The Spring 2009 Children's Indie Next List

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1. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
(Dutton Juvenile, $16.99, 9780525421030 / 0525421033)
"This is a simple, beautifully told story of a girl's experiences after a horrific car crash. Forman deals with this difficult topic in a way that is striking and unusual, and thoroughly impressive." --Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, NY

2. Scat by Carl Hiaasen
(Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780375834868 / 0375834869)
"Hiaasen's newest book for young readers continues the themes of his previous novels, with another ecological mystery, and Scat is my favorite so far. The story centers around an evil teacher, a crazy classmate (who may or may not be an arsonist), and two best friends who are committed to saving the Florida panther." --Laura Emden, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

3. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
(Viking Juvenile, $17.99, 9780670011100 / 067001110X)
"Wintergirls searches to find meaning behind the pain women hold inside themselves. Anderson gives a terrifying glimpse into a young girl's struggle with an eating disorder that grows into horrible self-mutilation. Even though I found the subject scary, Anderson's insight into it was enlightening and inspiring!" --Sarah Hill, The River's End Bookstore, Oswego, NY

4. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780385736817 / 0385736819)
"With a story that alternates between gut-wrenchingly romantic and skin-crawling creepy, Ryan's novel will scare the pants off even the most seasoned horror fans, but it will also break the hardest of hearts. A brilliant start to what I hope is a long career." --Katie Glasgow, Mitchell Books, Fort Wayne, IN

5. The Fetch by Laura Whitcomb
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $17, 9780618891313/ 0618891315)
"When Calder, a ghostly minister of death, falls in love with a mortal, neither things on earth nor things in the spiritual realm will ever be the same! Readers will be enthralled by this unique combination of supernatural thrills, historical fiction, and sweeping romance as Whitcomb crafts a novel that is singular and enchanting." --Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

6. My Life in Pink & Green by Lisa Greenwald
(Amulet Books, $16.95, 9780810983526 / 0810983524)
"Lucy Desberg fixes the local homecoming queen's hair crisis in her family's struggling pharmacy and, soon, finds herself giving makeovers to customers. Now, when her mother and grandmother seem to be losing faith, Lucy must find a way to save the pharmacy, go green with the Eco Club, and help her friend deal with a first crush." --Grace Firari, The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop, Fort Atkinson, WI

7. The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
(Bloomsbury Children's Books, $16.99, 9781599903347 / 1599903342)
"Julie Berry's enchanting story of an abandoned girl and a mysterious visitor will keep readers enthralled and turning the pages until the end. You'll feel as if you are side by side with Lucinda, the brave heroine, cheering her on throughout the whole adventure." --Summer Moser, Summer's Stories, Kendallville, IN

8. Emmaline and the Bunny by Katherine Hannigan
(Greenwillow, $14.99, 9780061626548 / 0061626546)
"Katherine Hannigan tells a lovely story about what makes a perfect world, about friendship, and about becoming a steward of your environment. Her illustrations alone are worth the price of the book." --Jeanne Regentin, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, MI

9. Eleanor, Quiet No More by Doreen Rappaport, Gary Kelley (illus.)
(Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9780786851416 / 0786851414)
"Many books have been written about the life of Eleanor Roosevelt, but few capture the life, spirit, ideals, and actions of this unique woman in such a beautiful format, and with such meaning for Americans today. The outstanding illustrations by artist Gary Kelley and Roosevelt's own words make this a very powerful book that will be a pleasure for both children and adults." --Gayle Wingerter, Inklings Bookshop, Yakima, WA

10. Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls: Best Friends and Drama Queens by Meg Cabot
(Scholastic Press, $15.99, 978 0545040433 / 0545040434)
"Meg Cabot's Allie Finkle books are great, funny stories built around important topics like bullying and peer pressure in the middle grades. This newest book shows how our plucky Allie deals with a prima donna classmate who's trying to make everyone follow her bad example." --Mark David Bradshaw, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS

For Ages 4 to 8

All God's Critters by Bill Staines, Kadir Nelson (illus.)
(Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16.99, 9780689869594 / 0689869592)
"A summer camp sing-along comes joyfully to life and kids will revel in the musical fun all the way through the last verse, as Nelson's enthusiastic animal stars practically leap off the pages to add their mooing, howling, chirping voices to the chorus. Inspired!" --Meghan Dietsche Goel, Book People, Austin, TX

