life.

Duck! Rabbit!  By Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Illus. by Tom Lichtenheld.  Chronicle, $16.99 (9780811868655).
Is it a duck? Is it a rabbit? Simple words and bold illustrations, challenge children with this optical illusion.

The Lion & the Mouse. By Jerry Pinkney.  Illus. by the author.  Little, Brown,  $16.99 (9780316013567).
Pictures are worth thousands of words in this rendition of a classic fable, illustrated with striking watercolors. (The 2010 Caldecott Award Winner.)

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11. By Brian Floca. Illus. by the author. Atheneum/Richard Jackson, $17.99 (9781416950462).
Forty years after the first and last humans (for now) stepped on the moon’s surface, a handsome, largely visual chronicle of that historic journey brings its majesty and mystery to young readers. (A 2010 Sibert Honor Book.)

My People.  By Langston Hughes.  Photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr.   Atheneum/ Ginee Seo,  $17.99  (9781416935407).
Warm photographic portraits celebrating the diversity of African-American faces illustrate Langston Hughes’ 1923 classic poem. (The 2010 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner)

Redwoods.  By Jason Chin.  Illus. by the author.  Flash Point, $16.95 (9781596434301).
Jason imaginatively steps into his book about redwoods and embarks on an adventurous exploration climbing  through  the canopy of these giants.

Shades of People. By Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly. Photographs by Shelley Rotner. Holiday, $16.95  (9780823421916).
Images of happy children with many shades and colors of skin show the beauty of all people inside and out.

2010 Notable Children's Books Committee:

Eliza T. Dresang, Chair, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.
Beth Gerall, NoveList, Durham, N.C.
Sue C. Kimmel, Gillespie Park Elementary School, Greensboro, N.C.
Kathie Meizner, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Silver Spring, Md.
Marie Orlando, North Shore Public Library, Wading River, N.Y.
Michael Rogalla, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, Ill.
Ed Spicer, Michigan Reading Journal, Allegan, Mich.
Sally Anne Thompson, Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Tanya Tullos, Region 4 Education Service Center, Houston, Texas
Andrea Vaughn, Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mary R. Voors, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Ind.