Youth All Stars 2003
For All Ages

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW. The review source assigns the star.

The list includes both fiction and nonfiction books. Titles are arranged alphabetically by author. The edition listed is the trade book, library bindings are not listed unless that is the only available format.

Titles received starred reviews from Booklist, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, School Library Journal, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Horn Book. The theme information is derived from cataloging information and is not comprehensive.

Grade & age designations are approximate, parental judgement should be used. Not all books are suitable for all readers/listeners.

Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine or the Library of Congress CIP description.

  • Walk Softly Rachel
    Author: Banks, Kate
    Publisher: Frances Foster $ 16 ISBN: 0374382301
    star Bulletin star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    From the author of Dillon Dillon comes this searing new novel that explores the inner lives of 14-year-old Rachel and her late brother, Jake, with exquisite sensitivity and precision.
    Grades: 7-12 Category: Fiction
  • True Confessions of a Heartless Girl
    Author: Brooks, Martha
    Publisher: FSG $ 16 ISBN: 0374378061
    star Bulletin star Booklist star Kirkus star SLJ
    With a rich cast of characters and an unlikely heroine as endearing as she is tough, this novel, set in America's prairie land, reminds readers that it's never too late for forgiveness--and that sometimes the most unlikely messenger can deliver a small miracle.
    Grades: 7-12 Category: Fiction
  • Mack Made Movies
    Author: Brown, Don
    Publisher: Roaring Brook $ 16.95 ISBN: 0761315381
    star Bulletin star Booklist star PW star SLJ
    From the author/illustrator of Across a Dark and Wild Sea comes a picture book biography of Mack Sennett, an American movie genius.
    Grades: Preschool - 3rd Category: Biography
  • The Shape Game
    Author: Browne, Anthony
    Publisher: FSG $ 16 ISBN: 0374367647
    star Booklist star PW star SLJ
    Grades: Preschool - 3rd Category: Nonfiction | Art
  • Leonard: Beautiful Dreamer
    Author: Byrd, Robert
    Publisher: Dutton $ 17.99 ISBN: 0525470336
    star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    A renowned author-illustrator celebrates Leonardo da Vinci's passionate, playful genius in this glowing picture book replete with the richness and imagination of Leonardo's own notebooks.
    Grades: 2-5 Category: Nonfiction | History | Art
  • Jabberwocky
    Author: Carroll, Lewis / Stewart, Joel (Ilt)
    Publisher: Candlewick $ 15.99 ISBN: 0763620181
    star Booklist star Kirkus star PW
    One of the most celebrated nonsensical poems in literature is given an enchantingly surreal treatment by an exciting new talent.
    Grades: Preschool - 3rd Category: Poetry
  • Sahara Special
    Author: Codell, Esme Raji
    Publisher: Hyperion $ 15.99 ISBN: 0786807938
    star Bulletin star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    Sahara Jones's school counselor insists Sahara needs special education, but her mother insists she go back in her regular class. When Sahara's new fifth grade teacher, Miss Pointy, arrives, her unusual teaching, storytelling, and support encourage Sahara to show her true self.
    Grades: 3-7 Category: Fiction
  • Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
    Author: Creech, Sharon / Raschka, Chris (Ilt)
    Publisher: Joanna Cotler $15.99 ISBN: 0060292903
    star Booklist star PW star SLJ
    Creech, the Newbery Medal-winning author of Walk Two Moons cooks up a delightfully tender novel about love, life, and friendship.
    Grades: 3-7 Category: Fiction
  • Diary of a Worm
    Author: Cronin, Doreen / Bliss, Harry (Ilt)
    Publisher: Joanna Cotler $ 15.99 ISBN: 006000150x
    star Bulletin star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    The New York Times bestselling author of Click, Clack, Moo and Giggle, Giggle, Quack teams up with illustrator Harry Bliss for this hysterical journal about the daily doings and the hidden world of a lovable underground dweller.
    Grades: Preschool - 3rd Category: Fiction
  • King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography
    Author: Crutcher, Chris
