In an effort to swell my already healthy ego, my colleagues have requested that I put out a monthly list of the top 10 ten essential new books for our collections. It’s kind of like asking me to finish off that last piece of chocolate cheesecake. (Oh please, if you insist). Upon reflection what I think I’d like to do is a little of this, a bit of that, and some of the other. Meaning I will divide up the top ten into picture books, fiction novels, and books that will go to live in the Dewey section. I will admit, here in this most private and obscure format, that my weak point is going to be non-fiction. Today I will be fudging on that area by recommending books that are not strictly speaking the facts and nothing but the facts, but nonetheless sport a Dewey Decimal number.
Also essential is a relative word in our case. In my district our budgets are based on the number of students we have in our schools, which ranges from just over 300 to over 1000. For those of you who are walking calculators you can see that what might be a must have in one case would easily be a luxury in the other. I plan to qualify what I believe each purchase would bring to our libraries.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: I would say Very High for those of you who like giving kids books that will keep them enthralled.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: I would say Fair to Middling. Although this book was the first of the 2010 crop to get the coveted 5 stars, poetry does tend to get reviewed very well and if we are not careful the 800s could soon take over our entire Dewey sections. However, if you, by chance, happen to be planning to do a fairy tale theme over the next year, then this would indeed be an excellent choice.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: I will also give this a Fair to Middling rating. This brief volume will not fulfill any required biography assignment. (For that, turn to Sid Fleischman’s, Trouble Begins at Eight). But it is a great read aloud and a lovely introduction to one of our great authors. Also if you want to get a head start on possible Caldecott winners for next year I won’t steer you wrong.
Rainbow Magic fairy books, little girl heroine. Once they get started they can’t seem to stop. I have frantic mothers coming in begging me to give their little ones something, anything, that won’t trigger their own gag reflex during nightly reading time. Newbery award winner Schlitz has given us a great detox with this luscious little fairy book. The illustrations are intoxicating, the language is musical, the story is divine, and the end papers glitter. Win, win, win, win.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: Very High. You will have no shortage of readers for this, from precocious 1st graders on up to starry eyed 6th graders. I do think it just might be gender specific.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: Quite High. You will want to give this to all your little historical fiction fans. Failing running into any of those elusive creatures, give them to all the girls who adore Frances O’Roark Dowell's The Secret Language of Girls and The Kind of Friends we Used to Be.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: Quite High. This front runner for the Newbery is just darn great writing. The story and the characters are gripping. You will need to do a bit of selling to get it in the right hands, but once there they will be grateful.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: Quite high. I would say it is a no brainer if you have the first book, but you might need a little selling if you are unfamiliar with this level of silliness. If you are looking for a concept reason for purchasing this, it covers every day of the week.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: Quite High. This is story time gold, and the perfect baby shower gift.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: Fair to Middling. It’s not the best Seeger to come along but it defiantly fills a need, and the kid appeal will be high.
• LEVEL OF NECESSITY: Very High. A great addition for Earth Day and other environmental needs.