Best children's books of 2009

Chains
By Laurie Halse Anderson
Simon & Schuster
320 pp., $16.99
Ages 9-12
US history as seen through the eyes of a young slave girl. (1/2/09)

Claudette Colvin:
Twice Toward Justice
By Phillip Hoose
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
144 pp., $19.95
A nonfiction work about Claudette Colvin, the Alabama teen who refused to give up her seat to white woman on a Birmingham bus nine months before Rosa Parks became an icon for doing the same. (3/17/09)

The Last Olympian
By Rick Riordan
Disney/Hyperion
381 pp., $17.99
Ages 9-12
Teens battle Titans in this lively update of Greek myths for middle readers. (6/13/09)

When You Reach Me
By Rebecca Stead
Wendy Lamb Books
208 pp., $15.99
There’s a mystery woven throughout this original tale of a New York City teen and her troubled friendship. (7/27/09)

The Magician’s Elephant
By Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press
208 pp., $16.99
Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo spins up an adventure with a noblewoman, a magician, a policeman with the soul of a poet, a soldier with a wooden foot, and, of course, an elephant. (9/22/09)

Al Capone Shines My Shoes
By Gennifer Choldenko
Dial Books
288 pp., $17.99
It’s the summer of 1935 and all is not well for a 12-year-old boy who lives on Alcatraz Island with his prison guard father and family. (9/11/09)

Raven Summer
By David Almond
Delacorte
208 pp., $16.99
In this skillfully crafted young adult novel, two teens find a baby girl wrapped in a blanket next to a jam jar crammed with money. And that’s not even the most extraordinary thing that happens. (11/14/09)

A Season of Gifts
By Richard Peck
Dial
176 pp., $16.99
Ages 10 and up
Wry humor and Midwestern sensibility mark this Depression-era tale of Grandma Dowdel and her unorthodox ways. (11/22/09)

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