ALSC announces the Notable Children's Books for 2001

Contact: Laura Schulte-Cooper


ALA News Release

For Immediate Release

March 2001

ALSC announces the Notable Children's Books for 2001

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has named its list of Notable Children's Books for 2001.

Younger Readers

  • Adler, David A. "America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle," illus. by Terry Widener; Harcourt/Gulliver, $16 (0-15-201969-3) Against all odds, Ederle is determined to be the first woman to swim the English Channel, 21 arduous miles of cold, choppy water. Her success is a personal triumph and a victory for all womankind.
  • Banks, Kate "Night Worker," illus. by Georg Hallensleben; Farrar/Frances Foster, $16 (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/Frances Foster, $16 (0-374-36166-5) In an exciting story about the heroism of ordinary people, a 10-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, $16 (0-618-00273-1) Finally freed from the stifling responsibilities of family, Mary embarks on a courageous voyage to West Africa in 1893.
  • Cronin, Doreen "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type," illus. by Betsy Lewin. Simon & Schuster, $15 (0-689-83213-3) Using the barnyard typewriter, Farmer Brown's cows draft ultimatums while negotiating better living conditions for all the farm animals. A 2001 Caldecott Honor Book.
  • "Days like This: A Collection of Small Poems," ed. by Simon James; Candlewick, $17.99 (0-7636-0812-2) Illustrated with cartoon watercolors outlined in ink, this anthology of brief, expressive poems, both traditional and modern, celebrates everyday experiences like jumping on the bed.
  • Falconer, Ian "Olivia," Simon & Schuster/Anne Schwartz, $16 (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! A 2001 Caldecott Honor Book.
  • Graham, Bob "Max," Candlewick, $15.99 (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, Elisa Haden "Iris and Walter," illus. by Christine Davenier; Harcourt/ Gulliver, $14 (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, $15.95 (0-688-17027-7); lib. ed., $15.89 (0-688-17028-5) 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," illus. by E. B. Lewis; Simon & Schuster, $16 (0-689-80076-2) Virgie, a strong young African American girl living in the post-Civil War South, is determined to join her brothers at the local Quaker school. A 2001 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honor Book.
  • "In Every Tiny Grain of Sand: A Child's Book of Prayers and Praise," ed. by Reeve Lindbergh; illus. by Christine Davenier, Bob Graham, Anita Jeram and Elisa Kleven; Candlewick, $21.99 (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 by a number of artists.
  • Medearis, Angela Shelf "Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story," illus. by Daniel Minter; Albert Whitman, $15.95 (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," illus. by Giselle Potter; Simon & Schuster/Anne Schwartz, $16 (0-689-82550-1) After selling the family cow for magic beans, brave young Kate climbs the beanstalk and meets the giant who has murdered a knight and stolen his castle. A feminist version of a familiar tale.
  • Peters, Lisa Westberg "Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck," illus. by Sam Williams; Greenwillow, $15.95 (0-688-16178-2); lib. ed., $15.89 (0-688-16179-0) 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," illus. by Susan Guevara; Putnam, $15.99 (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 "Ernest L. Thayer's Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888," illus. by Christopher Bing; Handprint, $17.95 (1-929766-00-9). In this stunning example of contemporary bookmaking, the most sophisticated electronic techniques have been used to re-create the baseball world of 1888. Thayer's poem is illustrated with Bing's scratchboard drawings, and fictional newspaper articles amplify issues suggested in the text. A 2001 Caldecott Honor Book.
  • Thomas, Shelley Moore "Good Night, Good Knight," illus. by Jennifer Plecas; Dutton, $13.99 (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" illus. by Julia Cairns. Chronicle, $16.95 (0-8118-2378-4) A colorful collection of more than 75 original nursery rhymes reflects the writer's Nigerian roots while conjuring up images and sounds of Africa.
  • Yolen, Jane "How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?" illus. by Mark Teague; Scholastic/Blue Sky, $15.95 (0-590-31681-8) In playful artwork and lively text, dinosaur kids with a catalog of familiar bedtime woes are plunked into bed as perplexed, sometimes vexed parents look on.

