of the Center for Children's Books
|Blue Ribbons are chosen annually by the Bulletin
staff and represent what we believe to be the best of the previous
year's literature for youth. See the Blue
Ribbon Archive for other lists from 1990 through the present.
Please feel free to copy, download, or link to these lists. We ask only
that you cite the source.
2005 Blue Ribbons
Once the Blue
Ribbons list is complete, it's hard for us to imagine it any other way,
despite our passionate participation in the lengthy process of pleading
and weeding that gets us to this point. It's a tough confirmation
process to endure, but these titles have not only survived but thrived,
offering a gallery of enticing and sometimes highly original literary
possibilities to a wide variety of audiences, whether toddlers or
teens, admirers of pictures or prose, fans of the humorous, the
historical, or the heartbreaking. That's what we call a good year.
Deborah Stevenson, Editor
Books greatly enjoyed by individual committee members but not quite
managing to convince the entire committee can be found at the Blue Ribbons Dissents page.
- Bee, William. Whatever; written and illus. by William
Bee. Candlewick. 5-7 yrs (December)
A boy who responds with an unimpressed "Whatever" to all his father's
efforts to please him reaps what he sows in this wickedly humorous
- Bryant, Sean. A Boy and His Bunny; illus. by Tom
Murphy. Arcade. 2-4 yrs (April)
Cheerful absurdity marks this rhyming story about a boy who wakes up
with a bunny on his head.
- Cronin, Doreen. Wiggle; illus. by Scott Menchin.
Atheneum. 2-4 yrs (July/August)
Narrated in tongue-twisting rhyme by an energetic mutt, this bouncy
readaloud exuberantly explores a whole catalogue of ways to wiggle.
- Grey, Mini. Traction Man Is Here!; written and illus.
by Mini Grey. Knopf. Gr. 2-4 (May)
A molded chunk of painted plastic comes alive in this superfunny,
comics-inspired tale of a boy and his action figure, Traction Man.
- Jenkins, Emily. That New Animal; illus. by Pierre
Pratt. Foster/Farrar. 4-7 yrs (March)
A family's two dogs wittily enact a dethronement drama when a baby--or
"new animal"--comes home and usurps everyone's attention.
- Manning, Mick. Yuck! illus. by Brita Granstrom.
Lincoln. 2-5 yrs (October)
A high-spirited, Q&A-formatted text explains that foods we humans
may find yucky are delicious meals for babies of other species.
- Ormerod, Jan. Lizzie Nonsense; written and illus. by
Jan Ormerod. Clarion. 4-7 yrs (November)
Simple yet poetic text describes the fancies of a young girl whose
pioneer family ekes out a living in the lonely Australian bush.
- Rosoff, Meg. Meet Wild Boars; illus. by Sophie
Blackall. Holt. 4-6 yrs (June)
A quartet of wild boars demonstrate all the hideous behaviors that make
them bad house guestsÑand kid-pleasing picture-book stars.
- Willis, Jeanne. Tadpole's Promise; illus. by Tony
Ross. Schwartz/Atheneum. 5-8 yrs (July/August)
A love affair between a tadpole and a caterpillar goes horribly,
sidesplittingly wrong in this comedic picture book.
- Woodson, Jacqueline. Coming On Home Soon; illus. by E.
B. Lewis. Putnam, 2004. 5-8 yrs (February)
Spare lyricism and luminous watercolors distinguish this touching story
of a young African-American girl who is staying in the country with her
grandmother during World War II while her mother finds work in Chicago.
- Anderson, M. T. Whales on Stilts; illus. by Kurt Cyrus.
Harcourt. Gr. 3-6. (April)
This way-out, smirkily comic adventure pits ten-year-old Lily and her
friends against whales determined to take over the world.
- Edwards, Michelle. Stinky Stern Forever; written and
illus. by Michelle Edwards. Harcourt. Gr. 2-4. (December)
This unusual easy reader thoughtfully addresses the complicated
emotions of a grade-school class that loses an often-unpleasant
classmate to a car accident.
- Harper, Charise Mericle. Fashion Kitty; written and
illus. by Charise Mericle Harper. Hyperion. Gr. 2-4. (December)
In this exuberant graphic novel, young Kiki Kittie discovers her alter
ego, the superhero Fashion Kitty, who flies the world to save its
denizens from fashion faux pas.
- Jinks, Catherine. Pagan’s Scribe. Candlewick. Gr. 7-10
In this concluding novel of the stellar four-volume Pagan series, the
former squire is now an adult priest, trying to avert a bloody crusade
and to lead prickly young Isidore as he himself was once led.
