Friday, December 18, 2009

The Brooklyn Arden 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

AKA, all my 2009 books and a few other favorite things. To wit:

Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee. Coedited by Arthur and me. CYBIL nominee.

Perfect for: YA readers; fans of hair dye or tacos; anyone who has ever worked a fast-food job; anyone with a crazy mother or charming best friend; people who like a mix of the funny and the bittersweet (that is, if you like laughing or crying); residents of Los Angeles, California.

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee, illustrated by Dan Santat. Coedited by Arthur and me. Starred review in The Horn Book. New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing.

Perfect for: Boys; girls; particularly the seven- to nine-year-old members of both genders; anyone who has ever felt puzzled by the behavior of a person of the other gender; people who like donuts.

The Circle of Gold (The Book of Time III), by Guillaume Prevost, translated by William Rodarmor.

Perfect for: Fans of time travel novels, literature in translation, or the first two books in the series.

Heartsinger by Karlijn Stoffels, translated by Laura Watkinson. Two starred reviews.

Perfect for: People who like fairy-tale flavoring in their stories; people who are thoughtful about love; people interested in unconventional novel structures; fans of translated literature, character profiles, magic realism, and the Dutch.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. Five starred reviews; Booklist Editors' Choice; Kirkus Best Book for YA; Horn Book Fanfare List; School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year; New York Times Notable Book for Children; Washington Post Notable Book.

Perfect for: People interested in Asperger's syndrome, lawyers, how religion can affect everyday life, moral dilemmas, wonderful characters.

Moribito II; Guardian of the Darkness, by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano. Starred review in Publishers Weekly; USBBY Outstanding International Book.

Perfect for: Fans of fantasy, awesome female characters, martial arts movies, Japan, fascinating settings, literature in translation, or the first book, which was equally terrific and won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for Translation.

Operation Yes, by Sara Lewis Holmes. Starred review in Booklist.

Perfect for: military families; rambunctious kids who get in trouble; kids interested in art or theater; precise kids who like to plan; teachers; people who take improv; people who love innovative, risk-taking children's literature,

The Snow Day by Komako Sakai. Four starred reviews; New York Times Best Illustrated Book; USBBY Outstanding International Book.

Perfect for: Fans of literature in translation; children with parents who travel a lot; anyone who longs for the peace and joy of a snowy day.

Wishworks, Inc. by Stephanie S. Tolan, illustrated by Amy June Bates. New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing.

Perfect for: People who like dogs; people who want a dog; fans of quality and charming chapter books.


And things I had nothing to do with creating but I loved in 2009 and recommend highly:

Adult books: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers; The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer; The Learners by Chip Kidd; The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Get Pregnant by Dan Savage.

YA novels: How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford, an underappreciated gem about a girl and a boy who don't fall in love; Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson, an even less appreciated gem about a girl and a boy who were once in love, with each other and with the environment, and have to figure out the complications of each fading away; The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp, the most spectacular feat of voice I read this year.

Middle-grade novels: Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis; Alec Flint: The Ransom Note Blues by Jill Santopolo; When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

Movies: Up in the Air; District 9; Star Trek; Bright Star; (500) Days of Summer

Things: A DVR; a wireless mouse; and my Good Grips vegetable peeler, the single best household investment I have made in many a moon.


Happy holidays!


  1. I have the Oxo veggie peeler and must agree with your assessment. They make a mean apple corer as well. :)

  2. And the same holiday wish back to you!

  3. NOW you post this... I finished my shopping already :-( Two of your books were already on my list, though.

    Happy Holidays to you.

  4. I purchased THE BOOK OF TIME and read it so I could read the other two (doing reviews of them for I enjoyed the first one and am currently reading the second. I'm excited to get to THE CIRCLE OF GOLD and now that school is out for the semester, I have more time to read! =D

    Thanks for the list. I'm definitely going to have to look into getting the peeler.

  5. Forgot to add that I hope you have a GREAT holiday!

  6. Hey! Thanks for the shout-out, CK! Happy holidays to you.

  7. Best wishes for a joyful holiday and happy new year to you, as well.

  8. Hey, I recommended MARCELO IN THE REAL WORLD in my CO SPRINGS GAZETTE book column. Readers really enjoyed it.

  9. Bought Absolutely Maybe for myself earlier this year, and Bobby v. Girls and Operation Yes for my son earlier this year - we're reading Operation Yes now and he's cheering the kids along and keeps jumping in with "yeah! why do teachers always do that?" about the other teachers (not Miss Loupe)

    Checked Marcelo out from the library and loved it, have recommended it strongly to others.

  10. Thank you for the list!

    Now here's something for the holidays you might enjoy, being a lover of both musicals AND children's books...

    Happy holidays!

  11. Merry Christmas, Cheryl Klein!

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  13. I like books on eastern culture. These books are not available online. So you recommend a "concubine Shogun" book written by Laura Joh Rowland.