Bulletin Blue Ribons 2016
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Bulletin Blue Ribons 2016

The theme for this year might be “you never know.” You never know when nonfiction will burst with particular lyricism, when fantasy will take a turn for the classic, and when folklore will present so strongly we had to break it out into a separate category. We love a good surprise, though, so we’re very happy with the themes that have emerged and the wonderful array we offer here, A downloadable PDF of the list in trifold form is available at http://bccb.ischool.illinois.edu.

FICTION:

Barnhill, Kelly. The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Algonquin. Gr. 5-8
A desperate mother, a misunderstood witch, a sage swamp monster, and a girl with abilities beyond her control feature in this fairy tale–like story, with a mixture of magic, humor, and pathos that readers will savor long after they close the book. (September)

Larbalestier, Justine. My Sister Rosa. Soho Teen. Gr. 7-10
Seventeen-year-old Che fears what his little sister is capable of in this intelligent, suspenseful exploration of the genetics vs. environment argument, and the ending will have readers rethinking their notions of evil and questioning the reliability of their own psyche. (October)

Marsh, Katherine. The Door by the Staircase; illus. by Kelly Murphy. Disney Hyperion. Gr. 4-6
A splendid mix of traditional Russian folkloric details, magical adventure, and hints of historical fiction, this book has tough-as-nails Mary going up against Baba Yaga, not to fight but to form a family. (February)

Mathieu, Jennifer. Afterward. Roaring Brook. Gr. 9-12
A kidnapping victim must come to terms with his abuse while another family dissolves around tragedy in this searing exploration of the ripple effects of trauma and survival. (September)

O’Guilin, Peadar. The Call. Fickling/Scholastic. Gr. 9-12
In this Irish survival story/fantasy/horror mashup, teenagers live with the knowledge that at any moment fairy folk bent on vengeance will call them to world of the Sidhe, where they must fight to survive in a nightmarish hellscape. (September)

Savit, Gavriel. Anna and the Swallow Man; illus. by Laura Carlin. Knopf. Gr. 7-10
The atrocities of World War II background this story of unconventional and unconditional love as readers follow Anna, an abandoned Polish girl, through her childhood under the care of the enigmatic Swallow Man. (February) [End Page 245]

Stewart, Martin. Riverkeep. Viking. Gr. 8-10
An immersive world (complete with its own dialect) draws readers in to young Wull’s quest to save his father from demon possession; horror buffs, adventure seekers, and fans of folklore will all find something to like here. (September)

Telgemeier, Raina. Ghosts; written and illus. by Raina Telgemeier. Graphix/Scholastic. Gr. 4-6
In this lively yet emotive graphic novel, Cat worries over her sister’s struggle with cystic fibrosis as the residents of her new town prepare for the Day of the Dead celebrations; Telgemeier’s illustrations move smartly from playfulness to sorrow to joy. (July/August)

Urban, Linda. Weekends With Max and His Dad; illus. by Katie Kath. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Gr. 2-4
Third-grader Max grapples with his parents’ divorce and the transitions it brings in this accessible and thoughtful novel; small details and careful attention to Max’s emotions make the story particularly authentic. (June)

Yoon, Nicola. The Sun Is Also a Star. Delacorte. Gr. 7-10
Two teens, one a poet and one a self-proclaimed realist, spend one fated day together in this romance that eschews traditional tropes and manages a love story that is smart without being cynical. (October)

NONFICTION:

Atkins, Jeannine. Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science. Atheneum. Gr. 5-8
Vivid free-verse storytelling brings the lives of three early and undercelebrated female scientists front and center, laying out the obstacles they faced and the significant contributions they made. (June)

Eggers, Dave. This Bridge Will Not Be Gray; illus. by Tucker Nichols. McSweeney’s, 2015. Gr. 2-6
Eggers’ streamlined account of the design and building of the Golden Gate Bridge makes a small piece of history into a dramatic tale of engineering, civics, and design. (January)

Fogliano, Julie. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All...