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2010 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea

It’s time to take a look back at the year that was in children’s lit miscellanea.

Best Moment of Solidarity: The response to the Speak Controversy

An associate professor of management at Missouri State University made some unbelievable comments regarding Laurie Halse Anderson’s Printz honor book, and the response was swift and strong.

Best Use of a Book as a Dangerous Weapon: Library books thwart purse snatcher

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: good book, sure, but it’s crime-stopping abilities are even better.

Book that Made People Feel Psychic: Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

“Hey, guess what? John Grisham is coming out with a book for kids.”

“Oh, what’s it called – Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer or something? Haha!”

“Uh, actually, yeah.”

“Dang.” (Thinks to self, “I might be psychic.”)

Book that I Thought Was Written by Prince: Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty

Look, I don’t mean to make light of this book’s serious subject matter, but the first time I saw this cover, rain started falling – purple rain.

Book that had Something to Hide: Art & Max by David Wiesner

We knew that Wiesner was going to bring the goods with the illustrations for Art & Max, but less expected was the Jackson Pollock-esque splatter underneath the dust jacket.

Word of the Year: Ebook

There’s been plenty of buildup, but 2010 may go down as the year the ebook truly caught on. With every major bookseller now in the market and e-reader prices dropping like librarian’s jaws on the last page of “It’s a Book”, ebooks gained a lot of ground in 2010.

Funniest Children’s Lit Parody of the Year: Drew Barrymore’s Tell-All Coloring Book from the Onion

This is a funny fake news story right up until they “interview” Berrymore about her book. Then it becomes a classic.

Book Dedication of the Year: Adam Gidwitz in A Tale Dark & Grimm

You’ve gotta admit it – this year’s winner was obvious:

Most Guilty of Perpetuating Old Librarian Stereotypes: Miss Manners

In her response to a reader complaint about a nosey librarian, Miss Manners cracks the whip.

(Thanks to librarian.net for the link)

Color Trend of the Year: Shades of Blue

2010 is the year of blue. You may call it teal, you may call it aqua, but the saddest hue on the color wheel  seemed to be everywhere:

Most Unfortunate Side Affect of Twilight Fever: Babies named after vampires

The Team Jacob vs. Team Edward debate – coming soon to a schoolyard near you.

Author Profile of the Year: Kate DiCamillo

Occasionally you’ll find a short children’s author interview during one of the network morning shows. Fun, but not really satisfying. That being the norm, it was great to watch a longer-length profile of the wonderful Kate DiCamillo from Twin Cities Public Television.

Piece of Furniture Most Upsetting to Traditional Book Lovers: The library information desk made out of books at TU Delft architecture bibliotheek

Hip Library Dude: Yeah, we just had these useless books sitting around. We didn’t know what to do with them, so we used them like bricks to build a desk.

Curmudgeonly librarian: Grrrr.

Best Illustrated Homage to the Newbery and Caldecott Awards: Library Mouse

Inconspicuous odes to the two biggest awards in children’s lit are hidden among the illustrations for Library Mouse: A World to Explore. Very sly, Daniel Kirk, very sly indeed.

Biggest Children’s Lit Controversy (A.K.A. The Article that Birthed 1,000 Other Articles Award): Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children in the New York Times

It seems everyone had something to say about this October article from the New York Times.

Book-Related Commercial of the Year: Bookman’s book domino commercial

With enough imagination and effort, gimmickry can become art. Such is the case with the outstanding domino rally commercial for Bookmans Entertainment Exchange in Arizona.

Slightly Under the Radar Controversy of the Year: Common Sense Media

It didn’t get quite as much notice as other hot topics, but the backlash against Common Sense Media’s often nonsensical book ratings and age guidelines made a splash in 2010. The best reaction? Author Todd Strasser’s letter to School Library Journal questioning Common Sense’s review of his book, which notes “extreme swearing suggested by substitutions”. Preach on Todd!

Children’s Literature Tattoo of the Year: Alice in Wonderland

Anyone can get a “Little Prince” on their pinky toe, but it takes dedication to go for the full-on Alice back tat.

(Thanks to Contrariwise for the link)

Most Different Covers in the Shortest Period of Time: The Homework Machine

Wondering why your favorite book with a stale cover isn’t getting updated? All the world’s cover redesigning resources are being spent on The Homework Machine, which is currently in its fourth cover revision.

Most Unusual Library Promotion Sign of the Year: Piggy Sue

I’m still trying to figure out the story on the Piggy Sue library posters. Can you help me?

Book That Should Be Illegal Because it Contains Too Many Elements Librarians Can’t Resist (A.K.A. The Purchasing Perfect Storm Book): Dewey’s Christmas at the Library

If a committee was formed with the sole purpose of creating a book that librarians must buy, they couldn’t have come up with the perfection that is Dewey’s Christmas at the Library. I can’t even make up something to top it. Let’s run down the list. Cats? Check. Christmas? Check.  A story set in a library? Featuring a character named after the beloved cataloging system? Check those boxes too. Don’t pretend you didn’t add this to your collection.

Best Use of Library for Sporting Purposes: Library Croquet at the New Hanover County Library

Of all the off the wall library videos produced in 2010, this was the most oddly entertaining.

Worst Use of Whitey-Tighties in a Children’s Book: Life of Shouty: Good Habits

While I approve of all forms of televised soccer viewing, this scene from Life of Shouty: Good Habits may have taken things too far.

Most Memorable Cover of 2010: Chalk by Bill Thomson

Big, bold, and eerily realistic, Chalk set the shelf-appeal standard in 2010.

Children’s Lit Movie Hype of 2011: The film adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret

There have been plenty of children’s books turned into films, but few have had the star power of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret. I’m looking forward to this one. In theaters December 9, 2011.

Read previous Year in Miscellanea Posts:



About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Wow!! Awesome post, Travis!

  2. This is so awesome … but not to be read while drinking milk/soda/coffee/tea … could damage computer.

    What about Touch Blue??

  3. Thanks for the great round-up!

    (And another for your Blue Bunch is Touch Blue, which even manages to get it into the title…)

  4. I loved reading this! So fun. Go Team Teal!

  5. Woosie! I think you’ve got it all covered. Great post! :) e

  6. Terry, I actually *did* spit-take my coffee during the Prince moment.

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