Part 2: Picture Books (Non-fiction)

The wrapping up of the year in children’s lit continues today with non-fiction picture books. In case you’re new to the scene, I’ve looked at every year-end list I could find (see below) to see which books have received the most notice in 2007. I am no scientist, and the conclusions I came to are by no means scientific – but still worth a gander, in my humble opinion.

The non-fiction group was a difficult one to wrangle, with all the genre-bending and age-spanning going on this year. For instance, is our winner a picture book (as labeled by Parent’s Choice)? Maybe a middle grade/young adult non-fiction title (stated by the Cybils committee)? Or was it simply a children’s non-fiction selection (so says Horn Book)? Yep, that grinding sound you hear is a giant children’s literary monkey wrench being thrown into the gears of conventional wisdom. The result is an odd combination of titles that don’t really seem to belong together, yet don’t necessarily belong apart. Whatever the label, still a great batch. It’s the 100 Scope Notes Best of the Best of the Best: Aught 7’s Most Loved Picture Books (Non-fiction).

“Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village” By Laura Amy Schlitz, Illustrated by Robert Byrd.

“Dogs and Cats” By Steve Jenkins.

“The Girl’s Like Spaghetti” By Lynne Truss, Illustrated by Bonnie Timmons.

“May I Pet Your Dog?” By Stephanie Calmenson, Illustrated by Jan Ormerod.

But one book garnered more praise than all the others.

The Best of the Best of the Best Non-fiction Picture Book of the Year is:

“The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain” By Peter Sis.

Near-unanimous critical appreciation was bestowed upon “The Wall” this year. The clear cut favorite.
Stay tuned in the coming days for more 100 Scope Notes Best of the Best of the Best.

Best of 2007 Lists Consulted:

Washington Post
Hudson Booksellers
LA Times
Horn Book
Kansas City Star
School Library Journal
Publisher’s Weekly
Parent’s Choice
New York Times
Miami Herald
Kirkus Reviews

(Did I miss a list? Do you disagree with my results? Let me know in the comments!)