Middle Readers

  • Bishop, Nic "Digging for Bird-Dinosaurs: An Expedition to Madagascar," Houghton, $16 (0-395-96056-8) Paleontologist Cathy Forster travels to Madagascar in search of fossils that will further her research on the relationship between dinosaurs and birds.
  • Bruchac, Joseph "Crazy Horse's Vision," illus. by S. D. Nelson; Lee & Low, $16.95 (1-880000-94-6) Embodying the spirit and culture of the legendary Lakota warrior, this fictionalized biography focuses on his journey to adulthood.
  • Cline-Ransome, Lesa "Satchel Paige," illus. by James E. Ransome; Simon & Schuster, $16 (0-689-81151-9) The life of one of baseball's greatest pitchers, 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," Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $18 (0-689-82823-3) This book uncovers the history and construction of one of the most famous symbols of the U.S., the majestic Statue of Liberty.
  • DiCamillo, Kate "Because of Winn-Dixie," Candlewick, $15.99 (0-7636-0776-2) During her first summer in a Florida town, Opal is lonely, and her yearning for her missing mother leads the young girl to her first new friend, an ugly dog with a winning smile. A 2001 Newbery Honor Book.
  • Gantos, Jack "Joey Pigza Loses Control," Farrar, $16 (0-374-39989-1) Joey, much calmer and now 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. A 2001 Newbery Honor Book.
  • Gherman, Beverly "Norman Rockwell: Storyteller with a Brush," Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $19.95 (0-689-82001-1) With a stroke of his brush, Norman Rockwell captured the emotion of everyday America. His life and his legacy are recounted in the same warm, affectionate style that characterized his paintings, which graced the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.
  • Giblin, James Cross "The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin," illus. by Michael Dooling; Scholastic, $17.95 (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, $15.95 (0-385-32141-4) Twelve-year-old Nory Ryan and her family and friends learn how to survive and help one another during the great potato famine in Ireland.
  • Greenberg, Jan and Jordan, Sandra "Frank O. Gehry: Outside In," DK Ink, $19.95 (0-7894-2677-3) A photo-biography presents the life and work of one of America's most provocative architects, giving us a close-up look at a creative genius at work.
  • Martin, Ann M. and Godwin, Laura "The Doll People," illus. by Brian Selznick; Hyperion, $15.99 (0-7868-0361-4) Annabelle Doll has been 8 years old for more than 100 years. Being cooped up in the same dollhouse with the same people is boring--until the pink plastic Funcrafts arrive.
  • McDonald, Megan "Judy Moody," illus. by Peter Reynolds; Candlewick, $15.99 (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 humor and situations that will appeal to children. An accessible, attractive generously illustrated book.
  • Myers, Christopher "Wings," illus. Scholastic, $16.95 (0-590-03377-8) Ikarus Jackson's ability to fly makes him an outsider in his new neighborhood until a shy, quiet girl finds the courage and voice to speak for her friend's special gift. Myers' cut-paper collages are beautiful and open, with fluid perspectives of the urban scene.
  • Myers, Laurie "Surviving Brick Johnson," illus. by Dan Yaccarino; Clarion, $15 (0-395-98031-3) Fifth-grader Alex discovers that the classmate he fears as a bully is nothing of the sort; in fact, he becomes a friend. With an open format and quirky, humorous illustrations, this is a perfect choice for reluctant readers.
  • "Osceola: Memories of a Sharecropper's Daughter," ed. by Alan Govenar; illus. by Shane W. Evans," Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, $15.99 (0-7868-0407-6); lib. ed., $16.49 (0-7868-2357-7) Osceola Mays grew up in an era plagued by the legacy of slavery's oppression. Govenar has collected stories and anecdotes from years of taped conversations with Osceola about her childhood memories of Texas.
  • Pinkney, Andrea Davis "Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters," illus. by Stephen Alcorn; Harcourt/Gulliver, $20 (0-15-201005-X) In this collective biography, vivid, stylized portraits introduce 10 extraordinary African American women who have shown courage in their struggles against inequality and prejudice. A 2001 Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor Book.
  • Rappaport, Doreen "Freedom River," illus. by Bryan Collier; Hyperion/Jump at the Sun. $14.99 (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. A 2001 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honor Book.
  • Rockwell, Anne "Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth," illus. by R. Gregory Christie; Knopf, $16.95 (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. A 2001 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Honor Book.
  • St. George, Judith "So You Want to Be President?" illus. by David Small; Putnam/Philomel, $17.99 (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. Through illustrations rendered in a harmonious mix of watercolor, ink, and pastel chalk, Small employs wiry and expansive lines with an echo of political cartooning. His pictures humanize the presidents, liberating them from years of bulletin-board duty. The 2001 Caldecott Medal winner.
  • Waugh, Sylvia "Space Race," Delacorte, $15.95 (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, $15 (0-395-92291-7) With clear prose and engaging illustrations, Webb's journal entries document her two-month expedition to study Adélie penguins in Antarctica in 1996. She includes absorbing details of the daily life of a scientist in the field as well as her observations on the life and behavior of penguins. A 2001 Robert F. Sibert Award Honor Book.

