SLJ Best Books of 2011, Part 2

Today we’ll take a look at some of the books in the CA Library collection that are on School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2011 List in the Nonfiction and Adult Books 4 Teens categories. We have far fewer of the former than we do the latter, as we tend to buy more fiction in general.

I think this is indicative of how book publishing affects collection development: there are far fewer nonfiction titles published for teens than there are fiction titles, the result of a general movement away from print resources in favor of online sources when seeking factual information.

That’s not to say we don’t access quality nonfiction; it’s just that we increasingly look to publishers who provide their content in an online, digital environment, such as ABC-CLIO, Greenhaven and Facts on File. We still purchase the content — it’s just not going on the shelves. What we do buy in print are unique, in-depth explorations and analyses of specific topics, which are not readily available online (much as current fiction is not readily available online).

Anyhoo, here’s what we have:


Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal — Filled with period art and photographs, anecdotes, and portraits of unique characters from the era, this fascinating book looks at the rise and fall of the disastrous social experiment known as Prohibition.

Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters by Donna Jo Napoli — Brought to life with lyrical text by award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli and stunning artwork by award-winning illustrator Christina Balit, these tales of gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters will fascinate and engage students’ imaginations. National Geographic completes the book with embellishments of each story: sidebars for each god, goddess, hero, and monster link the myths to constellations, geography, history, and culture to help readers connect the stories to real life events, people, and places.

Witches!: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer — The riveting, true story of the victims, accused witches, crooked officials, and mass hysteria that turned a mysterious illness affecting two children into a witch hunt that took over a dozen people’s lives and ruined hundreds more unfolds in chilling detail in this book by award-winning author and illustrator Rosalyn Schanzer.

Adult Books 4 Teens

Once Upon A River by Bonnie Jo Campbell — Campbell has created an unforgettable heroine in sixteen-year-old Margo Crane, a beauty whose unflinching gaze and uncanny ability with a rifle have not made her life any easier. After the death of her father, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline — At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman — Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to The New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon of 2009 — The Magicians, praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature.  Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.

Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington — When Alice Bliss learns that her father, Matt, is being deployed to Iraq, she’s heartbroken. Alice idolizes her father, loves working beside him in their garden, accompanying him on the occasional roofing job, playing baseball. When he ships out, Alice is faced with finding a way to fill the emptiness he has left behind.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan — Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family. But after she’s convicted of murder, she awakens in a new body to a nightmarish new life, her skin color genetically altered and colored red to match her crime. A powerful reimagining of The Scarlet Letterthis is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of the not-too-distant future.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern — The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson — In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication.

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