2013 Best Children’s Fiction

Here are my picks for the best children’s fiction of the year.  Let me know what yours were with a comment!

bluffton counting by 7s doll bones

Bluffton by Matt Phelan

Strong characterization, a glimpse of summers gone by, and one amazing true story create a graphic novel that is pure radiance.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

This is a tragic story with an indomitable heroine that will leave you smiling through the tears.

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Friendship, a creepy doll, and adventures, what more could one want in a book!

flora and ulysses fortunately the milk garden of my imaan

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K. G. Campbell

A great read-aloud, this unlikely superhero pair are sure to fly off the shelves.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young

Hilarious, wacky and wonderful, get this into the hands of elementary aged kids now.

The Garden of My Imaan by Farhana Zia

Filled with giggles between girlfriends, this book reveals the warmth of family and faith in a completely approachable and joyful way.

great trouble hokey pokey hold fast

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson

This is a dark and thrilling novel that will not let you escape until the epidemic is over and the mystery solved.

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Gloriously fun to read, this book was impossible for me not to love.  Spinelli writes with a lovely playfulness and yet beneath it all is truth.  A truly outstanding read for middle graders.

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

Another fine offering from Balliett, get this one into the hands of her fans.  It will also be great choice for reading aloud in classrooms with its wordplay and strong African-American characters and family.

jinx life of ty listening for lucca

Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Blackwood has written an impressive fantasy novel for middle grade readers that is both dazzling and dangerous.

The Life of Ty: Penguin Problems by Lauren Myracle, illustrated by Jed Henry

Perfect for both reading aloud and for a child reading on their own, this book will be enjoyed by fans of the Stink series as well as those who like Clementine.

Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur

This lovely book transcends genres with its mix of mystery, historical fiction, and fantasy.  It’s a winning combination.

one came home real boy rooftoppers

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

Beautiful with a strong heroine, this book is a dazzling read for tweens.

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

Ursu weaves such beauty into her books.  She lingers over small things, taking the time to build a world in which her characters live.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Profoundly original and filled with shining prose, this novel is a wondrous read.

salt seraphinas promise thing about luck

Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost

An exquisite verse novel that fills history with real people and war with real loss.

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

This is a powerful look at the Haitian earthquake through the eyes of one extraordinary young woman.

The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata

A beautiful and intense look at a Japanese-American family struggling with an interesting lifestyle and just surviving a year of bad luck.

water castle year of billy miller

The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore

Complex and multilayered, this middle grade book will be embraced by historical fiction, science and fantasy fans.

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

A tip top chapter book, this one is destined to be a classic.  I’d think that sharing it would be a great way to start any 2nd grade school year.