Publisher’s Weekly has released their lists of the best books for children and teens for 2019. They are broken into three categories. Here are the picture books:
Another by Christian Robinson
Birdsong by Julie Flett
Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together by Andrea Tsurumi
Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
The Important Thing about Margaret Wise Brown by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Sarah Jacoby
Migration: Incredible Animal Journeys by Mike Unwin, illustrated by Jenni Desmond
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Pena
A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe
River by Elisha Cooper
Roar Like a Dandelion by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
Saturday by Oge Mora
Small in the City by Sydney Smith
A Stone Sat Still by Brendan Wenzel
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Vroom! by Barbara McClintock
Who Wet My Pants? by Bob Shea, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora
Roll with It by Jamie Sumner (9781534442559)
Ellie isn’t the sweet little girl everyone thinks she is simply because she’s in a wheelchair. No, she has plenty of opinions and shares them too. Where Ellie’s sweetness does come in is her baking. She plans one day to be a professional baker. When Ellie’s grandfather manages to drive his truck into the front of his local grocery store, Ellie and her mother move across the country to live with her grandparents in their trailer. Ellie has to start a new school in January, though she really doesn’t have any friends to miss. Ellie’s mother has to drive her to school and takes two other kids from the trailer park along. Steadily, Ellie begins to make her first-ever friends but when a health crisis arises it may mean leaving this town where she finally feels she belongs.
I love the immediate shattering of stereotypes in this book as Ellie has a strong voice of her own that has a little more spice than sugar in it. It’s her voice that makes the book a compelling read, whether she is writing fan letters to chefs or speaking out about her own needs. The book also does a great job of showing children who don’t use a wheelchair the many barriers that those in wheelchairs face on a daily basis. Sumner never allows those barriers to be turned into personal responsibility for Ellie, assigning them firmly to society.
Sumner’s writing is lively. While Ellie herself a particularly great protagonist, the secondary characters also shine. From Ellie’s mother to her grandparents to the children she befriends. Each one is a distinct character, and that includes her grandfather who may have dementia and still is more than his limitations as well.
Bravo! This is a great read that reaches beyond limitations to show the human heart of its characters. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from copy provided by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.