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.
2006 Blue Ribbons
There are always
new challenges in the Blue Ribbon process, ranging this year from the
increasing length of novels to the increasing preponderance of serial
fiction, along with the familiar mission of evaluating the relative
merits of a shockingly varied collection of books. Underneath the
labor, however, is ultimately a great pleasure and privilege: the
exploration of rewarding, exciting books with colleagues of great
dedication and conviction and the hard-won selection of the best of the
lot. Here are the fruits of that taxing and wonderful labor.
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.
- Bateman, Teresa. Keeper of Soles; illus. by Yayo.
Holiday House. Gr. 2-4 (April)
A clever cobbler tricks Death year after year, developing an offhand
friendship with the lonely Grim Reaper in this wry and folkloric
- LaReau, Kara. Ugly Fish; illus. by Scott Magoon.
Harcourt. 6-9 yrs (July/August)
It's a fish-eat-fish world in the tank of the rapacious Ugly Fish, who
doesn't like to share, but what happens when he meets an even bigger
- Long, Ethan. Tickle the Duck!; written and illus. by
Ethan Long. Little. 2-5 yrs (February)
The more the titular duck forbids kids to tickle him, the more they'll
want to touch the textured surfaces of his feet and feathers in this
- Pericoli, Matteo. The True Story of Stellina; written
and illus. by Matteo Pericoli. Knopf. Gr. 2-5 (April)
Spare elegance in the illustrations and a matter-of-fact yet tender
narrative tell this fact-based story of a little wild finch rescued by
the author and his wife.
- Pinkwater, Daniel. Bad Bear Detectives: An Irving &
Muktuk Story; illus. by Jill Pinkwater. Houghton. Gr. 2-4 (October)
The two bad—and extremely funny--polar bears turn detective in order to
clear their names when they're accused of a muffin heist.
- Root, Phyllis. Looking for a Moose; by Randy Cecil.
Candlewick. 3-6 yrs (December)
In this deliciously chantable rhyming story, a crew of kids take off
searching for a moose—but are the animals closer than the searchers
- Shannon, David. Good Boy, Fergus!; written and
illus. by David Shannon. Blue Sky/Scholastic. 3-6 yrs (March)
An obstreperous terrier mostly blithely ignores his owner's commands
and entreaties in this comedy of canine misbehavior.
- Smee, Nicola. Clip-Clop; written and illus. by
Nicola Smee. Sterling/Boxer. 1-3 yrs (July/August)
This toddler-appealing tale follows Mr. Horse as he gives all of his
friends a ride—with an unexpected but gleeful ending.
- Smith, Lane. John, Paul, George, and Ben; written
and illus. by Lane Smith. Hyperion. Gr. 3-5 (May)
This satirical look at our founding fathers may be short on facts, but
it's long on dorky humor.
- Weatherford, Carole. Boston Moses: When Harriet Tubman
Led Her People to Freedom; illus. by Kadir Nelson. Jump at the
Sun/Hyperion. 6-9 yrs (November)
Spare, poetic narrative and monumental images tell the moving story of
Harriet Tubman and her faith-inspired leadership.
- Winter, Jonah. Dizzy; illus. by Sean Qualls.
Levine/Scholastic. 6-10 yrs (November)
Musical free verse and eloquent portraiture chronicle the life of jazz
genius Dizzy Gillespie.
- Anderson, M. T. The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen;
illus. by Kurt Cyrus. Harcourt. Gr. 3-6 (July/August)
This comedic and high-spirited adventure is part loving homage to and
part burlesque of mid-century serial fiction.
- Anderson, M. T. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing,
Traitor to the Nation: The Pox Party. Candlewick. Gr. 8-12
Born a slave in the eighteenth century, Octavian Nothing changes from
complacent pet to defiant resistor as he realizes that he's merely an
object of scientific experimentation to his owners.
- Hardinge, Frances. Fly by Night. HarperCollins. Gr.
A twelve-year-old outcast, her belligerent goose, and a smooth-talking
rogue with whom she's been traveling find themselves in the middle of a
factional war in a world where the written word is treason.
- McCormick, Patricia. Sold. Hyperion. Gr. 9-12
In this powerful contemporary narrative, Lakshmi at first thinks she's
leaving her Nepalese village for economic opportunity in Calcutta, but
instead she's sold into prostitution and must work off her debt.
