Discovering the perfect early reader or early chapter book can be difficult. Sure there are wonderfully illustrated books, but to find one that has just the right illustrations and is engaging; yet written in a way that allows developing young readers to have success is much more challenging.
This year, I am celebrating that the Nerdy Book Awards separated out early readers from picture books. Don’t you agree that this is a great way to recognize some wonderful books?
I am so excited to announce the winners of the 2012 Early Reader and Chapter Book Category:
BINK & GOLLIE: TWO FOR ONE by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee; Illustrated by Tony Fucile (Candlewick, 2012)
In this follow-up to the first Bink & Gollie (September 2010), readers find our two friends at the state fair. DiCamillo & McGhee provide fans with three vignettes comprised of a blend of humor, a touch of compassion, and a sense that things will continue to move forward for the pair. Each story stands alone, yet also flows together and builds upon one another. When Bink tries her hand at Whack-a-duck, I couldn’t help but laugh. When Gollie steps on stage for the talent show, I felt her nervousness. And when the fortune-teller confirms what we know about Bink & Gollie and their friendship, I cheered. Fucile’s illustrations provide just the right level of visuals to enhance the text and provide another level of complexity to each chapter. I am so glad this book made it to the Top 5.
There is a reason that Mo Willems has won four (4) Geisel Awards or Honors. Willems is a master at simplicity, humor, and a well thought out story line that just works. In both Listen to My Trumpet! And Let’s Go for a Drive!, beginning readers will revel in the friendship and the hilarity of the antics between Elephant and Piggie. When I scanned the reviews of both books on GoodReads, I noticed that everyone finds their own way of relating to Elephant and Piggie. Additionally, everyone agrees that these two friends crack them up. Do you think Willems has award number 5 on his hands with one of these?
MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS by Kate Messner; Illustrated by Brian Floca (Scholastic, 2012)
Yes, Marty McGuire made the top 5!!! Can you tell that I am a super big fan of Marty’s? Kate Messner perfectly captures the voice of a 3rd grader. Marty is likeable without being annoying. Annie, and Veronica Grace and the others from the first book are back. In Marty McGuire Digs Worms, she and her classmates have 5 weeks to create “How to Save the Earth” Projects. Marty’s project (with some help from Annie) is to start a worm-composting project. Of course there has to be some mishaps or this wouldn’t be Marty.
Here some Nerdy Book Club members tell why they love Marty:
Characters like Marty McGuire are why fiction matters. – Colby
Marty McGuire is one of my favorite protagonists ever. I don’t know if it is because she reminds me a bit of myself or because I wish I knew her, but either way, she is wonderful. – Kellee
Seriously, I love anything Kate Messner writes! She has a unique talent for creating characters whose voices ring true. – Susan
Bad Kitty for President by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook Press, 2012)
In 2012, there was Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Babymouse and…Bad Kitty all running for president. Throughout it all, Bad Kitty taught us a thing or two about presidential elections.
I can’t say it any better than our Nerdy Book Club Friend Paul W. Hankins:
“I just love these BAD KITTY books, God help me; I do. I want that cat to throw the two page hissy-fit and I look forward to it.
But more than the fun is a super introduction to the primary system, how a campaign works, and the importance of making sure one is registered to vote. I love how the BAD KITTY franchise has grown to become a non-fiction kind of ladder to items our younger readers may find confusing or ones our young people may not even have looked at yet.
I won’t give away the election results here. . .that just wouldn’t be right, would it?”
Alyson Beecher is a Program Support Specialist for Reading & Literacy with the Pasadena Unified School District in California. She has a serious book addiction and celebrates books as part of the Nerdy Book Club.
Blog: Kid Lit Frenzy