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Some of the Year's Best Kids Books, 2012

<a href="http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/2012-winter-newsletter"><img src="http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/files/santacruz/BSC_News_Winter_12_Cove... width="100" align="right"></a>These recommendations were published in our <a href="http://www.bookshopsantacruz.com/2012-winter-newsletter">2012 Winter Newsletter</a>. <p>These pages are just a sampling of this year’s many wonderful new books. Visit our children’s and young adults’ sections and we will help you choose just the right book.</p>

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

“It’s not a cancer book, because cancer books suck,” says Hazel, the singular voice of John Green’s newest and greatest young adult novel. The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, true, but it’s more than a love story. It’s a book that will shake you to the foundations and you will like it. The characters settle in on your living room couch, playing bloodthirsty videogames, arguing over literature, asking you why and what for is this life given or taken away, and you will be glad you opened this impossible genius of a book and will never entirely shut it again—I promise you. Grades 9–12.
Reviewed by: 
Tera
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The Fault in Our Stars Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780525478812
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - January 10th, 2012

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

In this enthralling new world where dragons and humans coexist under an uneasy truce, Seraphina is an oddity: a talented girl musician with a cranky, elusive mentor—an orphan who doesn’t know her parentage—and the carrier of a secret that lies literally embedded in her skin. When the crown prince is killed, Seraphina is pulled into the treacherous hunt for the true murderer and into the chaos that ensues when two vastly different intelligent beings question each other’s right to exist. The best fantasy debut of the year. Grades 8–12.
Reviewed by: 
Tera
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Seraphina Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780375866562
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - July 10th, 2012

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

With a murdered royal family and a country on the brink of civil war, Connor, regent of the crown, has a treasonous plot to train one of four orphans in order to pass him off as the long-lost prince. From the start, it’s impossible not to become attached to the orphan, Sage. He is the narrator of this tale, and you never know if he is lying to us, to himself, or to everyone else in the book, but you need to find out. This book was so hard to put down that I had to keep it in my backseat so I wasn’t tempted to read it at stoplights. It will appeal to fans of Megan Whelan Turner, Suzanne Collins, and Mark Twain. Grades 5–9.
Reviewed by: 
Nate
The False Prince (The Ascendance Series, Book 1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780545284134
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - April 1st, 2012

The One and Only Ivan

Ivan, a silverback gorilla, has lived behind glass walls at the derelict Big Top Mall and Video Arcade for 27 years. Alone except for a handful of friends, Ivan turns to art—crayons and finger paint accidentally acquired—to travel beyond his cage. But when a baby elephant arrives, newly captured from the wild, Ivan realizes that his domain is pinched beyond endurance. Thus begins a desperate, valiant quest for freedom. The One and Only Ivan is a hero’s tale of escape and self- discovery that will inspire readers to rethink human kinship to animals and the reality of whatever domains, or cages, we unthinkingly inhabit. It will break your heart, but it’s wonderful. Grades 5 & up.
Reviewed by: 
Eileen
The One and Only Ivan Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780061992254
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: HarperCollins - January 17th, 2012

What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt

In the formal, patterned language of oral epic poetry (think Beowulf), readers are given details of a battle between opposing forces. To save the essence of civilization, Young Waeglim forges the Art of the Valorim into a chain and hurls it into space. And such is the measure of his desperation and power that the necklace streaks through the galaxies, past stars and comets, and lands on Earth in 12-year-old Tommy’s way-too-babyish Ace Robotroid lunchbox (a birthday gift from his grandmother). Two worlds intersect and inextricably combine and nothing will ever be the same for Tommy and his family. There is such beauty and yearning (and humor) in this novel—in all of Gary Schmidt’s novels, really—and though this book may rend your heart, I recommend it wholeheartedly. Grades 5–8.
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What Came from the Stars Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780547612133
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Clarion Books - September 4th, 2012

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

“A seventh-grade boy who is coping with social and economic issues moves into a new apartment building, where he makes friends with an over-imaginative home-schooled boy and his eccentric family. Social rules are meant to be broken is the theme of this big-hearted, delightfully quirky tale, and in keeping with that, Stead creates a world where nothing is as it seems. Yet the surprises are meticulously foreshadowed, so when the pieces of the puzzle finally click in, the readers’ ‘aha’ moments are filled with profound satisfaction.” —Kirkus Reviews

Although written for a younger audience than her Newbery-winning When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead has created another odd and compelling mystery. Grades 4–7.

Liar & Spy Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385737432
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - August 7th, 2012

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

Marlee only speaks to a tiny handful of people. She’s terrified of giving a presentation in class, of standing up to her bullying best friend, or talking to a stranger. But she’s also terrified of being voiceless in a family pulling itself apart. When a new girl moves to town, Marlee takes a chance and speaks to her. What unfolds is a friendship that challenges the social fabric of the town of Little Rock in the year 1958, just after the Little Rock Nine have desegregated the schools. Against this tumultuous backdrop, Marlee discovers that finding her voice will mean speaking up for what she knows is right. Grades 5–8.
Reviewed by: 
Tera
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The Lions of Little Rock Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399256448
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - January 5th, 2012

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

“What do you get when you combine Because of Winn-Dixie’s heart with the mystery and action of Holes? You get an engaging, spirit-lifting and unforgettable debut for young readers. The novel’s opening lines reveal the unflappable Mo LoBeau as a latter-day Philip Marlowe: ‘Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt.’ Pairing the heartbreaking sadness of children who don’t get their fair share from parents with the hilarity of small-town life, Turnage achieves a wickedly awesome tale of an 11-year-old girl with more spirit and gumption than folks twice her age.” —Kirkus. Grades 4–7.
Three Times Lucky (Mo & Dale Mysteries) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780803736702
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Dial Books - May 10th, 2012

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

In preparing for the winter newsletter, booksellers in the children’s section of Bookshop read all the books published in 2012 that we suspect may be good— suspicions created by publishers’ reps, readers we like, children’s lit blogs, book reviews we admire, and some less tangible trickle of interest that accompanies a certain book and that publishers refer to as “buzz.” The Mighty Miss Malone was published in January. I didn’t read it until the day before the newsletter was due at the printers. MMM is a smart, amusing novel about a loving, bookish family’s struggle to live together when job possibilities are forcing them apart—a struggle as relevant today as it was in the 1930’s setting of Curtis’s story. Warmly memorable and completely buzz-worthy. Ostensibly for grades 5–8. And the rest of us.
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The Mighty Miss Malone Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780385734912
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - January 10th, 2012

Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes

On her way home from school, Penny composes a song that she just has to sing. She starts to sing it to her parents, who, worried that she’ll wake the babies, tell her to wait. She sings her song to the glass animals in her bedroom, but wishes for a more responsive audience. Penny attempts her song again at supper, but she’s asked to eat. Finally, after dinner, the family gathers and Penny sings her song exuberantly and successfully (with encores). The family joins in, singing and dancing until they are all exhausted. For newly independent readers grades K–2.
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Penny and Her Song (I Can Read Level 1) Cover Image
By Kevin Henkes, Kevin Henkes (Illustrator)
$4.99
ISBN: 9780062081971
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Greenwillow Books - August 21st, 2012

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