- Lubar, David. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie. Dutton. Gr.
After finding out that his mom is pregnant, earnest yet hapless
freshman Scott begins writing his future sibling letters about his
misadventures navigating high school.
- McKay, Hilary. Permanent Rose. McElderry. Gr. 5-9
Multiple storylines about the Casson family (from Saffy's Angel and
Indigo's Star) interweave in this account of the youngest daughter,
Rose, and her yearning for distant loved ones.
- Shinn, Sharon. The Truth-Teller's Tale. Viking. Gr.
Identical twins with opposite callings--one a Safe-Keeper, one a
Truth-Teller--become entangled in their friend's romantic escapades
and, without realizing it, the secret of the prince's future.
- Spillebeen, Geert. Kipling's Choice; tr. by Terese
Edelstein. Houghton. Gr. 7-10. (June)
This harrowing fact-based novel intercuts the last moments of John
Kipling, son of writer Rudyard Kipling, in World War I with flashbacks
exploring the life that led him to this end.
- Westerfeld, Scott. Peeps. Razorbill. Gr. 7-12.
"Peeps" are parasite-positives, also known unscientifically as
vampires, in this clever contemporary fantasy where vampires are an
epidemiological problem that must be controlled by a secret agency of
- Zusak, Markus. I Am the Messenger. Knofp. Gr. 9-12.
In an intense and philosophical mystery, a teenaged cabdriver must
interpret cryptic instructions to perform interventions in the lives of
others, some strangers, some close to him.
- Ball, Johnny. Go Figure!: A Totally Cool Book about Numbers.
DK. Gr. 5-9 (December)
This cornucopia of mathematical history, information, tidbits, and
brain-teasers gives readers a rich and genuinely intriguing look at the
field and practice of mathematics.
- Bartoletti, Susan Campell. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in
Hitler's Shadow. Scholastic. Gr. 8-12. (June)
Bartoletti deftly combines historical research with the voices of those
living under the Third Reich to convey the multiplicity of their
experiences, viewpoints, and fates.
- Bower, Tamara. How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of
Egypt; written and illus. by Tamara Bower. Atheneum. Gr. 3-6 (April)
This adaptation of an ancient Greco-Roman text combines history,
mythology, and some seriously cool hieroglyphics to tell the tale of
two enemy warriors won over by each other's valor.
- Cowley, Joy. Chameleon, Chameleon; illus. with
photographs by Nic Bishop. Scholastic. Gr. 1-3 (April)
Arresting nature photography joins succinct text to explain the daily
challenges of a chameleon's life in the wild.
- Farrell, Jeanette. Invisible Allies: Microbes that Shape
Our Lives. Farrar. Gr. 7-12 (April)
Farrell provides a lively counterpoint to horror stories about microbes
in this absorbing examination of their contributions, including bread,
yogurt, and chocolate.
- Frank, Mitch. Understanding the Holy Land: Answering
Questions about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Viking. Gr. 6-10.
Using a clear, balanced approach and a simple question-and-answer
format, Frank lays out the history, currents, and beliefs that have led
to the current situation in Israel.
- Jenkins, Steve. I See a Kookaburra!: Discovering Animal
Habitats around the World; written by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page;
illus. by Steve Jenkins. Houghton. 4-8 yrs. (May)
This survey of world habitats allows young viewers to discover animals
amid a texture-rich covering of camouflaging vegetation, providing the
potential for hours of exploration.
- Jurmain, Suzanne. The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and
Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students. Houghton. Gr.
Jurmain explores the battle of Prudence Crandall, a nineteenth-century
schoolteacher, to run a school for young black women in the face of
prejudice and resistance.
- Partridge, Elizabeth. John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth.
Viking. Gr. 9-12. (December)
Eloquent photography enlivens this thoughtful chronicle of the
often-difficult musican's complicated life.
- Sidman, Joyce. Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond
Poems; illus. by Beckie Prange. Houghton. Gr. 4-7. (July/August)
Elegant illustrations and delicate, musical poetry offer a fresh take
on the natural world that makes its home in and around a pond.
- Walker, Sally M. Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving
Mysteries of the H. L. Hunley. Carolrhoda. Gr. 5-8.
A first-rate tale of scholarly sleuthing, this account of scientists'
reconstruction of a submarine's history goes beyond well-told shipwreck
narrative to uncover some surprises.
[Back to the Bulletin
Homepage] [Back to the Blue Ribbon
This page was last updated on January 1, 2005.