Kirkus Best Books of 2014

The year isn’t over, but here’s another Best of 2014 list (cover all ages and genres). Kirkus is another source we know and trust.


School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014

School Library Journal — a trusted resource for public and school librarians — has published its annual list of best books. This diverse group covers a wide range of reading levels, genres and formats.

Top Science Books from the AAAS

TinyCreaturesThe American Association for the Advancement of Science chooses several books each year that “celebrate outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults.” Check out the list here. And be sure to look for these books in the Malverne Public Library.

Science Fiction Books for Kids

Favorite Science Fiction Titles for Kids

2014 Award Winners in Children’s Books

The American Library Association has selected its annual award winners for the best of the best children’s books. Here’s a sample of some of the books they selected. Come to the library to check them out! The complete list of winners can be found here.

Newbery Award: Outstanding Contribution to Children’s LiteratureFloraUlysses

Winner: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Honor Books: Doll Bones by Holly Black; The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes; One Came Home by Amy Timberlake; and Paperboy by Vince Vawter.

LocomotiveCaldecott Award: Most Distinguished American Picture Book for Children

Winner: Locomotive by Brian Floca
Honor Books: Journey by Aaron Becker; Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle; and Mr. Wuffles by David Eisner.

Geisel Award: Outstanding Book for Beginning ReadersWatermelon

Winner: The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
Honor Books: Ball by Mary Sullivan; A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems; and Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes.

 Sibert Award: Most Distinguished Informational Book for ChildrenParrots

Winner: Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
Honor Books: A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet; Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate; Locomotive written and illustrated by Brian Floca; and The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan.

Reviewers Pick the Best Books of 2013

It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since we last posted “Best of” lists, but 2014 is here. Book reviewers are making their lists and we’ve gathered a few. Compare your lists to theirs and come to the library to find what you’ve missed.


Adult Book Lists

Children’s and YA Book Lists



2013 Award Winners in Children’s Books

Today, the American Library Association named the annual award winners for best children’s books. Here’s a sample of some of the books they selected. Come to the library to check them out!

Newbery Award: Outstanding Contribution to Children’s LiteratureIvanBig

Winner: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Honor books: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz; Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin; and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.

NotHatCaldecott Award: Most Distinguished American Picture Book for Children

Winner: This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Honor books: Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown; Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen;
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small; and Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.

Geisel Award: Outstanding Book for Beginning ReadersUpTallBig

Winner: Up, Tall, and High by Ethan Long
Honor Books: Let’s Go for a Drive by Mo Willems; Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, created and illustrated by James Dean; and Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell.

Bomb2Sibert Award: Most Distinguished Informational Book for Children

Winner: Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Honor Books: Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd; Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip M. Hoose; and Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson.

The complete list of winners can be found here.

The Best Children’s Books of 2012

It’s that time of year: Book reviewers far and wide are posting lists of the best children’s books of 2012. Below are links to some of those lists. And rest assured, you’re sure to find most of these books at the Malverne Public Library.

The Horn Book: Horn Book Fanfare of 2012

Kirkus Reviews: Best Children’s Books of 2012

The New York Times: Notable Children’s Books of 2012

School Library Journal: Best Books of 2012


Top 10 for 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly

Deciding the top 10  out of a lengthy Best Books issue has been conceded by PW staffers  to be a tough job, but here is their short list. Whether you agree with all of the choices or not,  I’m sure some of these titles may have  interested you and maybe you will reconsider some you had discounted previously.  Here they are not in any particular order:


The Round House  by Louise Erdrich  (fiction) (see “End the Year with a Bang!: 2012 Crime Fiction” in Staff Picks  for a brief review.)

Bring Up the Bodies  by Hilary Mantel  (fiction) (The author won her second Man Booker Prize for this novel which sequels her first, also a winner, Wolf Hall about Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell.)

Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain  by Lucia Perillo (fiction) ( 14 tales , dark, playful  and honest)

All We Know:  Three Lives  by Lisa Cohen  (non-fiction)  (Biography of an era roughly, 1898- 1990, and three women who inhabited this rich period and mingled with the Bloomsbury, Paris and Hollywood crowds.  Gender, sexuality and ambition are topical issues questioned, and not untimely to us.)

People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo- and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up  by Richard Lloyd Parry  (non-fiction)  ( Chilling account of a young woman murdered  in Tokyo which explores the hidden recesses of Japanese culture and the trauma of a heinous crime.)

Building Stories  by Chris Ware  (fiction)  (This book-in-a- box is totally innovative. It  features the stories of the inhabitants of a single Chicago building  spread out into 14 different books each having a different format used to give insight into the characters’ lives and thoughts. Inspiring!)

The Devil in Silver  by Victor LaValle  (fiction)  (Chilling depiction of life in a New York City mental hospital and not just from mental anguish but mostly from inhumanity, bureaucracy, the use of psychopharmaceuticals for convenience, and just plain ennui of caregivers It is recommended “to read this with the lights on.”)

Iron Curtain:  The Crushing of Eastern Europe  by Anne Applebaum  (non-fiction)   (Mass-scale brutality, political corruption, ethnic killings, false justice, and more are revealed in this detailed look behind the curtain of darkness.)

