Top Books of 2018 (#10-6)

Happy Thursday! Travis Jonker and I are counting down our top 20 books of 2018.

#20-16 | #15-11 | #10-6 | #5-1

Please visit to read our blurbs.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed 

Aisha created this video for schools participating in The Global Read Aloud. 

Aisha curated a collection of Amal Unbound resources. 

Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock; illustrated by Katherine Roy 

Watch the book trailer for Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive. 

Barb Rosenstock and Katherine Roy discuss Otis and Will Discover the Deep

Front Desk by Kelly Yang 

Kelly Yang introduces Front Desk

Explore Front Desk's website. 

Kelly Yang finished my sentences on September 28, 2017. 

Maike Plenzke’s cover illustration for Front Desk made me burst into tears. I’ll never forget it. I was in a taxi and I just started crying. The taxi driver was like “What’s wrong?? Should I pull over??” I said, “No. No! Keep driving! Everything’s fine. Everything’s great!” while I kept sobbing. Maike did such a tremendous job of capturing the spirit of my girl Mia. I loved the details, down to the Disneyland poster and the peeling paint on the wall. It was perfect, just perfect! I’m beyond excited to share it with the world!

Front Desk tells the story of 10 year old Mia Tang. Every day, Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel while her parents clean the rooms. She’s proud of her job. She loves the guests and treats them like family. When one of the guests gets into trouble with the police, it shakes Mia to her core. Her parents, meanwhile, hide immigrants in the empty rooms at night. If the mean motel owner Mr. Yao finds out, they’ll be doomed!

Click here to read the full interview. 

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Veera Hiranandani and editor Namrata Tripathi discuss The Night Diary

In the Kitchen with Veera Hiranandani 

Veera finished my sentences on April 16, 2018. 

Dadi, Papa, Amil, and Kazi are the main characters, other than Nisha in The Night Diary. Dadi (the Hindi and Sindhi word for one’s paternal grandmother) is comforting, but at times, annoying to Nisha. Papa is Nisha’s father. He is a doctor, and often very busy with his work. He can be distant, but protective and Nisha wishes he would be more nurturing. Amil is her twin brother, and as she says, “the other half” of her. He is outgoing, impulsive, funny, and loving. He is her voice when she can’t speak for herself, but she helps calm him, and helps him think more deeply about things. Kazi is the family’s cook. He and Nisha have a close relationship and she gets some of the nurturing she’s looking for from him. He also teaches her how to cook and she finds another way to express herself. Kazi is also Muslim and they are separated through this conflict.

Click here to read the full interview. 

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki 

Jillian finished my sentences on October 2, 2017. 

Everyone moves through the world differently. But how we perceive the world is also a spectrum within every individual that shifts from moment to moment. They Say Blue aims to capture the experience of moving through the natural world—questioningly, emotionally, scientifically, imaginatively. The child in the book is a daydreamer and intense observer who is starting to explore the world around her and see the connections between it and herself. She questions language, idioms, and common knowledge, holding them up against what she sees with her own eyes.

I hope readers of They Say Blue like it! Ha ha. I try to make readers feel a lot of things when they read any book I make, but I realize that once a book is out in the world, every reader is going to overlay their own experiences and take away different things. The environments in the book are inspired by landscapes I have known in my life; I hope to transport readers there viscerally, even if they have never experienced snow personally. 

Click here to read the full interview. 


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