Children’s Book Reviews by a Children’s Writer
Table of Contents:
Welcome to the December edition of Bookcase Bizarro!
For me, the end of the year is a time for self-reflection…and big decisions. After reading about some truly depressing and unfair contract conditions leveled at first time authors like myself, I’ve decided to self-publish (AKA indie publish) at least some of my work through my own publishing company. I’ve been an entrepreneur for most of my adult life (and a rebel for all of my life), so working creatively, thinking for myself and learning new things is part of my DNA. Good thing, because there is a lot to learn, all the time, with indie publishing. I’ve joined ALLi: The Alliance of Independent Authors to help me navigate this brave new world. I’m currently querying my middle grade novel, Shadow Apprentice, and have received some interest in it so I’m reluctant to pull the plug on my agent search prematurely. However, I won’t be signing any contract that forces me to give away world English rights for the life of copyright – a deal breaker for me and a very common clause in many traditional publishing contracts. But enough about me…
This month, we round up our favourite picture book and middle grade reads of the year. I’ve linked to previously written reviews of our recommended titles and all of the books but one are available at (where else?) the Toronto Public Library. (Note: I’ve linked to category headings (ie. middle grade fiction, middle grade graphic novels etc.) so you may have to scroll down a bit to find the review of a particular book.)
So put away those snowshoes, stop shoveling and join us as we dig into the top titles of 2022.
A quick note to new readers: books that are available from the Toronto Public Library will be marked #TPL, because books don’t have to be new or owned in order to be loved.
Our favourite picture books of the year are:
The Doug and Sheila Browne Books to Grow Into Selection
Books to Grow Into is a Browne family tradition. When I was young, my parents put books that were too hard for me to read in a special place on my bookshelf. These books occupied an honoured position on the top left-hand corner of the shelf until the day came when I discovered that I could read them – a thrill all by itself.
Each month, I select a Book to Grow Into in honour of my parents, Doug and Sheila Browne. This year’s top picks are:
An older board book, perfect for 3-5 year olds.
Middle Grade Graphic Novel
Middle Grade Novel
As a middle grade writer, I freely acknowledge my bias in this category. Can I help it if we’re amazing?
Middle Grade Audiobooks
And for those long car rides….
Thanks for being a Bookcase Bizarro reader! We’ll be back with more great reads in January. See you then!