Older Readers

  • Almond, David "Kit's Wilderness," Delacorte, $15.95 (0-385-32665-3) In an old coal-mining town, 13-year-old Kit meets a boy who invites him to play the game of Death, and Kit discovers the stories and ghosts of his child-ancestors. The 2001 Printz Award winner.
  • Aronson, Marc "Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado," Clarion, $20 (0-395-84827-X) Authoritative and rigorous research informs this biography, which 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. The 2001 Robert F. Sibert Award winner.
  • Bauer, Joan "Hope Was Here," Putnam, $16.99 (0-399-23142-0) At her family diner in rural Wisconsin, 16-year-old Hope encounters issues as diverse as her customers: corruption in politics, a new love, serious illness and the meaning of family. A 2001 Newbery Honor Book.
  • Carmi, Daniella "Samir and Yonatan," tr. by Yael Lotan; Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $15.95 (0-439-13504-4) In this moving novel translated from the Hebrew, Samir, a Palestinian boy, enters an Israeli hospital for surgery, and his initial fear and antagonism are mitigated by his growing bond with Yonatan, an Israeli boy. The 2001 Batchelder Award winner.
  • Creech, Sharon "The Wanderer," illus. HarperCollins/Joanna Cotler, $15.95 (0-06-027730-0); lib.ed., $15.89 (0-06-027731-9) Sophie and her cousin Cody keep journals during their voyage aboard the sailboat Wanderer on their way to see their ailing grandfather in England. A 2001 Newbery Honor Book.
  • Dash, Joan "The Longitude Prize," illus. by Dusan Petricic; Farrar/Frances Foster, $16 (0-374-34636-4). Illustrated with lighthearted ink drawings, this fascinating biography of the eighteenth- century English country clockmaker John Harrison explains how he developed a series of instruments that used time to establish a ship's east-west position. A 2001 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book.
  • Fradin, Dennis Brindell and Fradin, Judith Bloom "Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement," illus. Clarion, $18 (0-395-89898-6) Quotations from contemporaries, excerpts from letters, grim photographs of lynchings, and Wells' own words create an engrossing portrait of the civil right activist and cofounder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
  • Graham, Lorenz "How God Fix Jonah," illus. by Ashley Bryan; Boyds Mills, $17.95 (1-56397-698-6) Breathtaking blockprints, the vibrant vernacular of West Africa and lyrical retellings showcase 23 Bible stories in this pioneering collection.
  • Joseph, Lynn "The Color of My Words," HarperCollins/Joanna Cotler, $14.95 (0-06-028232-0); lib. ed., $14.89 (0-06-028233-9) A young writer living in the Dominican Republic discovers her daring words have the power to build community, threaten life and keep the memory of her beloved brother alive.
  • Lawrence, Iain "Ghost Boy," Delacorte, $15.95 (0-385-32739-0) Tired of the taunts and indignities of the local residents, 14-year-old Harold, an albino, runs away to join the circus.
  • Lehmann, Christopher "Ultimate Game," tr. by William Rodamor; Godine, $16.95 (1-56792-107-8) Translated from the French, this powerful novel is about three high-school boys who get into a new virtual-reality computer game that transports them to different battlefields through history. One of them has a need for power that propels him to play the game as judge, jury, and, finally, prey. The strong language of teens marks this well-plotted novel. A 2001 Batchelder Honor Book.
  • Lewis, J. Patrick "Freedom like Sunlight: Praisesongs for Black Americans," illus. by John Thompson; Creative Editions, $17.95 (1-56846-163-1) A collection of 13 original poems and museum-quality portraits celebrates outstanding African Americans, including Malcolm X, Sojourner Truth, Billie Holiday and Arthur Ashe.
  • Lisle, Janet Taylor "The Art of Keeping Cool," Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson, $17 (0-689-83787-9) During World War II in the United States, two cousins face family secrets and community violence aimed at a refugee from Nazi Germany. The story raises questions about mob action, creativity and survival.
  • Lynch, Chris "Gold Dust," HarperCollins, $15.95 (0-06-028174-X); lib. ed., $15.89 (0-06-028175-8) Baseball and race relations in Boston in the early 1970s are the backdrop for this story of baseball-obsessed Richard Riley Moncrief, who befriends a new boy at his parochial school, Napoleon Charlie Ellis, who has just arrived from the Dominican Republic.
  • Macaulay, David "Building Big," illus. Houghton/Walter Lorraine, $30 (0-395-96331-1) An up-close examination of famous large-scale construction projects around the world and throughout time celebrates people's ability to imagine and build.
  • Murphy, Jim "Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America," illus. Scholastic, $18.95 (0-590-67309-2) This gripping account of one of America's greatest natural disasters, the Blizzard of 1888, focuses on the human-interest angle. Personal writings, newspaper articles, and archival photographs document this chilling weather event. A 2001 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book.
  • Nicholson, William "The Wind Singer," illus. by Peter Sís; Hyperion, $17.99 (0-7868-0569-2) Kestrel Hath and her twin brother, Bowman, escape their stifling city of Aramanth to rescue the key to the wind singer and free their people.
  • Peck, Richard "A Year Down Yonder," Dial, $16.99 (0-8037-2518-3) During the Depression, Mary Alice spends a year in small-town Illinois with Grandma Dowdel, whose sharp, overbearing ways hide a heart of gold. Peck tells his story with wit, gentleness, and outrageous farce. The 2001 Newbery Medal winner.
  • Pullman, Philip "The Amber Spyglass," Knopf, $19.95 (0-679-87926-9) As war rages and dust rains from the sky, the fate of the living and the dead depends on Lyra and Will, two ordinary children with extraordinary powers.
  • "Voices: Poetry and Art from around the World," ed. by Barbara Brenner; National Geographic Society, $18.95 (0-7922-7071-1) A sampler of traditional, ancient and modern poetry from six continents is interspersed with illustrations of world art and sculpture.
  • Whelan, Gloria "Homeless Bird," HarperCollins, $15.95 (0-06-028454-4); lib. ed., $15.89 (0-06-028452-8) As tradition dictates, 13-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, only to find herself a homeless widow who must find the courage to change her life.
  • Winick, Judd "Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned," illus. Holt, paper, $15 (0-8050-6403-6) In graphic-novel format, cartoonist Winick tells the true story of his friendship with AIDS educator Pedro Zamora, whom he met on MTV's Real World. After Pedro's death, Winick decided to continue his friend's work. Important lessons are presented in a style friendly to young teens. A 2001 Robert F. Sibert and Printz Honor Book.

