2012 is shaping up to be a great year for Children's Literature!
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (14 & up)
Refreshingly humorous and poignant this book by first time author Jesse Andrews introduces us to the surprisingly lovable anti-hero Greg, whose only goal in life is to remain invisible. I could not stop laughing through the first two-thirds of this book. I loved the ending, but most of all, I loved Earl, Greg's only friend.
The 10 PM Question by Kate De Goldi (12 & up)
A friend traveled to New Zealand (where this book was originally published) and brought it back for me to read. She loved it, and I loved it, and now it has finally made it to our country! Alas, like many other great titles, this one is hard to describe - but in a nutshell it beautifully illustrates the love between friends, and between members of families that fall outside the narrow range of normal.
FOR MIDDLE GRADES (ya know - all those kids who read chapter books but aren't yet teens)
A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle (8-12)
Four generations of Irish women gallivant around town. Oh! And one of those ladies is a ghost. This book makes me wish I was Irish just so I could join in on their fun. Actually the situation, which revolves around a dying grandmother, isn't really fun, but with fantastic humorous dialogue Roddy Doyle (the author of The Commitments) makes you wish you were there.
Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger (8-12)
What can you do with a good fake mustache and a "man about town" suit? Oh, well if you are in 7th grade, you can take over the world. Or you could have taken over the world if your best friend and an actress from a cancelled pre-teen TV show hadn't gotten in your way. Actually, Fake Mustache is told from the point of view of the best friend, but I have to admit my sympathies lie with the mustache wearer. Like Anglebergers fantastic Origami Yoda series, this book is chock full of humor, but unlike Origami Yoda, it leaves reality far far behind.
Betty Bunny Wants Everything by Michael Kaplan, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch (4-8)
Betty Bunny is like the Berenstain Bears with an artistic upgrade and a sharp edged sense of humor. Her books (of which there are now two) have morals, but Betty Bunny is a reluctant learner. In fact it could be argued she doesn't learn the moral at all. But the reader will learn the morals, even if the protagonist misses the big picture. Speaking of pictures, I LOVE the artwork, and I love the bunny family's sense of style.