    Publisher: Greenwillow $ 16.99 ISBN: 0060502495
    star Bulletin star Booklist star Kirkus star PW
    From the award-winning author of Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes comes this riveting, scorching, intelligent, and hilarious memoir of Crutcher's tricky road to adulthood.
    Grades: 8-12 Category: Autobiography
  • Muhammad
    Author: Demi
    Publisher: Margaret Elderry $ 19.95 ISBN: 0689852649
    star Booklist star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    Through a clear text and stunning illustrations based on those of traditional Islamic expression, Demi introduces the Prophet for young readers. In keeping with Islamic tradition, the Prophet and his family have not been depicted in this book.
    Grades: 2-5 Category: Nonfiction | Religion
  • Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, A Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread
    Author: Dicamillo, Kate / Ering, Timothy (Ilt)
    Publisher: Candlewick $ 17.99 ISBN: 0763617229
    star Booklist star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    From the author of Because of Winn-Dixie comes a fairy tale full of quirky, unforgettable characters, narrated by DeCamillo's trademark humor and heartbreaking poignancy.
    Grades: 2-7 Category: Fiction | Fantasy
  • A Northern Light
    Author: Donnelly, Jennifer
    Publisher: Harcourt $ 17 ISBN: 0152167056
    star Booklist star PW star SLJ
    Booklist Top Youth First Novels
    Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this coming-of-age novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and wholly original.
    Grades: 9+ Category: Fiction | Historical | Mystery
  • Olivia and the Missing Toy
    Author: Falconer, Ian
    Publisher: Atheneum $ 16.95 ISBN: 0689852916
    star Booklist star Kirkus star PW
    The porcine recipient of a 2001 Caldecott Honor Award makes her third appearance in this deliciously funny story in which Olivia's adored stuffed animal mysteriously vanishes.
    Grades: Toddler - 2nd Category: Fiction
  • Mathematickles
    Author: Franco, Betsy / Salerno, Steven (Ilt)
    Publisher: Margaret McElderry $ 17.95 ISBN: 0689843577
    star Horn Book star PW star SLJ
    Follow a girl and her cat as they walk through the seasons and note the mathematical concepts illustrated around them.
    Grades: Kindergarten to 5th Category: Nonfiction | Math | Poetry
  • Roller Coaster
    Author: Frazee, Marla
    Publisher: Harcourt $ 16 ISBN: 0152045546
    star Bulletin star Booklist star Kirkus star PW
    Awards: Parents Choice
    The roller coaster car is going up, up, up to the highest spot. Get ready to experience the thrill of riding a coaster for the very first time in this vibrant new adventure from acclaimed picture book creator Frazee.
    Grades: Toddler to 2nd Category: Fiction
  • In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America's Bill of Rights
    Author: Freedman, Russell
    Publisher: Holiday House $ 24.95 ISBN: 0823415856
    star Bulletin star Booklist star Horn Book star Kirkus star SLJ
    Grades: 5-7 Category: Nonfiction | Politcs & Government
  • Olive's Ocean
    Author: Henkes, Kevin
    Publisher: Greenwillow $ 15.95 ISBN: 0060535431
    star Booklist star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    This exquisite coming-of-age story from a bestselling author is about a girl who is haunted by her deceased friend Olive and has just a hint of young romance.
    Grades: 5+ Category: Fiction
  • Keeper of the Night
    Author: Holt, Kimberly Willis
    Publisher: Holt $ 16.95 ISBN: 0805063617
    star Bulletin star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    Isabel's mother died peacefully. At least that's what Isabel likes to think since no will talk about the truth. Set on the lush island of Guam, Holt has written a painfully beautiful story about a young woman's struggle to protect her family after suicide hits home.
    Grades: 7-12 Category: Fiction
  • Little One Step
    Author: James, Simon
    Publisher: Candlewick $ 15.99 ISBN: 076362070x
    star Bulletin star Booklist star Kirkus star SLJ
    A tired and lost little duckling discovers a surprising technique that enables him to walk under the tallest of trees and the widest of fields, offering encouragement to readers to take that first step, no matter how small.
