2019 Sonderbooks Stand-outs

It’s time to post my Sonderbooks Stand-outs from the books I read in 2019!

I like to post these on New Year’s Day, but this year I was in California for my mother’s memorial service, so it’s put off a bit. (Two books from the list, I read on the plane, though! This is why I wait until the year is completely over.)

Once again, I do not have my reviews for all of these books posted yet. This year, I’m going to make that a priority and try to at least post my reviews of my 2019 and 2018 Stand-outs before I post other reviews. One of my 2020 resolutions is to post reviews more regularly.

I always want to stress that these are my personal favorites. Sonderbooks Stand-outs are not any attempt to predict which books will win awards, and I don’t screen them for diversity or literary merit. These are simply the books that I personally enjoyed.

Let me give my stats for 2019. I did not include books I reread in my Stand-outs. (They’re already Stand-outs or I wouldn’t reread them.) In 2019, there were an abundance of those.

I reread 13 books in January as I was doing Newbery selection committee deliberations. I’ll never tell which books those were, except to say that our medalist and two honor books were included. In 2019, I also reread 12 books by L. M. Montgomery, in preparation for my amazing road trip to Prince Edward Island with my childhood friends.

Other totals of books read:
Grown-up Nonfiction: 38
Grown-up Fiction: 13 (Hmm. I meant to read more after being off the Newbery committee.)
Teen Fiction: 15
Children’s Fiction: 56
Children’s Nonfiction: 143 (Most of those are picture books.)
Picture Books: 458

Yes, that’s significantly fewer than I read the year before, but that’s what happens when you can no longer make reading the top priority in your life.

Here is my list of my personal favorite books I read in 2019. I will try hard to get these reviews posted in the next couple of weeks. I do break the Stand-outs into categories so I can honor lots and lots of books.

Adult Fiction:
1. Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan
2. Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik
3. The Harp of Kings, by Juliet Marillier
4. Marilla of Green Gables, by Sarah McCoy

Christian Nonfiction:
1. The Universal Christ, by Richard Rohr
2. Raising Hell, by Julie Ferwerda
3. That All Shall Be Saved, by David Bentley Hart
4. Creation and the Cross, by Elizabeth A. Johnson
5. Nothing But the Blood of Jesus, by J. D. Myers

Other Adult Nonfiction:
1. Educated, by Tara Westover
2. Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson
3. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
4. Joyful, by Ingrid Fetell Lee
5. The Landscapes of Green Gables, by Catherine Reid

Teen Fiction: (This is the category where they’re getting switched around a lot. These are all fantastic.)
1. Damsel, by Elana K. Arnold
2. Stepsister, by Jennifer Donnelly
3. Butterfly Yellow, by Thanhha Lai
4. The Wicked King, by Holly Black
5. The Toll, by Neal Shusterman
6. Lovely War, by Julie Berry
7. With the Fire on High, by Elizabeth Acevedo
8. On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas

Children’s Fiction:
1. We’re Not From Here, by Geoff Rodkey
2. Cog, by Greg van Eekhout
3. Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai
4. Pay Attention, Carter Jones, by Gary D. Schmidt
5. Sal & Gabi Break the Universe, by Carlos Hernandez
6. White Bird, by R. J. Palacio
7. The Dark Lord Clementine, by Sarah Jean Horwitz
8. The Potter’s Boy, by Tony Mitton
9. Homerooms and Hall Passes, by Tom O’Connell
10. The Lost Girl, by Anne Ursu
11. Rabbit’s Bad Habits, by Julian Gough

Children’s Nonfiction Picture Books:
1. Nine Months, by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin
2. How Many? A Different Kind of Counting Book, by Christopher Danielson
3. The Important Thing About Margaret Wise Brown, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Sarah Jacoby
4. Can You Hear the Trees Talking? by Peter Wohlleben
5. The Lost Words, by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris

Longer Children’s Nonfiction:
1. They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, art by Harmony Becker
2. Shout, by Laurie Halse Anderson
3. Ordinary Hazards, by Nikki Grimes
4. Free Lunch, by Rex Ogle
5. Best Friends, by Shannon Hale, artwork by LeUyen Pham

Picture Books:
1. Truman, by Jean Reidy
2. Saturday, by Oge Mora
3. Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell, illustrated by Ana Ramírez González
4. One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller, by Kate Read
5. Harold & Hog Pretend for Real! by Dan Santat
6. Circle, by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
7. Penny and Her Sled, by Kevin Henkes

Happy Reading!

Revised to add: Aaaaaaaugh! I forgot Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai!

Somehow, I didn’t get that book on my spreadsheet of books I read this year, so I forgot all about it when I first made this list. Alas! That means most of the other Children’s Fiction titles get their ranking revised downward. But if you’re wondering why the Children’s Fiction list looks slightly different than when I first posted it, the reason is that I forgot one title at first. (But it does stand out in my mind, honest! I just forgot I’d read it this year.)

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