All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant, Nikki McClure (illus.)
(Abrams Books for Young Readers, $17.95, 9780810983212 / 0810983214)
"This book showcases Nikki McClure's wonderfully done cut-paper artwork. They come together into a really powerful set of images." --Diana Portwood, Bob's Beach Books, Lincoln City, OR

Barack Obama: United States President by Roberta Edwards, Ken Call (illlus.)
(Grosset & Dunlap, $4.99 paper, 9780448452340 / 0448452340)
"This revised edition gives even more information on President Obama in plain, simple terms that young readers can understand. I highly recommend this title." --Denise Evans, Pyramid Books, Boynton Beach, FL

Chicken and Cat Clean Up by Sara Varon
(Scholastic Press, $16.99, 9780439634083 / 0439634083)
"After browsing the newspaper's pet ads, Cat is happy to join his friend Chicken's new cleaning business in the hopes of saving up some money for a new pet. Unfortunately, as much as Cat tries to help, he is just not cut out for the cleaning business! This endearing tale is told without words, but the pictures -- done in a style that will remind readers of a comic strip -- tell a clear story." --Kathleen Lehman, Dragonwings Bookstore, Waupaca, WI

Flower Fairies Magical Doors by Cicely Mary Barker
(Frederick Warne, $18.99, 9780723263517 / 0723263515)
"This is another wonderful book in the Flower Fairies series, great for kids and adults! You and a younger reader can settle down in a comfy spot and discover something wonderful at each turn of the page." --Diana Portwood, Bob's Beach Books, Lincoln City, OR

Funny Farm by Mark Teague
(Orchard Books, $16.99, 9780439914994 / 043991499X)
"It's spring and Edward heads out to visit relatives on the farm for the first time -- and discovers that there is so much to see and do! Wonderful illustrations -- detailed and light-hearted -- add a humorous twist to the simple story." --Kathleen Lehman, Dragonwings Bookstore, Waupaca, WI

Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg & Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, Susan Roth (illus.)
(Dial Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780803730588 / 0803730586)
"The incredibly inspiring story chronicled in Three Cups of Tea is beautifully captured in picture book format. This is a perfect introduction to the idea that one person can make a difference in the world. The colorful collage art marries the text to the visual in a spectacular way." --Diane Capriola, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

My People by Langston Hughes, Charles R. Smith, Jr. (illus.)
(Ginee Seo Books, $17.99, 9781416935407 / 1416935401)
"How would you illustrate this timeless poem? Charles Smith, Jr. answers this question with a series of photographs that will make you smile. This book is a great selection for teachers and would be a perfect lesson plan feature for discussions of poetry writing and imagery." --Angela K. Sherrill, 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems
(Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9781423114376 / 142311437X)
"Wilbur is a naked mole rat who prefers to wear clothes, which appalls the other naked mole rats, who try to get him to change. I won't tell you how it all works out, other than to say that Mo Willems' latest is wonderful!" --Eric Robbins, Apple Valley Books, Winthrop, ME

A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
(HarperCollins Children's Books, $17.99, 9780061456886 / 0061456888)
"Edna the Penguin knows there must be something else besides this black-and-white world of hers -- so, she fearlessly strikes out to find it. Portis' bold illustrations and fun text are a delight!" --Shannon Grant, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

Posy by Linda Newbery, Catherine Rayner (illus.)
(Atheneum, $16.99, 9781416971122 / 1416971122)
"Perfectly capturing a kitten's exuberant curiosity, this simple picture book will enchant any young cat lover with its mischievous text and irresistibly playful watercolors." --Meghan Dietsche Goel, BookPeople, Austin, TX

Too Big by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
(NYR Children's Collection, $14.95, 9781590172919 / 1590172914)
"It's wonderful to rediscover this simple gem of a story, which tells of a young lad -- accompanied by a dog and cat -- who discovers that there is still much to do, as big as you are. Delightful!" --Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Tough Chicks by Cece Meng, Melissa Suber (illus.)
(Clarion Books, $16, 9780618824151 / 0618824154)
"I'll be giving this story of some very independent (and loud) chicks as a gift to all of my tough chick friends who recently gave birth to future smart, tough, good chicks. It's going to be their favorite book from childhood." --Shawna Elder, Iowa Book L.L.C., Iowa City, IA