    Grades: Preschool to 3rd Category: Fiction
  • What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?
    Author: Jenkins, Steve
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin $ 15 ISBN: 0618256288
    star Bulletin star Booklist star Kirkus star SLJ
    Readers can explore the many amazing things animals can do with their ears, eyes, mouths, noses, feet, and tails in this beautifully illustrated interactive guessing book.
    Grades: Preschool to 3rd Category: Nonfiction | Science
  • The First Part Last
    Author: Johnson, Angela
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster $ 15.95 ISBN: 0689849222
    star Bulletin star Booklist star PW star SLJ
    With powerful language and keen insight, Johnson tells the story of a teen father's struggle to figure out what "the right thing" is and then to do it.
    Grades: 7+ Category: Fiction
  • The Man Who Made Time Travel
    Author: Lasky, Kathryn / Hawkes, Kevin (Ilt)
    Publisher: FSG $ 17 ISBN: 0374347883
    star Booklist star Kirkus star SLJ
    This dramatic picture-book biography tells the story of John Harrison, an obscure 18th-century clock maker who envisioned a way to measure longitude by mapping the heavens and developed a seafaring clock.
    Grades: 3-7 Category: Nonfiction | History | Biography | Science
  • How I Became a Pirate
    Author: Long, Melinda / Shannon, David (Ilt)
    Publisher: Harcourt $ 16 ISBN: 0152018484
    star Booklist star PW star SLJ
    A Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator teams up with a witty storyteller for this hilarious pirate adventure starring a little boy who joins Braid Beard's crew on a fantastic voyage.
    Grades: Toddler to 2nd Category: Fiction
  • Mosque
    Author: MacAulay, David
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin $ 18 ISBN: 0618240349
    star Booklist star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    An author and artist who has continually stripped away the mystique of architectural structures that have long fascinated modern people, Macaulay here reveals the methods and materials used to design and construct a mosque in late 16th century Turkey.
    Grades: 4-7 Category: Nonfiction | Architecture | Religion
  • The Meanest Doll in the World
    Author: Martin, Ann M.
    Publisher: Hyperion $ 15.99 ISBN: 0786808780
    star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    In this sequel to The Doll People, Annabelle Doll and Tiffany Funcraft hitch a ride with Kate to her school where they encounter Mean Mimi, the wickedest doll of all.
    Grades: 3-7 Category: Fiction | Action & Adventure
  • Creation
    Author: McDermott, Gerald
    Publisher: Dutton $ 16.99 ISBN: 0525469052
    star Booklist star Horn Book star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    Rich in color, shapes, and textures, McDermott's meditation on the creation story from Genesis is a gift to readers of all ages.
    Grades: K-3 Category: Nonfiction | Religion
  • Inside the Alamo
    Author: Murphy, Jim
    Publisher: Delacorte $ 16.95 ISBN: 0385325746
    star Booklist star Kirkus star SLJ
    The Newbery Honor winner presents the story of the Alamo in this stirring account of a dramatic turning point in United States history, brought to life with quotes from witnesses, profiles of the famous men involved, and detailed illustrations.
    Grades: 3-7 Category: Nonfiction | History
  • I Kissed the Baby
    Author: Murphy, Mary
    Publisher: Candlewick $ 12.99 ISBN: 0763621226
    star Bulletin star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    News of the baby is buzzing from animal to animal, with each one boasting of seeing, feeding, singing to, tickling, and kissing the tiny thing. With bold illustrations, Murphy's simple, singsong story captures the commotion only a baby can bring.
    Grades: Baby to Kindergarten Category: Fiction
  • Ruby Electric
    Author: Nelson, Theresa
    Publisher: Atheneum $ 16.95 ISBN: 0689838522
    star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    How do three-quarters of a family, a woolly mammoth, the movies and a mysterymake for the funniest heartbreaker in years? For 12-year-old Ruby, the movies are better than real life, and the ones she "writes" are the best of all.
    Grades: 5-7 Category: Fiction
  • Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet
    Author: Niven, Penelope
