It’s Monday, What are you reading? – Favorite Books of 2013


It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week.  Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

It’s been an amazing year of books!  So many great books were published this year that have  become “favorites” that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few.  Which books did I hug extra tightly or put under my pillow just to keep them with me a little longer?

Inspired by my friend and book blogger extraordinaire Carrie Gelson,  I have decided to choose 13 books (for 2013) and organize them into categories I read the most of:  picture books, nonfiction books and novels.

Picture books:

1. Journey – Aaron Becker

Mesmerizing watercolor illustrations that take the reader on a journey of adventure, self discovery, courage, hope and unexpected friendship.  This book will likely top many 2013 lists and it certainly tops mine.

infer 2

2.  The Man With the Violin – Kathy Stinson

This book, based on a true event, celebrates the power of music and reminds us that in the business of our lives, we need to stop and appreciate the beauty around us.  (also 3 cheers for Canadian authors)


3. The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt

Oh, how I love clever  books!   Oh, how I love a book that makes me laugh out loud and wish I had written it myself!  Oh, how I love a book that I read and immediately start thinking of ways I will be able to use it in my classroom.  This book has all my loves tied up together.


4. Ben Rides On – Matt Davies

Ben loves his bike.   Ben’s bike is bullied away.  Ben figures out a way to get his bike back.  There is tenderness amidst the lightheartedness and Ben is my hero.

connect 2

5. The Dark – Lemony Snicket

 This is the story of how dear Little Laszlo stops being afraid of the dark. My oh my,  there is something magical about this book.  Personification at its best.

transform 2

6. Water in the Park – Emily Jenkins

Community, neighborhood, water, time;  From dawn to dusk we witness the comings and goings in a park. Simple. Beautiful.


7. Silver Buttons – Bob Graham

(or “The Silver Button” )

The celebration of a single moment and all that happens – from one moment in a an apartment room to that same moment all over the world.  Extraordinary.  Brilliant.  Hugging this book.


8. Hello, My Name is Ruby – Philip C. Stead

I fell in love with Ruby this year.  She is all that represents fearlessness, curiosity, courage, adventure, wisdom all wrapped up in a sweet little bird body who asks questions.  By far my favorite character of 2013.

Hello, My Name Is Ruby

9.  The Matchbox Diary – Paul Fleischman

This book is a celebration of memories, keepsakes, treasures, life stories and relationships.  A grandfather opens his matchboxes of memories, his life story and his heart to his granddaughter.   My favorite “connect” book of the year.



10.  The World is Waiting for You – Barbara Kerley

Following your passion amidst all that the world has to offer.  Imaginative and inspiring.


11. Walk this World – Jenny Broom

A celebration of the everyday similarities and differences that exist between cultures around the world.  A new country on every page – with windows to peek under and many surprises to discover!  Wow!  An adventure from cover to cover!

12. What Does it Mean to Be Present? – Rana DiOrio

Carpe Diem, seize the day, appreciate the moment, be present, be grateful, give back.  How could anyone NOT want to share this message with children.  Love x a lot for this one.

What Does it Mean to Be Present?

12. The Animal Book – Steve Jenkins

Happiness is a new Steve Jenkins book.  Happiness is being amazed by his signature collage illustrations and the intriguing facts he wows us with.  Happiness is adding this book to my Nonfiction Book list for 2013.



The Runaway King – Jennifer A. Nielsen

When a grade 6 boy tears up with joy because his back order Scholastic Book order copy of The Runaway King has just come in – you know it is a great book.  This follow-up is equally as good as the first.  I will get my box of Kleenex ready for the 3rd installment!


Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library – Chris Grabenstein

Funny, crafty, twists and turns, puzzles and adventures.  Some were less impressed with the “too close for comfort” to legendary Charlie Bucket but both my students and I LOVED it!


Wake Up Missing – Kate Messner

Concussions, Treatment centers, stolen identities and friendships = fast paced, page turner, grab-the-book -from-your-son’s-room-while-he’s-sleeping-because- you-can’t-wait-to-find-out-what-happens -book!


The Real Boy – Anne Ursu

A magical  fantasy –  beautiful, enchanting, mysterious, sad, hopeful.  This one ended up under my pillow.


Well, there are my top books for 2013.  (And for anyone who happened to be counting – I believe I went way over my original “13 picks for 2013” by several titles!)  It was, indeed, a very good year for books!  What books did you celebrate in 2013?


Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Nonfiction, Novels, Picture Book

12 responses to “It’s Monday, What are you reading? – Favorite Books of 2013

  1. Adrienne this is a gorgeous list. And I counted and got 13. 9 picture books + 3 nonfiction + 4 novels – those titles that woke up missing in Mr. Lemoncello’s library = 13. I’m sure of it. Math is a strong suit for me! Walk this World and Silver Buttons are new for me so of course I want to find them instantly! I love that The Man with the Violin is here. And Ben Rides on! If I had a longer list (my problem is I had not books with missing in the title!) Ben Rides on would have been on my list. He’s a hero in our classroom too! Thanks for sharing! And hey – coffee? I have books to return to you.

  2. Well…I did try ever so hard to keep my list to 13 – but clearly I am not an expert in Math! (Good job I’m not giving Math workshops!) You will LOVE Silver Buttons and Walk This World! I have several new titles that I can’t wait to share but HAD to include these two on this list! Yes, coffee… my revisions are almost done and then I can breathe. Off to read your blog now!

  3. Limiting to 13 books is a challenge and you did it beautifully! Many of your favorites were favorites of mine. I added What Does it Mean to be Present and The Man with the Violin to my list to request from my library. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!

  4. Thanks, Gigi! I actually cheated a little in my counting! (You will notice that the novels aren’t numbered because I had reached 13 already!) I know you will be very happy with your two library additions – they are both amazing books. Thanks for reading and happy 2014 to you!

  5. So glad you loved THE MAN WITH THE VIOLIN. It’s one of my favorites from this year. 🙂

  6. Now that my nephews are a little older I don’t read too many picture books anymore but I could not resist The Day the Crayons Quit! Such fun! I thought Mr. Lemoncello was quite clever. I will have to add Wake Up Missing to my TBR list! Happy New Year! ~Megan

  7. Hi there Adrienne. I so love this round-up. Beautiful books, all of them! Some I haven’t read yet, and most of them I just borrowed from the library for Cybils. 🙂 I fell in love with The Matchbox Diary, so powerful and so gloriously illustrated. Breathtaking images. Have a Happy New Year, Adrienne to you and your family! 🙂

  8. Such a great list! There are some picture books you listed that I haven’t read yet, so I’ll put them on my to-read list! Journey is my favorite. 🙂 I love your middle grade choices! Happy reading in 2014!

    • Thanks, Holly! I know Journey is your favorite and is your “word” for your class this year! It’s such an amazing book! I think you would love Walk This World – it is definitely a “journey” book! I have just nominated you for Sharing the Sunshine. Hope you are able to join in!

  9. Woo-hoo! I am so glad to hear The Runaway King is just as good as The False Prince, which I read and LOVED this past week 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s