A Year of Reading: Favorites of 2013

Carrie at There’s a Book for That is once again inspiring my blog: for her annual reading wrap-up post, she selected 13 favorites for 2013 and wrote about each title in fewer than 13 words. Clever and creative!

My twist is to choose 13 favorites, times two! 13 Favorite Picture Books and 13 Favorite Books That Aren’t Picture Books. 

But first, some reflections.

I read 708 books in 2013. 537 were picture books. I probably read more picture books in 2013 than I will ever read again in a single year, thanks to my summer un-reading program with my son. 

I discovered that I love middle-grade fiction. I plan to read a lot more of it in 2014.

I joined one new ongoing reading challenge this year: I am trying to read all of the Caldecott winners and honor books to my older son. This is a really fun challenge, and since the books are so short, it just doesn’t matter when I don’t like some of the older ones! It’s also fascinating to read the older Caldecotts with my son. He oftens LOVES books that I think are total duds.

I halfheartedly continued with my Newbery challenge but didn’t make much progress until Lorna and I decided to read together to get over the slump. Thanks, Lorna! The Newbery challenge is one I anticipate progressing with very slowly. There are a lot of older Newberys that I really don’t like, and I don’t want to fill my reading life with books I don’t like. No more than 1 Newbery Gold per month is probably a good pace for me. I am also trying to read all of the Honor Books from 1985-present, and that’s much more pleasant reading. I did read a total of 15 Newberys this year, which is better than I thought I had done.

I committed to reading one professional development book per month this year. My grand total for 2013 is 19 books completed (and many more read in part).

I didn’t read as much YA in 2013 as I usually do. I did a challenge to read all of the books nominated for the School Library Journal Battle of the Books, and I reread some of the books on my Adolescent Lit course syllabus in the spring, and then I abandoned myself to children’s literature for the rest of the year. Looking through some of the YA book bloggers’ year-end round-ups, I realize I am hopelessly behind in my reading. I haven’t even HEARD of half the titles they mention!

I didn’t read much adult fiction or nonfiction this year, probably because for the first time in a few years, I didn’t do an Amazon Editors Top 100 reading challenge (I usually try to read 25-30 books from that list each year). Throughout the year, I didn’t really miss reading books for grown-ups, but in compiling my list of favorites at the end of the year, I notice that some of the grown-up books I read this year are the ones that have really stuck with me. I plan to read more books for grown-ups in 2014.

I can now cross Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss off my Children’s Lit Shelf of Shame, because I read half a dozen or more books by each author this year. Woo!

13 Favorite Picture Books of 2013 

It was an excellent year for picture books, and it was hard to choose just 13 favorites. My very favorite of the year was probably Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit, with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers.

day the crayons

exclamation mark

boy who loved math

i'm a frog

nino wrestles the world

blue chameleon


odd duck

story of fish and snail


mr putter and tabby tea

matchbox diary


13 Favorite Books That Aren’t Picture Books

I read my absolute favorite book of the year in March, Code Name Verity, and months later, I’m stilling missing Maddie and Julie.

code name

lost cat

lover's dictionary

missed connections

king of attolia

the thing about luck

flora and ulysses

reading in the wild




this is how you lose her

thank you for your service

4 thoughts on “A Year of Reading: Favorites of 2013

  1. Loved reading this post! My favourite line – that your son often loves the titles you think are duds 🙂 Isn’t that always the way?! So pleased that The Boy who Loved Math is on your list – I think this book needs lots of attention. Not one to be missed. I also loved Code Named Verity and am excited to read Rose Under Fire. And hurray for Sophie Blackall! I read Missed Connections based on your recommendation. Love her art and my students are HUGE Ivy and Bean fans so there is always a book in someone’s hand with her delightful art staring at me! Happy Reading in 2014! Looking forward to continuing traipsing through the magical land of books with you!

  2. Pingback: 2013 – This Past Year in Review | Brin Guivera

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