We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes by Patrick Jennings
(HarperCollins Children's Books, $15.99, 9780060821142 / 0060821140)
"Crusher the gopher snake matches wits with his filthy, fleshy human captor in this hilarious snake-eye view of the world. This is a charmer!" --Jennifer Laughran, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

What's the Weather Inside? by Karma Wilson, Barry Blitt (illus.)
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, $17.99, 9781416900924 / 1416900926)
"Karma Wilson's collection of poetry for children -- with charming, Silverstein-esque rhymes and wonderful illustrations by Barry Blitt -- is sure to be enjoyed by parents and children alike!" --Megan Graves, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

Where Do I Sleep?: A Pacific Northwest Lullaby by Jennifer Blomgren, Andrea Gabriel (illus.)
(Sasquatch Books, $10.95 paper, 9781570615931 / 1570615934)
"This great kid's book -- beautifully illustrated and written -- is finally coming out in paperback. The rhythmic way it's written introduces kids to the natural world around us in a context they can relate to -- bedtime. Even otters need their good night's sleep!" --Diana Portwood, Bob's Beach Books, Lincoln City, OR

For Ages 9 to 12

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine
(Putnam Juvenile, $16.99, 9780399250903 / 0399250905)
"Dit Sims thinks it's 'the worst bad luck' when the new postmaster's child turns out to be a bookish 'colored' girl instead of the boy he expected. Dit and Emma Walker gradually form an unlikely friendship, and when blatant racism rears its head, they set out to save a black man unjustly sentenced to death. Set in a small Southern town in 1917, this coming-of-age story is believable and well-written, and Dit's personal growth is moving and remarkable." --Trish Brown, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

The Books of Umber: Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese
(Aladdin, $16.99, 9781416975199 / 1416975195)
"An unusual boy found in a lost city has become the key to a renewal of two worlds. But horrific beings are stalking him, and if Hap is killed all will be lost." --Ellen Perry, Browsing Bison Books, Deer Lodge, MT

Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet by Graham Salisbury
(Wendy Lamb Books, $12.99, 9780385737012 / 0385737017)
"Living in Hawaii with his mother and younger sister, 4th grader Calvin is supposed to be the responsible man of the house. But he's kind of a mess, his little sister doesn't really need his help anyway, and he's got his hands full keeping away from the school bully. The setting, the excellent writing, and the charming main character wrap everything up together in one neat, welcome package." --Melissa Posten, Children's Book World, Haverford, PA

Children of the Lamp: The Eye of the Forest by P.B. Kerr
(Orchard Books, $17.99, 9780439932158 / 0439932157)
"In this sequel, John and Philippa go to South America to save the world from a nefarious scientist, and must deal with a traitor and an ancient djinn come back to life. (Not to mention dead conquistadors and ancient dead Inca kings.) Meanwhile, dad has been kidnapped and mom is having cosmetic surgery...." --Ellen Perry, Browsing Bison Books, Deer Lodge, MT

The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket, Carson Ellis (illus.)
(HarperCollins Children's Books, $17.99, 9780061236273 / 0061236276)
"Who better to introduce children to the depths of an orchestra but Lemony Snicket? The Composer Is Dead is an entertaining murder mystery that gives each instrument a voice and more character than words can describe." --April Gosling, Horizon Books, Petoskey, MI

Gooney Bird Is So Absurd by Lois Lowry, Middy Thomas (illus.)
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $15, 9780547119670 / 0547119674)
"Another poignantly funny look at Mrs. Pidgeon's second grade class. Each character's reaction to learning about poetry and writing their own poetry is quite amusing and also touching, especially when the students use it to reach out to Mrs. Pidgeon upon her mother's death." --Janet Bibeau, Storybook Cove, Hanover, MA

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry
(Random House Books for Young Readers, $15.99, 9780375848025 / 0375848029)
"With his father shipped off to Iraq, grandfather getting older, and his older brothers away at college, the fate of the ranch lies heavily on Brother, who is determined to take care of things just as his father would have. A beautifully written, simple book about not-so-simple things like faith and family." --Jennifer Laughran, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

