ALA Notable Children’s Books

ala notable

“Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.” From the website

extra yarn

Barnett, Mac. Extra Yarn. Illustrated by Jon Klassen. Balzer and Bray, 2012. 40 pages. $16.99 ISBN-13: 978-0061953385

A young girl finds a magical box of neverending yarn.

Picture Book Fantasy

Age Range 4-9

5 out of 5 for quality, 4 out of 5 for popularity.

ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2013

Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, 2012

Caldecott Honor, 2013

On a walk in the woods Annabelle finds a box of yarn. She knits a sweater, then one for her dog. Since the yarn is not running out, she just keeps knitting, covering her classmates, the townspeople, dogs, trees, houses, cars. When a duke comes and tries to but the box of neverending yarn, Annabelle refuses. He sends robbers to steal it, but when he gets it home, its magic is gone, until it finds its way back to Annabelle.  The book is beautifully and simply illustrated primarily in blacks, browns, and whites, except for the sweaters, which are printed in bulky textures with muted rainbow hues. The story is charming and subtly funny, but it is the illustrations that make this a truly worthwhile read. The faces are simple but expressive, and the scenes well designed, using the whitespace and block printing to excellent effect.  I picked this up because the artist is one I enjoy, his illustrations are funny, but without wackiness that could be offputting. This book was enjoyed by my five year old and all the adults he convinced to read it to him.


I Want my Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Magic Box by Katie Cleminson

Princess Hyacinth by Florence Parry Heide

Discussion Questions

  1. Why doesn’t Annabelle sell her box to the Duke? Would you have sold the box?
  2. Do you think Annabelle will suffer from the family curse?

Book Talking

When you start a project, you know that it will come to an end, don’t you? What if you liked to paint and the paintbrush never went dry? For Annabelle it is knitting, and she finds a box of yarn that never goes empty.


Artist Website

Interview with artist at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Author Website

Interview with book author and illustrator on



crayons quit

Daywalt, Drew. The Day the Crayons Quit. Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, 2013. 40 pages. $17.99 ISBN-13: 978-0399255373

A box of crayons send letters to their owner Duncan with hilarious requests.

Comedic Picture Book

Age Range: 4-9

Rating 5 out of 5 for quality, 5 out of 5 for popularity.

ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2014

When Duncan sits down to color, he finds letters from many of his crayons. Red feels overworked, Grey wants to color small pebbles, not just elephants, Blue is used down to a nubbin. Orange and Yellow are fighting over who is the correct color of the sun, Green loves his work, but wants Duncan to make up his mind about the whole sun business so his friends will stop fighting. Peach has been stripped of his paper and feels nude. Each letter is written by the crayon and illustrated with the crayons hopes (Black wants a black beach ball, and not just to be an outline). The voices of the crayons are hilarious and kids will love the humor and the sentiment of crayons with personality. This book is getting a lot of attention, and I looked it up after hearing a number of good reviews. There are some concerns about it, one reviewer suggested that only referencing pink and peach as flesh tones makes this book a bit of ethnic insensitivity. I can see that a little, but not enough to devalue the book, which I fund utterly delightful and hilarious.


Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown


Book Discussion

1. Why is the blue so tiny? What does Duncan do to help him?

2. What would your green crayon say to you?

Book Talking

What would your crayons say if they could talk? Would they like your pictures, or maybe they would have some things to say about them!


Interview with Author at Kidlit411

Artist Website

Oliver Jeffers: Picture Book Maker

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