    Publisher: Harcourt $ 17 ISBN: 0152046860
    star Booklist star Kirkus star SLJ
    Grades: Category:
  • Abhorsen
    Author: Nix, Garth
    Publisher: Eos $17.99 ISBN: 0060278250
    star Bulletin star Kirkus star PW
    Awards: Parents Choice
    The conclusion of Nix's Abhorsen trilogy finds former Second Assistant Librarian Lirael, now Abhorsen-in-Waiting, maintaining the border between Life and Death. Together with her friends, Lirael must forestall the waking of an unspeakable evil.
    Grades: 7+ Category: Fiction | Fantasy | Action & Adventure
  • The River Between Us
    Author: Peck, Richard
    Publisher: Dial $ 16.99 ISBN: 0803727356
    star Booklist star Horn Book star Kirkus star PW
    Within a page-turning tale of mystery, adventure, and the civilian Civil War experience, a master of stories about people in transition paints a portrait of the lifelong impact that one person can have on another.
    Grades: 5-9 Category: Fiction | Historical
  • The Wee Free Man
    Author: Pratchett, Terry
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 16.99 ISBN: 0060012366
    star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    In a thrilling tale that is equal parts suspense and humor, Carnegie Medalist Pratchett spins the story of a young witch-to-be named Tiffany who must journey through the terrifying and ever-shifting dreamscape of Fairyland to rescue her kidnapped brother.
    Grades: 7+ Category: Fiction | Fantasy
  • Cold Tom
    Author: Prue, Sally
    Publisher: Scholastic $ 15.95 ISBN: 0439482682
    star Horn Book star PW star SLJ
    Part human, part elfin, young Tom struggles to find a place to call home in this striking debut fantasy novel.
    Grades: 5+ Category: Fiction | Fantasy
  • Pool Boy
    Author: Simmons, Michael
    Publisher: Roaring Brook $ 15.95 ISBN: 0761318852
    star Bulletin star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    A wealthy boy's life changes drastically when his father is jailed for insider trading.
    Grades: 8-12 Category: Fiction
  • Old Cricket
    Author: Wheeler, Lisa / Goembel, Ponder (Ilt)
    Publisher: Atheneum $ 16.95 ISBN: 0689845103
    star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    From the creators of Sailor Moo comes a second critter comedy about a cricket with a creak in his knee, a crick in his neck, and a crack in his back.
    Grades: Toddler to 1st Category: Fiction
  • Locomotion
    Author: Woodson, Jacqueline
    Publisher: Putnam $ 15.99 ISBN: 0399231153
    star Bulletin star Horn Book star Kirkus star PW star SLJ
    Awards: Boston Globe - Horn Book Honor Book, National Book Award Finalist
    Told through his own poetry, 11-year-old Lonnie shares his heartbreak over his parents, killed in a fire four years ago, and his love for his younger sister Lili, separated from him when they were placed in foster care.
    Grades: 5-9 Category: Fiction
  • How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?
    Author: Yolen, Jane / Teague, Mark (Ilt)
    Publisher: Blue Sky $ 15.95 ISBN: 0439241006
    star Bulletin star Booklist star Kirkus star PW
    Awards: Parents Choice
    Just like kids, little dinosaurs hate being sick. And going to the doctor can be pretty scary. As in their previous book, Yolen and Teague capture children's fears about being sick and put them to rest with playful read-aloud verse and wonderfully amusing pictures.
    Grades: Baby to 1st Category: Fiction
  • Sword of the Rightful King: A Novel of King Arthur
    Author: Yolen, Jane
    Publisher: Harcourt $ 17 ISBN: 0152025278
    star Bulletin star Booklist star PW star SLJ
    The newly crowned King Arthur is unsure of himself; worse, the people are unsure of him. So Merlin magically places a sword into a slab of rock, lets it be known that whosoever removes the blade will rule all of England, and invites any man who would dare, to try to pull out the sword.
    Grades: 7-12 Category: Fiction | Fantasy

Starred Review Lists

Books that received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, LJ, and PW.

2013 Crime Fiction: Jan-June | Fiction: Jan-June | Speculative Fiction

2012 Crime Fiction: July-Dec | Fiction: July-Dec | Speculative Fiction

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)

more stars lists...

book mark Overbooked

Sign up for updates via the Overbooked mailing list