Tag Archives: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

My favorite books of 2012

I read a lot of books this year, adult and children’s books, fiction and non-fiction, memorable books and others I’d rather forget (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?). It was hard to narrow it down to a few favorite and of course, my choices are very subjective and personal. These are books that grabbed my attention from the first few pages, made me laugh or cry or both, made me think, or made me dream by taking me to faraway places. These are all great books in one way or another.

My favorite adult fiction books of 2012

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

1) The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry
This series includes The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. I’ll be reviewing the last three books later this week, and in the meantime, you can read my review of The Giver here. Wonderful, wonderful futuristic stories, full of shocking discoveries, adventure, courage, survival and hope. Lois Lowry is a brilliant storyteller and I love the worlds she created. These books are great for young adults (probably age 12 and up), as well as adults, and you can read them again and again and enjoy them just as much. I think that next Christmas, I’ll be asking Santa for these four books so they become part of my personal book collection.

The book thief by Markus Zusack

The book thief by Markus Zusack

2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is another young adult book that is perfect for adults too. This is the only book I’ve ever read on World War II that was told from a German citizen’s perspective. This book really touched me in many ways and will stay with me forever. Just like The Giver quartet, I think it deserves its own spot on my bookshelf. You can read my review of The Book Thief here.

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I also read Catching Fire and Mockinjay but The Hunger Games was my favorite. I found the novels very dark and gruesome, but well told. Suzanne Collins is not as hopeful about the human race as Lois Lowry but she might be more realistic. Who knows what’s in our future, right? Read my review of The Hunger Games. By the way, I do have The Hunger Games trilogy on my bookcase already.

A dog's purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A dog’s purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

4) A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Alright, technically I finished reading A Dog’s Purpose last December, but since I read the next book in 2012, I’m including both on this list. I loved these books and I’m not even a dog person. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed and I cried some more. If you’re looking for a feel good story, these two books are perfect. Read my reviews of A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey.

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

5) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Yet another book that deserves a permanent spot on my bookshelf. I have never read such an imaginative book when it comes to the way the story is told. Zelznick tells Hugo’s story by alternating between words and pencil illustrations. Unlike picture books, these detailed illustrations tell a specific part of the story instead of using words, giving a full meaning to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Selznick is a pure genius at illustrating and storytelling. Read my review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

My favorite adult non-fiction books of 2012

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

1) Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
If you’re an introvert, you’ll want to read this book. If you’re an extravert, you’ll want to read it too so you give us introverts a break and realize we’re not a bunch of anti-social people. ;-) Read my review of Quiet: The Power of Introverts here.

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

2) Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
If you want to learn more about PTSD (post-trauma syndrome disorder) specifically in U.S. soldiers, this story is it. Told in the first person, it explains the various symptoms, the possible treatments (and how our soldiers are taken care of, for better or worse) and how Tuesday, the golden retriever who was about to fail his training as a service dog, helped Montalvan when he himself was on the verge of giving up. The 5 stars by almost 1000 reviewers on Amazon say it all: this is a must read (read my review of Until Tuesday). And yes, this is the REAL Tuesday on the book cover.

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

3) The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
Miller has been a 6th-grade teacher for about 20 years and has discovered, implemented and refined ways to ignite the love of reading in her students. This book is not just a great tool for teachers but for parents too. Read my review of The Book Whisperer.

My favorite children’s books of 2012

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

1) The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson
Well, don’t you know? There’s no such thing as a gruffalo. Or, is there? These brilliantly rhyming books are meant to become children’s book classics. Read my reviews of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

2) Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed
I loved, loved, loved this book (and damn it, it made my choke up!). This is a beautiful story of loneliness and friendship children and adults will love and cherish. Read my review of Pete & Pickles.

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

3) The Last Basselope: One Ferocious Story by Berkeley Breathed
Berkeley Breathed may be known for his comic strip Opus, but The Last Basselope is a wonderful story about searching for the unknown, finding it, discovering its priceless value and keeping it safe from the rest of the world. Read my review of The Last Basselope.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

4) Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
This has to be one of the funniest children’s books we’ve read this year. When Oliver’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he throws everything up there, including the kitchen’s sink. My kids and I loved the silliness of this book and we laughed about it for weeks. Read my review of Stuck.

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

5) Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen
“I’m going to eat you for my dinner” says the big wolf to the big moose. But that’s before he realizes that Mucky Moose really, really stinks. My four-year old couldn’t get enough of this story and months later, my kids still quote the book. Read my review of Mucky Moose.

Ricky Ricotta's mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

6) Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series by Dav Pilkey
This series gave my eldest his first taste of independent reading of chapter books before he reached the end of kindergarten. He’s since graduated to much longer and intense books but I’ll never forget that this series of books gave him the motivation to read on his own (I wasn’t allowed to read him the books so I read them with his brother). Read my review of Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot here.

Zen ties by Jon Muth

Zen ties by Jon Muth

7) Zen Ties and Zen Shorts by Jon Muth
Muth’s watercolors are simply beautiful and his stories teach children about the principles of Zen Buddhism in a very simple way. Stillwater the giant panda is a wonderful teacher. Read my review of Zen Ties.

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

8) The Rotten Ralph books by Jack Bantos
Rotten Ralph is everything you don’t want your kids to be and so, kids love him! Rotten Ralph is a really rotten cat and you wonder if he’ll ever show kindness and consideration for others. Deep underneath that rotten attitude, Rotten Ralph may actually have a heart and a conscience. This is a very funny series that will make you laugh out loud. Read my reviews of several Rotten Ralph books here.

