Children’s Literature 2014: The Year in Miscellanea
It’s time to take a look back at the year that was in children’s lit miscellanea.
Oddest Children’s Literature/Hip-Hop/Boxing Crossover
Granted, there weren’t many contenders in this category. How did this story end? Well, Harry Potter remains unread by Mr. Mayweather.
Sequel that Didn’t Need to Happen (Runner Up)
If You Give a Mouse an iPhone
First came Goodnight iPad, now this. I predict The Cat in the Apple Watch is next.
Sequel that Didn’t Need to Happen
You Have to F*****g Eat
One step too far.
Bizarro Books of the Year
Rabbbityness and Peek-A-Boo Bunny
Similar, yet opposite.
Occupation of the Year
Xenologist (from Work: An Occupational ABC by Kellen Hatanaka)
Xenology is the study of alien life. Thankfully, there were pictures to help me out.
Tie of the Year
Locomotive-inspired LEGO train tracks tie worn by Tom Angleberger at the 2014 Newbery/Caldecott Banquet
The man knows how to dress for an occasion.
Best Book Title
Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten
Perfectly captures the horror of a teacher who sees Wikipedia cited as the only source on a student paper.
Swag of the Year
Flora and the Penguin flip book
The spirit of the book, captured perfectly.
Endpapers of the Year (Runner Up)
Found by Salina Yoon
A mass of clever lost posters (including a sly I Want My Hat Back reference) cover the Found endpapers.
Endpapers of the Year
The Right Word by Jen Bryant; illustrated by Melissa Sweet
On the back endpapers of The Right Word, Sweet embraced her inner Roget and wrote out a thousand-word list by hand. That’s dedication.
Best Appearance of a Caldecott Winning Book
Locomotive in The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall
Sophie Blackall snuck Brian Floca’s Locomotive into her latest (and, for that matter, Bear & Bee by Sergio Ruzzier)
Best Appearance by Gallstones
The gall stones in The Baby Tree by by Sophie Blackall
At least, I think that’s what these are.
Calf Birth of the Year
The River by Alessandro Sanna
Is it for kids? Is it for adults? Does it matter? The River was as beautiful and unexpected at it got in 2014
The “The Dark” Award
What There Is Before There Is Anything There (A Scary Story) by Liniers
This is given to the book that, much like The Dark in 2013, could be mildly spooky, or completely terrifying depending on the whim of whoever is reading the book.
Portrait of the Year
Jon Scieszka by Loren Long
At the first annual Ultimate Picture Book Sketch Off at ALA annual, M.C. Jon Scieszka had all the panelists draw him. Mr. Long embraced the setting (Las Vegas), and his glorious portrait of the former Ambassador of Young People’s Literature is better for it.
Companion of the Year (Runner Up)
The Julian Chapter by R.J. Palacio
Perhaps the biggest question readers had after finishing Wonder was “what was going on in Julian’s head?” With The Julian Chapter (which could almost pass for a novella in terms of length), Palacio brought in a perspective that was absent from the original story.
(Side note: this is also a first, right? Has a bestselling children’s book ever added a chapter after the fact?)
Companion of the Year
Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate
While not exactly a companion (the book is a stand-alone), it showed the true story that Katherine Applegate mined for Newbery gold in The One and Only Ivan.
Doppelgänger of the Year (Third Runner Up)
Press Here and Touch the Red Button
I’ve been sensing more button pushing ever since Press Here started its bestseller reign.
Doppelgänger of the Year (Second Runner Up)
Revenge of the Flower Girls by Jennifer Ziegler and the poster for the film Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids had to be an influence here, and I love it.
Doppelgänger of the Year (First Runner Up)
City Cat and Cat in the City
Sometimes the stars align in weird ways.
Doppelgänger of the Year
Aaron Becker and this guy I saw
While at the annual Anderson’s Children’s Literature Breakfast, I encountered a photographer who shared an eerie resemblance to Journey author/illustrator Aaron Becker. Or was it him???
