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2012 NCTE/CLA Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts

By Donalyn Miller — March 13, 2012 3 min read

For the past two years, I have had the honor of serving on the National Council of Teachers of English’s Children’s Literature Assembly’s Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts committee. This committee, composed of seven members from around the United States, reads, evaluates, and selects 30 books for grades K-8 that exemplify outstanding literature for use in language arts classrooms. Books selected must meet at least one of the following criteria:

• deal explicitly with language, such as plays on words, word origins, or the history of language
• demonstrate uniqueness in the use of language or style
• invite child response or participation

In addition, books are to:
• have an appealing format
• be of enduring quality
• meet generally accepted criteria of quality for the genre in which they are written

Earlier this month, our committee met in New Orleans to discuss and evaluate books published in 2011 for this year’s Notables list. Visiting New Orleans? Talking about great books with smart, bookish people for an entire weekend? Yes, it was marvelous!

Congratulations to the authors and illustrators and thank you for creating such excellent books for children to read.

2012 NCTE/CLA Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts

Addie on the Inside, by James Howe, published by Atheneum.

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, by Candace Fleming, published by Schwartz & Wade.

Balloons over Broadway, by Melissa Sweet, published by Houghton Mifflin.

Bluefish, by Pat Schmatz, published by Candlewick.

BookSpeak: Poems about Books, by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Josee Bisaillon, published by Clarion.

Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu, published by Walden Pond.

A Butterfly Is Patient, by Diana Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long, published by Chronicle Books.

The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred, by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Rafael Lopez, published by Charlesbridge.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat, by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright, illustrated by Barry Moser, published by Peachtree.

Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

The Friendship Doll, by Kirby Larson, published by Delacorte.

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu, by Wendy Wan-long Shang, published by Scholastic.

Heart and Soul, by Kadir Nelson, published by Balzer + Bray.

Hound Dog True, by Linda Urban, published by Harcourt.

Inside Out & Back Again, by Thanhha Lai, published by Harper.

Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word, by Bob Raczka, published by Roaring Brook Press.

Me...Jane, by Patrick McDonnell, published by Little, Brown.

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, published by Candlewick.

Okay for Now, by Gary Schmidt, published by Clarion.

Over and Under the Snow, by Kate Messner, illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal, published by Chronicle Books.

Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People, by Monica Brown, illustrated by Julie Paschkis, published by Henry Holt.

Passing the Music Down, by Sarah Sullivan, illustrated by Barry Root, published by Candlewick.

Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto, by Paul Janezko, published by Candlewick.

Shout! Shout it Out!, by Denise Fleming, published by Henry Holt.

Stars, by Mary Lynn Ray, illustrated by Marla Frazee, published by Beach Lane.

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater, published by Scholastic.

These Hands, by Margaret H. Mason, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, published by Houghton Mifflin.

True...Sort of, by Katherine Hannigan, published by Greenwillow.

Underground, by Shane W. Evans, published by Roaring Brook Press.

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, published by Henry Holt.

NCBLA 2012 Committee: April Bedford -- Chair; Nancy Roser, Donalyn Miller, Tracy Smiles, Yoo Kyung Sung, Barbara Ward, Patricia Bandre

The opinions expressed in The Book Whisperer are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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