The 2017 Nerdies: Early Readers and Chapter Books Announced by Alyson Beecher
One of my favorite new holiday traditions is getting an early peek at the Nerdy Book Award Winners and writing the post to announce the Early Readers and Chapter Books winners. Over the past five years, this is the one category of the Nerdy Book Awards that I have seen the biggest changes. Every year as I review the previous posts, I look to see how we have grown as readers. Yes, I do mean us, the Nerdy Book Club members who nominate the titles. As a group, we have traditionally read widely in the area of picture books, and middle grade novels and young adult books. However, for many, the category of early readers and transitional chapter books may be one we overlook. It is exciting to see how we have grown and expanded in the titles we have read and how publishers are also meeting our requests for books with more diversity. In this year’s list of winners, there is something for the full range of young readers from kindergarten to third grade.
As I looked through the winning titles for the Early Readers and Chapter Books, I smiled. Many of my new favorites were among the winners. In typical early readers and chapter books fashion, themes of friendship, family and humor dominate. However, this year, readers are also exposed to a number of characters who use their unique differences to resolve conflict and solve problems. Finally, culturally diverse characters are naturally woven through a number of the stories.
Congratulations to the 2017 Nerdy Book Club Award Winners for Early Readers and Chapter Books…
In this year’s transitional chapter books and chapter book winners, readers have a range of characters and stories that will delight and entertain and leave us wanting more encounters with new friends. Each of these titles work equally well as classroom read alouds or independent reading selections. Readers will connect deeply with a young boy whose bond with a baby skunk changes his and our lives for the better. Three of our winners celebrate girls who think outside of the box to solve problems. And an unlikely friendship between a bored giraffe and a curious penguin develops through a series of letters and an unexpected ending.
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold, Illustrated by Charles Santoso (Walden Pond Press)
Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Jonannes (Disney-Hyperion)
Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbie Michiko Florence, Illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Candlewick Press)
Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa, Illustrated by Jun Takabatake (Gecko Press)
For young readers who are transitioning from simple text in early readers to stories with slightly more complexity, they will delight in new friends and adventures. King (the dog) helps his human, Kayla solve simple mysteries. A class pet (Fergus) discovers a new friend (Zeke) on a field trip to the museum. And brothers, Charlie and Mouse, invite us on their day of exploration and fun.
King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats by Dori Hillestad Butler, Illustrated by Nancy Meyers (Peachtree Publishers)
Fergus and Zeke by Kate Messner, illustrated by Heather Ross (Candlewick Press)
Charlie and Mouse by Laurel Snyder, Illustrated by Emily Hughes (Chronicle Books)
The Spirit of Elephant and Piggie live on in the spin-off series, Elephant and Piggie Like Reading. Is a button really “good for nothing” when it can make you react in many different ways? And what happens when one half of a pair of shoes goes in search of their other half? The two newest titles in the series will make readers smile and laugh.
The Good For Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper (Disney-Hyperion)
It’s Shoe Time! By Bryan Collier (Disney-Hyperion)
Congratulations to all of the winners of the Nerdy Awards for Early Readers And Chapter Books!
Alyson Beecher is an educator with the Pasadena Unified School District in California. She has a serious book addiction and celebrates books as part of the Nerdy Book Club. You can find her on Twitter as @alybee930 and on her blog: Kid Lit Frenzy
What a wonderful list. Thanks for writing the announcement post, Alyson!
You’re welcome. Always an honor!
I had the great joy of reading Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker in ARC form late one night at Nerd Camp last summer and completely fell in love with this book. It felt modern, yet classic. I knew it would be loved by many and I’ve been its cheerleader ever since. I’m grateful for this list of wonderful gems to also fall in love with. Thanks, Alyson, for the terrific post.
I was late to Beatrice Zinker but when I finally got my hands on the book, I fell in love with it. I will cheerlead with you.
Thank you so much for this. I have gained a couple more for my TBR list.
Okay, I only need to read the Giraffe book! I like your reflection on how we have evolved as readers of this form. Great choices!
It is so excited to see so many different titles and new ones too.
Looking forward to sharing these exciting titles with my Kindergarten beginning readers. Many thanks!
Love this genre! So happy to see such a great selection.
Oh, thank you for King and Kayla; I know this series will be a hit with those ready for the earliest transitional chapter books! RE Beatrice Zinker – I had the pleasure of meeting Shelley Johannes at nErDcampMI in 2016 (or maybe even 2015?). She had just signed the contract for Beatrice, so I’ve been waiting a LONG time to get my hands on it. They (the author and main character) don’t disappoint.
I am delighted to see so many characters and authors of color on this list! Thanks for highlighting them and for the publishers for bringing them to us.