Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth

About the Booklist Editors' Choice: Books for Youth
Committed to providing a broad selection of outstanding books that mixes popular appeal with literary excellence, the Books for Youth editorial staff has chosen the titles below as best-of-the-year fiction, nonfiction, and picture books.

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2012 Selection(s)

Young Readers

And Then It’s Spring

By Julie Fogliano. Illus. by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $16.99 (9781596436244). PreS–Gr. 2.

In this gentle ode to a patient gardener, a young boy, with his dog at his side, plants seeds and then waits . . . and waits. Stead’s beautiful woodblock and pencil illustrations complement the contemplative text.

Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic

By Ginnie Lo. Illus. by Beth Lo. Lee & Low, $18.95 (9781600604423). K–Gr. 2.

Based on the author and illustrator’s childhoods, this heartfelt tale introduces two Chinese girls in 1950s Indiana who come to feel more at home thanks to, of all things, soybeans. Illustrator Lo, a ceramic artist, has painted the charming pictures on plates.

Boot and Shoe

By Marla Frazee. Illus. by the author. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, $16.99 (9781442422476). PreS–Gr. 3.

The inner workings of doggie brains are on full display in this charmer about two almost identical dogs. Frazee’s art perfectly captures joy and chaos, as a squirrel upends the moppets’ world.

Cold Snap

By Eileen Spinelli. Illus. by Marjorie Priceman. Knopf, $17.99 (9780375857003). PreS–Gr. 2.

The townsfolk in Toby Mills enjoy winter fun in a snowy landscape but not the bitter, relentless freeze of a cold snap. While the lively text details individual characters’ experiences, vibrant gouache paintings bring each scene to life.

Extra Yarn

By Mac Barnett. Illus. by Jon Klassen. HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray, $16.99 (9780061953385). K–Gr. 2.

Annabelle, who lives in a black-and-white world, stumbles on a box filled with yarn of every color. The yarn is never ending, allowing Annabelle to knit countless sweaters—and attract the attention of a greedy archduke. A seamless, sparkling collaboration that celebrates imagination and ingenuity. (Top of the List winner—Youth Picture Book.)


By Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Illus. by the author. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, $16.99 (9781596433977). PreS–Gr. 1.

In her latest beguiling picture book, Seeger shows that green is a color that stretches the mind—as does this clever piece of bookmaking that allows the richness of the natural world to speak for itself.


By Elisha Cooper. Illus. by the author. Greenwillow, $16.99 (9780062012487). PreS–Gr. 2.

Homer, an old dog, observes his small world—and the human goings-on around him—from the comfort of the porch. Loose watercolors and spare text offer up a touching portrait of an aging, beloved family member.

Jimmy the Greatest

By Jairo Buitrago. Illus. by Rafael Yockteng. Tr. by Elisa Amado. Groundwood, $18.95 (9781554981786). PreS–Gr. 2.

Translated from the Spanish and first published in Colombia, this unusual story about a young boxer celebrates the power of a close community and the impact a single individual can make.

Middle Readers

Twelve Kinds of Ice

By Ellen Bryan Obed. Illus. by Barbara McClintock. Houghton, $16.99 (9780618891290). Gr. 4–7.

In this precise, evocative book, 20 short chapters introduce the different kinds of ice that take one family through the winter. McClintock’s pen-and-ink drawings, subtle yet celebratory, capture ice in all its incarnations.


By R. J. Palacio. Knopf, $15.99 (9780375869020). Gr. 5–8.

The undisputed stand-up-and-cheer book of the year follows 10-year-old Auggie. Born disfigured but blessed with intelligence and grace, he changes the lives of an ever-increasing cast of characters that first-novelist Palacio handles with a veteran’s aplomb.