What books have you read this year that turned out to be your favorite? Anything I should put on my to-read list for 2013?

WWW Wednesdays – May 16, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

Mermaids in the basement by Michael Lee West– What I’m currently reading
Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West. So far I’m enjoying it, especially since I have no idea where the story is going.
 
– What I recently finished reading

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. What a wonderful book, mixing  words, detailed pencil illustrations, even a few photographs so well. What a beautiful story, where strangers find out they’re all connected in one way or another. What a great mystery to be solved, piece by piece, just like the gears of the automaton Hugo tries to fix. And what great homage to the history of cinema. I recommend this amazing works of art to all children from 8 to 99.
 
 – What I think I’ll read next
My to-read bookshelf is almost empty so I’ll have to see if something new arrived at the library or if I need to pick a book from my own collection.
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Stuck by Oliver JeffersWhat they’re currently reading
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers. We LOVE this book as it is simply hilarious! Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, so the boy tries to knock it down by throwing increasingly larger and more outrageous things. You’d think when he grabs a ladder, and later on a saw, he’d finally use them right. But no, he keeps throwing them up the tree!
Bedhead by Margie Palatini. This book is for anyone who’s ever had a bad hair day, and forgot it was picture day…
Bad Boys Get Cookie! by Margie Palitini. The Bad Boys are back! Wolves Willy and Wally try to satisfy their sweet-tooth craving by chasing down a runaway gingerbread man. Unfortunately they try to attract it by dressing up as Hansel and Gretel, only to run into a witch in front of her gingerbread house who offers them to come inside for some sweets. Very funny!

What they recently finished reading
I’d like to recommend a few books for the younger crowd (age 2-4) we recently read because we really liked them, even though my kids are getting too old for them.
Jazzy in the Jungle by Lucy Cousins. In this book full of die-cut pages, the jungle animals help Mama JoJo find her baby lemur Jazzy.
Wow City! and Wow School! by Robert Neubecker. We’ve read them before so this was a request for seconds (probably thirds). In Wow City! Izzy takes a trip to the big city with her father, and in Wow School! she starts her first day at school. In both books, a yellow dog is hiding somewhere in the picture on every spread. My kids just requested Wow America! again and I just saw that a brand new Wow Ocean! is coming out tomorrow. I’ll have to check my library for this one…

– What I think they’ll read next
I ordered a whole bunch of early reader books so we’ll find out if they’re any good soon enough. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – May 9, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick– What I’m currently reading
I’ll be starting The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick tonight. The movie Hugo is based on this book. It’s over 500 pages long but I think half the pages are illustrations so this should be a fast read. I’ll want to find out if my five-year old would be interested in this story (recommendations say age 9+).
 
– What I recently finished reading

Two Truths and A Lie by Sara Shepard, the third book in The Lying Game series. I just finished this book last night. There are so many twists and turns! The previous suspects seem to be exonerated now, and previously exonerated suspects are now back on the list. Can Emma trust anyone in Sutton’s world and will Sutton’s murderer ever be brought to justice? This has to be one of the best murder mystery/thriller series I’ve read in a long time and I can’t wait to read the next one. Hopefully my nails will regrow a bit by then.
 
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Shawn Achor’s writing style is very entertaining and helps get the point across when it comes to the benefits of positive psychology. He describes the seven principles we can follow, both at work and in our daily lives, to retrain our brains and think more positively. I enjoyed some of the exercises he suggests to create a more positive and optimistic mindset. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about positive psychology, and even to people who want to figure out why so many individuals walk around with a dark cloud over their heads all the time.
 
 – What I think I’ll read next
I have a few books on my bookshelf but I need to check which one will need to go back to the library first before I start reading.
 
My kids’ bookshelf

What they’re currently reading
Just one bite by Lola SchaeferJust One Bite: 11 Animals and Their Bites at Life Size by Lola Schaefer. This super interesting and beautifully illustrated book shows what 11 animals eat and how much they eat in a single bite. Watch out for the last spread, where a sperm whale sucks in a giant squid in one single bite! And everything in the book is up to scale, yikes!
Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens (a Caldecott Honor book). Hare lost his land in a bet with the tortoise and his family is going hunry. But he manages to turn his bad luck around by striking a deal with the land-rich but lazy bear down the road. He will share everything he grows on the bear’s land. Well at least the top or bottom parts… My kids LOVED how smart the hare is, and how the story ends well for everyone.

What they recently finished reading
Ali, Child of the Desert by Jonathan London. On a trip to the Moroccan market town of Rissani, Ali becomes separated from his father during a sandstorm in the Sahara desert. Rescued by a very kind and selfless goatherd and his grandson, Ali needs to decide if he will leave with the goatherd for more fertile lands, or stay until he finds his father, facing possible death. A wonderful, WONDERFUL book about courage, resourcefulness and kindness. Every kid should read this beautiful story.
Bus Ride Bully by Lori Mortensen. Gavin hates riding the bus because Max, the bus bully, is always picking on him. But when Max is gone for a few days, Gavin starts to worry and decides to pay him a visit. That’s when Gavin discovers quite a different Max. A great book on bullying.

– What I think they’ll read next
My request list is getting shorter at the library so I need to order more books, but so far, I’m not sure about the themes to search by.

What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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