The Mousehunter by Alex Milway
(Little, Brown Young Readers, $15.99, 9780316024549 / 0316024546)
"In a world populated by thousands of species of mice, which are prized not only as clever pets and useful companions but also as rare collectibles, 12-year-old Emiline aspires to become a famous mousehunter, traveling the globe in search of new species. Soon, she will find herself on an ocean-going adventure as daring, treacherous, and suspenseful as Treasure Island." --Ellen Klein, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

The Roar by Emma Clayton
(The Chicken House, $17.99, 9780439925938 / 0439925932)
"Emma Clayton tells the story of a future planet Earth that has to deal with cramped, dark, and wet living conditions and an unfair social order due to an animal plague. The characters are realistic, and you want to see the children, who are the story's heroes, defeat the evil and greedy governmental leaders. Be prepared for an interesting twist at the end. The Roar is juvenile science fiction done right, but the concept of death and cruelty is a continuous theme, so this book is better recommended to intermediate students of 4th grade or higher." --Sue Mason, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, OR

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman
(Scholastic Press, $14.99, 9780545075664 / 0545075661)
"Finally, an author who combines the quiet of a good book with the visuals of a movie. Readers can discover Ryan's account of what happened that night at the abandoned dredge and then watch Sarah's video (on a related website) to uncover the mystery that clouds the town of Skeleton Creek. This book is sure to thrill readers everywhere." --Grace Firari, The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop, Fort Atkinson, WI

Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
(Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $19.99, 9780545055871 / 0545055873)
"Tales From Outer Suburbia is a story told in vignettes expressed in artistic renderings and text, which capture the experiences and stories heard, but not quite fully understood, of the impressionistic years of childhood. Not solely a picture book, nor just a graphic book or fictional tale, it's, rather, all of these combined -- perfect to share with young and old alike." --Jack Blanchard, Fairy Godmother, Washington, DC

Yankee Girl by Mary Ann Rodman
(Square Fish, $7.99 paper, 9780312535766 / 0312535767)
"Set in 1960s Mississippi, this story of Alice Ann Moxley, newly arrived from Chicago when the FBI reassigns her father, is a great tale with a moral lesson that can be seen in everyday life." --Denise Evans, Pyramid Books,
Boynton Beach, FL

The Yggyssey: How Iggy Wondered What Happened to All the Ghosts, Found Out Where They Went, and Went There by Daniel Pinkwater
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $16, 9780618594450 / 0618594450)
"Daniel Pinkwater's latest follows the, well, odyssey of a girl named Yggdrasil Birnbaum. When all the ghosts in Los Angeles go missing, Yggy and her friends must travel to another plane of existence to find them. Full of Hollywood hijinks and hilarity, The Yggyssey is a pleasure to read." --Jennifer Laughran, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior by Chris Bradford
(Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9781423118718 / 1423118715)
"Twelve-year-old Jack Fletcher is a rigging monkey on a British vessel navigated by his father until an attack on the ship upends his world. Washed ashore in Japan, Jack is rescued by a great samurai and begins a new life. When he is sent to samurai school, Jack undergoes grueling mental and physical training, and learns about bravery, integrity, and friendship." --Ellen Klein, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

For Teen Readers

Alis by Naomi Rich
(Viking Juvenile, $17.99, 9780670011254 / 0670011258)
"Fourteen-year-old Alis is part of a very strict religious community, though she has never felt constrained -- until her parents arrange for her to marry the 40-year-old preacher. Alis runs away, which, ultimately, sets off a tragic chain of events." --Margaret Brennan Neville, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner
(Random House Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780375845635 / 0375845631)
"This story of a girl who sets out to learn the truth about her past and to try to change her future will inspire readers to wish for peace. Its devastating first chapter sets you on a breathless journey that doesn't let you go until the very last page." --Melissa Posten, Children's Book World, Haverford, PA

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford
(Hyperion Books for Children, $15.99, 9781423112464 / 1423112466)
"Will Carter (call him Carter) is a high school freshman who is sweet and funny, with an honest and original voice. You'll laugh when he says something funny and cringe right alongside him when he does something humiliating, which is fairly often! This book really captures the pain and joy of making that transition from childhood to adolescence, and it is a delight to read from beginning to end. I'm glad to see that realistic teen fiction for boys is finally finding its place on the young adult shelves, and this is one of the best young adult books I've read this year." --Karen Keyte, Books, Etc., Portland, ME

