My Decade in Kidlit

In the summer of 1999, I started keeping a log of all the books I read except for picture books, and still keep it to this day. Which means I have a handy record of my decade in reading. This morning, I went through and picked out my own personal favorite middle-grade and teen books of the past ten years. Here's the list. I I tried in vain get it down to 100, but did manage to winnow it down from 143 to 103, with an asterisk for my (somewhat arbitrarily chosen) favorite from each year. But really, those favorites are pretty arbitrary: how can a person pick between Feed and The Wee Free Men? Between Persepolis and Inkheart and The City of Ember? It's futile, I tell you.

One note: These books are listed by the year I read them, not by when they were published. I left out books I read earlier and re-read between 2000 and 2009, but did include older books that I was reading for the first time.


  • 1.       The Good Liar, by  Gregory Maguire
  • 2.       Soldier Mom, by Alice Mead
  • 3.       *Rules of the Road, by Joan Bauer (teen)

[it was the year my daughter was born; I read a lot of fluff and parenting books. Or maybe I was too frazzled to record everything I read?]


  • 4.       Homeless Bird,  by Gloria Whelan
  • 5.       Nory Ryan’s Song, by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • 6.       Little Lit, edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (graphica)
  • 7.       The Birchbark House, by Louise Erdrich
  • 8.       In My Hands, by Irene Gut Opdyke (NF, teen)
  • 9.       Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson (teen)
  • 10.   Welcome to the Ark, by Stephanie Tolan (teen)
  • 11.   *Seek, by Paul Fleischman (teen)
  • 12.   Monster, by Walter Dean Myers (teen)


  • 13.   *The School Story, by Andrew Clements
  • 14.   Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio, by Peg Kehret (NF)
  • 15.   The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares (teen)
  • 16.   The Doll People, by Ann Martin and Laura Selznick
  • 17.   A Suitcase of Seaweed, by Janet Wong (poetry)
  • 18.   Here at the Scenic-Vu Motel, by Thelma Hatch Wyss (teen, sort of)
  • 19.   Hush, by Jacqueline Woodson


  • 20.   Lord of the Nutcracker Men, by Iain Lawrence
  • 21.   Walk Across the Sea, by Susan Fletcher
  • 22.   Sorcery and Cecelia, by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
  • 23.   Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (teen/adult) (graphica)
  • 24.   Inkheart, by Cordelia Funke
  • 25.   *City of Ember, by Jeanne Duprau
  • 26.   Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan (teen)
  • 27.   Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen


  • 28.   Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card (teen, kinda)
  • 29.   The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo
  • 30.   The Canning Season, by Polly Horvath (teen)
  • 31.   Hana’s Suitcase, by Karen Levine (NF)
  • 32.   Saffy’s Angel, by Hilary McKay
  • 33.   Gingerbread, by Rachel Cohn (teen)
  • 34.   House of the Scorpion, by Nancy Farmer (teen, I guess)
  • 35.   The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett
  • 36.  * Feed, by M.T. Anderson (teen)
  • 37.   The Wreckers, by Iain Lawrence
  • 38.   Belondweg Blossoming, by Rachel Hartman (graphica)


  • 39.   Tangerine, by Edward Bloor
  • 40.   Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko
  • 41.   Ida B. …and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World, by  Katherine Hannigan
  • 42.   *Sea of Trolls, by Nancy Farmer
  • 43.   Permanent Rose, by Hilary McKay
  • 44.   Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins
  • 45.   East, by Edith Pattou
  • 46.   How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff (teen)
  • 47.   So B. It, by Sarah Weeks
  • 48.   Airborn, by  Kenneth Oppel
  • 49.   Millicent Min, Girl Genius, by Lisa Yee


  • 50.   The Misadventures of Maude March, by Audrey Coloumbis
  • 51.   *Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, by Gary Schmidt
  • 52.   The Mulberry Project, by Linda Sue Park
  • 53.   The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall
  • 54.   The Star of Kazan, by Eva Ibbotson
  • 55.   What I Call Life, by Jill Wolfson
  • 56.   Yellow Star, by Jennifer Roy


  • 57.   Fly By Night, by Frances Hardinge
  • 58.   Year of the Dog, by Grace Lin
  • 59.   Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale
  • 60.   Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (teen)
  • 61.   Counting on Grace, by Elizabeth Winthrop
  • 62.   Tyrell, by Coe Booth (teen)
  • 63.   An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green (teen)
  • 64.   *A Drowned Maiden’s Hair, by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • 65.   Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld
  • 66.   Octavian Nothing Volume 1, by M.T. Anderson (teen)
  • 67.   Clementine, by Sarah Pennypacker
  • 68.   American Born Chinese, by Gene Yuen Yang (teen) (graphica)
  • 69.   Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson
  • 70.   Toys Go Out, by Emily Jenkins
  • 71.   Harry Sue, by Sue Stauffacher
  • 72.   Vive La Paris, by Esme Codell
  • 73.   Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman (teen/adult)


  • 74.   The Green Glass Sea, by Ellen Klages
  • 75.   Miss Spitfire, by Sarah Miller
  • 76.   Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! By Amy Laura Schlitz
  • 77.   The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (teen)
  • 78.   The Arrival, by Shaun Tan (graphica)
  • 79.   The Dairy Queen, by  Catherine Gilbert Murdock (teen)
  • 80.   Someday This Pain will Be Useful to You, by Peter Cameron (teen)
  • 81.   Touching Snow, by M. Sindy Felin (teen)
  • 82.   A Crooked Kind of Perfect, by Linda Urban
  • 83.   Shooting the Moon, by Frances O’Roark Dowell
  • 84.   The Moffats, by Eleanor Estes
  • 85.   London Calling, by Edward Bloor (teen)
  • 86.   The Dragonfly Pool, by Eva Ibbotson
  • 87.   Fat Kit Rules the World, by K.L. Going (teen)
  • 88.   The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (teen)
  • 89.   *The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by  E. Lockhart (teen)
  • 90.   Ten Cents a Dance, by  Christine Fletcher (teen)


  • 91.   Tender Morsels, by  Margo Lanagan (teen)
  • 92.   What I Saw and How I Lied, by  Judy Blundell (teen)
  • 93.   The Graveyard Book,  by Neil Gaiman
  • 94.   Sweethearts, by  Sara Zarr (teen)
  • 95.   Life as We Knew It, by  Susan Beth Pfeiffer (teen)
  • 96.   My Tiki Girl, by Jennifer McMahon (teen)
  • 97.   Marcello and the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork (teen)
  • 98.   Flora Segunda, by Ysabeau S. Wilce
  • 99.   Gullstruck Island [a/k/a The Lost Conspiracy] by Frances Hardinge
  • 100.                        Jellicoe Road, by  Melina Marchetta (teen)
  • 101.                        *When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
  • 102.                        Liar, by  Justine Larbalestier (teen)

103.                        ..and Ash, by  Malinda Lo, if I finish it tonight!

May we all have the problem of too many good books to read in 2010 and the years and decades beyond. Happy New Year!

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Hi Els! Happy New Year!

I tried to write down what I read, but it only lasted a week or so. I was too busy reading.

Lord of the Nutcracker Men, eh? An odd choice. Not that it's not a bad book...

You will so so like the new Hilary McKay Little Princess sequel!

But Charlotte, you are so much better than I am about reviewing as you go!

Re. Lord of the Nutcracker Men: I know, weird. I realized in compiling this that I appear do have a thing for dark historical fiction. And dystopias. Go figure.

Am very much looking forward to reading the Little Princess sequel, but am wondering why it was Hilary McKay and not Eva Ibbotson who wrote it--much as I adore McKay, Ibbotson seems like the perfect fit for that project.

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