All Ages

  • "Aesop's Fables," illus. by Jerry Pinkney; North-South/SeaStar, $19.95 (1-58717-000-0) More than 60 of Aesop's most compelling tales have been selected and paired with lavish, eloquent watercolors.
  • Baum, L. Frank "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-Up," illus. by Robert Sabuda; Simon & Schuster/Little Simon, $24.95 (0-689-81751-7) Spectacular paper engineering and pop-up effects, reminiscent of W. W. Denslow's illustrations, highlight an abridgment of Baum's classic fantasy.
  • Casanova, Mary "The Hunter: A Chinese Folktale," illus. by Ed Young; Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, $16.95 (0-689-82906-X) After being rewarded with the ability to speak to animals, Hai Li Bu sacrifices his life to save the village from a disastrous flood.
  • DeFelice, Cynthia "Cold Feet," illus. by Robert Andrew Parker; DK Ink, $15.95 (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 and Salsi, Lynn "The Jack Tales," illus. by Owen Smith; Callaway; dist. by Simon & Schuster, $24.95 (0-935112-58-8) 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.
  • Jiménez, Francisco "Christmas Gift: El Regalo de Navidad," illus. by Claire B. Cotts; Houghton, $15 (0-395-92869-9) As Christmas approaches, a migrant family finds disappointment, compassion and love in this bilingual memoir illustrated with glowing folk-art-style illustrations.
  • Kimmel, Eric A. "Gershon's Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year," illus. by Jon J. Muth; Scholastic, $16.95 (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 lives of his children.
  • Rowling, J. K. "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, $25.95 (0-439-13959-7) As he enter his fourth year at Hogwarts, Harry suffers from bad dreams about the evil Voldemort and is mysteriously entered in the Triwizard Tournament, which seriously endangers his life.
  • "Stone Bench in an Empty Park," ed. by Paul B. Janeczko; photos by Henri Silberman. Orchard, $15.95 (0-531-30259-8) Urban landscapes and experiences are the subjects of 33 haiku poems illustrated with expressive, sepia-tone photographs.

Notable Children's Books Terms and Criteria page provides more information on the award. A list of past
Notable Children's Books also is available.

Members of the 2001 Notable Children's Books Committee were: 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.