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The Best Middle-Grade and Chapter Books of 2012

While I have made four "Best of" picture books list now, this is only my second "Best of" list for middle-grade and chapter books and I am still refining it. As I was compiling and winnowing my list for this year, I noticed some themes. So, this year the list is categorized! And, like a stripy shirt or the right pair of jeans, I am hoping the categories will hide the true heft of the list(s). I'll start with a genre that has existed for a very long time, (John Bellairs, an author from my childhood, is a great example and I really need to review his books here) mysteries with a bit of magic but I just sort of noticed it this year. Interestingly enough, three of the four books in this category could also be termed Historical Fantasy, mysteries with a touch of magic set in the past, my favorite! And, please excuse the size of the graphic novel list. It was too hard to narrow it down...

The Best MYSTERIES with MAGIC of 2012


Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green by Helen…

Best Picture Books of 2012

THE BEST PICTURE BOOKS OF 2012

This marks my fourth annual list of the best picture books of the year. This also marks my last year of compiling this list as a professional story-time lady. Working at the bookstore, weekly story times were always my favorite part of the job. I loved trying out books on the kids (who, on the whole, sat rapt no matter what I read) and I especially loved finding lesser known books to share with my little listeners. Besides the chagrin I feel at the loss of event that was part of my life for seventeen years, I am a little nervous about my abilities to share the best in picture books with you without the opportunity to test drive them on a live audience, so to speak. However, there is a lovely little independent bookstore near my office and I think I might just start heading over there once a week for their story time so I stay in touch with the people these books are being written and illustrated for. 
I tried to keep my list to 20 books and failed. So, t…