The Comet's Curse: A Galahad Book by Dom Testa
(Tor Teen, $16.95, 9780765321077 / 0765321076)
"When a comet's tail swishes through earth's atmosphere dooming all of its inhabitants, the survival of the human race is left up to 251 teenagers. As they embark on a five-year space journey, the young people encounter not only technical challenges but problems of the heart and mind. Completely engaging." --Anne Holman, The King's English, Salt Lake City, UT

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King
(Flux, $9.95 paper, 9780738714264 / 0738714267)
"This creative and sparklingly original tale is absolutely gripping, beginning in the 17th century and spanning 300 years of the life of famous pirate Emer Morrisey. Oh yeah, did I mention that the 300 years is the time it took Emer to live the lives of 100 dogs, a curse put upon her after her human existence was slain? A very cool story." --Rob Dougherty, Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, NJ

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
(Putnam Juvenile, $16.99, 9780399247095 / 0399247092)
"Sherri Smith tells the riveting story of Ida Mae Jones, a young light-skinned black woman who decides to try and pass as white so she can enter the Army during WWII and fulfill her dream of becoming a pilot. Ida Mae's crisis of identity and her battle with her conscience will change the way you look at the world. A triumph!" --Melissa Posten, Children's Book World, Haverford, PA

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
(Houghton Mifflin, $17, 9780152063849 / 0152063846)
"Things change for Jessica when Lucius Vladescu arrives from Romania claiming he's a vampire prince, destined to marry her to bring peace between two vampire clans. But just as Jessica starts to believe Lucius, he changes his mind -- how confusing is that? Will she fight for him? Can she stop a vampire war? The many twists along the way keep you guessing right to the end." --Angela Mann, Kepler's Books & Magazine, Menlo Park, CA

Lifting the Sky by Mackie D'Arge
(Bloomsbury Children's Books, $16.99, 9781599901862 / 1599901862)
"Lifting the Sky is a wonderful coming-of-age story about Blue, a young women whose mother is a traveling ranch hand, and Blue's deep desire for a home. Mackie D'Arge has written a touching and wonderful story." --Kelly Peroni, High Sierra Books, Portola, CA

The Mortal Instruments: Book Three: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, $17.99, 9781416914303 / 1416914307)
"The time has come for the Clave to oppose Valentine, but he has no intentions of submitting, putting both the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders on edge. Clare's concluding volume of The Mortal Instruments trilogy is complex and striking. Not to be missed." --Krys Tourtois, Schuler Books & Music, Lansing, MI

Paisley Hanover Acts Out by Cameron Tuttle
(Dial Books for Young Readers, $14.99, 9780803732865 / 0803732864)
"High school sophomore Paisley Hanover is such a great character; someone who is so confident, never worrying about what people think, even when she is booted from the top of the pecking order. Being original and unpopular is so much cooler! Funny, hip, and individual, this a great read." --Hallie Wilkins, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL

Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
(Push, $16.99, 9780545004077 / 0545004071)
"When Emily heads from the suburbs into Philadelphia to take a summer art class, she leaves behind the life she knows and has her eyes opened. But she finds a new way to see herself and her world, and comes to a new understanding about the meaning of home, true friends and relationships. This is a great book for a teen reading groups." --Sarah and Marc Galvin, The Bookstore Plus, Lake Placid, NY

The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti
(Simon Pulse, $16.99, 9781416959403 / 1416959408)
"Quinn is determined to set things right with all of the women her womanizing father has wronged. Enlisting the help of her stepsister, she sets out to make things right and, along the journey, she mends her broken heart as well. Told with great humor, this is a road trip to remember!" --Hallie Wilkins, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL

3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows by Ann Brashares
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers, $18.99, 9780385736763 / 0385736762)
"Ann Brashares once again shows her gift for creating distinctive and wonderfully well-rounded characters in this new story of three friends during a summer of emotional growth." --Katherine Bryk, Learned Owl Book Shop, Hudson, OH

Wings by Aprilynne Pike
(HarperTeen, $16.99, 9780061668036 / 0061668036)
"What a great modern-day twist on typical fairy stories! Laurel is that newbie high school girl who happens to find out she's really a fairy. Never believing in that sort of thing, she finds herself in situations and adventures she never dreamed of. I can't wait for the sequel!" --Hallie Wilkins, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL