Smithsonian Notable Books for Children 2009

Our annual list of children's books highlights the most fascinating titles published in the past year

Smithsonian magazine's 2009 Notable Books for Children. (Candlewick Press / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Lee & Low Books, Inc. / Holiday House, Inc.)

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Built by Angels: The Story of the Old-New Synagogue by Mark Podwal
A lyrical evocation of Prague’s synagogue—“older than any other”—recounts its rich and varied history.

Mule Train Mail by Craig Brown
The Wild West meets the modern world in this surprising nod to a living tradition: mule-train mail delivery from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the town of Supai far below.

The Missing Chick by Valeri Gorbachev
There’s always one in every crowd: an errant youngster has the entire town turned inside out and searching high and low.

Dinosaur Woods by George McClements
Witty and warm-hearted, with snappy dialogue aplenty, a tale of forest creatures who band together to save their home. Kids will likely request this again and again.

Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales retold and illustrated by Lucy Cousins
Imbuing classics from “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” to “The Musicians of Bremen” with fresh energy, Cousins creates an indispensable compendium for the youngest readers.

Lost and Found: Three Dog Stories by Jim LaMarche
Faithful companions who help us find our way in the world—and into a trio of happy endings.

What Lincoln Said by Sarah L. Thomson, illustrated by James E. Ransome
The president’s eloquent words form the basis of a window on the life and times of the farm boy from Illinois who would enter the White House on the eve of the Civil War.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
Relayed in adroitly compressed text and accompanied by magnificent illustration, Floca conveys the story of one great leap for mankind to a new generation of readers.

Night Lights by Susan Gal
Counting the ways that darkness is illumined, the illustrator-author also ushers in the stuff of dreams. A perfect bedtime book.

An Eye for Color: The  Story of Josef Albers by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Julia Breckenreid
A picture biography of the influential abstract painter illuminates an artistic vision that constituted one of the wellsprings of 20th-century art.

Hands of the Rainforest written and photographed by Rachel Crandell
The Embera of Panama continue to rely on traditional skills and artisanry to maintain their culture.  Crandell documents the ways in which day-to-day existence depends on a deep and ancient knowledge of the tropical forest.

For Middle Readers
(Ages 6-10)


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