2011 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.
Saddest Moment for Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores
The demise of Borders
More reader-focused and personal than Barnes & Noble, Borders was the chain bookseller you could still get behind. No longer.
Most Subtle Change of Expression from Cover to Inside Book
Bumble-Ardy by Maurice Sendak
Did you catch this? Bumble-Ardy curiously seems to have calmed down a bit from the inside of the book to the cover.
Look! It’s a Book! by Bob Staake
Fitting right in with the theme of his seek-and-find book, Mr. Staake turns his dedication into an eye test.
Worst Depiction of FDR
Einstein (Great Figures in History series) by YKids
I know manga is known for doing some wacky stuff, but turning our 32nd president into a dude who looks like this?
Unacceptable. Hilariously unacceptable.
Best Endorsement for Reading
Teacher Colby Sharp goes Dead Poets Society
If a teacher did this when I was in school, I can guarantee I would remember it to this day. Here’s to Mr. Sharp starting off the school year right and making some memories.
Controversy of the Year
E-book lending for libraries
The e-book wars intensified in 2011. First HarperCollins wanted to limit the number of checkouts per digital copy, then Penguin temporarily pulled their e-books. This is far from over.
Mistake of the Year
Shine and the National Book Awards
Oh, did this ever get folks up in arms. First Lauren Myracle’s Shine was included in the Young People’s Literature category of the National Book Awards, then it was not. Bad decisions aplenty. The outcomes were: the NBAs looked silly while Shine got a huge popularity bump. I think things worked out as they should.
Bear that I Thought Was a Beaver Until I Read the Book
The Bear from I Want My Hat Back
Did anyone else have this first impression? No? Moving right along!
Book That Inspired the Most Parodies
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
There was something about the simplicity and deadpan humor of this 2011 release that inspired a mass of tributes. Know Your Meme has a nice roundup:
Most Unintentionally Scary Book Cover of the Year
Sometimes, you just don’t intend to make a creepy cover, but you do.
Best Sound Effect
Bang? Weak. Boom? Lame. Dav Pilkey tests the limits of acceptable sound effects (and drops a Winfrey reference) in the delightfully crude Super Diaper Baby 2.
‘Stache of the Year
Thomas Stevens in Around the World by Matt Phelan
Thick, black, and luxurious, no other children’s lit-related facial hair of 2011 topped it.
Best Animal Bling
The Bear’s “Honey” chain in The Woods by Paul Hoppe
As you can tell by the picture, bear is slightly ashamed by this show of wealth.
The elephant in Blue Boat by Philip Stead
Was it an homage? The children’s lit equivelant of a callback? When a familiar elephant appeared in Philip Stead’s The Blue Boat, I like to think of it as the reappearance of an old friend from his book with wife Erin E. Stead, A Sick Day for Amos Mcgee (in spirit, anyway).
Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
Most Unexpected Children’s Lit Villain
NFL Quarterback Michael Vick
It’s rare when you open a children’s book and an actual, living person is named as the villain. Saving Audie, about a dog rescued from Vick’s infamous dog-fighting ring, does just that.
Picture Book-Related Quote of the Year
We condemn the amnesiacs who treasure unruly classics while praising the bland today
Mac Barnett and a host of excellent picture book creators made waves in October with “A Picture Book Manifesto”. The proclamation became a rallying cry against the “picture book is dying” crowd.
Best Aligning of the Stars
Sendak, Silverstein, and Seuss release books in the same season
Improbably, three of the biggest names in the history of children’s literature had books out within weeks of each other. And best of all, there wasn’t a weak release in the bunch.
YA Cover Trend of the Year
2011 was the year that cover designers said “let’s cut to the chase!” Holding hands is sooo 2010.
(Special thanks to Cindy at Bookends for pointing this out)
Quirkiest Book of the Year
People by Blexbolex
You know when the corpse shows up on page nine, things a just a bit off kilter in this wonderfully inscrutable book of different sorts of people.
Board Book Adaptation of the Year
It’s a Little Book by Lane Smith
Who knew that the characters (and spirit) of one of the more controversial books of 2010 would appear to become one of the best board books of 2011?
Most Unsuccessful Board Book of the Year
HTML for Babies
I know this is a joke, but still.
Best Harry Potter Reference on the Senate Floor
Via Orrin Hatch
Technically, this was the only entry into this category. But a win by default is still a win!
Shower Curtain of the Year
Does this require a comment?
Slightly Disturbing Mini Trend of the Year
Animals Dressing as Other Animals
Happy Pig Day by Mo Willems and A Dog is a Dog by Stephen Shaskan both depicted animals disguised in full-on costumes of other animals. Very funny, and to some, slightly…unnatural.
Most Ambitious Idea Brought to Fruition
The 90 Second Newbery
Here’s to author James Kennedy who tirelessly banged the drum for folks to create 90 video interpretations of Newbery-winning books. And also for providing a platform for Jon Scieszka to share “the mullet of tuxedos”.
Time-Waster of the Year
#lessambitiousbooks on Twitter
Twitter, that monument to disposable time-wasting brought us the entertaining #lessambitiousbooks meme this year, where folks took famous book titles and toned them waaay down.
Children’s Lit Tattoo of the Year
Tie: Owly and Where’s Waldo
Maurice Sendak for A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmidt
A blurb on the cover of a picture book is rare, but when Maurice Sendak is doing the blurbing, that deserves its own sticker.
Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Thriller
Poor Mr. Krosoczka. At this year’s Book Expo America, he somehow didn’t get the memo that he would be promoting Thriller, the book of short stories, and not the classic Michael Jackson album.
Funniest Book-Related Meme
The Judgemental Bookseller Ostrich
The place to be for smart-alecky book jokes.
Best Use of Books as Musical Instruments
This gets pretty wild.
Children’s Lit Movie Hype of 2012
The Hunger Games
Not only is this the biggest children’s/YA adaptation coming out, it might be the most pre-hyped movie of 2012 period. In theaters March 23, 2012.
Read previous Year in Miscellanea Posts:
Filed under: Articles, Best of 2011
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 email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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