The 2013 Fiction Picture Book Winners Announced by Karin Perry

Happy December 26th – the day after Christmas. The wrapping paper is thrown away, the leftovers are in the fridge, and the family is heading back home. Sometimes this day is filled with relief because the hustle and bustle of the season has come to an end. Sometimes it’s filled with dread because the joy of the holiday season is over and normal life starts again. And, sometimes it’s filled with sadness because it means it’ll be another year until you see certain family and friends. But, for book lovers, December 26th is filled with excitement because it’s the first day of the Nerdy Book Award announcements.


It is my pleasure to announce the 2013 Fiction Picture Book Nerdies.  This year you guys voted for five amazing titles.

JOURNEY by Aaron Becker. Candlewick, 2013.

JOURNEY is one of the picture books that snuck up on me this year. When I finally came across it and opened to the first page I was amazed at the richness of the story. This wordless picture book follows a lonely girl on a magical adventure. With only a red marker, she creates a boat, a hot air balloon, and a flying carpet to take her on her journey.  When an evil emperor captures her she must find a way to escape and get back home – where there turns out to be another adventure waiting for her.  Becker’s illustrations are incredible. You’ll be able to read this book over and over again and enjoy something new every time.

MR. TIGER GOES WILD by Peter Brown. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013.

Peter Brown is one of my favorite author/illustrators. I mean, who doesn’t love Lucille Beatrice Bear in CHILDREN MAKE TERRIBLE PETS and YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND? In MR. TIGER GOES WILD, Mr. Tiger lives in a very proper, very sepia world where all the animals wear stuffy clothes and have stuffy conversations. Everyone is happy except for Mr. Tiger.  He wants more in his life and decides to let loose and remove his clothes to run free in the woods. Being wild and free doesn’t feel as good as he thought it would though so, Mr. Tiger must find a balance between wild and proper in order to find contentment.  MR. TIGER GOES WILD is brilliant.

THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT Written by Drew Daywalt; Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, 2013.

I invite you to step inside the mind of a crayon. Not just one crayon, but a box full of crayons. These crayons aren’t happy. They have grievance after grievance and decide to write letters to their owner, Duncan, to explain why they are going to quit. Orange and Yellow are having an argument and expect Duncan to make a ruling as to which one gets to color the sun. Purple seems to be okay with being used for grapes and wizards hats, but he is furious that Duncan continually colors outside of the lines. These crayons are at a breaking point.  They all have something to gripe about. Will Duncan be able to satisfy them so they’ll go back to work?


EXCLAMATION MARK Written by Krouse Rosenthal; Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Scholastic Press, 2013.

Exclamation Mark is having an identity crisis. He always sticks out – never fits in.  He even changes himself in order to try to blend into the crowd. No matter what Exclamation Mark does, he never feels right. On the verge of running away, he meets Question Mark and, by accident, learns his true purpose.  There is far more depth to EXCLAMATION MARK than at first glance. You’ll be exposed to rich vocabulary, learn the function of common punctuation, and enjoy fun word play.

BATTLE BUNNY Written by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett; Illustrated by Matthew Myers. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013.

Unique. Groundbreaking. Creative. Amazing. Fun. The list of adjectives goes on and on when describing BATTLE BUNNY. Adults and children alike will be drawn to this fantastic piece of children’s literature. Birthday Bunny, the sweet Little Golden Booksesque underneath all the drawings, tells the story of a bunny exploring the woods on his birthday. He is so sad that none of his friends remember his special day, but is delighted when his they throw him a surprise party at the end of the story. Battle Bunny isn’t so nice. Battle Bunny uses chainsaws to cut down the trees in the forest, eats greasy guts for breakfast, and hatches evil plans. BATTLE BUNNY will make you want to grab your crayons, markers, or color pencils to start altering your own stories. Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett make it easy for you to do just that.

To print out a copy of the Birthday Bunny to create your own Bunny story, visit See other alterations at

Karin Perry is a former middle school librarian and current Assistant Professor of Library Science at Sam Houston State University. She loves that her job consists of reading young adult novels. She keeps track of her reading on Goodreads at and currently blogs at She lives with her husband of 18 years and her chihuahua Max on 29 acres in rural Oklahoma. You can find her on Twitter at @kperry.