Smithsonian Notable Books for Children 2008

Surprising, inspiring and outstanding titles for youngsters and the grownups that read to them

Yertle the Turtle, Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley and The Order of Odd Fish were among those selected as Smithsonian Notable Books for Children 2008. (Random House / Boyds Mills Press / Random House)

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Janet Wilson (Orca, $19.95) Around the world, children have worked to make a world without war a reality. From Bosnia to Afghanistan and beyond, the youngsters introduced here create profiles in courage.

Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu, photographed by Peter Greste (Scholastic, $16.99) From the forests and jungles of Virunga National Park in the Congo, an extraordinary true story. The leader of Virunga's largest family of mountain gorillas, a silverback named Kabirizi, achieved the rescue. The other heroes of this account are the Congolese rangers and veterinarian who protect the threatened primates.

For Older Readers (Ages 10 and Up)

Houghton Mifflin, $16) The author of two earlier autobiographical volumes, The Circuit and Breaking Through, continues his life story as he departs California's migrant labor camps for college. In this eloquent, transfixing account, Jimenez again achieves a masterful addition to the literature of the memoir.

Budapest of 1948.

The Order of Odd Fish by James Kennedy (Knopf, $15.99) Rollicking fantasy on the grand scale transports a plucky 13-year-old into a whimsical city of the imaginary Middle Ages, where absurdity rules and an idiosyncratic brotherhood of knights research useless information.

Steinbeck's Ghost by Lewis Buzbee (Feiwel and Friends/MacMillan, $17.95) Thirteen-year-old Travis Williams regards the Salinas Library as has second home. When his sanctuary is threatened and he sets out to save it, he also begins to glimpse intriguing specters: the California novelists' characters springing to life. Buzbee's paean to reading, woven into a page-turning mystery, result in a novel that will likely be read again and again.

Shifty by Lynn E. Hazen (Ten Speed/Tricycle, $15.99) It seems to be just one more foster home, until 15-year-old Sol begins to perceive that this time, despite the obstacles, he might have found a family at last.

Jerusalem, she sails into a rich and uncertain future.

Bringing the Boy Home by N.A. Nelson (HarperCollins, &16.99) Shared destinies entwine deep in the rainforest of the Amazon, where adventure, magic and hardship exist in equal measure.


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