Wednesday, January 07, 2009

SLJ Best Books 2008

After a day devoted to finishing technology related holiday library backlog of email, blog feeds, blog posts, web site updates, course updates, and another focused upon scheduling student workers and preparing the resource center for the upcoming influx better known as the new spring term, this afternoon I have finally had opportunity for professional journals. Only one remains in my "to read" pile, the December 2008 edition of School Library Journal.

Generally I browse the articles, then move straight to the book reviews for collection development. However, this issue will take significantly longer as it includes School Library Journals Best Books of 2008. The list features sixty-seven books that "stood out as having distinctive voices, singular vision, and/or innovative approaches." Included are picture books, fiction, and non-fiction titles reviewed in SLJ during 2008. As with many review-based journals, chances are if you purchased their "starred review" books you will have their best books list. I am not as diligent a purchaser of SLJ stars and was curious to see how my collection fared.

I have already checked the picture books and am able to report that of the nineteen selected, we currently own (ie: have been processed) sixteen and have two back ordered. I was pleased to see Wave, by Suzy Lee, on the list. A stunning wordless picture book, I can't count the number of times I grabbed this book from the shelf wanting to add it to my Mock Caldecott collection (it's not eligible). Another of my favorites, Lincoln Shot: A President's Life Remembered, is one of the non-fiction entries.

I have not been through the YA titles yet, but a quick glance reveals Waiting for Normal, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, and Paper Towns are on the list. To my thoughts, YA book are trickier to select as you never know what aspect of a book will strike a cord with teens. At ALA annual, The Adoration of Jenna Fox was discussed at the Alex Award sessions with much passion (enough so that I read it upon my return).

The Newbery and Caldecott, among other awards, will be presented at the ALA Midwinter meetings in Denver in a few weeks, January 26th I believe. It will be interesting to see how these best books stack up. Regardless, lunch is over.

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