Best Books of 2008, and so on . . .

I have a lot of ground to cover this morning — and hopefully some of it will be in the snow-covered woods and in the company of my dog, Daisy. So check this out:

Sue Corbett, author of 12 Again and Free Baseball, writing for The Miami Herald, named Six Innings in her list of “best children’s books of the year.” Which is just an incredible honor. Though I’ve been involved in children’s books since 1986, the year 2008 was like a coming out party for me. I published two hardcover books (I published only one before, in ’98 or so, and good luck finding it!), started this blog, and have had a lot of nice things come my way.

Sue writes of Six Innings:

The group portrait of the members of a Little League baseball team takes place over the six innings of a championship game. Perceptive and funny, sketches introduce us to the players while the nail-biting action keeps the pages turning. Kids will be nodding in agreement at the truths laid bare.

Sue Corbett’s full list:

NONFICTION

• “Owney the Mail-pouch Pooch,” by Mona Kerby, illustrated by Lynne Barasch.

• “Knucklehead,” by Jon Scieszka.

• “A River of Words,” by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

• “The Trouble Begins at 8,” by Sid Fleischman.

• “We Are the Ship,” by Kadir Nelson.

• “What To Do About Alice?” by Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham.

NOVELS

• “Airman,” by Eoin Colfer.

• “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks,” by E. Lockhart.

• “Graceling,” by Kristin Cashore.

• “The Possibilities of Sainthood,” by Donna Freitas.

• “Six Innings,” by James Preller.

• “What I Saw and How I Lied,” by Judy Blundell.

PICTURE BOOKS

• “A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever,” by Marla Frazee.

• “How to Heal a Broken Wing,” by Bob Graham.

• “Sergio Makes a Splash!,” by Edel Rodriguez.

• “Swing!,” by Rufus Butler Seder.

• “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes,” by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury.

Sue previously gave the book a starred review in Publishers Weekly and (outrageously) compared it/me to Judy Blume. (Thanks, I’ll take a dozen!) I especially appreciate Sue’s kind words, because she’s a real-deal baseball person. I know that Six Innings isn’t for everybody, and I’ve read how some adult readers complain that there’s too much baseball in it, so it means a lot coming from a stranger like Sue who knows and respects that world, who knows those boys, who can read it and say, “Yes, he got it right.”

- – - – -

Over at The Reading Zone, a sixth-grade teacher named Sarah appears to subsist entirely on books, dry toast, and water. After giving her list of favorites for 2008, she writes: “I read about 150 books this year, as of December 26th. These are just a few of my favorites. Ask me again tomorrow, and you will probably get a different list!”

I’m grateful that on this particular day, Sarah thought to mention my book, Six Innings, in such esteemed company. Again: I’m honored and grateful.

Sarah wrote of Six Innings:

I don’t even like baseball and I loved this book! A great book to hand to boys and girls alike, it goes much deeper than just baseball and deals with life. The characters are realistic and easy to relate to. It’s just a great book all around!

Hey, a convert to the Church of Baseball! Sarah’s full list:

Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume.

Diamond Willow by Helen Frost.

Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass.

Six Innings by James Preller.

The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1) by Rick Riordan.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson.

My Father’s Son by Terri Fields.

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt.

The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby.

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

What I Saw And How I Lied by Judy Blundell.

- – - – -

I find this funny. Tony Abbott has been running a series on his blog that focuses on writers’ workspaces. He’s received and posted descriptions from Nora Raleigh Baskin, Elise Broach, David Levithan, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Lisa Yee. But recently it’s all gone downhill.

When first launching the series, Tony wrote:

“The actual earthly position a writer chooses (or maybe doesn’t choose) to do his or her work seems to me vital to the functioning of the art that takes place there. Or, if not, it’s at least interesting to me, and when I visit classes, I never fail to speak in revered tones about where writing happens, and where it doesn’t happen. For some writers, the space he or she works in is, possibly, the only three-dimensional reality they have.”

And at some point, Tony made the miscalculation of asking me. Or maybe it was a good idea, as counter-balance, because I couldn’t be more different. I don’t have any of those sacred space feelings, and am actually embarrassed by my (basically crappy) workspace. No revered tones here. In fact, no offense, I don’t think I’d ever be caught dead referring to it as a “workspace.”

Anyway, to learn more, stroll on over to Tony’s blog by clicking right here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>