Detroit City Is The Place to Be:  The Afterlife of an American Metropolis  by Mark Binelli  (non-fiction)  (Remarkable story by a native son who has given voice to all manner of Detroit ciitzen who tell a tale of a city’s demise and rise from the ashes.)

The Barbarous Years:  The Peopling of British North America:  The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600- 1675   by Bernard Bailyn  (non-fiction)  (Clash of cultures turns to brutal violence as British colonial America encounters a range of ethnic groups along with indigenous peoples.)


Random Acts of Giving: Holiday Gifts By Subject for Readers on Your List

How Armchair Travelers Get to See the World…

The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot  by Robert MacFarlane
Ancient tracks, sea paths and vast networks of routes crisscrossing the British landscape; natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature.

A Room with a Pew: Sleeping Our Way Through Spain’s Ancient Monasteries  by Richard Starks and Miriam Murcutt
Immerse yourself in the world of Spain’s ancient monasteries, ripe with history, art and culture.

Health and Happiness:  Inspiration for the New Year

The Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases
by Moises Velasquez-Manoff
Find out what the future holds for the treatment of such diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, asthma, allergies and possibly autism.  As superorganisms our bodies are host to millions of bacteria, pathogens and parasites which may be useful in rebalancing our immune systems so we don’t develop such debilitating illness.

Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh
Learn to use the practice of living in the present to embrace your fears, recognize their origins and replace them with feelings of well-being.

The First 20 Minutes: Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer  by Gretchen Reynolds
Great news: “20 minutes of cardio at a time is enough to obtain the maximum health benefits.  (And in some cases, just six minutes is all you need.)”  Need I say more?!

What Makes Love Last? : How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal. Secrets from the Love Lab
by John Gottman, Ph.D.
Celebrated research psychologist, Gottman explains how to protect or recover the love in your relationship.  Insightful and practical advice.

Hallucinations  by Oliver Sacks
Exploration of a lifelong investigation into the variety hallucinatory experience.  Weaving together stories of his patients and of his own experiences he illuminates what we learn about the brain from studying hallucinations.  Fascinating!

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking  by Oliver Burkeman
Funny and readable this profound book will enrich and maybe even make you a little happier!

Shakespeare’s Tremor and Orwell’s Cough: The Medical Lives of Famous Writers  by John J. Ross, M.D.
“We always long to know writers better: more than just their words, we want to immerse ourselves in their lives, to really feel what they felt.  This book does that, plunging you in the day-to-day pains and struggles of some of the most celebrated names in the canon.” -Sam Kean, author of The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist’s Thumb

Some Real Characters… Biopicks and Memoirs

Brain on Fire : My Month of Madness  by Susannah Cahalan
Harrowing experience of a 24 year-old reporter for the New York Post whose mystifying illness baffled  doctors despite dire symptoms.

The Last Lion:  Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940- 1965  by William Manchester and Paul Reid

Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slave by Henry Wiencek

Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die:  Musings from the Road  by Willie Nelson

Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World  by Evan Thomas

Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the Word’s Greatest Rock Band  by Barney Hoskyns

My Mother Was Nuts: A Memoir  by Penny Marshall

Wild  by Cheryl Strayed

Parachutes and Ladders: Career Know-how and Advice…

I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This  by Kate White
Easy to read and chock-full of useful advice from successful Cosmo editor on how to achieve your career goals.

A Year Up: How a Pioneering Program Teaches Young Adult Real Skills for Real Jobs with Real Success  by Gerald Chertavian

150 Best Jobs for Your Skills  by Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D.

Women Still at Work: Professionals Over Sixty and On the Job  by Elizabeth F. Fideler
Beautifully written case studies of the fastest growing segment of the workforce: women age sixty-five and older. Find out why they are still on the job from business to the arts and the impact work has on their lives.

Give ‘Em the Boot: Everything Italy…

Naples Declared: A Walk Around the Bay  by Benjamin Taylor

Venice: History of the Floating City  by Joanne M. Ferraro

Defying Evil: How the Italian Army Saved Croatian Jews During the Holocaust  by Benjamin Wood

The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and the Artistic Duel That Defined the Renaissance  by Jonathan Jones

Hide & Seek: The Irish Priest in the Vatican Who Defied the Nazi Command  by Stephen Walker

The Rise of Rome : The Making of the World’s Greatest Empire  by Anthony Everitt

Strange Bedfellows: Politics

Don’t Know Much About the American Presidents  by Kenneth C. Davis

Red Ink:  Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget

No They Can’t:  Why Government Fails- But Individuals Succeed  by John Stossel

Food for the Foodies…

Lidia’s Favorite Recipes: 100 Foolproof Italian Dishes, from Basic Sauces to Irresistible Entrees
by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

Home at 7 Dinner at 8  by Sophie Wright

Pure Vegan  by Soseph Shuldiner

Cake Pops: Holidays  by Bakerella

Seriously Simple Parties : Recipes, Menus  & Advice for Effortless Entertaining
by Diane Rossen Worthington

Salads: Beyond the Bowl. Extraordinary Recipes for Everyday Eating  by Mindy Fox

Flavor Exposed: 100 Global Recipes from Sweet to Salty, Earthy to Spicy  by Angelo Sosa