- Parkinson, Siobhán. Something Invisible. Roaring
Brook. Gr. 4-7 (May)
This tender, quirky Irish novel focuses on Jake, who's unsettled by the
changes in his household but who gains sudden perspective from a
tragedy in his friend's family.
- Pratchett, Terry. Wintersmith. HarperCollins. Gr.
In her third witty and magical adventure, young witch Tiffany Aching is
courted by the Wintersmith, the spirit of Winter, and she needs the
help of the Wee Free Men to right the misunderstanding.
- Schlitz, Laura Amy. A Drowned Maiden’s Hair. Candlewick.
Gr. 5-9 (November)
The classic orphan story takes an original turn in this story of Maud,
a nineteenth-century orphan adopted by spiritualist sisters who plan to
use her to defraud a wealthy client.
- Stroud, Jonathan. Ptolemy’s Gate. Miramax/Hyperion.
Gr. 6-8 (February)
This third book in the Bartimaeus trilogy sees our three main
characters—magician Nathaniel, freedom-fighter Kitty, and djinn
Bartimaeus—converging again as insurgent demons threaten to overpower
the human world.
- Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. Knopf. Gr. 9 up (May)
Death narrates this complex and heartbreaking story of Liesel Meminger,
a German girl whose growing love of books and those who have brought
them to her keep her strong even as her life crumbles about her during
the depredations of World War II.
- Bausum, Ann. Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on
the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement. National
Geographic. Gr. 6-10 (April)
This compelling account of the Freedom Riders focuses on the
experiences of John Lewis, an African-American Southerner, and Jim
Zwerg, a white Northerner, and their challenge of the segregationist
laws of the South.
- Butterworth, Chris. Sea Horse: The Shyest Fish in the Sea;
illus. by John Lawrence Candlewick. 4-8 yrs (October)
Sea horses are the most kid-appealing of fish, and delicate and
intriguing illustrations combined with accessible text makes this an
irresistible introduction to the species.
- Engle, Margarita. The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of
Juan Francisco Manzano; illus. by Sean Qualls. Holt. Gr. 7-12
A series of poignant free-verse poems speak in the voice of Juan
Francisco Manzano, the nineteenth-century Cuban poet whose cruel and
capricious owner refuses to grant him the freedom he's earned.
- Fradin, Judith Bloom. 5,000 Miles to Freedom; by
Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin. National Geographic.
Gr. 5-10 (May)
This is the gripping true story of Ellen and William Craft, who escaped
slavery with a daring plan wherein Ellen publicly passed as a young
white man and her husband as her slave on their journey north.
- Krinitz, Esther Nisenthal. Memories of Survival;
written by Esther Nisenthal Krinitz and Bernice Steinhardt; illus. by
Esther Nisenthal Krinitz. Hyperion, 2005. Gr. 3-6 (March)
Fascinating and intricate embroidery scenes, accompanied by text
explanations providing additional background, vividly depict the
author's experiences surviving World War II as a Jew hiding in the
- Krull, Kathleen. Giants of Science: Isaac Newton;
illus. by Boris Kulikov. Viking. Gr. 5-8 (May)
Krull deftly explores not only Newton's scientific and mathematical
innovations but also his strange personality and complicated
relationships with colleagues in this juicy and readable biography.
- Kudlinski, Kathleen V. Boy, Were We Wrong about
Dinosaurs!; illus. by S. D. Schindler. Dutton, 2005. 6-10 yrs
Witty illustrations add humor to this focused reminder of the way
scientific understanding, especially on this most popular of topics,
continues to evolve.
- Lat. Kampung Boy; written and illus. by Lat. First
Second/Roaring Brook. Gr. 5-8 (January 2007)
Cartoon illustrations fizz with energy and humor in this inviting
account of a young boy's youth in rural Malaysia.
- Miller, Norma. Stompin’ at the Savoy: The Story of Norma
Miller; ed. by Alan Govenar; illus. by Martin French. Candlewick.
Gr. 4-8 (April)
Miller, who embarked on her dance career in her teens, recounts with
freshness and immediacy her experiences in show business and her
struggle to make her career in segregated America.
- Schlitz, Laura Amy. The Hero Schliemann: The Dreamer Who
Dug for Troy; illus. by Robert Byrd. Candlewick. Gr. 5-8 (October)
A passionate, eccentric, and often unintentionally destructive amateur,
Heinrich Schliemann was almost single-handedly responsible for proving
the reality of Troy, and Schlitz chronicles this odd explorer's life in
a sparkling literary exploration.
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This page was last updated on January 1, 2007.