Book Title I Will Forever Mix Up Award (aka the I Want My Hat Back/This Is Not My Hat Award)
The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos
It’s a great book, and the title makes perfect sense as a reference to the first title in the series, but I’ll be mixing this up forever.
Food of the Year (Location: Outer Space)
Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza: Delivery of Doom by Dan Yaccarino and The Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza by James Kochalka
I suppose it’s better than spaghetti or something, but still far from my first pick in zero gravity.
Jacket of the Year
The Jacket by Kirsten Hall and Dasha Tolstikova
The story on the page becomes the book in your hands. The beautiful story and delightful design made for one of the most entertaining read alouds of 2014
Do-It-Yourself Art Form of the Year
Two do-it-yourself sculpture books arrived in 2014. Giant Game of Sculpture by Herve Tullet and You Call That Art? by David Carter and James Diaz
Two build it yourself modern sculpture kits in 2014? Did I mention the stars aligning in weird ways?
Best Where the Wild Things Are Tribute
Wild from Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton
The shadow of WTWTA looms large over the field of children’s literature, as evidenced by this charming homage by Ben Clanton.
Cover of the Year (Chapter Book)
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm. Cover illustration by Tad Carpenter. Designed by Heather Palisi
The guy who brought the world the iconic Wonder cover was up to his usual tricks this year – namely, crafting another unforgettable cover image.
Children’s Literature Character Name of the Year
Blizz Richards from The Yeti Files #1: Meet the Bigfeet by Kevin Sherry
Say it a few times – it’s the perfect name for a Yeti (or the meteorologist on your local evening news).
Controversy of the Year Everyone Forgot
Rush Limbaugh is Children’s Author of the Year
Interview Series of the Year
Philip and Erin Stead set out to interview others in the field of children’s bookmaking, including Eric Rohmann, Matthew Cordell, Rebecca Stead, and more. The results are endlessly fascinating – in depth and unexpected. I daresay there’s never been anything quite like it, and the children’s literature world is better as a result.
Reissue of the Year
The Beast of Monsieur Racine by Tomi Ungerer (Phaidon)
Hearty claps on the back to Phaidon for continuing to re-release out of print gems from Mr. Ungerer.
Author of the Year
I’d say winning the Newbery Medal and being named National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature is a pretty solid 12 months.
Incredibly Expensive Promotion of the Year
Video player thing for Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Don’t want to go online to watch the book trailer? No prob – we’ll mail it to you.
Location of the Year
Cleopatra in Space and Lowriders in Space led the way in 2014…
…with more “in space” coming in 2015.
The Press Here Award
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
I can’t think of any other book where I heard more people say “I wish I could have thought of that” than Herve Tullet’s Press Here. The Press Here Award honors the book that had the most people saying those words.
Case Cover Embellishment of the Year (Second Runner-Up)
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
A foil-y take on the cover image.
Case Cover Embellishment of the Year (First Runner-Up)
The Miniature World of Marvin and James by Elise Broach; illustrated by Kelly Murphy
A foil-y take on a memorable moment in the book.
Case Cover Embellishment of the Year
Zorgoochi Intergalactic Pizza: Delivery of Doom by Dan Yaccarino
I ask you: who’s going to argue with Peace, Love, and Pizza?
Ridiculous Theory of the Year
Are you certain it’s spelled “Berenstein Bears” and not “Berenstain Bears”? It might be because you’re right … in a parallel universe.
Dedication of the Year
Oliver Jeffers in Once Upon an Alphabet
Cover Controversy of the Year
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (Penguin Modern Classics Edition)
They went in a different direction.
Campaign of the Year
It was great to see this “grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature” arrive in 2014. Here’s hoping we see the results of their work in 2015 and beyond.
Cover Trend Going Strong
As My Brother’s Shadow, Brown Girl Dreaming, Rain Reign, Hansel & Gretel, Ghost of Tupelo Landing, and The Crossover show, this is a cover technique that we’ll be seeing more of.
Name of the Year
2012 was the Year of Chloe. 2013: Flora. With Tulip Loves Rex, Rex Wrecks It, and Rosie and Rex 2014 could perhaps go down as the year of Rex.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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