which is my idea of a favorites list.
And one that I can keep adding onto. Forever.
So, as the second in an occasional series, here are a few more.
I wish I'd written last year's middle grade and young adult award winners, and in that group I'll include:
The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron -- winner of the 2006 Newbery Medal, thanks to a well-spun tale and a really fine set of details (the knots, the backpack, the red dress) that serve as cairns throughout the whole book. A good thing when you're in a windstorm in the desert. I wrote about Lucky way back in June but it can't hurt to say it again...
Rules by Cynthia Lord -- a 2006 Newbery Honor Book, and mighty touching without the sap. That's the take-away lesson on this one. If Lucky's got the details, Rules has got straight-forward heart. Just the way I like it. I wrote about Rules back aways, too...
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson -- another 2006 Newbery Honor Book, and today's Little House. Right? I mean, really, I felt all cold and in the need of biscuits just reading it. I've no doubt that the book's bred a whole new group of girls who want to step straight out of their suburban bedrooms into big sky land, and that's a desire I think is worth conjuring up. So, I wish I'd written it, and I also wish I'd gotten to take a train to Montana the way Kirby Larson got to.
Looking for Alaska by John Green -- the winner of the 2006 Michael L. Printz award and boy oh man did this one make me weep. Read it pretty much cover to cover on an airplane and, well, hello Holden Caulfield. The humor, the angst, the heartbreaking beauty of the great perhaps. I have to admit to loving the first half more than the second -- I hope that's not sacrilegious to say -- but the whole dang book captures what it feels like to be sitting inside your own head at 18. Captures and still makes it palatable. Which is saying something.
This list is admittedly incomplete since I've somehow failed to read Penny from Heaven by Jennifer Holm, but I am now hanging my head in shame, moving it to the top of my pile and I'll betcha anything I'm gonna wish I'd written that one, too.