Top Children's Books of 2011: #10-6

Travis Jonker and I are counting down our top 20 books of 2011. Head on over to 100 Scope Notes to read our blurbs and then come back here for additional resources.

#20-16 | #15-11 | #10-6 | #5-1

Marty McGuire by Kate Messner [Scholastic | Grades 2-4]

Listen to chapter one of the Marty McGuire audio book.

Download the Marty McGuire discussion guide. It includes science and language arts connections.

This video demonstrates just one of the many things Kate Messner does to get a scene just right.

Kate Messner is an award-winning author whose books for kids have been New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z was the winner of the 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers. Kate also spent fifteen years teaching middle school and earned National Board Certification in 2006. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family and loves spending time outside, whether it’s kayaking in the summer or skating on the frozen lake when the temperatures drop. -Bio taken from Kate's website.

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming [Random House | Grades

Candace Fleming picks her subjects based on some human aspect. There has to be something she's curious about or that she admires about the person.
Download the Amelia Lost group discussion guide.

Candace Fleming awarded herself the Newbery Medal in fifth grade after scraping the gold sticker off the class copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond and pasting it onto her first novel—a ten page, ten-chapter mystery called Who Done It? She’s been collecting awards (her own, not Elizabeth George Speare’s) ever since.

Today, Candace is the versatile and acclaimed author of more than twenty books for children, including the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award-winning biography, The Lincolns; the bestselling picture book, Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!; and the beloved Boxes for Katje. -Bio taken from Candace's website.

Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell [Little, Brown and Company |

Download the Me...Jane educator's guide.

Patrick McDonnell is the creator of the Mutts comic strip, which recently celebrated its fifteenth anniversary, as well as several bestselling children's books including Wag!, The Gift of Nothing, Just Like Heaven, South, Hug Time, and Art. He has been hailed as "the next Charles Schulz." Patrick sits on the board of directors of the Humane Society of the United States, with a deep concern for the environment and animal welfare, and has won numerous awards for both Mutts and his animal welfare work. He is the co-creator of Guardians of Being with Eckhart Tolle. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Karen, their formerly feral cat, MeeMow, and their newly adopted terrier, Amelie. -Bio taken from here.

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt [Houghton Mifflin | Grades 6 and up]

Download the Okay for Now discussion guide.

Vicky Smith chats with Gary Schmidt about Okay for Now.

Gary Schmidt finds the process of kids turning toward adulthood fascinating and intriguing.

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by. - Bio taken from here.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai [HarperCollins | Grades 4-7]

Thanhha Lai reads an excerpt from Inside Out and Back Again at the 2011 National Book Awards Ceremony and Dinner.

Watch Thanhha Lai's acceptance speech for the National Book Award.

Thanhha Lai was born in Vietnam and moved to Alabama at the end of the war. She lives in New York City with her family. -Bio taken from here.


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