It’s December 31st, and I’m still reading. I have four more books to finish to make my numbers goal for 2014: 200 books. Those last four, while good, won’t make my favorites list, so I’m ready to post my annual reading wrap-up. Because I also read nearly 700 picture books this year, I decided to make a separate list of my top 20 picture books of 2014. (Thanks, Carrie, for the idea to write about each title in no more than 14 words!)
14. Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon.
Dory is cursed with mean siblings, blessed with vivid imagination. Heavily illustrated charm.
13. Jane, the Fox, and Me, written by Fanny Britt and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.
Gorgeous graphic novel about being the victim of mean girls. Guest appearance by Jane Eyre.
12. Syllabus by Lynda Barry.
This book got me drawing and doodling and thinking more creatively.
11. The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal written by Sy Montgomery and photographed by Nic Bishop.
My favorite nonfiction PB team tackles the mysterious tapir. Plus cutest baby animal EVER.
10. Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins.
I’m going to go ahead and call this Virginia Woolf for middle grade. Brilliant!
9. How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson.
Portrait of the artist as a young black girl. Important. Moving. Gorgeous poetry.
8. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm.
Surprisingly profound meditation on meaning of life with science and plenty of funny.
7. El Deafo by Cece Bell.
A disability memoir AND the most universal, humane, and relateable book of the year.
6. Jinx’s Magic by Sage Blackwood.
Jinx made me fall in love with fantasy. Great characters, plot, setting, writing.
5. Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero.
A drama-packed senior year chronicled in diary form. Strong voice. Intelligent character.
4. A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban.
Wisdom. Hope. Friendship. Family. Love. Plus plenty of quirk and gorgeous sentences.
3. Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast.
Brutal yet hilarious look at aging, elder care. Only Chast could pull this off.
2. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina.
Bullying is just the tip of iceberg in this complex, rich, YA novel.
1. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki.
Bittersweet. Painful. Just like childhood ending. Incredibly beautiful art.