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)

Older Readers

Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: The Story behind an American Friendship.

By Russell Freedman. illus. Clarion, $18.99 (9780547385624). Gr. 5–9.

After telling the life stories of both Lincoln and Douglass, this well-researched and wonderfully readable book describes their first meeting in 1863, their different points of view, and their respectful, increasingly warm relationship.

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust

By Doreen Rappaport. illus. Candlewick, $22.99 (9780763629762). Gr. 7–12.

This important addition to the Holocaust curriculum is one of the few histories to focus in detail on Jewish resistance across Europe. Among the meticulously documented accounts are many profiles of young people who made a difference.

Middle Readers

The Boston Tea Party

By Russell Freedman. Illus. by Peter Malone. Holiday, $17.95 (9780823422661). Gr. 2–5.

The curtain rises in 1773, as colonists plan and carry out the Boston Tea Party. Period quotes bring a sense of immediacy to the clearly written narrative, while beautifully composed watercolor paintings dramatize events.

The Fairy Ring; or, Elsie and Frances Fool the World

By Mary Losure. illus. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763656706). Gr. 5–8.

In 1917, two teenagers faked photographs of fairies using paper illustrations. Their innocent ruse went international, receiving validation by experts and belief by the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle. An unbelievable true story about the magic of true friendship. (Top of the List winner—Youth Nonfiction.)

It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

By Don Tate. Illus. by R. Gregory Christie. Lee & Low, $17.95 (9781600602603). Gr. 2–4.

Rhythmic text and beautiful folk-art illustrations introduce celebrated “outsider artist” Bill Traylor, who drew on memories of his childhood as a slave when he started drawing in 1939, at the age of 85.

Older Readers

Miles to Go for Freedom: Segregation and Civil Rights in the Jim Crow Years

By Linda Barrett Osborne. illus. Abrams, $24.95 (9781419700200). Gr. 6–10.

In this companion to Traveling the Freedom Road (2009), Osborne offers another handsome, highly readable overview of African American history, focusing here on both the South and the North during the late-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95

By Phillip Hoose. illus. Farrar, $21.99 (9780374304683). Gr. 7–12.

Hoose turns his eye to the endangered rufa red-knot bird—specifically Moonbird, a humble fellow who has flown more than 325,000 miles in his lifetime. Despite the wealth of information, the story, like the bird, moves swiftly.

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different

By Karen Blumenthal. illus. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (9781250015570). Gr. 7–10.

Through original interviews, a smart use of source material, and a wonderfully easygoing style, Blumenthal gives readers a full portrait of Jobs, in all his complexity.

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March

By Cynthia Y. Levinson. illus. Peachtree, $19.95 (9781561456277). Gr. 6–12.

With its focus on four young people who participated in the Birmingham Children’s March, this fascinating title offers a unique view of the role of children and teens in the civil rights era.

Wild Horse Scientists

By Kay Frydenborg. illus. Houghton, $18.99 (9780547518312). Gr. 7–9.

Illustrated with handsome photos, this informative and wholly engaging book transports readers to Maryland’s Assateague Island National Seashore, where scientists study herds of wild horses and work to improve their well-being.