2023 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.
Read previous Year in Miscellanea Posts:
BEST SECOND ACT: MICHAEL SCOTT, AUTHOR
We all thought Dunder-Mifflin boss Michael Scott would make the leap to screenwriter with Threat Level: Midnight – I did not see this turn to YA author coming.
PARKING SPOT OF THE YEAR (RUNNER UP): RAUL THE THIRD
This is how you welcome a visiting author. Also, the sunglasses really put this one over the top.
PARKING SPOT OF THE YEAR (WINNER): SANTA 🎅
You know you’ve made it when you get the spot next to Kate DiCamillo. You have officially arrived, Santa.
AUTHOR VISIT MOMENT OF THE YEAR: KELLY YANG VIRTUAL FIRE DRILL
Mandatory school fire drills yield to no one, including author Kelly Yang, who had to wait until it was over to continue her virtual author visit.
CHILDREN’S LIT SNEAKERS OF THE YEAR: MR. SCHU’S SHOES
Sneakerheads everywhere were left reeling this year by John Schu’s one of a kind This is a School/This is a Story kicks.
BEST PARODY BOOK COVER: ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S-A-ME, MARGARET!
by @digitalmeddle on Instagram
BEST COOKIES: HUNGER HEROES
What is more appropriate than Jarrett Lerner’s graphic novel series, in edible form?
#BOOKFACEFRIDAY OF THE YEAR (RUNNER UP): BRIAN SELZNICK CAMEO
@rabbit_hole_kc brought the #bookfacefriday surprise with this Wonderstruck author cameo.
#BOOKFACEFRIDAY OF THE YEAR: BABY
@rabbit_hole_kc once again show why they are the undisputed master of the bookface form.
PLANET OF THE APES MOMENT OF THE YEAR: THE CAR IN THE TREE AND THE RIVER BY AARON BECKER
This already mind-blowing wordless book goes one step further by sneaking in a broken down car in what reader might think is the distant past. OR IS IT???
THE JAKE GYLLENHAAL AWARD FOR THE MOST JAKE GYLLENHAAL: JAKE GYLLENHAAL WITH DAN SANTAT
CHILDREN’S LIT ARTWORK OF THE YEAR: RUBIK’S CUBE PORTRAIT OF JARRETT LERNER
Applause emoji to whoever created this masterpiece.
SPINE OF THE YEAR: I HAVE A QUESTION BY ANDREW ARNOLD
GROSS OUT MOMENT OF THE YEAR (AKA THE FARRELY BROTHERS AWARD): THE SNOT SNAKE IN MEXIKID BY PEDRO MARTIN
WARNING: Once you read this section of Mexikid, you can never un-read it. And then the Pop Rocks come out (shudder).
PAGE TURN OF THE YEAR: THE POV SWITCH IN DO YOU REMEMBER BY SYDNEY SMITH
For most of the book, we see the characters, but the unexpected (and wordless) switch to the POV of the mother and son made this moment that much more powerful.
THE WHERE’S WALDO AWARD: AUTHORS IN TOMFOOLERY BY BARBARA MCCLINTOCK
McClintock snuck some well-known children’s book creators into her latest book. Can you name them all? (Thanks to @fusenumber8 for spotting this)
THE SIXTH SENSE MEMORIAL PICTURE BOOK TWIST OF THE YEAR: REAL TO ME BY MINH LÊ AND RAISSA FIGUEROA
Who is the narrator of this story? It might not be who you think.
LITTLE FREE LIBRARY OF THE YEAR: SAUGATUCK, MICHIGAN
First one I’ve seen with a green roof.
THE ONION HEADLINE OF THE YEAR: ‘GOODREADS NOW ONLY PERMITTING REVIEWS FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK’
The article is even better than the headline.
UNIQUE SWAG OF THE YEAR: GIFT TAG STICKERS FOR JUNIPER’S CHRISTMAS
The best book swag is useful book swag, and I’ll be using these tags.
BEST AUTHOR RESPONSE TO A NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEW: MICHELLE CUEVAS’S ONE STAR REVIEW ART
When life gives you a lemon book review, take it and turn it into some vintage book artwork to proudly hang in your home. At least that’s what Michelle Cuevas has done.
MOST HUMBLING FAN MAIL: ERIN ENTRADA KELLY
Nothing like kid readers to keep you from getting a big head.
PHOTOSHOP OF THE YEAR: I SURVIVED
Not since the original Animorphs covers has Photoshop been used to such gloriously absurd effect.
BOOK COVER OF THE YEAR: JAWBREAKER
In 2023, no cover was more memorable to me than this one for Christina Wyman’s Jawbreaker, illustrated by James Lancett.
MOST UNEXPECTED BOOKMARK: KLEENEX BOX TOP
Kleenex is encouraging us to use the strip of cardboard you tear off the box as a bookmark. Maybe they got tired of seeing everyone use the tissues to mark their pages:
(Photo via Debbie Ridpath Ohi)
BEST US POSTAGE STAMP: STREGA NONA
Tomie dePaola’s most well-known character was featured on a set of stamps this year and that was good.
THE WES ANDERSON AWARD: THE GRAND HOTEL OF FEELINGS BY LIDIA BRANKOVIC
THE SCATALOGICAL AWARD: THE GREAT POOP CONTEST
The pig seems into it!
BEST CELEBRITY LIBRARY ENDORSEMENT: HASAN MINHAJ
Thanks for the support, Hasan. But hey – public libraries are working on the late fees thing.
MOST APPETIZING: DRAGON’S FIRST TACO
HARDEST SHADE THROWN TO A FAMOUS AUTHOR: R.L. STINE’S SON
He’s NEVER read a goosebumps book?!
BOOK WITH THE BEST CHANCE OF RIDING THE COATTAILS OF A POP STAR ALL THE WAY TO BESTSELLER STATUS: BAD BUNNY
CHILDREN’S LIT PUMPKIN OF THE YEAR (RUNNER UP): SEE THE CAT
See the Cat illustrator Mike Wohnoutka created an amazing pumpkin based on the book.
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE PUMPKIN OF THE YEAR (WINNER): LITTLE FREE LIBRARY-O-LANTERN
BEST NBA SUPERSTAR BOOK ENDORSEMENT: STEPH AND AYESHA CURRY AND GREEN LANTERN: LEGACY BY MINH LÊ
BEST CHILDREN’S LIT TRIBUTE TO THE 90s: THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA LISA FRANK INSPIRED FOLDERS
The book series with the best merch in the biz made me flash back to elementary school with these retro-inspired folders.
BEST PRETEND ARCHITECT: BOB SHEA
Click here to see it on Instagram.
It only makes sense that the guy who makes the funniest books would also make the funniest Instagram reels.
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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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